Top 7 Best GPS Watches for the Military: The Only Ones That Soldiers Trust & Use

Military watches are often robust and durable with outstanding features that come in handy when out in the field.

The best GPS watches for the military are perfect for people looking for reliable timepieces that are able to withstand harsh conditions without their performance declining in any way.

These watches are ideal for law enforcement officers, soldiers, hikers, mountaineers, backpackers, and hunters as well as other tactical enthusiasts.

These GPS watches offer better reliability, functionality, and enhanced technology than military watches did a couple of years ago.

Here is a list of the top GPS military watches that you should invest in.

Best GPS Watches for Military Men – Quick Comparison

Related watch collections:

Reviews of the Best Military GPS Watches

Suunto Traverse Alpha

Suunto Traverse Alpha - Stealth
  • Features a rugged, knurled stainless steel bezel, durable water repellent nylon strap, and a premium scratch resistant sapphire...
  • Suunto's automatic shot detection technology keeps track of when and where you shoot, mapping the GPS coordinates of your location...
  • GPS tracks your path, helping you find your way back using the automatic breadcrumb trail,Compatible with Suunto Movescount App...

The Suunto Traverse Alpha timepiece not only offers superb durability but is also packed with several tactical and military features.

is constructed using high strength and solid composite materials complemented by a stylish stainless-steel bezel.

For purposes of maximum comfort, and unmatched durability, the straps in it are made from a water-repellent textile.

As such, you can wear it in any weather conditions including under the rain without any damage whatsoever.

Inbuilt GPS functionality

This Suunto military watch comes equipped with an inbuilt GPS that offers numerous features that are essential in tactical activities as well as hunting.

The GPS feature instantly shows the GPS coordinates of your present location.

In addition to this, it also supports Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) used by NATO armed forces.

You can import routes into the timepiece in different formats including KML and GPX.

The watch pairs easily with the Suunto Movescount mobile app for you to track and gain insights such as speed, duration, distance, and map.

Pros:

  1. Sturdy and rugged design
  2. Features additional functions including a compass, barometer, and altimeter
  3. Pairs with your smartphone to receive notifications like messages and calls
  4. Easy to use
  5. Has navigation and tracking features

Cons:

  1. Complex to operate for beginners

Garmin Tactix Charlie

Sale
Garmin Tactix Charlie, Premium GPS Watch With Tactical...
  • 1.2” high-resolution, sunlight-readable display with domed sapphire lens; switch between daytime use and night vision goggle...
  • Includes preloaded TOPO mapping plus routable map navigation
  • Rugged design includes a black diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium bezel, black titanium rear cover and stainless steel...

The Garmin Tactix Charlie timepiece edges out as another unique and sophisticated GPS watch for military people and tactical enthusiasts.

Boasting of a sapphire crystal glass for abrasion resistance and maximum durability is perfect for use in the jungle.

This silicone strap model is compatible with the legendary QuickFit System by Garmin.

As such, you can effortlessly and easily swap straps in it.

The best thing about this model is that Garmin releases updates for it regularly.

Therefore, its performance is usually the best at all times.

Reliable navigation features

For starters, the Tactix Charlie watch features an inbuilt GPS that offers a wide variety of military and tactical features.

The GPS feature in it shows current location coordinates in MGRS format for easy interpretation by armed forces and tactical enthusiasts.

The timepiece supports navigation by showing directions along planned routes and waypoints.

As such, with this model, you can never get lost.

Another key navigation feature about this timepiece is the jumpmaster mode for parachuting.

This mode navigates you towards a target landing zone when parachuting.

Through the Garmin Connect mobile app, you can track your activities as well as personal activity insights.

The watch has a Bluetooth connection feature for compatibility with smartphones.

