Captain Crunch, where small arms go to die…

This post is a culmination of two news articles, and a History Channel video sample that I just saw today from the Fox News Article, an article, and the Youtube clip. At the Anniston, AL depot, there is a machine that has been operating since the 1990s, and is affectionately called, “Captain Crunch”. The purpose of this machine is to completely and absolutely demilitarize any small arms that are sent to it. Emphasis on demilitarizing them into tiny pieces. Apparently over a million small arms have been ran through the machine, much to the complete sorrow and heartfelt pain of collectors all over the country. The reasons for demilitarization are that they are either obsolete, or they are beyond repair. Some of the obsolete stuff gets sent to the CMP South store which is in the same city in Alabama. The workers there say that they see the oddest stuff get sent into the machine, from old small arms to M16A1s.

Although I wish the military would instead break everything down, and just sell the parts, minus the Class III material that could not be sold to the rest of us, it would probably take alot more money and time for the service to hire a team of workers to break everything down, inventory it, and then sell it. It would be nice if they just sold stuff in parts kits like the Russians do with their AKSUs though…. Ahhh Sigh…..

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Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • BattleshipGrey

    Wow, that lady’s just laughin’ it up.

  • DW

    WTF are they thinking, selling surplus parts will be worth the labor cost and time.

    • Brian Flate

      Jesus, there’s .GOV “at work”.

      • Joseph Smith

        And… Jesus wept.

    • Major Tom

      The weapons are deemed unserviceable meaning even the parts might be no good. Do you have any idea how much wear and tear a weapon gets in the military? It’d cost more to refurbish and part out an old M-16 than it would to simply scrap it and recycle it.

      Unless you want runaway guns, pitted out and corroded gas blocks and bolts and all manner or breaking, broken or otherwise not very functional bits.

      • Roy G Bunting

        This. the only reason to break these weapons down to components would be to make separating the types of material for recycling more effective. From what I understand, the military uses these guns until they are literally falling apart *and* can’t be easily fixed. If its military and being ‘Crunched’ It’s beyond parts kit.

        YMMV for law enforcement seizures or other guns.

        • Sianmink

          Yeah. If it’s not good enough for the military, then it’s utterly unserviceable, and is really only good for this sort of thing.
          To keep costs down, the mil really does use these rifles and pistols up, well past when anyone reasonable would have already decommissioned them.

          • IshTheBuddha

            Or with a rifle that – every few trigger pulls – randomly fires a 2nd round about a second after the first, while on semi-auto… Still managed to qualify but it was very annoying.

          • Sianmink

            Exactly. I understand they won’t replace a bad weapon unless it’s completely trashed, so, sometimes accidents happen to poorly performing guns when nobody is looking.

          • Rusty S.

            Had an M16A2 with a front sight bent 35 degrees, but they wouldn’t let me swap it out. Managed to make it through, though!

  • M.M.D.C.

    They “make sure nuthin’ don’t go where it’s not sposta to go.” Triple negative, FTW!

    It’s actually quite appropriate, once you think about it.

    • Sianmink

      Don’t go ninjin’ nobody don’t need ninjin’.

  • MAE

    What’s with the warfighter thing. Is being called a soldier not sexy enough or has fighting wars become so mundane that every soldier is per definition now a warfighter.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Part of the military transition to corporate speak.

    • Rock or Something

      It was a way to be more “encompassing” of all the services, because heaven forbid you call a Marine a Soldier.

      • Yeap…. Heaven forbid…. we take that seriously! haha

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    This is like the end of Old Yeller.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    They could at least have a few people taking them apart and just recycling the materials. That wouldn’t be theatrical enough though. They have to spend 2.5 million on a machine made to smash guns and then pay a team of 25 unionized workers to sort through everything. I’m sure an insurance policy is needed for all those poor workers when they suffer PTS after handling weapon bits too.

    • Simcha M.

      Well put, Brandon.

  • Joseph Smith

    I’m really disappointed with TFB on this one. No TRIGGER WARNING!!! on the page. What about muh feels, man, myuh feels!!!

    • Simcha M.

      Brilliant, Joe! I wish I had thought of that!!

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    There’s no such thing as “Class III” material. A class III is a special tax status for firearms dealers which enables them to deal Title 2 or NFA firearms and/or materials. These same materials can be manufactured or dealt with a Class II tax status, but we don’t call them “Class II” materials, do we?

    What you really mean is Title 2 or NFA.

  • Right-wing Realist✓ᴺᵃᵗᶦᵒᶰᵃˡᶦˢᵗ

    They make $12million per year in scrap?

    At least sell those A1 uppers! You could make plenty more than that!

  • JDC

    It is a shame that CMP doesn’t hire special needs folks to disassemble the firearms and package them for resale. There have been many communities that have this set up for both conventional and electronics recycling…there is no reason it wouldn’t work for these firearms…less waste, more parts availability, and jobs for the disabled (and homeless if you wish to expand it.)

  • I saw what looked like some first-gen M16’s in there. Makes me wonder just how old those rifles are. They probably shred stuff from the 60’s and 70’s too. For those who say, “disassemble them first for the parts!” not practical unless they hire volunteers to do it. Even then it’s time and effort wasted when you can run it through the MSP and torch station and be done with it. This isn’t Russia or some other Soviet-bloc nation where workers are paid so little it’s profitable to salvage parts and export them (unfortunately for us we can’t get them anymore- unless something’s changed). You’re still going to have to sort through unusable parts- worn out bolts, uppers, barrels, bent sights and carry handles, stocks and broken hand guards to get to the good ones. I’d reckon that 80% of those are only good for scrap. The price of scrap metal isn’t very good unless it’s aluminum anyways.

  • Wynter

    I haven’t seen anything that disturbing since watching Hannibal Lecter saute Ray Liotta’s brain and then feed it to him. The use of such large pieces of garlic was appalling.

    All they had to do was remove the go fast parts of those rifles and sell the remainder as one group. The profit would have to skyrocket compared to what they get in final scrap cost. Absolutely sickening.