Jews were not saved from complete annihilation during the Holocaust by diplomats, negotiations, or international sanctions. When American troops liberated the Jews from concentration camps during WWII, in their hands was a rifle which General Patton described as "the greatest battle implement ever devised." It was that rifle, the M1 Garand, and the powerful .30-06 rounds it fired that saved the Jews. The rifle served American and other armies for many years, by the US as late as Viet Nam. Interestingly, supposedly there are a few M1 Garands or its little brother the M1 Carbine floating around still used by tour guides in Israel!
My local NRA/CMP High Power Rifle club has informal Garand matches, and there are other nearby clubs that hold official CMP matches. So I thought it would be fun to own a piece of history, as well as join in those matches. Getting a rifle from the CMP seemed like a no-brainer. On its website, the CMP describes itself:
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a national organization dedicated to training and educating U. S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and airguns through gun safety training, marksmanship training and competitions. The CMP is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) corporation that places its highest priority on serving youth through gun safety and marksmanship activities that encourage personal growth and build life skills. Links on this page will lead you to more detailed information about the CMP and its programs.
Statutory mission. The federal law enacted in 1996 (Title 36 U. S. Code, 0701-40733) that created the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. (CPRPFS, the formal legal name of the CMP) mandates these key “functions for the corporation:
(1) To instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship;
(2) To promote practice and safety in the use of firearms;
(3) To conduct competitions in the use of firearms and to award trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia to competitors.
The law specifically states: In carrying out the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the corporation shall give priority to activities that benefit firearms safety, training, and competition for youth and that reach as many youth participants as possible.
Yes, you read that correctly, federal law empowers and requires the CMP to promote rifle marksmanship and sell off surplus rifles to the public (the actual statute is here)! By law, the rifles, including the M1, must be sold at "fair market value." Indeed, the prices are very fair, and if you buy a CMP Garand you get a great value for your money. The rifles are sold by grade, with price varying accordingly. I decided to go with a CMP "Special" grade, which should hopefully prove to be a good shooter.
Ironically, in 2009 the South Korean government announced plans to sell around 100,000 M1s to American collectors, the rifles having been originally given to the South Koreans by the US Government, but the Obama administration is blocking the South Korean sales of these M1s. As the Washington Times editorial argues:
It’s hard to see how these M1 rifles could be considered risky when they already are offered for sale by the U.S. government through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. In fact, the federally sponsored CMP puts on summer camps that teach boys and girls how to handle the Garand properly and safely. In the past seven years, there hasn’t been a single accident. Many of the participants go on to serve their country or take part in shooting sports at the collegiate and Olympic level. It’s more likely that the administration is seeking to win the admiration of gun grabbers.I will report more as I learn to operate and shoot this rifle, as at this stage I haven't the slightest idea how to operate it yet. I am definitely looking forward to the stouter recoil of the .30-06 cartridge over the .233 I currently shoot in the AR-15.