How Far is a Click in Military Terms?

As a civilian, are you wondering how far is a click in military terms? You might have heard the term “click” randomly expressed in conversations between military men, either in movies or in real-life events.

In today’s guide, you’re going to learn what a click is, its origins, how far a click is in military terms, and how it is used in our day to day lives.

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What Is A Click In Military Terms?

Military slang can be very confusing to newly recruited soldiers or civilians. And if you are in this position, you may wonder “what is a click.”

The term click is commonly known to be a slang used in the military to describe distance. Now, you might be wondering how far a click is. According to the metric system, which is an international standard of measurement, a click is a kilometer, which is equal to 0.621371 miles.

Active military men and retired ones will often describe distance in terms of “clicks.” Sometimes, a click is spelled as “Clic”, or “Klik”.

Among members of the military in active service, the term “klick” is a standard measure of walking distances. If a soldier says “we’re 24 klicks south of your position,” that means they are 24 kilometers away, or approximately 14.9 miles away.

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Another example is when a soldier passes Intel to another soldier over a communication device, and he says “we are 35 clicks north within your radius.” What he means is that he is 24 kilometers north of the other soldiers’ location.

So, therefore, one-click is equal to one kilometer.

Origins of the Word Click

how far is a click

The word is said to have unknown origins but was popularly used in the 1960s during the Vietnam war.

According to some military historians, the term “click came into existence in Vietnam amongst the Australian Infantry.

According to them, the infantry’s’ military men would measure distance by pacing with strides and maneuver by bearing (compass direction).

In order to take records of distance covered, it would be the assigned duty of one or two shoulders to count their steps as they move.

And about 110 paces on plain grounds, 100 paces down a sloping terrain and 120 paces up a sloping ground equals 100 meters. The soldiers charged with the duty of counting would keep track of each 100 paces and record it as 1mark.

After pacing 10 marks, the soldier charged with the duty of counting would give a signal to the commander in charge and using hand signals that they have moved 10 marks which is equal to 1000 meters.

Then the commander in charge will indicate movement of 1000 meters by lifting the rifle and rewinding the gas regulator of his rifle which will make an audible clicking sound.

This clicking sound sends the information to the other soldiers in the unit that they have moved 1000 meters, which is equal to a kilometer.

And that is how the clicking sound made by the rifle was introduced into the military’s vocabulary as a “click” to describe a kilometer.

How Far Is A Click In Military Terms?

If you are able to guess that a click describes the distance from the conversations amongst military men as a civilian, you may still wonder how far a click is.

If you have been reading from above, I bet you already know that a click is a kilometer in military terms.

The military now uses the MGRS to map points on Earth in meters, but used walking distance which was measured in “clicks”.

Communication between ground force soldiers will include the use of the term “click”. For example, a soldier could say that they are “five clicks North of your position” and use that as reference for location and distance.

The term “click” can also be used when zeroing in or sighting-in on a target with a gun of a target rifle. One actual click of a soldier’s gun is equal to one minute of arc, or one inch of distance at 100 yards away.

This means that the impact of the bullets will change by 1 inch if the sights of the gun or rifle are adjusted by one click for a target that is 100 meters away, 2 inches for a target that is 200 meters away and so on.

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The Use Of Click In Our Everyday Lives

From the time of its supposed origin, the term click has become a generally accepted vocabulary in the military. It is used to pass commands and Intel from one soldier to another.

However, the term “click” is also used as a general slang in our everyday vocabulary, due to how often military men use the term when they are not on duty or when they are retired.

And due to socialization with these military men, the slang is passed from person to person, making it an everyday slang.