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New CMP Custom Shop Already Fixing to Help Gun Enthusiasts Everywhere

By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer/Editor


After a month of business, the CMP Custom Shop is already stacked to the ceiling with rifles needing customization and repair. With nearly 200 rifles already through its threshold, the gunsmiths running the operation only anticipate more to come in the future.

“Things are going great,” said John McLean, CMP Custom Shop manager. “We’re learning how to do everything we need to do in order to get things done as quickly for customers as we can, as well as do a good job.”


Rifles from around the country are shipped in to the CMP Custom Shop where they are customized and repaired by experienced gunsmiths.

The Custom Shop opened its doors on Oct. 1, 2013, to provide gun owners a wide variety of upgrades, customization, refinishing and other types of repair to U.S. Military rifles. The shop does NOT repair shotguns, pistols, revolvers or types of commercially-produced modern rifles.


The shop specializes in such rifles as the M1Garand, M1 Carbine, 1903 and 1903A3 Springfield, the 1917 Enfield and the Krag. CMP will NOT be working on shotguns, pistols, revolvers, M14/M1A, AR15 style rifles or other commercially-produced modern rifles.

Rifles needing repair are shipped in to the office from anywhere in the country, then, once repaired and through the exiting process, they are shipped back out to the owners. Four shelves full of mailed-in rifles waiting to be serviced fill about a month-and-a-half’s worth of work for the shop workers.

John McLean works on a M1917 U.S. Enfield – the first of many rifles to arrive at the shop for repair.

“So far, we haven’t heard anything negative, other than from competitor gunsmiths,” said McLean, with a smile. “But, we’re not trying to compete with them. We’re trying to provide a place for people across the country who don’t have a gunsmith nearby. We can help them out.”


Shelves of rifles to be serviced are stacked to the ceiling of the Custom Shop, filling at least a month of scheduled work ahead for the CMP gunsmiths.

A M1917 U.S. Enfield was the first gun to pass through the doors of the custom shop. It was sent to be refinished by a contractor, spending nearly a month being restored. The rifle was then repaired by McLean and his crew and is just about ready to be returned to its owner.

“The amount of time we work on pieces varies very widely. It could be five minutes worth of work to a couple days worth of work, depending on what the customer wants,” he said.

Besides McLean, Chris Hord is also a gunsmith within the shop. Together, McLean and Hord have created an atmosphere where gun enthusiasts are able to have their rifles improved by expert gunsmiths, while also having the opportunity to learn how to improve their own rifles with their own mechanical skills.

“I think it’s going to keep growing. Chris and I have plans for other special projects and classes we’re going to do,” McLean said. “We make a good team.”


John McLean, CMP Custom Shop manager, says everything has gone well so far, including the CMP Advanced Maintenance Class offered to those looking to improve their mechanical skills.

The space where the rifles are repaired, though meant as a machine shop, was also designed as a classroom. Benches facing a projection screen hanging on the wall to display slides and other instructional materials seat a class of about 20 people.


The CMP Custom Shop in Anniston, AL, has been open since Oct. 1, 2013 and has already seen almost 200 rifles pass through its doors.

Recently, the shop held it’s first CMP Advanced Maintenance Class (AMC). With hands-on training techniques, both teachers and students were pleased with the results of the class.

“It was fantastic,” said McLean. “We had hundreds and hundreds of emails from people wanting to attend the class, and we receive hundreds and hundreds of emails from people wanting to attend future classes.”

Some comments from the survey taken by each class member include:

  • “The teaching was great, and they were very helpful and patient.”
  • “Instructors were OUTSTANDING…Fantastic course. Can’t say enough good about it. Instructors were phenomenal.”
  • “John and Chris were both patient and helpful. I had a lot of questions and they answered them deftly.”
  • “This was by far the very best firearms class I have ever taken.”

McLean said the CMP Custom Shop will hold six classes in 2014. The AMC class schedule is:

January 31 – February 2
March 28 - 30
June 4 - 6
August 8 - 10
September 26 - 28
November 5 - 7

REGISTRATION IS FULL FOR ALL CLASS DATES. Registration opened on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25th at 9:00AM EST. All classes and waitlists were full within 30 minutes. If you registered for an AMC, you will receive an email with additional instructions confirming your registration.

For a list of services the shop provides, visit the CMP Custom Shop web page at For even more information about CMP Custom Shop, or specific questions, please contact John or Chris at or call (256) 835-8455, ext. 1113.