CAMP PERRY, Ohio – In 2023, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the John C. Garand Match at the annual National Matches at Camp Perry. The event has been one of the most popular and celebrated of CMP’s competitive shooting events, drawing hundreds of competitors from across the country each year.
To recognize the match’s milestone, the 2023 National Matches will feature a commemorative jersey for those who signed up for the event.
The roots of the John C. Garand Match date back to 1998, when the CMP introduced the exciting new concept to its target competition calendar. The Garand Match is a unique event in which participants use vintage M1 Garand rifles “as issued” in a course of fire with 10 slow fire prone shots, 10 rapid fire stationary prone shots and 10 stationary shots, all at 200 yards.
Approximately 40 percent of Garand Match competitors each year are awarded the coveted gold, silver or bronze Achievement Medals with ribbons around their necks. Medal presentations are decided based on the scores of the competitors. In 2023, competitors shooting 279 x 300 or more will receive gold medals, scores from 272 to 278 will receive silver medals; 260 to 271 will receive bronze medals. Medal presentations usually take place at the shooting range immediately after the competitors finish.
The John C. Garand Trophy, awarded to the top competitor in the John C. Garand National Match at Camp Perry, was donated to the National Trophy collection by the Garand Collectors Association in 2001. The winner of the first John C. Garand was Charles Goettemoeller, 69, of Coldwater, Ohio. Nick Till, 49, of Howell, Michigan, is the latest winner of the trophy (2022), with a previous win coming in 2012. Other past multiple-win competitors include Brian Hunter, 65, of Huntsville, Alabama. (1999, 2001), and Christopher Roberts, 50, of Charlotte, NC (2003, 2006, 2008).
Brad Diehl, 46, of Corunna, Ind., is the current national match record holder with a score of 294-9X (set in 2018), while Steven Skowronek, 36, of Irwin, Pa., he is the only individual to win the National John C. Garand Match as a junior, back in 2005. Skowronek won the match again more than a decade later, in 2017.
In response to the growing popularity of the Garand Match, the CMP established other rifle events of the same type, including Springfield, Vintage Military, Rimfire Sporter, M1 Carbine, Vintage Sniper Team, and Modern Military. Collectively, these have come to be known as “CMP Game Matches”.
DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson, who served as DCM from 1999 to 2009, played a significant role in establishing the Garand Match and growing the CMP military rifle program into one of CMP’s largest shooting sports. He remembered, “The Garand Match had 325 competitors in 1998, but quickly grew to over 1,300 competitors in subsequent years. It was successful because M1 rifles were affordable and readily available and because we adopted a simple 30-shot military rifle shooting course as issued.. In addition, there was a special call to be able to shoot rifles in competitions that had already served in the national defense of our country..”
The availability of surplus M1 and other vintage military rifles has helped make target shooting accessible to thousands of competitors, allowing them to recreate marksmanship and military history while fostering camaraderie in a relaxed, fun-filled but yet challenging.
In 2023, the Garand Collectors Association presented the Marksmanship Award to those who show continued success through points earned in the Garand Match, both in National Matches and Travel Games across the country. Learn more about the new GCA Master Marksman program, visit https://thecmp.org/garand-collectors-association-creates-new-master-marksman-program/. During the June 2023 Talladega D-Day games, Brian Williams, 49, of Granby, MA, got the last few points from him to win the first ever GCA Marksmanship Award.
Learn more about the 2023 National Games matches at https://thecmp.org/cmp-matches/national-cmp-games-events/.
M1 Garand Sanctioned Matches:
Various CMP affiliated clubs organize Garand Matches throughout the year. Visit the CMP website at https://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=matchRegistrationListUpcoming to find a local match near you.
History of the M1 Garand:
The M1 Garand rifle was adopted as the standard US service rifle in 1936, designed by Canadian-born inventor John Cantius Garand at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. In 1940, the expansion of the war in Europe and the increase in tensions in Japan prompted the urgency to equip American forces. After Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan in 1941, both the Springfield Armory and the Winchester Repeating Arms Company worked around the clock, producing more than 4 million M1s by the end of the war in 1945. The United States was the only country to equip its troops. with an autoloading rifle, thus providing a tremendous advantage in firepower. General George Patton even called the M1 Garand, “The largest fighting implement ever designed.”
After World War II ended, thousands of M1 Garand rifles were stored while others were loaned out to allies during the Cold War. Production resumed in 1950 when North Korea attacked South Korea, making the rifle the primary infantry firearm used during the Korean War. Nearly 1.5 million new M1 rifles were produced between 1952 and 1957, with additional help from the International Harvester Corporation and Harrington & Richardson Arms.
Sale of the M1 Garand:
The M1 Garand remained in service through the Vietnam War before becoming obsolete after the advent of new model service rifles like the M14 in the 1950s. In 1996, a federal law established the Civilian Marksmanship Program and authorized it to take out and sell surplus .30 and .22 caliber military rifles, parts and ammunition to qualified US citizens, including the famous M1 Garand. The CMP currently sells these and other vintage rifles in a variety of conditions through mail order and at its stores in Alabama and Ohio. Every M1 Garand sold is a genuine US Government rifle that has been inspected, serviced and tested for operation. Learn more about CMP Sales and how to purchase one of these pieces of American history at https://thecmp.org/cmp_sales/.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearms safety and marksmanship training and the promotion of marksmanship competition for United States citizens. To learn more about the CMP and its programs, log on to www.TheCMP.org.