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Humvees: Can You Own and Drive Them Legally in the U. S.?

Firearms Fanatic. 2nd Amendment supporter. Automotive Enthusiast. Technology dude. Gamer.


In its original form, the Humvee didn't actually have air conditioning. No, really. I promise you. Ask your oldies who've served in the 1980's and 1990's if I'm lying. Aside from that, it also didn't have fuel efficiency. You greenies can cringe at that fact.

More to making the greenies cringe at environmental issues, the original M998 Humvee came with a whopping 6.5L V-8 and only 3 gears in automatic. That's right. It came with only three gears. It wasn't unnatural though. Most civilian vehicles at the time came with only three gears so why should the venerable and legendary Humvee be any different?

Granted, it served it's purpose spectacularly well; flying colors. Replacing the M151 Jeep and the M561 Gama Goat was no easy task but the Humvee did it well. So that's that, then, and no harm done. Come now, surely, you don't think the HMMWV didn't come with it's own gremlins did you?


Street Legality: To drive or not to drive?

Before any of the vehicle's bad sides show up, let's look into why this truck was such a keeper - and why YOU should have one too if your State allows it. 31 out of 50 States currently don't allow Humvees on public roads. I am most displeased by this as it's an American truck and represents Merican engineering. Here is a list of the US States that don't allow private ownership and street legality of the Humvee:

States That Don't Allow Humvee Ownership or Street Legality


















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Dakota




Rhode Island



West Virginia


Now for the States where it's possible to register your precious Humvee for street use. Be advised that some of these states will only allow off-road use while some allow any use:

States Where Humvees Can Be Registered for Street Use












North Carolina


South Carolina






US Virgin Islands

Getting your beloved Humvee ready for prime time is gonna be a little bit tricky in states that allow your truck to be driven. It's totally dependent on the DMV you go to and how nice you and the agent are to each other.

An example is Arizona. Some are given an OHV or Off Highway Vehicle title. Though it's not totally illegal to drive such vehicles on the roads of State 48, you'll need lots of time and patience and will need to use a third-party titling agency such as MVD-ADOT.

Another way (based on what I've heard and read) is to go to Florida and register it there. You could also choose to register it as a Historical Vehicle but it usually means limiting your yearly accumulated driving distance to 1,000 miles as stated in the DMV website, so good luck having fun daily driving it.

The hassle of registering a Humvee properly is so daunting to most people that they just leave it where it's parked and drive it around their property. Or modify it for doomsday. That's the main reason why most people just drive Hummer H1's instead.


Variants of the Humvee

There are many variants of the Humvee. These include are but not limited to:

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  • M56/M56A1 Coyote Smoke Generator Carrier (mounted on an HMMWV; not a Type Classified HMMWV)
  • M707 Knight (replaced, originally mounted on an M1025A2 HMMWV; not a Type Classified HMMWV)
  • M966/M966A1 TOW Missile Carrier, basic armor, without a winch
  • M996 Mini-ambulance, two-litter, hardtop (type classified but not produced)A U.S. military M997 ambulance, emblazoned with the Red Cross.
  • M997/M977A1/M977A2 Maxi-ambulance, four-litter, basic armor
  • M998/M998A1 Cargo/Troop Carrier without a winch
  • M998 HMMWV Avenger (mounted on an HMMWV; not a Type Classified HMMWV)
  • M1025/M1025A1 Armament Carrier, basic armor, without a winch
  • M1025A2 Armament/TOW Missile Carrier, basic armor
  • M1026/M1026A1 Armament Carrier, basic armor, with winch
  • M1035/M1035A1/M1035A2 Soft top Ambulance, two-litter
  • M1036 TOW Missile Carrier, basic armor, with winch
  • M1037 Shelter Carrier, without a winch
  • M1037 Shelter Carrier MSE
  • M1038/M1038A1 Cargo/troop Carrier with winch
  • M1042 Shelter Carrier, with winch
  • M1043/M1043A1 Armament Carrier, supplemental armor, without a winch
  • M1043A2 Armament Carrier, supplemental armor
  • M1044/M1044A1 Armament Carrier, supplemental armor, with winch
  • M1045/M1045A1 TOW Missile Carrier, supplemental armor, without a winch
  • M1045A2 TOW Missile Carrier, supplemental armor
  • M1046/M1046A1 TOW Missile Carrier, supplemental armor, with winch
  • M1069 Tractor for M119 105-mm Gun
  • M1097/M1097A1 Heavy Hummer Variant (HHV)U.S. Navy SEALs and GMV-N
  • M1097A2 base platform
  • M1097A2 Cargo/Troop Carrier/Prime Mover (replacing the M998A1)
  • M1097A2 Shelter Carrier
  • M1097 Heavy HMMWV Avenger (mounted on an HMMWV; not a Type Classified HMMWV)
  • Packhorse – Attachment to convert an M1097 to tractor version for semi-trailers
  • XM1109 Up-Armored Heavy Hummer Variant (UA-HHV) (replaced by M1114)
  • M1123 Troop/cargo (U.S. Marines specific M1097A2)

