How to Convert Military Time to Regular Time

by Arthur Barnhouse
The military does things its own way, which includes telling time.

The military does things its own way, which includes telling time.

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.

About the Author

Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.

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