Remember when the Civilian Marksmanship Program announced that it would sell off 10,000 surplus Army M1911 pistols to the American public as part of a provision in the 2018 defense budget? Well, mark your fucking calendars: After months of waiting, the federally-chartered CMP has issued an update to members with details about the upcoming 1911 sales.

The good news: The fire sale for an iconic sidearm that’s accompanied U.S. troops into battle for the last 100 years is almost a reality. The bad news: Some of you are bound to come away empty-handed. The CMP reports that Secretary of the Army Mark Esper only authorized 8,000 1911s for sale and distribution this fiscal year, some of which “are anticipated to be unusual and worthy of being auctioned.”

Translation: You need to *really* be on your game to grab one of these bad boys. Here’s what you need to know:

Army photo

The National Match M1911 .45 caliber service pistol is used during the individual pistol portion of the 2014 Marine Corps Championships from April 14-16 aboard the Weapons Training Battalion ranges at Stone Bay. The individual pistol match is shot at the 25-yard line and 50-yard line, and must be shot one-handed.U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders

When can I order my sweet, sweet M1911 pistol?

While the CMP says the official 1911 order form packet will show up on the organization’s website on June 4, 2018, the organization will only accept your paperwork if it’s postmarked between September 4th and October 4th.

The CMP will not accept orders that are a) hand delivered, b) emailed, c) faxed, or d) postmarked prior to September 4th.

Don’t fuck this up.

How many can I order?

Just one order form per customer.

How much will it cost?

Here’s the “fair market value” pricing dictated by the 2018 NDAA, from the CMP’s mouth to your ears:

Service Grade $1050: Pistol may exhibit minor pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.

Field Grade $950: Pistol may exhibit minor rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition

Rack Grade $850: Pistol will exhibit rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips may be incomplete and exhibit cracks. Pistol requires minor work to return to issuable condition.

Auction Grade: (Sales will to be determined by auctioning the pistol). The condition of the auction pistol will be described when posted for auction.

The CMP’s guidance notes that if you’re one of those lucky high rollers to come away with an auction gun, you can’t buy any others — only one .45 to a buyer, at least until all the first-timers are served.

What about other paperwork?

The CMP requires that all prospective owners provide, on top of their completed 1911 paperwork (with a new form 2A with notary!): proof of U.S. citizenship, proof of CMP membership, and “proof of participation in a marksmanship activity”; these arms are for shootin’, not trading away at the gun show.

As for the whole shipping thing, CMP will only mail the weapons to a Federal Firearms Licensee, so make friends with one and have them fax that paperwork carefully.

And background checks?

Ayuh, a NICS screening plus the old paper 4473, all the usual modern handgun-check stuff. From the CMP:

A NICS background check on each customer will be performed by the FBI to assure the customer is eligible to purchase prior to shipment to the FFL licensed dealer. The customer must receive a “proceed” from NICS prior to shipment of the pistol to the FFL licensed dealer.

The CMP customer will be required to complete a Form 4473 in person at the FFL dealer's place of business and successfully pass a NICS check, in which the information is provided by the FFL holder to NICS, before the pistol can be transferred. This is a second NICS check performed on the customer.

Also, be sure to check up on your local gun regs for waiting periods and the like: The CMP adds that the buyer’s 1911 will remain in the possession of an FFL licensed dealer, a dealer who “will have to follow all federal, state, and local laws.”

How do I find out if I get chosen?

Magic! Or as The Man likes to call it, “random number generation”:

Customer names from complete CMP 1911 order form packets will be fed into a computerized Random Number Generator on 5 October 2018. The Random Number Generator will provide a list of names in sequential order through the random picking process. Customers will be contacted in the sequence provided by the Random Number Generator. The CMP 1911 customers will select their grade of pistol (Service, Field or Rack) from available inventory at the time of order notification. Customers with higher numbers may have fewer grades from which to choose. When this year's allotment of 1911s is exhausted, the remaining orders will be held in the existing sequence for all future allotments of 1911s.

The CMP notes, however, that it “does not know what future allotments might be.” Esper’s seemingly arbitrary allotment of sales this time around suggests that the supply of pistols may fluctuate over time — even more incentive to move fast.