The M1 Garand is synonymous with the image of a WWII GI marching through Europe or Marine island hopping in the Pacific. After several years of admiration, I decided to pick one of these up for myself.
There are many sources for M1 Garands, some better than others. And very few are better both from a value and quality perspective than the Civilian Marksmanship Program. After meeting a few basic qualifications, you can have an M1 Garand shipped straight to your door by the federal government! No, you don’t have go to through an FFL… but you do have to meet some guidelines. I won’t attempt to go into what these are as they are well documented on the CMP’s website, but they are really easier to meet than you might think. I satisfied the need to show experience with firearms through my possession of a C&R FFL, and signed up online for a membership with the Illinois Rifle Association to satisfy the requirement for being part of an approved shooting group. I then got to the fun part… making my selection. I sent an order for a Service Grade Harrington & Richardson M1 and a couple months later received this beautiful rifle in the mail. Made in the 1950’s at the tail end of the Korean War, this rifle has strong bluing, a great bore, beautiful walnut stock, and came with the CMP hard case and certificate of authenticity… all for $600! If I had gone to my local shop $600 would have gotten me a polite smile. $900 would have gotten me an M1 in not nearly as good of condition.
Shooting this gun is pure joy. It’s 30-06 so it’s no Red Ryder, but due to the gas-driven semi-automatic action, recoil is a nice hard shove… not a punch in the shoulder. Compared to my Mosin Nagants, 8mm Mausers, and other surplus bolt guns the Garand is a pussycat. And talk about accurate. No water jug is safe at 100 yards, and in my informal shooting 1″ – 2″ groups at 80 yards off the bench is not abnormal. With iron sights and bulk surplus ammunition, this is pretty good in my book.
So, if you want a real piece of history or have ever had a desire to own the iconic M1, my advice is to go directly to the CMP and get your Garand!