Have you ever been stumped when you see a clock reading something like 15:30? Well, that’s because the clock is using the military time. Does the word military time ring a bell on your mind, or have you ever wondered why it exists, what it is and how to read it easily and quickly? Chances are that you’ve been asking yourself all these questions and because you are reading this article, consider yourself lucky as we will tell you everything you need to know about military time, the difference between 12-hr and 24-hr clock, the countries using 24-hour time stamp and how to understand 24-hour time charts.
What exactly is military time?
Also known as 24-hour time, military time is simply a time format that uses a 24-Hour Time system thereby eliminating the need for the designations “P.M” and “A.M”. It keeps hours in which the day runs from midnight to midnight and according to experts, it is divided into 24-hr increments. Military time is the most preferred time in most countries across the world as it eliminates errors or confusion when referencing time. For instance, it is easy to say 5:00 o’clock when using regular time, but does it mean A.M or P.M? A person can mistake A.M for P.M but military time eliminates these errors and help individuals to interpret time correctly.
The difference between 12-hours and 24-hour clock
Both 12-hour and 24-hour clock are time conversions and the only difference is how they are expressed. For instance, the 12-hour clock divides the day into two equal cycles of 12 hours. One cycle runs from midnight indicated as 12:00 A.M to midday which is indicated as 12:00 P.M, and the other cycle takes over from midday to midnight to complete a full 24-hour period. In 12-hour clock, the numbering runs from 1 to 12, only that one phase is denoted as ‘A.M’ while the other one as ‘P.M’.
On the other hand, the 24-hour clock which originated from Egypt counts the full 24-hours of the day continuously. In other words, the counting of time starts at midnight, indicated as 00:00 and runs through to 23:59 when the day ends. Most people across the world view the 24-hour clock as being specific to timelines and easy to interpret. So, if you’ve been wondering where the 24-hour clock is used, the answer is by the medicinal, military and scientific communities, as well as by airlines and railroads.
How the military conversion time works
The concept of converting military time to civilian time and vice versa is not rocket science and anybody can do the conversion successfully. First things first, remove the colon as well as the P.M or A.M signifiers. From there, treat the hour as a unit of ten over the unit of one, meaning that you should place a zero in front of a single digit numeral which is basically from 1 to 9. In simpler terms, 1:00 A.M should be 0100, 2:00 am should be 0200, 3:00 A.M should be 0300 and the same approach should follow up to 9.00 am to 0900. When the time before noon gets to double digits, converting becomes even easier as you don’t have to do anything apart from eliminating the colon and the A.M or P.M signifiers. This means that 10:00 A.M becomes 1000 and 11:00 A.M changes to 1100.
From noon, that’s when things change but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do the conversions. For the 12-hour clock, you start using the P.M instead of A.M, right? So, in military time from noon, you add 12 to any time from 1:00 P.M to 11:00 P.M. This means that for 1:00 pm, you’ll add 12 to make it 1300. If you’d like to say 7:00 P.M in military lingo, add 12 to get 1900, 9:00 P.M becomes 2100 and so forth. If you want to change the military time to 12-hour time, it’s easier from 0100 to 1100 as the only thing you’ll do is to add a colon and remove the zero in front. For the military time from 1300, you only subtract 12 to get time in 12-hour clock and add a ‘P.M’ signifier. For instance, for 1400, you subtract 12 to get 2:00 pm, 1800 becomes 6:00 P.M and so forth.
Free Military Time Charts (Excel)
Free 24-Hour Time Charts (Word)
Free 24-Hour Time Charts (PDF)
The countries using the 24-hour timestamp
Due to its simplicity and easy interpretation, there are different parts of the world that are currently using military time as their main time format and include Australia, UK, India, Germany, Canada, and the Philippines. Medics prefer the 24-hour clock when recording the history of the patients, arguing that a time interpretation difference can make a significant difference in the treatment. For instance, if a medical staff misinterprets the recorded time as ‘A.M’ instead of ‘P.M’ and wrongly administers medicine to a patient, the outcome might be fatal.
How to understand 24-hour chart
If you want to understand the 24-hour time charts, you should keep in mind that a day starts at midnight which is denoted as 0000. The last minute of the day is indicated as 2359 which can also mean a minute before the next midnight. At times, 0000 may be written as 2400 and you should not panic as they both mean the same thing and either of them is acceptable.
Speaking military time is as easy as in written form. If you want to say it right, use ‘hundred’ instead of ‘thousand’. For instance, if you want to speak 0600, it would be ‘zero six hundred hours’ or simply ‘zero six hundred’. 1000 would be ‘ten thousand’ instead of ‘one thousand’ and when it comes to speaking military time with minutes, you must pronounce every number such as zero zero zero one for 0001, zero two fifteen for 0215, and fifteen forty-five for 1545. The following chart will make it easier for you to understand military time.
|Regular Time||Military Time|
|Midnight (12:00 A.M.)||0000 or 0000 hours|
|1:00 A.M.||0100 or 0100 hours|
|2:00 A.M.||0200 or 0200 hours|
|3:00 A.M.||0300 or 0300 hours|
|4:00 A.M.||0400 or 0400 hours|
|5:00 A.M.||0500 or 0500 hours|
|6:00 A.M.||0600 or 0600 hours|
|7:00 A.M.||0700 or 0700 hours|
|8:00 A.M.||0800 or 0800 hours|
|9:00 A.M.||0900 or 0900 hours|
|10:00 A.M.||1000 or 1000 hours|
|11:00 A.M.||1100 or 1100 hours|
|Noon (12:00 P.M.)||1200 or 1200 hours|
|1:00 P.M.||1300 or 1300 hours|
|2:00 P.M.||1400 or 1400 hours|
|3:00 P.M.||1500 or 1500 hours|
|4:00 P.M.||1600 or 1600 hours|
|5:00 P.M.||1700 or 1700 hours|
|6:00 P.M.||1800 or 1800 hours|
|7:00 P.M.||1900 or 1900 hours|
|8:00 P.M.||2000 or 2000 hours|
|9:00 P.M.||2100 or 2100 hours|
|10:00 P.M.||2200 or 2200 hours|
|11:00 P.M.||2300 or 2300 hours|