By Buddy Blouin

A “click” or klick is the same distance as a kilometer, which is equivalent to 1,000 meters, 0.6214 miles, or 3,280.84 feet. Although the metric system is not widely adopted in America, the U.S. military finds overlap when it comes to klick distance.

Both spellings have been used interchangeably; however, there are some nuances between the two. Saying “klick” is a simpler method of translating kilometer, which has various pronunciations itself.

In the military, communication is key. Maintaining the shorter term allows for relaying distance among Americans and allies effectively and in a manner in which there is less confusion.

While it’s not entirely certain how the use of the word began, both the U.S. and the United Kingdom fought together in World War I, along with the French. Since aligning with France, the term has been a mainstay in the American Armed Forces.

With that being said, some believe it was Australia who popularized the term with Americans during the Vietnam War. Troops counting steps that would equate to 100 meters was considered a “mark.”

After 1,000 meters, troops would lift their rifles to indicate the feat to their leaders while “clicking” a gas regulator. This noise is one theory as to how the term klick became popular.

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Click vs. Klick: The Same Until They Aren’t

There is something that should be unsurprising in the Internet era, yet, remains important and predates our modern world. Click and klick can be the same thing or completely different.

For example, if you are referring to distance, both words may be used. This isn’t an English lesson. Klick might be the correct term, but if you’re going to understand distance, count on seeing both of them.

However, if you are talking about clicks in terms of distance when shooting a firearm, things are a bit different. An overlap of the spellings or misspellings is far less common in this situation.

A click, in this case, is when someone firing a firearm, primarily a rifle, is sighting their weapon to account for minute-of-angle (MOA) adjustments on a scope. Yes, it still involves distance but it’s far from being anything involving a kilometer in many cases.

The arc of a bullet is important, especially for long-distance shots, as gravity will affect where your shot lands. Clicks help shooters adjust for MOA and make accurate shots at a target because bullets won’t fly in a straight line.

Additional Military Distance-Related Terms

Understanding distance is important in the military from the klicks an enemy may be away from your unit, to determining how much fuel you’ll need to safely make a voyage, and much more. Here are a few common terms military branches rely on for communication:

  • Kiloyard is 1,000 yards (914.4 meters).
  • Knots are used for aviation and nautical vehicles when defining speed. Each nautical mile per hour is the same as 1.852 kilometers per hour. A nautical mile is also equivalent to 1,852 meters or one minute of latitude.
  • A rod is equal to 16.5 feet (5.5 yards).
  • Furlongs are 220 yards (.125 of a mile).
  • Velocity measures the speed of an object, such as a bullet, and is often judged by a meter per second (m/s).

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How Far Is a 100 Clicks?

If you travel 100 clicks, then you’ll have traveled around 62.14 miles. This is just a hair over 100 kilometers, as you might’ve guessed. Understanding the different terms, exceptions, and history of clicks or klicks can help you adapt faster to military life and gain a better understanding of communication among the military community.

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