Advanced up-armored HMMWV including armored gun turret

  • Active Denial System (mounted on an HMMWV)
  • Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) — USSOCOM Special Ops variants — initially based on the M1025; later GMV models based on the M1113 chassis. Another model, based on the M1165 HMMWV can be fitted with armor kits to create an 'up-armored' GMV with additional armor plating and an optional ballistic shield around the top gunner's turret.

Variants are: GMV-S (Army Special Forces), GMV-R (75th Ranger Regiment), GMV-N (Navy SEALs), GMV-T/GMV-SD/GMV-ST - AFSOC variants, and the GMV-M (Marine Corps MARSOC) variant.

  • IMETS (mounted on an HMMWV; not a Type Classified HMMWV)
  • ZEUS-HLONS (mounted on an HMMWV; not a Type Classified HMMWV)
  • Scorpion – Single unit version, fitted with 2B9 Vasilek 82 mm automatic mortar. This is a heavy chassis HMMWV developed in 2004 by engineers at the U.S. Army's Picatinny Arsenal. The mortar itself can fire on single shots or automatic using 4 round clips. The range for direct fire is 1,000m and the indirect fire is 4,000m. It is also intended to provide another means of destroying roadside bombs but at a safer standoff range. Only one has been produced.

Flat-Nosed Versus Snouted Humvees

Now, one important thing to remember when looking for a Humvee is the "snout" at the front of the truck. From what I've learned about researching these trucks is that the Humvees without air conditioning have a "flat" nose while the ones with the aircon have a sort of "snout".

The most popular variants for Humvees are slant backs which I've used for pictures throughout this article and if you look closely at the front, you'll see the difference between a flat nose and the snout nose.

If you're still confused or don't know what to look for, refer to the two pictures below and LOOK TO THE FRONT:

Flat-Nose Humvee

Flat-Nose Humvee

Snout-Nose Humvee

Snout-Nose Humvee

Armored Humvees

I have to stress out though that no matter what Humvee variant you buy, air conditioned or not, it'll be loud. Some variants also come with armor direct from the factory.

From what I've researched, the armored variants are the M1151/M1151A1 which is an armored slant back and the M1165 which is an armored pick up; a variation of the M1151.

This was in response to the IED threats troops in Afghanistan and Iraq faced early on in the War on Terror. The original Humvee DID NOT come with armor. Some of them didn't even come with doors which is another reason for the high losses and which is why the US military went for the MRAP program. But we'll get to that later.

Now that you know this, you might be wondering if it's legal to drive an armored Humvee? The simple answer is I don't know.


What's Special About Humvees

One thing that makes the Humvee exceptional is its huge number of variants, including the Stryker 8x8, a cheaper vehicle with half the wheels and no armor. The truck can have a water fording kit mounted on the right side of the truck's front engine compartment so you can easily cross a 5 foot high flood.

Also, each Humvee is 6 feet tall but has a ground clearance of 16 inches—the same as a Jeep Wrangler Rubison!

It's possible because of the employment of what's called a "portal axle". It is, without question, a huge advantage This is a bit tricky to explain and in order to do so, I have to be a bit boring.

A portal axle is an off-road vehicle suspension and drive technology where the axle tube or the half-shaft is off-set from (usually above) the center of the wheel hub and where driving power is transferred to each wheel via a simple gearbox, built onto each hub. Just so you don't get confused with all the mumbo-jumbo, please refer to the picture below.


Buying a Humvee

So you've found the Humvee you wanted? Great! You've found a Humvee on Craigslist for XXX amount of money and it's exactly what you've got. Awesome!

Not so fast. The best place to get a Humvee is from Govplanet or Ironplanet, a government auction site. You'll need to be a member to add money and bid for a truck.

I don't really recommend buying from a private seller unless they have the pink slips to prove it. Believe it or not, some people were so ninja, they went into an actual military base and drove off with a Humvee.

My advise to you is, if the private seller can't provide pink slips, walk away. Chances are, that's a stolen Humvee. And you don't want a 5 star rating on GTA right?


That's all, folks!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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