Skip to content
-10% on the first order by subscribing to our newsletter
-10% on the first order by subscribing to our newsletter
Tout savoir sur le salut militaire

Everything you need to know about military salute

The military salute has existed for several millennia. It is a sign of politeness and a symbol of solidarity between members of armed forces. Used by many officers, soldiers and other army agents, this gesture has several particularities.

This tradition, practiced all over the world, nevertheless varies depending on the country and their culture . But where does this practice come from? Here is the essential thing to remember on the subject.

History of military salute

The origins of the military salute date back to the period of Antiquity. At the time, when soldiers crossed paths, they greeted each other face to face, raising their right hand with their palm wide open. A gesture of fraternity which allows one to signal the absence of weapons . Gradually, the practice was passed on to other generations of militias and army forces.

Later, during the Middle Ages, this peace sign underwent a small evolution. When two army agents crossed paths, they had to systematically remove their visors using their right hands to greet each other. Around the 17th century, the military salute was associated with a sign of patriotism and loyalty to the national flag .

Military salute performed by an army soldier

Military salute in the contemporary era

Nowadays, the military salute is associated with a gesture of respect . The armed forces , troops and fighters use it to salute the ranks of their admiral or lieutenant for example. A member of the regiment will not, however, salute an ally by raising his hand to the temple if he is armed. In this case, it will be necessary to carry out what is called a “ goatee shot ”. This gesture consists of furtively raising your chin while looking into the eyes of the person you are greeting.

In the French army , the military salute is made using an exposed palm. Which is not the case among the Germans and the Americans. Indeed, in these countries, it is mandatory to hide the palm by turning it downwards. This practice is a naval custom . In the past, members of the national navy used this military sign to camouflage the tar from the caulking.

French soldiers making the military salute

What is the military salute for?

Whether in France or in other countries, the military sign has a fraternal character. It is a gesture of courtesy and a mark of friendship specific to members of the army (combatants, non-commissioned officers, marines, chiefs of staff, reservists, etc.). The military salute also represents a sign of attachment to the homeland .

Persons authorized to perform the military salute

The army corps and the state corps are the only ones authorized to carry out a military salute . Indeed, this gesture is part of the good manners of soldiers and war fighters. It is therefore practiced by members of the Army , the Navy and the Sea Army . This practice is also common among police, firefighters and veterans in certain circumstances.

Officer giving the military salute

When to perform a military salute?

The military salute can be done as part of official ceremonies (medal presentation, flag raising, burial of an army chief, etc.). However, sometimes soldiers are not authorized to perform the military salute. This is particularly the case when the latter are armed. There is no need to put the weapon on the ground before performing the military salute. In such a case, the soldier must simply refrain from saluting.

The same goes for army servers who do not wear headgear . If the situation allows it, the latter can nevertheless achieve salvation provided they adopt a comfortable position in respect of their peers. Finally, soldiers are not allowed to perform a military salute when they are in civilian clothing. Wearing a uniform is obligatory for this type of practice.

A custom that varies from one country to another

Army policy differs for each country. This is why the military salute is not the same for everyone. Generally speaking, soldiers salute each other by raising the right hand towards the head following the extension of the forearm.

According to the Army Infantry Book, the salute is done briskly with the head held high, fixing the gaze of the other. At the end of the salute, the commander quickly descends with his hand raised to return to his starting position. Depending on the nations concerned, the military salute nevertheless has some variations.

Military salute made by American soldiers

The American military salute

This military salute is one of the best-known gestures since it is often found in American feature films. Moreover, the American head of state frequently does this during his public speeches . Depending on the body of armies concerned, this gesture will undergo some variations. The best known remains that of the flat hand raised towards the headgear. The palm of the hand is facing down and the elbow is located just below the shoulder.

The British military salute

Among the English, the military salute is a mark of attachment to the royal tribe. Among the Marines , for example, the salute is similar to that of the Americans, with the only difference that the soldier is authorized to use the other hand if the right hand is occupied. For British Air Force officers, the military salute is given with a light snap of the left hand at hip level.

Military salute from a British soldier

Turkish military salute

On the side of Turkish officers , the military salute is performed with the elbow below the shoulder and the hand directed at face level. In this country, this gesture nevertheless presents its own characteristic. Indeed, the fingers must be located above the right eye and the military's hand must be positioned horizontally.

Polish military salute

In Poland, the military salute has important historical significance. It is performed with the middle and index fingers held towards the temple. The soldiers must then join the thumb to the ring finger and the palm of the hand must face forward. This military salute is known to be the most surprising of all.

Previous article Military haircut: regulations and origin
Next article Why are French soldiers called poilus?


John - December 13, 2023

Un militaire, armé d’une arme de poing (pistolet…) et lorsque l’arme est dans son étui, peut exécuter le salut!

CHERSOULY - November 15, 2023

Pourquoi ne parlez-vous pas du salut militaire français ?

GIRARD - November 11, 2023

Les personnes autorisées à faire le salut militaire c’est l’armée de terre, la marine nationale et l’armée de l’air et non de mer.

Leave a comment

* Required fields

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare