50+ Military Tattoos for the Tough Guys

By Jason Hamilton / May 24, 2020
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If you’re looking for some tough-looking tattoos, military tattoos are one that we can highly suggest. For starters, it has a wide variety of designs that you can choose from. What’s even better is that it has different meanings and representations. Of course, it is also perfect for when you’re a part of the armed forces. But before you give any military tattoo a go, you might want to get to know these details first.


Military Tattoos History

The history of military tattoo can be traced back to the Civil War. During that time, soldiers from both the Union and Confederate sides would often get tattoos. In this way, they can mark their loyalty to the cause. During the 1800s, each war inspired its own tattoos. Hence, this era resulted in many military tattoo design variations that range from slogans against the enemies to even large American flags. However, over time, branches of the military started imposing different rules and regulations on having tattoos. Some branches of the military only have limited options for the tattoo design and size. Other cultures also have different rules and regulations on that. The Philippines, for instance, do not allow people to join the military if they have a tattoo regardless of its design.

As for the United States, there are still a few restrictions although it has already revised its policy on tattoos and other body modifications. Previously, tattoos on the neck and hands were not allowed. But now, such placements have been permitted. However, the military still doesn’t allow facial tattoos, but visible tattoos inked on the other parts of the body are now allowed if they are not indecent, racist, and, needless to say, extremist.


Military Tattoos Design

There are countless tattoo designs out there that you can choose from, even if you’re a part of the military. But there are several designs that many military men love more than the other tattoo designs and here, we can give you some ideas on which are the popular ones for the uniformed men that we think you’d like too to show off your tough side. Here are some popular military design variations and their meanings and/or representations.


If there’s one symbol or design that could totally represent you being a part of the armed forces, that is the camouflage. It makes a great half or full sleeve tattoos. However, because of the regulations, particularly in the United States, you might want to wait until you’re out first before you can have this inked on your skin. In the meantime, why not plan your camo tattoo first? Take a look at these cool extensive camouflage tattoos.


An in progress half-sleeve tattoo of airborne camouflage tattoo on the right arm


A camouflage tattoo that looks like the skin is ripped


Another camouflage tattoo that looks like the skin got ripped but this time, the print looks a bit more digital


A full sleeve tattoo of a camouflage on the right arm


A camouflage tattoo on the left shoulder


A unique full sleeve tattoo of a camouflage print made with silhouettes of women


A half sleeve tattoo of a digital camouflage resembling the sleeve of the original uniform


Berets are cool too. Plus, it can represent you being a member of the Airborne Division or the special forces unit. There are two color variations of this tattoo design: the red and green beret. Red berets are usually worn by the members of the Airborne Division while the green ones are worn by the special forces units. But even if you’re not a member of these units, you can still wear them as they also represent one’s willingness and readiness to be deployed in active battle areas (literally and figuratively). Usually, these berets are paired with skulls and wings. You can also have these tattoos in black ink. Here are some ideas on how you can design it on your skin.

A skull tattoo with a green beret inked on the forearm


A skull, wearing a black ink beret with a green patch, biting a dagger

A skull with green beret placed on the forearm


A skull with a red beret paired with other symbols and a quote that reads “Death from Above”

A skull with red eyes and a beret paired with banner and quote tattoo designs


A skull with a beret paired with gun and flag tattoos placed on the upper part of the left arm


A skull with a red beret paired with weapons and snake tattoos inked on the rib area

A back tattoo of a skull wearing a beret paired with gun and word tattoos


A realistic tattoo of a uniformed man wearing a beret

A rib tattoo of a skull with a red beret paired with wing tattoo


Of course, who would miss this symbol when talking about the armed forces? This heavy armored fighting vehicle are built to protect and destroy anything that gets on its way to win battles. Thus, if you were to ink this on your skin, it can represent your willingness to do the same. Here are some tank tattoo design inspirations.

A realistic tank tattoo with soldiers in action inked on the left forearm


Another realistic tattoo of a tank with uniformed men posing placed on the back area

A skull and rose tattoo paired with a tank


Another realistic tank tattoo with initials


A tank paired with fighting jets tattooed on the upper part of the left arm

A tank inked on the upper left arm with realistic details

Field Cross

For starts. A field cross is depicted by a helmet and boots with a rifle. This one is used to honor a fallen soldier. Here are some samples on that.

A field cross tattooed on the arm with a flag

A field cross tattoo with a quote that reads “All gave some, some gave all”

A combination of field cross and word tattoos that read “Loyalty” and “honor”

A simple soldier’s cross with a dog tag inked on the forearm

A unique soldier’s cross with an American flag, dog tag, and wings

A field cross tattoo with a flag and date tattoo on the upper part of the left arm

Battlefield or Soldiers in Action

Battlefields or depiction of soldiers in action can also be used as a tattoo. It’s full of action and is definitely eye-catching. Here are some designs that you can take inspiration from.

A realistic upper sleeve tattoo of a soldier holding a cross and a grenade

A sleeve tattoo depicting a start of war

An upper sleeve tattoo of soldiers fighting

A photo of a soldier from the second World War tattooed on the forearm

A tattoo depicting war inked on the right calf

Soldiers from the civil war tattooed on the calf


You can also try to have yourself tattooed as you wear your uniform or have a uniformed man portray you. Here are some ideas on that.

A soldier paired with a wave tattoo placed on the forearm

A soldier pointing his rifle

A tattoo of a soldier inspired by the video game Battlefield

A realistic tattoo of a soldier on the forearm

A back tattoo of a soldier with a backdrop depicting a war zone

Another tattoo of a soldier inspired by the video game Battlefield

Bald Eagle

If you’re a member of the armed forces of America, having a bald eagle inked on your skin would be nice too. It represents masculinity and, of course, one’s heritage and culture as it is the national emblem of the United States of America. For other cultures, it is also known as a connection between God and men. Here are some ideas on how you can have it inked on your body.

An intricately detailed half sleeve tattoo of a bald eagle looking so real

A bald eagle’s head with a flying eagle beneath on the upper part of the right arm

A half sleeve tattoo of a bald eagle paired with a flag and a dog tag

A tattoo combination of a bald eagle and a flag in gray ink

A unique tattoo of bald eagles paired with a feather tattoo

A bald eagle tattoo inked in traditional tattoo style


Aside from being one of the weapons that armed forces use, it can also represent your loved ones that you have lost due to war. Here are some tattoo design samples for that.

A simple tattoo of a grenade inked on the palm

A grenade with wings made with realistic details

A simple tattoo of a grenade in gray ink

A realistic grenade tattoo combined with a skull

A cartoonish tattoo of a grenade morphed with a mouth

Another cool realistic tattoo of a grenade inked at the back of the hand


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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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