People like to buy military surplus stuff for a variety of reasons, and often it is a good idea. The military does occasionally have to sell off its surplus vehicles, and the public occasionally can buy them.
When the wars are over
The armed forces of the United States depend on equipment to accomplish objectives, but once deployments end, all that stuff has to go somewhere. A good amount of it ends up back at bases. However, some of that stuff has to be gotten rid of, either by scrapping it or selling it to someone who wants to use it. Military vehicles, for instance, sometimes find new homes.
According to AutoBlog, there are about 20,000 MRAP trucks being used in Afghanistan. MRAPs or Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicles, are armored troop carriers that won’t have much use once a war isn’t going on anymore, so there’s a chance a few might get stripped of military equipment and put up for auction.
A few are sold to civvies
Law enforcement officials get a good deal of surplus, according to BusinessInsider, through what is called the “1033 Program.” The 1033 Program, authorized by Congress in 1997, gives surplus military goods to police nationwide.
Police often get equipment the public isn’t authorized to buy from the military. They take full advantage as well; according to 10News, a San Diego ABC affiliate, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department receives roughly $4 million in military surplus goods per year. Law enforcement agencies have received everything from guns to helicopters and tanks.
However, civilians do get to buy former military vehicles. A number of people profiled on CNN bought military surplus vehicles for business uses. For instance, Phillip Ramsey, owner of Stoneleigh Farms, Inc., uses military surplus trucks and trailers for his honey farming business. Mounting hives on trailers and trucks he buys for a few thousand dollars each, he moves bees around from field to field on the farm. Bees are typically trucked hundreds of miles to pollinate plants and generate honey, but Ramsey is able to restrict their movement to one mile or less, which is better for the bees. By using military vehicles, he saves thousands of dollars.
A number of military vehicles are always up for auction on government websites, such as GSAauctions.gov, the clearinghouse for the Government Services Administration, and through GovLiquidation.com, a contractor that auctions off vehicles and materials for the Department of Defense.
However, most military surplus vehicles for sale are not typical passenger cars and trucks. The occasional pickup is available, but most vehicles are two-ton-plus cargo haulers. For instance, one lot on GovLiquidation.com is for an AM General M931 5-ton 6X6. Normally, the truck would cost more than $70,000, but the current bid at the time of this writing is for $3,300.
Govliquidation 5 ton truck for auction: http://www.govliquidation.com/auction/view?id=5244587&convertTo=USD