In military terms, a “klick” is short for kilometer. It’s the term used to describe the distance between two points on a map.
But how far is that in real life? And what are some of the other measurements that are used in the military?
In this article, we will explore the different distances and measurements that are used in the military, and explain how they are calculated.
Since World War I, the United States and the United Kingdom have used the metric systems during combined operations with France, which uses the metric system.
After World War I, French maps were used, and “kilometer” became part of the American military lexicon.
What Does The Term Klick Mean?
A “klick” is a term that originates from the word “kilometer.” As a result, one klick equals one kilometer.
Since World War II and the formation of NATO, all maps produced and used by NATO members have been standardized according to the NATO Standardization Agreements.
The Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) is the mapping system standard employed by NATO military personnel for locating points on the planet and can locate a position to the nearest meter.
Amongst military personnel, the term “klick” is a common measuring unit of distance traveled.
If a soldier says, “We’re 10 kilometers south of your position,” they are referring to their current location and not necessarily to where they want to go.
Elevation contour lines on most foreign maps will also be measured in meters.
Watch Video Explaining What is Click in Military Terms
Why Does the US Military Use Klicks
The United States military, despite the fact that few Americans use the metric system, uses it since there are several joint operations and communications with other nations that do not use the imperial system.
The United States, Myanmar, and Liberia are the only countries in the world that use the imperial system.
As a result, U.S. military personnel who are deployed to foreign territories must learn to deal with metric systems utilized by other countries.
Subsequently, the term klick came into usage in the armed forces as a global unit of measurement—kilometers. Because of its brevity and simple pronunciation, the word klick is preferred over kilometer.
This measurement is used by militaries all around the world. This widespread usage prevents misinterpretations and miscalculations during military operations and/or combat situations.
The term “klick” is most often used in military communication systems, such as the radio.
In addition, klicks correspond to military maps’ use of 1 kilometer by 1 kilometer grid squares. Members in the armed forces can more accurately locate locations with klicks.
Klicks can also be converted to kilometers, which is the common measurement unit for most foreign maps, particularly those with landscape and/or terrain with elevation contour lines measured.
what is a click distance?
Because a klick equals 1 kilometer, it is equal to 1000 meters in the metric system or 0.62 miles in the imperial system.
For example, if something is one klick away, it is really 1 kilometer or 0.62 miles distant from you.
The History of the Word “Klick”?
While the exact origins of the term “klick” are unknown, it is believed to have originated with the Australian infantry during the Vietnam War.
At that time, soldiers would navigate by compass direction and measure distance by pace. In order to keep track of distance, one or two soldiers would be assigned tocount their paces.
It was determined that about 110 paces on flat land, 100 paces down-hill, or 120 paces up-hill would equal 100 meters.
The soldier would keep track of each 100-meter “lot” by moving the gas regulator on the Australian L1A1 rifle, one mark.
After moving it 10 marks (1000 meters), the soldier would signal the section commander using hand signals, then indicate movement of 1000 meters by lifting the rifle and rewinding the gas knob.
It is believed that this system of communication eventually led to the use of “klick” as a colloquial term for kilometer.
While there is no definitive evidence to support this claim, it remains the most likely origin of the word.
Today’s Use of Klick in the Military
Despite its long history, klick has firmly established itself in today’s military lexicon.
Its most common appearance is in radio communication since these gadgets require a fast and accurate transmission of data.
Klicks are fantastic for conveying information because to their short form and simple pronunciation, which saves three syllables, as previously said.
“Click” is a term used in many different ways.
The term “click” is used by military personnel when sighting in a weapon, such as a rifle. One “click” equals one minute of arc, or one inch of distance at 100 yards.
This means that if a target is 100 yards away, moving the site adjustments of the rifle “one-click” will change the point of impact by one inch.
For targets 200 yards away, the point of impact will be changed by two inches, and so forth.
The term “click” is derived from the fact that most weapons have site adjustments that can be moved incrementally by one degree.
There are 360 degrees in a circle and each degree is divided into 60 minutes. Therefore, one MOA at 100 yards is actually slightly over one inch.
However, rounding to the nearest 1/100 of an inch works for quick calculations. The term “click” is used to simplify these calculations so that military personnel can more easily sight in their weapons.
Longitude and Latitude vs. Grid Coordinates
Some American maps, however, continue to use the longitude and latitude system on the water.
The United States Military uses MGRS units, which are measured in meters and statute miles, respectively.
FAQ About Klick
Below are some frequently asked questions about klicks.
How many feet are in a klick?
There are approximately 3280.84 feet in a klick.
How many miles are in a klick?
There are approximately 0.621371 miles in a klick.
Q: What is a klick in military terms?
A: A klick is a kilometer, which is 1000 meters. It is also 0.62 miles.
Q: How did the term “klick” originate?
A: The term “klick” is believed to have originated with the Australian infantry during the Vietnam War.
Q: What is a klick used for in the military?
A: Klick is most commonly used in radio communication to save time and increase accuracy. It is also used when sighting in a weapon. One “click” equals one minute of arc, or one inch of distance at 100 yards.
Q: What is the difference between longitude and latitude vs. grid coordinates?
A: Longitude and latitude are measured in degrees, while grid coordinates are measured in meters. Grid coordinates are more commonly used by the United States Military.
Q: Do all American maps use grid coordinates?
A: No, some American maps continue to use the longitude and latitude system on the water.
Q: Should I start using klick in my everyday vocabulary?
A: While “klick” is a perfectly acceptable term, it is generally only used by military personnel. Unless you are in the military, or talking to someone who is, you probably don’t need to start using it in your everyday vocabulary. Thanks for reading!