CMP Celebrates 25th Anniversary of John C. Garand Match in 2023
June 23, 2023Civilian Marksmanship Program▸The First Shot▸CMP Celebrates 25th Anniversary of John C. Garand Match in 2023
By Ashley Dugan, CMP Writer
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 – attracting hundreds of competitors from around the country each year.
To recognize the match’s milestone, the 2023 National Matches will feature a commemorative T-shirt for those 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 into its target competition schedule. The Garand Match is a unique event where participants use vintage “as-issued” M1 Garand rifles over a course of fire with 10 shots prone slow-fire, 10 shots prone from standing rapid-fire and 10 shots standing, all at 200 yards.
Approximately 40 percent of each year’s Garand Match competitors receive coveted gold, silver, or bronze Achievement Medals with neck ribbons. Medal presentations are decided by competitors scores. In 2023, competitors who fire 279 x 300 or higher will receive gold medals, scores of 272 to 278 will receive silver medals; 260 to 271 will receive bronze medals. Medal presentations typically take place on the range immediately after competitors finish.
The John C. Garand Trophy, awarded to the top competitor in the National John C. Garand Match at Camp Perry, was donated to the National Trophy collection by the Garand Collectors Association in 2001. The winner of the first National John C. Garand Match was Charles Goettemoeller, 69, of Coldwater, Ohio. Nick Till, 49, of Howell, Mich., is the latest winner of the trophy (2022), with a previous win back in 2012. Other past competitors with multiple wins include Brian Hunter, 65, of Huntsville, Ala. (1999, 2001), and Christopher Roberts, 50, of Charlotte, N.C. (2003, 2006, 2008).
Brad Diehl, 46, of Corunna, Ind., is the current national record holder of the match with a score of 294-9X (set in 2018), while Steven Skowronek, 36, of Irwin, Pa., is the only individual to win the National John C. Garand Match as a junior, back in 2005. Skowronek returned to win the match again over a decade later in 2017.
In response to the growing popularity of the Garand Match, the CMP went on to establish other rifle events of the same type, including the Springfield, Vintage Military, Rimfire Sporter, M1 Carbine, Vintage Sniper Team, and Modern Military matches. Collectively, these have come to be known as “CMP Games Matches.”
DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson, who served as the DCM from 1999 through 2009, played a major role in getting the Garand Match established and in growing the CMP’s as-issued military rifle program into one of the CMP’s largest shooting sports disciplines. He recalled, “The Garand Match had 325 competitors in 1998, but it quickly grew to over 1,300 competitors in the years that followed. It succeeded because M1 rifles were affordable and readily available and because we adopted a simple 30-shot as-issued military rifle course of fire. Plus, there was a special appeal to being 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 target shooting to become accessible to thousands of competitors – allowing them to reenact military and marksmanship history while encouraging camaraderie in a relaxed, fun-filled, yet challenging atmosphere.
In 2023, the Garand Collectors Association presented the Marksmanship Award for those displaying continued success through earned points in the Garand Match, both at the National Matches and Travel Games throughout the nation. Find out more information on 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 Matches, Brian Williams, 49, of Granby, MA, earned his last points to earn the first GCA Marksmanship Award.
Learn more about the 2023 National Games Matches at https://thecmp.org/cmp-matches/national-cmp-games-events/.
Sanctioned M1 Garand Matches:
Several CMP affiliated clubs host 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 U.S. service rifle in 1936, designed by Canadian-born inventor, John Cantius Garand, at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. In 1940, the expanding war in Europe and increased tensions in Japan pushed the urgency to equip U.S. forces. After Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan in 1941, both 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 auto-loading rifle, thus providing a tremendous advantage in firepower. General George Patton even called the M1 Garand, “The greatest battle implement ever devised.”
After World War II ended, thousands of M1 Garand rifles were put into storage while others were loaned to allies during the Cold War. Production resumed in 1950 when North Korea attacked South Korea, making the rifle the main infantry firearm used during the Korean War. Nearly 1.5 million new M1 rifles were produced between 1952 to 1957, with the additional help of the International Harvester Corporation and Harrington & Richardson Arms.
Sale of the M1 Garand:
The M1 Garand remained in service through the Vietnam War before eventually becoming obsolete after the arrival of newer model service rifles like the M14 in the 1950s. In 1996, a federal law established the Civilian Marksmanship Program and authorized it to draw and sell surplus .30 and .22 caliber military rifles, parts, and ammunition to qualified U.S. citizens– including the famous M1 Garand. The CMP currently sells these and other vintage rifles in a variety of conditions through mail order and in its stores in Alabama and Ohio. Each M1 Garand sold is an authentic U.S. Government rifle that has been inspected, headspaced, repaired and tested for function. Learn more about CMP Sales and how to acquire one of these pieces of American history at https://thecmp.org/cmp_sales/.