Military dog tags are an important part of any uniform. While they can sometimes seem like a morbidly impersonal reminder of our mortality, they also provide service members with a sense of identity within the larger organization they serve. That’s why these forms of identification continue to be a major part of the culture even as new genetic testing techniques make them more or less inconsequential.
The standardized nature of dog tags ensures that every tag that you receive from Uncle Sam is built to the same exacting standards as any other dog tag that comes off the military assembly line. If you’re going to a third-party service for a replacement, you can’t simply expect that same level of consistency. That doesn’t mean you have to settle. Here are the qualities you need to look for when you’re shopping for military dog tags.
The basic design of dog tags is pretty indistinguishable from one branch to another, but they each have their own distinct wrinkles in terms of what information they include. If you want a backup for your existing tag or a replica that’s actually believable, you’ll want to make sure to find a provider that uses an authentic template for their different types of dog tags.
That said, authenticity will obviously only matter as much as it matters to you personally. If you’re looking for something that’s not intended to actually be worn in the field, you can always find a dog tag builder that lets you break from the standard traditions. There are plenty of providers that can offer both.
Military spec applies to more than just what’s printed on the dog tag. They also apply to what the dog tag is made from. Today’s dog tags are made from stainless steel. More specifically, it uses stainless steel with 8% nickel and 18% chromium content to prevent corrosion.
That’s a smart choice if you’re going to be wearing your dog tags day in and day out — but it’s much less important if your dog tags or just a backup or being made for ceremonial or commemorative purposes. And if you’re looking for a model that’s designed to replicate the look of antique dog tags from foreign wars, having the latest stainless steel might not even be an asset.
Having boundaries is important if you want to make sure that your dog tag is up to military specifications, but even the strictest of regulations allow you some level of customization with your tags. Whether that means picking a more colorful silencer or a more stylish or comfortable chain, a good provider will offer you plenty of options.
And for those who aren’t so worried about authenticity, there are plenty of options to customize a dog tag that’s suited to your needs. Seek out a company that provides variety in terms of different materials, prints, etchings, and tag design if you’re looking to let your imagination run free. And you might be surprised by how many of the more creative designs are actually military regulation.
Speed and Reliability
If you need a military regulation dog tag, there’s a decent chance that you need it fast. If that’s the case, there are two values to look out for — the promise of a fast delivery time and a reputation to back up that claim. Fortunately, you can find providers who can back up the promise of shipping your order out within 24 hours.
Dog tags may be indistinct from one another by design, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a difference between a military regulation dog tag and a cheap replica. Don’t worry. To find quality dog tags military members simply need to exercise a little bit of caution and a decent amount of common sense.