Pros:

  1. Durable construction including the sapphire crystal glass
  2. Tons of tactical features and jumpmaster mode
  3. Relays crucial data including weather information
  4. Designed for use in the jungle for best navigation results
  5. Easy to swap straps
  6. Long battery life

Cons:

  1. Operation can be tricky for inexperienced users

TicWatch Pro 2020 Fitness Smartwatch

TicWatch Pro 2020 Fitness Smartwatch with 1GB RAM, built in...
  • Upgraded Version - This is an upgraded version from TicWatch Pro, 1GB of RAM, which helps the watch run fast and smooth (no lag)....
  • Long Battery Life - 2-30 days on a single charge is achieved by dual layered technology and two modes. Smart Mode will get you...
  • Tracking Your Workout - Built-in GPS, 24h heart rate monitor, calories burned counter, speed and cadence monitor. Google Map...

If you are looking for the best GPS watch for the military that perfectly combines technology and performance, then the TicWatch Pro 2020 Fitness Smartwatch is the ultimate timepiece for you.

With a 1GB RAM, you can be guaranteed that it runs smoothly without any lag or delays at all.

This model has an impressive battery life of 2-30 days.

The battery runs for 30 days when it is set on essential mode and for 2 days when on Smart mode.

Google Assistant is supported by it; hence installation of apps is a breeze.

Track your workout

With a 24-hour heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, and cadence monitor, you can easily monitor and track your fitness progress from your wrist.

This wrist accessory displays data such as calories burned and speed.

What is more unique about it is that it features a Google Map and hence you can effortlessly get directions instantly.

Additionally, the TicMotion Technology in the device enables it to automatically detect running and fast walking without having to operate the controls in it.

The TicSleep function in the model monitors your sleeping patterns.

The resin straps are comfortable and feature a buckle closure for a secure fit.

Pros:

  1. Sturdy and solid design
  2. Decorative and interactive face
  3. Comes with outstanding navigation features
  4. Perfect tool for monitoring fitness progress
  5. Long battery life
  6. High performance and efficiency

Cons:

  1. The wrists don’t have an easy-swap feature

Suunto Core All Black Military Watch

Suunto Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch -...
  • An altimeter tracks your vertical movement, a barometer tells the Trend in air pressure, and a compass points the way
  • Suunto core tracks both the weather and the sun for you; Operating temperature: 20° C to +60° C / 5° F to +140° F; Storage...
  • A weather Trend graph and storm alarm along with preset sunrise/sunset times for over 400 locations help you stay safe and plan...

The Suunto Core Military timepiece is one of the most popular watches among soldiers, tactical enthusiasts, hunters, and law enforcement officers.

This is because the model offers unmatched functionality and durability.

In addition to this, the wrist accessory is easy to operate and use.

The watch’s design lies between tactical and elegant.

Therefore, with this model, you get a perfect everyday model that you can also wear an occasional hunting trip.

Excellent battery life

With this Suunto model, you never have to worry about replacing the battery often.

This is because when in time mode, the battery lasts for approximately 1 year.

However, if you use the compass, barometer, altimeter, and thermometer often, the battery lasts for a shorter time.

The best thing about this model is that it comes with advanced features that are not in other military watches.

These features include the depth meter for snorkeling and storm alarm that alerts you when a storm is impending.

Additionally, it has a user-friendly interface and a great display.

Pros:

  1. Comes with advanced features hence a better user-experience
  2. Excellent display
  3. Uniquely user-friendly interface
  4. Long battery life
  5. Sturdy and solid construction

Cons:

  1. Less rugged design compared to other military watches

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar Watch

Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar, Premium Multisport GPS Watch with...
  • Solar-powered multisport GPS watch with large 1.4” display (36% larger than previous fēnix models) uses the sun’s energy to...
  • Enhanced estimated wrist heart rate and Pulse Ox to support advanced sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation at high elevations...
  • Advanced training features include PacePro for grade-adjusted pace guidance throughout your activity plus environmentally adjusted...

If you are conscious about conserving the environment, there is no better military watch to invest in other that the Garmin Fenix 6X watch.

With a 1.4’ display, this massive watch rests comfortably on your wrist thereby allowing you to enjoy a captivating outdoor experience.

The watch utilizes energy from the sun to extend the life of the battery thereby giving you more time to enjoy off-grid activities on it.

