Guns: Getting the Garand, Part 1 - Introduction
I'm in the middle of acquiring an M1 Garand from the CMP, and I thought it'd be fun to document the experience in a series of posts. First, we'll look at the background of this iconic rifle, and the ordering process:
History and Development
The M1 Garand is generally regarded as the first successful semiautomatic rifle to be issued to a major military. It wasn't some crude, slapdash concoction, though; every aspect of the M1's long-stroke piston operation was state of the art in the 1930s:
Thhough the M1 will be forever associated with the American military, the rifle was actually designed by a Canadian named John C. Garand. Mr. Garand was an avid shooter and a skilled machinist, and his experience informed the rifle's design. The Garand proved to be simpler to produce than its competitors, back in the days when rifle stocks were lathed out of honest-to-goodness dead trees, and receivers were forged from steel:
More than 6 million of the rifles were made, with the lion's share being employed in WWII and the Korean War. Even after the M1 Garand was phased out in the '60s, it continued to enjoy widespread popularity with shooters here in the States.
My first introduction to the Garand came from playing "Day of Defeat," a WWII computer game. Much like in real life, a player armed with a Garand has considerably more firepower on tap than someone with a Mauser or a Lee-Enfield:
How do I buy one?
The Civilian Marksmanship Program sells surplus M1 Garands, though the prices have risen steeply in the past decade. In order to buy from the CMP, you need to prove that (1) you are a U.S. citizen over the age of 18; (2) you are a member of a CMP-affiliated club; and (3) you have participated in marksmanship or other firearms-related activity.
Requirements No. 2 and 3 are common sticking points. I don't actually have a CMP-affiliated club near me, so I signed up to join the Garand Collectors Association, which publishes a quarterly journal of Garand geekery. As for the firearms-related activity, a CCW license qualifies, so I sent in a copy of mine.
You put all your materials in an envelope, along with payment information, and, 4-8 weeks and $625 dollars later, you get a Service Grade M1 Garand delivered right to your door (unless you live in a foreign country like New Jersey). Seems like a fair trade to me...