Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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CMP: What is it and how can I buy a rifle?

Last week, I received a copy of a note from a member who was inquiring about how to purchase something from CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program).  After answering the question, I was asked to write a brief article about the CMP, the relationship between the TSRA and CMP and the general process for purchasing a rifle, ammunition, parts or other items. 

Although some of our members know all about CMP and its history, there may be some who don’t know and I would like to provide a very brief introduction. 

In the post Civil War era, several U. S. military officers were very concerned about the lack of marksmanship skills of the new recruits and they worked to improve the marksmanship skills of our citizens.  The first step was to form the National Rifle Association in1871.  Subsequent to that, the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) as well as the National Matches (conducted at Camp Perry, OH) were established by the actions of Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903.  An original premise of the NBPRP was to develop military marksmanship and to train civilians in marksmanship so that, in the event of a national emergency, the trained civilians would be able to assist the U.S. military in training recruits.  Interestingly enough, that premise, dating from the early 1900’s was fulfilled in 2004-05 with members of the TSRA Service Rifle team helping to train Squad Designated Marksman to fulfill their mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. The NBPRP was first managed by the Department of War, then by the Dept. of the Army until 1996. 

In 1996 Congress enacted the law that established the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc., a 501(c) (3) corporation.  The mandate for the CMP is to provide activities that teach firearms safety, marksmanship training and competition for youth and that it reach as many youth participants as possible.  The CMP accomplishes this mission by selling U. S. military surplus .22 and .30 caliber rifles, ammunition, parts and shooting supplies.

The CMP has an excellent website,, where those who are interested in the organization, its mission and activities can learn much more than this article will discuss.  I highly recommend that you browse that website when you have some spare time.

The procedure to purchase a rifle from the CMP is fairly simple.  Download the forms from the website, determine if you meet the necessary criteria and if so, fill out the forms, provide the documentation, send in the money and then wait for a while. 

The criteria for purchase are listed below and are essentially copied from the CMP website.

1.  Proof of U.S. Citizenship:

You must provide a copy of a U.S. birth certificate, passport, proof of naturalization, or any official government document that shows birth in the U.S. or states citizenship as U.S.

2.  Proof of Age:

You must provide proof of age. Usually proof of citizenship also provides proof of age. In those cases where it may not, a driver’s license is sufficient.

3.    Membership in CMP Affiliated Organization:

You must provide a copy of your current membership card or other proof of membership. This requirement cannot be waived. The CMP currently has over 2,000 affiliated organizations located in many parts of the country.  The good news here is that if you are reading this in the TSRA Sportsman, you are already a member of a CMP affiliated Organization!  The Club affiliation number is 45036.  If you lose that number it can be found on the page in the TSRA Sportsman that lists the current officers of your Association as well as the Past Presidents.  Membership in many of these organizations costs $25.00 or less and can often be accomplished online. A listing of affiliated organizations can be found by clicking on our Club Search web page at If you have any difficulty in locating a club, please contact the CMP at 256-835-8455 or by emailing CMP Customer Service. We will find one for you. In addition to shooting clubs, the CMP also has several special affiliates. Membership in these organizations satisfies our requirement for purchase. These special affiliates include: Congressionally chartered veterans' organizations such as the VFW, AL, DAV, MCL, etc. U.S. Military services (active or reserves), National Guard, to include retirees. Professional 501(c)3 law enforcement organizations and associations such as the FOP, NAPO, NSA, etc.

  • Note: Club membership IS required for purchase of rifles, parts, and ammunition.
  • Club membership is NOT required for instructional publications or videos or CMP memorabilia.

4. Marksmanship or other Firearms Related Activity:

You must provide proof of participation in a marksmanship related activity or otherwise show familiarity with the safe handling of firearms and range procedures. Your marksmanship related activity does not have to be with highpower rifles; it can be with smallbore rifles, pistols, air guns or shotguns. Proof of marksmanship participation can be provided by documenting any of the following:
- Current or past military service.
- Current or past law enforcement service
- Participation in a rifle, pistol, air gun or shotgun competition (provide copy of results bulletin).
- Completion of a marksmanship clinic that included live fire training (provide a copy of the certificate of completion or a statement from the instructor).
- Distinguished, Instructor, or Coach status.
- Concealed Carry License.
- Firearms Owner Identification Cards that included live fire training.
- FFL or C&R license.
- Completion of a Hunter Safety Course that included live fire training.
- Certification from range or club official or law enforcement officer witnessing shooting activity. A form for use in completing and certifying your range firing can be downloaded from the CMP web site at

No proof of marksmanship required if over age 60. Proof of club membership and citizenship required for all ages.
NOTE: Proof of marksmanship activity is not required for purchase of ammunition, parts, publications or memorabilia.

5. Be Legally Eligible to Purchase a Firearm:

The information you supply on your application will be submitted by the CMP to the FBI National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS) to verify you are not prohibited by Federal, State or Local law from acquiring or possessing a rifle. Your signature on the Purchaser Certification portion of the purchase application authorizes the CMP to initiate the NICS check and authorizes the FBI to inform CMP of the result. IMPORTANT: If your State or locality requires you to first obtain a license, permit, or Firearms Owner ID card in order to possess or receive a rifle, you must enclose a photocopy of your license, permit, or card with the application for purchase.

6. Order Form and Purchaser Certification and Agreement:

Order forms and other required documents may be downloaded from For those customers who receive our hard-copy catalog, we recommend they make several copies of the blank form for use in placing future orders. Customers should complete both the Order Form and the Purchaser Certification and Agreement and sign it before a notary. Orders received without notarized signature will not be processed.

I hope the foregoing will be of assistance to those who want to purchase rifles from the CMP.  When you browse their website, you can find contact information on affiliated clubs where you can shoot your ‘new’ CMP Garand and start learning more about your purchase.
Good and Safe shooting!  Remember to take a kid to the range.  You’ll both enjoy the experience.

Don Benson
TSRA Director, Jr. Programs
Texas CMP State Jr. Director



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