15 of the Best Military Tattoo Ideas and Styles

15 of the Best Military Tattoo Ideas and Styles

If you served in the military and want to get a tattoo that is military-related, click here to see a list of the best military tattoo ideas.

A military tattoo is a great way to show your support for our troops. People have used tattoos to honor soldiers and warriors for most of human history. And a military tattoo is a bold statement. It can be a personal memorial to a lost loved one. It becomes a part of your identity. Your tattoo can be a sign of protest, of the burdens you carry, or the support and honor you hold. But it’s something to take on carefully. Tattoos are riddled with personal symbolism, and you need your tattoo to reflect that. If you’re considering a military tattoo, check out these great military tattoo ideas.

1. Dog Tags

Dog tags are a staple when it comes to military tattoos. Add them to nearly any other tattoo to give it a militaristic touch. Furthermore, you can leave a dog tag tattoos blank. Or you can add a specific name or date if there’s a particular person you want to honor with your ink. Consider pairing your dog tags with roses, boots, flags, firearms, or leave them on their own.

2. Firearm and Helmet

The helmet on the butt of a firearm is another iconic and simple military tattoo. Add boots, roses, a name or a motto. This iconic tattoo is a favorite because it’s simple, elegant, and respectful.

3. Flags

Flags are another common staple in military tattoos. Many enjoy a flag showing through ripped skin style. Others like a saluting soldier silhouetted against a flag. Keep the flag either on it’s own, or pair it with any other idea on this list.

4. Branch Seal

Is there a particular branch you want to give a shout out to? Consider incorporating a military branch seal into your design.

5. Soldier Silhouettes

Soldier silhouettes are another great, iconic way to shout out to our troops. Silhouettes can be as simple as a single troop saluting, or an entire line marching. Do you have an idea you think might look good with a silhouette? Make sure to talk to your tattoo artist about it! They can usually come up with great ways to piece together your ideas.

6. Traditional Army Tattoos

Traditional army tattoos take on more of a caricature appearance. Typically, they’re an eagle holding a US Army banner. But if you want to branch out, look at other military branches. The navy has the traditional anchor tattoo and the bulldog in the helmet. There’s a lot you can do with traditional tattoos.

7. Camo

Camo is a great way to give a more subtle shoutout to the military. Consider layering it behind roses, eagles, flags or silhouettes. The pixelated nature of military camo lends a cool asthetic to any tattoo.

8. Memorial

Many military tattoos like to incorporate war memorials into their artwork. Some iconic memorials are the Veteran’s War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memoria. The US Marine Corps War Memorial of soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima is probably the most iconic.

9. Bald Eagles

Bald eagles add a patriotic touch to any tattoo. Layer them with flags, silhouettes, or memorials. Even if you don’t want the full, eagle, eagle wings or feathers can be enough to add a patriotic feel.

10. Bombs Away

Bombs away is another iconic military caricature. Most often, bombs away tattoos have a cartoonish aspect to them. Many of them have a bomb baring its teeth or smoking a cigar. These are great tattoos to get in color. You can learn more about color tattoos here.

11. Uniform Replica

A simple, elegant military tattoo is a replica of your uniform sleeve over your shoulder. Being a soldier becomes a part of your entire identity. This is a simple way to pay homage to that aspect of yourself.

12. Maps

Did you serve in iconic places oversea? Consider getting the nations tattooed. Make note of the different areas you served. Pair the maps with flags, eagles, or dog tags to make the military link stand out. Love the idea of a map tattoo? Check out these travel tattoos here.

13. Skull and Helmet

The skull and helmet is a darker, but still real, image of war. It’s common in many military tattoos. Change the helmet to change the war your tattoo represents. Different expressions, embellishments, and insignia can change the meaning the tattoo conveys.

14. Ultra-Realism

Some people want entire war scenes as tattoos. These can be ultra-realistic, with smoke and expressions. If you want to do an entire scene, take time to get to know your tattoo artist. Ask to see previous pieces and their other samples to make sure it’s a good fit. Ultra-realism can be hard to get right, so make sure you have a tattoo artist up for the job.

15. Gas Mask Soldier

The gas mask soldier works well in any military tattoo, from ultra realism to caricature. The gas mask soldier has a history of representing protest and dissent. This is true especially during Vietnam during gas attacks and chemical warfare. It can also represent anarchy.

Use These Military Tattoo Ideas to Get Started

These military tattoo ideas are just a starting point. You may want your ink to support our troops. You may need it as a way to express yourself. You may need something simple and beautiful as a way to say goodbye or thank you. Military tattoos have a lot of meaning and symbolism behind them. They’re unique to each individual, and the meanings behind them run deep. When you piece together your own idea, take time to talk with the right tattoo artist. The extra effort will ensure a quality piece that is special to you. Want to know how to find the right tattoo artist? 

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