How to tell military time? It is not as difficult as you may think. When you fully understand how military time works, you will see that using simple math will always help you to decipher the time on a military clock. Military time is also called “the 24 hour clock”. The 24 hour clock is used by the military, civilian pilots, emergency rescue crews, and certain countries around the world. Since the twenty four hour clock is used mostly for the military, the 24 hour clock is known as “military time.”
The military clock starts at midnight. Midnight is call 0000 hours (zero hundred hours). The military clock does not have a twelve hour clock that resets twice like a normal clock does. Military time is one clock (from 0000 to 2400) that starts with 0000 at midnight and goes all the way until 2359 hours (11:59 pm) until it resets at 0000 hours at midnight once again. Military time may look strange as the military clock never uses the colon to separate the hours and minutes. If you want to know how to tell military time, just see our charts below.
Why is military time used? With military time, it is nearly impossible to get the time wrong. Imagine in a war situation if a normal clock was used. The pentagon gives an order to strike a target at 2 o’clock. It would be possible that this time could be seen at either 2AM or 2PM. By confusing AM and PM, a military action could be done at THE WRONG TIME. The military clock or 24 hour clock prevents getting the AM and PM wrong. Makes sense right?
How to tell military time without looking at a military clock? Basically from midnight to noon it is the SAME as a normal clock. The only difference is how you say it (say hundred after military time) and there is no colon in between the hours and minutes when writing it. Any time past 1PM is when it gets different. This is because the military clock is not using a 12 hour format. It is using the 24 hour format and because of this 1PM is 1300 hours. The 1300 hours simply is 12 + 1 = 13. Easy right? So if it is 1500 hours, it is 12 + 3 = 15. The number you ADD to 12 is the time in normal 12 hour time. If you ALWAYS use the number twelve you will always get it right. If military time is 1700 hours, then you would say “ok 1700 is really the number 17 with 2 zeros added to it, so if I subtract the number 12 from 17 I get 5, so it is 5PM.” If it is 2100 the it is 9PM. Take 21 minus 12 and you get 9. 9PM would be the time. So using super simple math you can figure out military time very easily.
USE SUBTRACTION WHEN FIGURING OUT MILITARY TIME – EXAMPLE BELOW
MIL TIME = 1600 HOURS | Remove the zeros = 16 | 16 minus 12 = 4 | The time is 4PM!