The armed forces, emergency services and police all tend to use military time. This is because military time is a more expedient and unambiguous method of denoting time. For example, regular time relies on the numbers 1 through 12 to mark a 24-hour span. As a result, if a.m. or p.m. is not specifically noted, confusion may occasionally arise. Military time, on the other hand, uses a 00 to 23 system to mark the hours. Converting regular time to military time is a simple task and will become second nature with practice.
Look at the regular time. Any time between 1:00 a.m. and 12:59 p.m. will be simple to convert to military time. If the time is between 1:00 and 9:59 a.m. all that is required is to place a zero in front and remove the colon. For example, 2:30 a.m. would be 0230 in military time. 1:00 a.m. would be 0100 and 9:59 a.m. would be written as 0959. From 10:00 a.m. to 12:59 p.m. all that's required to convert to military time is remove the colon. For example 10:40 a.m. will be 1040, while 11:00 a.m. will be 1100 and 12:59 p.m. will be 1259.
Replace the times from 1:00 p.m. to 12:59 a.m. with the numbers 13 through 00 in order to convert to military time. For example, 1:00 p.m. will be 1300 in military time, while 2:00 p.m. will be 1400, 3:30 p.m. will be 1530, 4:09 p.m. will be 1609 and so forth. The numbers 13 to 23 (with 23 representing 11:00 p.m.) will rise sequentially up until midnight. At 12:00 a.m, or midnight, you will use 00 in military time. For example, 12:00 a.m. exactly will be 0000. 12:15 a.m. will be 0015.
Add a colon and seconds at the end of the time in order to express the number of seconds in military time. For instance, if 43 seconds have passed since it turned 8:35 p.m., you would write it as 2035:43 in military time. Twenty (20) represents the eighth hour, 35 the minutes and :43 the amount of seconds.
- Occasionally you will see 12:00 a.m. referred to as 2400 in military time rather 0000. This doesn't change anything. It is just another way of expressing 0000 as midnight (See Ref. 2).
- Remember, in military time, you simply count the hours beginning at 1:00 a.m. Continue counting off the hours, 1 through 23, until you reach 12:00 midnight. In military time, midnight resets the clock at 00.
- military image by T.Tulic from Fotolia.com