The battery lasts for 21 days on smartwatch mode (and an additional 3 days during solar charging) and 4 days & 15 hours on GPS mode.

Smart features

This Garmin watch is packed with tons of impressive features that enhance the fun and excitement of using the timepiece.

The advanced training features in the model include the PacePro feature for grade-enhanced pace guidance and environmentally enhanced VO2 max for training status estimates.

For military men and other tactical experts, you can comfortably navigate outdoors with the preloaded TOPO maps, multi-global navigation satellite system (GLONASS, Galileo, and GPS),  ski maps ( for 2000+ worldwide ski resorts and inbuilt sensors for gyroscope, 3-axis compass, and a barometric altimeter.

Pros:

  1. Large display
  2. Comes with ski maps and TOPO maps for easy navigation
  3. Excellent battery performance
  4. Comfortable rubber straps
  5. Solar-power charging functionality

Cons:

  1. Has a simple design that lacks fanciness

Casio Men’s “Pro Trek” Watch

Casio Men's "Pro Trek" Outdoor GPS Resin Sports Watch,...
  • Wear OS by Google, GPS, 5 Bar WR, Mil-Standard 810 G Durability, 50M Water Resistant
  • Digital compass, Altimeter, Barometer, Activity Tracker, Dual Layer LCD Structure, Original Watch Face, Casio Moment Setter,...
  • Quartz Movement

Casio is arguably one of the pacesetters in it industry.

The brand has several watch models for every category.

From dress watches to medical timepieces and practical models like military watches, this brand guarantees that it delivers classy timepieces with an exclusive performance.

The Pro Trek watch by Casio is a unique military watch that boasts of superior design and tons of features.

This analog/digital watch is powered by Quartz movement and hence guarantees the accuracy and precision of all the data shown on it.

Digital features

The most outstanding aspect of this timepiece is that it comes with digital features.

From the compass to the altimeter, barometer, and Activity Tracker, all the features in the gadget are digital.

This provides for accuracy and easy reading of data displayed.

This Casio model has other additional features such as a microphone, timepiece mode, original watch face and Dual-layer LCD Structure.

Ideally, the Pro Trek watch has a fancy digital display that is user-friendly.

With a 165 feet water resistance, you can comfortably wear it when swimming, hiking, and trekking but not for snorkeling or diving.

Pros:

  1. Massive case with comfortable rubber straps
  2. Unique digital display
  3. Loaded with tons of impressive features
  4. 165 feet of water resistance and waterproof construction
  5. Powered by Quartz Movement that enhances accuracy and precision

Cons:

  1. Limited app functionality when paired with iPhones

Garmin Foretrex 401 Watch

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
  • Features high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix for improved performance and reception in heavy tree cover or deep canyons
  • Keeps track of routes, tracks and waypoints, and heart rate with add on heart rate monitor (sold separate). Uses standard AAA...
  • Features trip computer, sunrise/sunset times, hunting/fishing information, electronic compass and barometric altimeter

Garmin is popular for making fine quality gadgets.

The Foretrex 401 Watch is one of the best military watches in the market presently.

This slim-wrist watch doubles as a reliable GPS navigator thereby making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts such as military people, hunters, hikers, and mountaineers.

The watch prides itself on a highly sensitive waterproof GPS receiver, barometric altimeter, and electronic compass.

The most fascinating aspect of this model is that it features a stylish and unique rectangular display that is easy to read even in darkness.

Trace your steps

The TracBack feature in this military watch is designed to retrace the user’s steps and display the data on a digital LCD display with a resolution of 100 x 64 pixels.

In addition to this, it also keeps track of tracks, routes, and waypoints.

The GPS receiver in it comes with HotFix that improves reception and performance in deep canyons or heavy tree cover.

When it is set to GPS mode, the battery for 17 hours.

This Garmin timepiece supports dual-position readout and as such, the user can view their current location in different formats.

The watch also has audible tones that ensure that you never miss an alert even when in noisy and crowded places.

When navigating, hold the compass level for purposes of maximum accuracy.

