Operating through its network of independent clubs the Civilian Marksmanship Program
, CMP, acts to promote firearms safety and marksmanship, particularly amongst youth. Through sponsorship of youth shooting programs this organization is able to greatly influence the shooting
community and the country as a whole.
Brief History -
The history of the Civilian Marksmanship Program
begins in 1903 when an act of Congress established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice. This board's goal, imagine this, was to promote marksmanship
practice by civilians. Until 1996 the CMP was administered by the Department of the Army
. In 199
6 the CMP became a private, non-profit organization and was given the assets of the previous army department. In addition it was given the following missions:
- The instruction of citizens of The United States in marksmanship.
- The promotion of practice and safety in the use of firearms, including the conduct of matches and competitions in the use of those firearms.
- The award to competitors of trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia.
- The provision of security and accountability for all firearms, ammunition, and other equipment under the custody and control of the Corporation.
- The issue, loan, or sale of firearms, ammunition, supplies and equipment to eligible clubs, organizations and individuals.
- To give priority to activities that benefit firearms safety, training, and competition for youth and that reach as many youth participants as possible.
- National Matches - The CMP is probably most well known for administering the National Matches, a duty it began in 1903. The original National Matches was held in Sea Girt, New Jersey. The Nation Matches were moved in 1907, however, to their present home in Camp Perry, Ohio. These are huge competitions with thousands of people competing in many different categories. These matches include both a smallbore (.22 caliber) and a high-power (typically .223 or .30-06 caliber) section. The firing line at Camp Perry is over one mile long, just to give some indication of the size of this competition.
- Firearms Sales - By liquidating old government stock the CMP raises money for its education, safety, and marksmanship programs. Old M-1 Garand and M-1903 Springfield rifles are sold by the CMP at a VERY good price for a private collector, there is one catch, however. Only participating club members may purchase from the CMP, so you have to be a member of a club that is a CMP member. (CMP membership is club based only, there are no individual members) The CMP also sells ammunition for target shooting, until recently they had rock bottom prices on Remington Target ammunition - this was all we used on my shooting team for indoor practice.
- State Matches - In addition to running the National Matches the CMP also sponsors many state competitions including the NY StateYouth Smallbore Championship. Although I do not know how many other state's have their matches sponsored I have no reason to believe NY is the exception here.
- Postal Matches - Postal matches are simply matches that are shot wherever you happen to reside, but are mailed in to be judged. These are done on both the state and national level - usually postal matches are done for air rifle.