Can You Own A Tank In Texas? Everything You Need To Know

Texas often conjures images of cowboys, ranches, and wide open spaces. So if you’ve ever wondered whether everyday citizens can legally own tanks or other heavy military vehicles in the Lone Star State, you’re not alone.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Yes, it is legal for civilians to own tanks and other armored vehicles in Texas if they complete the proper procedures.

Overview of Laws Regarding Tank Ownership in Texas

When it comes to owning a tank in Texas, there are specific laws and regulations that must be followed. This article will provide an overview of the laws regarding tank ownership in Texas, including the types of tanks covered under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the requirements for civilian ownership.

Tanks Covered Under NFA Firearms

Under the NFA, certain types of tanks are classified as firearms and are subject to strict regulations. These tanks include fully operational military tanks that are equipped with weapons, such as cannons or machine guns.

These tanks are classified as destructive devices under the NFA and require the owner to obtain a special license and comply with additional regulations to legally possess and operate them.

It’s important to note that tanks that are not equipped with weapons, commonly referred to as demilitarized tanks, are not typically regulated under the NFA. However, it is always recommended to check with local and state authorities to ensure compliance with any specific regulations that may apply.

Requirements for Civilian Ownership

In order to legally own a tank in Texas, civilian owners must adhere to certain requirements. These requirements include:

  • Registering the tank with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). This involves completing the necessary paperwork and paying any applicable fees.
  • Obtaining liability insurance coverage for the tank. This is to ensure that the owner is financially responsible in the event of any damages or accidents involving the tank.
  • Complying with any local zoning or land use regulations that may restrict the storage or operation of tanks on private property.

It’s worth mentioning that while owning a tank in Texas is legal, there are restrictions on where and how tanks can be operated. Tanks are generally not allowed to be driven on public roads and may only be operated on private property with the owner’s permission.

For more detailed information regarding tank ownership in Texas, it is recommended to consult the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety at They provide comprehensive information on the registration process, insurance requirements, and any additional regulations that may apply.

Purchasing a Tank in Texas as a Civilian

While it may seem unconventional, it is indeed possible for civilians to own a tank in Texas. However, there are specific steps and regulations that individuals must follow in order to legally purchase and register a tank in the Lone Star State.

Finding a Tank for Sale

One of the first challenges in purchasing a tank is finding one that is available for sale. There are various avenues to explore, including online platforms, military surplus auctions, and specialized dealerships.

It’s important to do thorough research and ensure that the seller is reputable, as purchasing a tank is a significant investment.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the condition of the tank and any necessary maintenance or repairs that may be required. Consulting with a knowledgeable mechanic or tank expert can provide valuable insight into the overall condition and potential costs associated with owning a tank.

Completing Transfer Paperwork

Once a suitable tank has been found, the next step is to complete the necessary transfer paperwork. This typically involves obtaining a bill of sale from the seller, which should include detailed information about the tank, such as its make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN).

In addition to the bill of sale, it may also be required to complete a federal transfer form, such as Form 4 or Form 5, depending on the classification of the tank. These forms ensure that the transfer of ownership is properly documented and comply with federal regulations.

Registering the Vehicle

After completing the transfer paperwork, the tank must be registered with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as a specialty vehicle. This process typically involves submitting the necessary forms, along with any applicable fees and supporting documentation.

It’s important to note that tanks are subject to specific regulations and requirements, including insurance coverage and safety inspections. The DMV will provide guidance on these requirements and ensure that the tank meets all necessary criteria before it can be registered and legally operated on public roads.

For more information on the process of purchasing and owning a tank in Texas, individuals can visit the official website of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles at

Owning and Operating a Tank in Texas

Applicable Laws and Regulations

Owning a tank in Texas is not as straightforward as owning a regular vehicle. There are specific laws and regulations in place to govern the ownership and operation of tanks. According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, tanks fall under the category of “special vehicles” and are subject to different rules and requirements.

It is important to familiarize yourself with these laws to ensure you are in compliance.

One of the primary considerations is obtaining the necessary permits and licenses. In Texas, you will need a special license to operate a tank. This license requires passing a written and practical examination to demonstrate your knowledge and competence in handling such a vehicle.

Additionally, you must register your tank with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and obtain the appropriate license plates.

It’s worth noting that there may be restrictions on where you can operate a tank. Certain areas, such as residential neighborhoods or public roads, may have limitations or outright bans on tank usage. It’s essential to research local ordinances and restrictions to ensure you are using your tank within the legal boundaries.

Insurance Requirements

As with any vehicle, it is crucial to have proper insurance coverage when owning a tank in Texas. While specific insurance requirements may vary depending on factors such as the tank’s purpose and use, it is advisable to consult with an insurance agent experienced in insuring specialty vehicles.

Given the unique nature of tanks, insurance policies for these vehicles may differ from traditional auto insurance. They may include provisions for liability coverage, property damage, and even coverage for the tank’s weaponry systems.

It is essential to review your policy carefully and ensure it provides adequate coverage for your tank and any potential risks associated with its operation.

Maintenance and Operation Costs

Operating a tank is not only a unique experience but also comes with its fair share of maintenance and operation costs. Tanks require regular maintenance to ensure they remain in optimal condition. This includes routine inspections, servicing, and addressing any necessary repairs.

The cost of maintenance can vary depending on the tank’s model, age, and usage.

Additionally, tanks are not known for their fuel efficiency. The high fuel consumption of these vehicles can result in significant operating costs. The exact fuel consumption will depend on factors such as the tank’s weight, engine size, and terrain conditions.

When considering the operation costs, it is important to factor in the cost of ammunition if you plan to use the tank’s weaponry systems. Ammunition costs can vary greatly depending on the type of rounds used and their availability.


While owning a tank or other armored vehicle is legal for civilians in Texas, prospective owners must complete extensive paperwork and register the vehicle. Proper insurance, maintenance, and operation procedures must also be followed.

For those who can meet the requirements, owning your own tank can be an exciting opportunity in the Lone Star State.

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