Pros:

  1. Superior design and construction
  2. Large display for easy readability
  3. Has a TracBack feature that keeps track of user’s tracks for path retracing
  4. Comes with a highly sensitive GPS receiver with unique performance
  5. Features comfortable and sweatproof straps

Cons:

  1. Dismal battery life

How to Choose a Good Military GPS Watch

best gps watches for military

Finding the best military watch is not a complex task but even so, it is not as straightforward as most people presume.

This is because there are several considerations worth making just like when buying other types of electrical gadgets and devices.

It is worth noting that military watches come in a wide variety, with varying features, functions, and capabilities.

These sophisticated gadgets feature varying capabilities with some models having smart features while others don’t.

Some of the aspects worth considering when buying these watches include:

Durability

The durability demands in military and tactical watches are a notch higher than that in standard watches.

This is because military timepieces are exposed to severer and harsher environments than other watches.

Therefore, the level of endurance in it of preference should be high so that the gadget has excellent tolerance to harsh conditions in the jungle.

In addition to this, it of choice should have dustproof, waterproof, shock resistance, and anti-scratch properties.

Battery life

A tactical watch that has a solar charging feature is a good purchase.

However, if you cannot get a watch with this feature, you should look for one with a long-lasting battery.

Most military watches have batteries that last anywhere between a few days and a year.

Watches that are powered by rechargeable batteries tend to have shorter run times than those that use replaceable batteries.

However, rechargeable waters are affordable in the long run as you do not need to purchase a battery after every few weeks or months.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics refer to how a watch looks.

For military watches, it is advisable that you settle on a watch that will camouflage well with the jungle.

Avoid buying watches with flashy colors but instead, settle for models with dark-colored options.

Additionally, always ensure that you settle for watches with masculine and rugged designs.

Such models fit perfectly for shooters, military personnel, hunters, hikers, and other tactical people.

Lifehack features

The best GPS watch for the military should possess more than the standard features you will find in any standard watch.

This is because tactical watches need to have unique features that will guarantee that it will come in handy when in outdoor spaces.

For instance, a good tactical timepiece should possess features like a compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, depth meter, and a storm meter among other features.

Additionally, the GPS function in it of choice should have a high- sensitivity so that it is able to transmit signals even in extremely remote areas.

Ideally, the best military and tactical watch should meet all your outdoor and tactical needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best GPS watch for military use?

While it is not easy to point out the single best GPS watch for military, it is worth noting that there are a few brands and models that have the best performance and reliability outdoors.

Some of these watches include Suunto Core Military, Garmin Tactix Charlie, Suunto Traverse Alpha, and Casio Pro-Trek.

These are watches whose features and functionalities edge out from the rest of ites in this category.

These best watches are built to last and come with every feature that you need for the best outdoor and tactical experience.

Why do soldiers wear their watches upside down?

The most logical explanation of why soldiers wear their watches upside down is so that the glass of it does not reflect the sun or moonlight.

This can be a fatal mistake especially when hiding from the enemy on the battlefield.

Another less likely reason is that since soldiers wear it and gloves at the same time, they might end up hurting their wrists unless they strap-on upside down.

Should watches be tight or loose?

How you wear your watch is purely a matter of personal preference.

However, the golden rule when it comes to wearing watches is that it should neither be too tight nor too loose.

Additionally, it should not slide more than one inch on either side when you move the arm.

When it is too tight, it is likely to leave a red mark on the skin.

Alternatively, when it is excessively loose, it tends to slide around the wrist; an experience that can be quite uncomfortable.

Are Garmin GPS watches accurate?

Yes.

Garmin watches are designed superiorly and feature some of the best functionalities and features in the market.

Therefore, the precision and accuracy of these watches is guaranteed.

Conclusion

Military watches are priceless and invaluable kits for soldiers, law enforcement personnel, security professionals, rescue workers, climbers, EMTs among other professionals.

These watches can be the main determinant between life and death in different situations, whether your survival depends on retracing your tracks, and the geographical data of the place you are in.

Therefore, you should not stop at anything when it comes to finding and investing in the best military watch.

Further reading:

Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia

Is there a regulation that covers wristwatches?