Civilian Marksmanship Program

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The official federal seal of the CMP

The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a national organization dedicated to training and educating U.S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and airguns through gun safety training, marksmanship training, and competitions. The CMP is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) corporation that places a priority on serving youth through gun safety and marksmanship activities that encourage personal growth and build life skills.[1][2]

The federal law creating the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. (CPRPFS, the formal legal name of the CMP) specifically states: In carrying out the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the corporation shall give priority to activities that benefit firearms safety, training, and competition for youth and that reach as many youth participants as possible.[2]

Any U.S. citizen not otherwise legally prohibited from owning a firearm may purchase a military surplus rifle from the CMP, provided they are a member of a CMP-affiliated club.[3] The CMP operates through a network of affiliated private organizations, shooting clubs, and state associations across every state in the U.S. which variously offer firearms safety training and marksmanship courses as well as continued practice and competition events.

Since its inception, the emphasis of the program has shifted towards specifically youth training. From 1916 until 1996 the CMP was administered by the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP), an advisory board to the Secretary of the Army (SA). Title XVI of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (Public Law 104-106, 10 February 1996) created the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice & Firearms Safety (CPRPFS) to replace the NBPRP.[4] The CPRPFS is a tax-exempt non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation chartered by the U.S. Congress, but is not an agency of the U.S. government (Title 36, United States Code, Section 40701 et seq.). Apart from a donation of surplus .22 and .30 caliber rifles in the Army's inventory to the CMP, the CMP receives no federal funding.

The CMP maintains three main offices: CMP North at Camp Perry near Port Clinton, Ohio, CMP South in Anniston, Alabama and the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park in Talladega, Alabama.


The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) provides surplus U.S. Army rifles for sale, including the M1 Garand, M1903 and M1903A3 Springfield, M1917 Enfield, M1 Carbine, .22 caliber (surplus and commercial target), and commercial target air rifles to members of affiliated organizations. Additionally, the CMP's online store offers ammunition and other accessories, with the M1911 pistol being included in the inventory since 2018.

The CMP facilitates training programs focused on promoting safety, responsibility, leadership, and competitive excellence in shooting sports. The organization actively supports, sponsors, and hosts various rifle and pistol competitions nationwide, such as the National Matches at Camp Perry. Previously, the CMP hosted the U.S. Olympics Trials for 10-meter air rifle, and it currently hosts the annual Junior Olympic 3-position air rifle matches along with several national junior championships. Throughout the year, the CMP conducts camps and clinics, including a summer camp program featuring activities in standing air rifle, 3-position air rifle, and, more recently, 3-position smallbore.

Competition Tracker[edit]

In July 2003, the CMP launched Competition Tracker, an online results system for the shooting sports. Originally designed specifically for the National Trophy matches, the CMP now uses Competition Tracker as the official results bulletin of every CMP competition. In March 2006, during the JROTC National Championships, the CMP used Competition Tracker, in conjunction with Sius Ascor electronic targets, to provide real-time results on the web. On average, it was 45 seconds from the time a shooter fired a shot to when his or her shot value was seen on the Internet. The CMP is currently researching Visual Image Scoring technology that will allow competitors to score traditional paper targets electronically.

CMP and the military services[edit]

The U.S. armed forces are authorized to wear marksmanship competition badges, by each service's regulations. These badges are awarded based on points earned at CMP-sponsored competitions or high placement at special CMP competitions. The following is a list of marksmanship competition badges authorized for wear on U.S. military service uniforms based on points earned at CMP competitions:

Example of different U.S. Armed Forces' Excellence-in-Competition Badges awarded based on "leg points" earned at CMP sanctioned competitions
  • U.S. Distinguished International Shooter Badge (All services)
  • Distinguished Rifleman Badge (Army, Air Force, and U.S. Civilians)
  • Distinguished Marksman Badge (Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard)
  • Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge (All services)
  • President's Hundred Tab/Brassard (Army, Navy, and Coast Guard)
  • Army Excellence In Rifle Competition Badge (Silver or Bronze)
  • Army Excellence In Pistol Competition Badge (Silver or Bronze)
  • Air Force Excellence In Rifle Competition Badge (Silver with Wreath or Bronze with Wreath)
  • Air Force Excellence In Pistol Competition Badge (Silver with Wreath or Bronze with Wreath)
  • Navy Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Gold, Silver, or Bronze)
    • National, Navy, and Fleet
  • Navy Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Gold, Silver, or Bronze)
    • National, Navy, and Fleet
  • Marine Corps Rifle Competition Badge (Gold, Silver, or Bronze)
    • National, Marine Corps, and Division
  • Marine Corps Pistol Competition Badge (Gold, Silver, or Bronze)
    • National, Marine Corps, and Division
  • Coast Guard Rifleman Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Silver or Bronze)
    • National and Coast Guard
  • Coast Guard Pistol Shot Excellence in Competition Badge (Silver or Bronze)
    • National and Coast Guard


The CMP originated as part of the U.S. Congress 2 March 1903 War Department Appropriations Act for the purpose of providing civilians an opportunity to learn and practice marksmanship skills, should they later be called on to serve in the U.S. military. The Secretary of War considered nothing more important in the way of preparation for war than teaching the young men of the country to shoot straight. The formation was precipitated by the adoption of the M1903 Springfield rifle as the national service rifle with greatly increased range allowing combatants to fire at greater distances from each other, making practice more necessary for good marksmanship. Decline in the use of firearms among civilians meant a majority of young men in the thickly settled parts of the country had never fired a gun, and civilians experienced with popular contemporary lever-action rifles were unfamiliar with modern bolt action rifles like the M1903. Secretary of War Elihu Root recommended teaching civilians how to shoot immediately rather than waiting until hostilities were declared.[5]

A National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice was formed to oversee this training of civilians. Board members were the United States Assistant Secretary of War, two United States Army officers, a United States Navy officer, a United States Marine Corps officer, eight trustees of the National Rifle Association of America, and eight civilians selected from various parts of the country.[5] Following the outbreak of World War I in Europe, the board appointed Colonel S.W. Miller as the first Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) on 9 December 1916. He established the office of the DCM on 13 December 1916 to act as an executive agent of the board.[6]

See also[edit]

The Civilian Marksmanship Program cartouche on an M1 Garand.


  1. ^ "About". Civilian Marksmanship Program. Retrieved 2023-08-09.
  2. ^ a b "36 USC Ch. 407: CORPORATION FOR THE PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE AND FIREARMS SAFETY". Archived from the original on 2023-08-10. Retrieved 2023-08-09.
  3. ^ "CMP Purchase Eligibility Requirements". Civilian Marksmanship Program. Archived from the original on 2023-09-13. Retrieved 2023-08-09.
  4. ^ "Title XVI" (PDF). National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (Public Law 104-106). Library of Congress. 10 February 1996. pp. 331–338. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b Root, Elihu (11 February 1905). Annual Reports of the War Department for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 1903. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. p. 26.
  6. ^ Bookmiller, E. V. (1918). Annual Reports of the Secretary of War, 1917. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. p. 902.

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