By The Numbers: The Pentagon’s Giant Gun-Eating Machine

Nicknamed Captain Crunch, this mighty machine crushes unwanted military firearms into scrap metal.

(Photo courtesy of U.S. Army)
(Photo courtesy of U.S. Army)

In Alabama at the Anniston Army Depot, there resides a machine operated by the Defense Logistics Agency affectionately nicknamed Captain Crunch.

Cute, right?

But let’s be clear — there’s nothing cute about this monster of a machine.

In fact, Captain Crunch is a giant shredder that transforms unwanted military firearms into scrap metal.

According to Popular Mechanics, the crushing machine uses intertwined blades to convert “weapons made of wood, steel, aluminum and plastic into large pieces of junk.”

Guns are placed on a conveyor belt before being deposited into the Captain’s massive mouth. If anything remains after being crunched and shredded, then machine operators use blowtorches to ensure that what’s left can’t be used to assemble another firearm. In particular, the serial number of the weapon must be eradicated for the gun to be officially destroyed.

Here’s a closer look at the destructive power of Captain Crunch, by the numbers.

1993: Eventually, the Pentagon no longer wants or needs the mass of military firearms it’s responsible for. So, in 1993, Captain Crunch was put into operation as an efficient way to destroy the castoff weapons.

$12 million: By 2007, selling the scrap made using Captain Crunch was generating $12 million a year.

2: There are only two type of weapons sent to the Captain — those the Pentagon says are either unserviceable or obsolete.  

2,500: At most, Captain Crunch can scrap around 2,500 weapons in a single day.

$3.26: The average cost of destroying each weapon — ranging from anything to rifles, semiautomatic pistols, firearms and M3 “grease gun” submachine guns — is just $3.26.

1 million: According to a recent report, Captain Crunch destroyed 1 million weapons since 1993. 

What do you think about the Pentagon’s gun-eating machine? Comment below or tweet me @MNetAbbey

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