Can Civilians Own Military Tanks?

Tanks used by the United States military are large and dangerous. But are military members the only ones who can use the tanks?

Civilians can own military tanks in the United States, as long as they have the required permits. However, they are not street-legal in many states. If you own a tank in a state where it is not legal to drive it on the street, you can still drive it on your property or backroads.

Tanks seem like they would be very fun to drive, especially past your friend’s, or enemy’s, house. However, are they worth getting?

What Is A Tank?

A tank is defined as any heavily armed and armored combat vehicle that moves on two endless metal chains called tracks. Tanks are essentially weapons platforms that make the weapons mounted in them more effective by their cross-country mobility and the protection they provide for their crews.

A tank, especially a United States tank, is typically considered to be a heavily-armored vehicle with a large gun on the top of it. However, some early tanks looked very similar to what the modern Jeep looks like.

In fact, the Willys Jeep is what modern Jeeps are based on, and it was considered to be a tank when it was used in 1945, although it was also considered to be a civilian vehicle. It is even regarded as the first mass-produced civilian vehicle.

Prices Of Tanks

The price of a tank depends on many factors, but the price ranges from $13,000 to $155,000. Costs vary based on how big the tank is, how recently it was made, how much space is inside it, and the weapon on the top of the tank. If you are a civilian that wants to purchase a tank, it is very easy to buy one.

In fact, you can purchase your own tank online, although you may want to schedule a time where you can look at the tank that you are wanting to buy.

Street Legal States

Tanks are legal in the United States for a civilian, but they are not always allowed to be driven on the street. The laws about tanks being driven on the street differ in the state and county. For example, it is legal to drive a tank on the street in Texas. However, the tank has to be modified to commute on pavement/asphalt, and it is not allowed to have gun machinery.

However, tanks generally are not street-legal, so owners usually have to drive them off-road or on private property that they have permission to go on to. If you do want to drive a tank, and you want to know if it can be driven on the street, check with your local DMV and the laws regarding tanks. Just try not to be too disappointed if you will not be allowed to drive it to your local grocery store while running errands.

Permits Needed To Drive A Tank

To drive a tank, you need to obtain a tank vehicle endorsement. On “May 9, 2011, FMCSA published a final rule on ‘Commercial Driver’s License Testing and Commercial Learner’s Permit Standards’ that included a new definition of tank vehicle which required additional drivers to obtain tank vehicle endorsements on their commercial learners’ permits (CLPs) and CDLs.” Source

Do Tanks Have Storage?

Military tanks often do not have any storage capacity. They do not have trunks like many cars do, and the place where the soldier driving the vehicle is very small, barely big enough for one or two people to fit inside. There is no room for storage. While there may be a compartment for extra ammo, that will most likely be kept close to the soldier who is working the gun placed on top of that tank.

How Much Does A Tank Weigh?

Tanks are very heavy and weigh around 67.6 tons. This is because they are made out of heavy steel, made to be bulletproof, and made to drive through almost any weather condition. Often, tanks have a very heavy weapon placed on top of them, so the tank needs to be solid on the bottom to keep it from toppling over due to the weight of the gun.

Are Tanks Always Used By Soldiers?

Tanks are not always used by soldiers who are deployed. They have loud engines and are very heavy. The weight of the tanks makes them hard to transport to other countries. Also, the weight makes it difficult for the tank to move quickly from place to place. During battles, time is of the essence. Many soldiers simply use Jeeps when they have to travel long distances or while moving very heavy equipment rather than tanks.

However, soldiers do not always have access to a vehicle. Depending on the mission and where they are deployed, soldiers may have to travel on foot, even though this is not ideal.

Can My Tank Have A Gun?

A tank in the U.S. can have operational guns if the owner has a federal Destructive Device permit, and local state laws don’t prohibit it. However, in many states, the weapons on a tank have to be decommissioned in order to be street legal.

This is mainly a precaution because state legislatures do not want someone who drives a tank down the street to become angry and shoot at civilians or destroy businesses. Now, that most likely would not happen, but they do have to make sure that it cannot happen rather than hope for the best that it doesn’t happen.

Jeff Dunham made a video in 2017 where he showed off his tank. He even drove it to a car show, and he mentions that the gun has been decommissioned, and that is one of the reasons why it is legal for him to drive on the street. However, he doesn’t talk about the permits that he had to obtain to be able to drive the tank.

While purchasing a tank may seem outrageous, they otherwise would just be sitting around once they are retired from the military. So if you really want to own one, then it’s possible.

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