By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
Pricing has just been announced for the lot of 1911 pistols that will be sold to qualified buyers through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. These pistols have been in storage for decades, some dating to the World War II era. Like lots of M1 Garand rifles, the prospect has had caused many a collector to quiver in anticipation.
The pricing tiers are as follows:
$850 for Rack Grade. These guns have been beaten like a rented mule. They usually don’t fire and need work to be functional, let alone presentable.
$950 for Field Grade. These guns have been beat up a bit, but are in serviceable and working condition.
$1050 for Service Grade. These guns may be a little scuffed, but are otherwise fully functional.
Auction Grade guns will be sold via special auction. These are the cream of the crop of these old guns.
So…are they worth it?
As with anything, “worth it’ is totally subjective. The interest a lot of people have in these pistols is as collector’s items; buying one puts a WWII gun in their collection, whether it works or not. If you’re just going to look at the thing…who cares if it actually goes bang? For such a person, a CMP 1911 is probably “worth it.” It’s not like you’re going to put it in your concealed carry holster for daily carry.
However, what if you want a vintage gun you can actually shoot? Is one of these CMP pistols worth it then, if buying a Field or Service Grade gun?
In the broad strokes…no.
You can get a GI model from a number of different manufacturers that is built better, with tighter tolerances (which increases accuracy) and that isn’t already beat-up. Granted, having a vintage shooting iron is cool, no doubt about it, but the reality here is that a new GI-spec model can be had for less than the CMP is asking.
Have to have a Colt? The Government Model (the entry-level model, previously dubbed the 1991) has an MSRP of $799; in store, you’re looking at more like $700. It’s made better and will likely shoot better too. Don’t want a Series 80? The Series 70 is $100 more in sticker.
For around the same amount, you can pick up a Remington R1 or Springfield Mil-Spec, both of which are highly esteemed for entry-level 1911 pistols by domestic producers.
Rock Island Armory (Armscor) and some other firms such as Auto Ordnance, American Tactical Imports, Tisas and others import some decent GI-spec 1911 pistols that can be had for much less. Why spend close to a grand for a beat-up old GI model when you can get a new one for $600 or less?
So, is a CMP 1911 worth it? If you really want an actual military-issue 1911 for your collection, only the real deal will do and you don’t care that much if it shoots, sure. If you just want a GI-spec 1911? Not really. The GI-style guns being made today are made better, will shoot better and are also cheaper.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.