A wartime patrol vehicle for the U.S. Military Police

As we celebrate Memorial Day and its significance to the Country and those who died to protect it, we’re reminded of the mechanized portion of our military. Patrolling war-torn zones is never a safe for mundane task, so our Military’s police force requires a specialized vehicle for the job. That’s this – the M1117 Guardian armored security vehicle.

This light-armored, four-wheeled monster has been in service since 1998. The U.S. Military currently operates around 1,700 examples, with variations on the same theme. These variants offer specialized service rolls from armored personnel carrier with seating for eight, to an armored ambulance, command vehicle, recon vehicle, mortar carrier, and even a recovery vehicle.

In its basic form, the Guardian requires a three-man crew and has room for three troops. It comes armed with several small and medium arms, including an automatic grenade launcher. When the opposition fights back, the Guardian offers protection from light arms up to 12.7-mm armor-piercing rounds. It’s even got an air filtration system that protects its occupants from chemical and biological attacks. While it offers a high level of protection, the Guardian is susceptible to heavy artillery and nuclear weapons. We’ll give it a pass on that last one.

So in honor of our military’s mechanized members, check out the Guardian’s details below.

Continue reading to learn more about the M1117 Guardian.


M1117 Guardian
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The Guardian is a beastly machine, offering huge ground clearance thanks to its massive run-flat tires and beadlock wheels. Its undercarriage is resistance to minor explosions for mines and IEDs. Its front carries the thickest armor, offering defense from 12.7-mm armor-piercing rounds.

Notable features of the Guardian include its six-sided hull, side-mounted door, and roof-mounted turret. The roof also boasts a personnel hatch for multiple entry and exit points. The Guardian’s rear flanks are dedicated to housing the diesel engine and ancillary components, leaving the mid and front sections for people, cargo, and weapons.


Though the Guardian is a big vehicle, its interior space is rather limited. Control systems, spinning turret mounts, and the large wheel wells take up a large majority of room. Still, the M1117 provides room for up to nine people, including the driver, when equipped as a troop transport. Sadly, there are few photos of the Guardian’s guts floating around in the internet, so specific details are hard to come by. Then again, that’s probably how the U.S. Military likes it.


M1117 Guardian
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Power comes from an 8.3-liter inline six-cylinder that makes 260 horsepower and 828 pound-feet of torque. Power is transferred to all four wheels via the MD3560 Allison automatic transmission. Four-wheel independent suspension gives the Guardian a relatively smooth ride up to its top highway speed of 70 mph. The military’s typical operation of the M1117 consists of 50 percent travel on primary roads, or well-paved roads, 30 percent of secondary roads, and 20 percent on cross-country roads with little to no infrastructure, pavement, gravel, or even packed dirt.

Four-wheel independent suspension gives the Guardian a relatively smooth ride up to its top highway speed of 70 mph

Helping the 29,500-pound beast trudge through mud and sand is the Central Tire Inflation System. The driver has control of the system at his seat and can inflate and deflate the tires as needed, giving the M1117 better traction in rough conditions with aired-down tires.

In the perfect conditions, the Guardian has a 440-mile range when traveling at 40 mph. When in a hurry, the Guardian can hit 20 mph in seven seconds.

Weapon System

The M1117 Guardian isn’t a front-line fighter, so its armaments are kept light. You won’t find a 120 mm smoothbore tank gun like on the M1A2 Abrams tank. Rather, the Guardian utilizes mostly anti-personnel arms. Most commonly fitted to the battlewagon is the MK 19 Grenade Launcher and the Browning M2 Heavy Machine gun. The M2, or “Ma Deuce” as its been called, is the .50-caliber automatic machine gun that’s been around since WWII yet that remains one of the most prolific and widely used machine gun in history.



The M1117 Guardian is a widely used patrol vehicle that helps keep our military men and women safe on the battlefield. Though it’s not heavily armored or weaponized, its high maneuverability and ability to fill various rolls with its many variants, gives it a huge importance to the Armed Forces.

Source: Military Today

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
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