How Far is a "Klick" in the Military?

Land Navigation - Map and Compass Term Klick

Silva Ranger Compass Land Nav
military compass. Getty images

Question: How Far is a "Click" in the Military?

Answer: 1000 meters.  In military terms, a "klick" means a distance of one kilometer, or .62 miles. So, if a Soldier radios, "We're 10 klicks south of your position," that means they are 10 kilometers away, or 6.2 miles away.

In military land navigation, when you use the original method of foot travel (a land map and a compass), distance is measured in meters (m) / kilometers (km).

 On United States maps, elevation is measured in feet (ft). Most foreign maps will have elevation contour lines measured in meters as well.  Elevation is noted on maps through the use of contour lines and denotes hills and valleys. Usually these lines are red or pink in color.

History of the Word "Klick" for 1000m: 

Some military historians believe that the term originated in Vietnam with the Australian Infantry. As the story goes, infantry soldiers would navigate by bearing (compass direction) and would measure distance by pacing (this was, of course, prior today's magical GPS devices). In order to keep track of distance, one or two "nominated" soldiers would count their paces. 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 regulator with a movement of the thumb, resulting in an audible "click."

Others Uses of the Term "Click"

In "military-speak," the term "click" (spelled with a "c" instead of a "k") is used when sighting-in a weapon, such as a rifle.

On most weapons, one "click" equals one minute of arc, or -- in other words, one inch of distance at one hundred yards. So, moving the site adjustments of the rifle "one click" will change the point of impact one inch for a target 100 yards away, two inches for a target 200 yards away, and so forth. For the detailed oriented, 1 Minute of Angle (MOA) at 100 yards is actually a tad over 1 inch (There are 360 degrees in a circle and each degree is divided into 60 minutes. If we round to the nearest 1⁄100 of an inch, at 100 yards 1 degree measures 62.83 inches. One MOA, 1⁄60 of that, measures 1.047 inches), but rounding it works for quick calculations. The term comes from the clicking-sound made by the sight adjustment knobs as they are turned.

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