View Full Version : Military Hand Gestures

10-25-2001, 12:43 PM
So in a couple of weeks I plan on pelting a good number of my coworkers with little balls of paint. Of course, (this is not some wako thing where I come into work and start shooting everyone with a paintball gun) they will be shooting back.

I want to get a little team together for sneaking around the field and I was wondering what all those military hand gestures were that we always see used in the movies. I know that holding a fist up means stop, but then they always point to their eyes like the three stooges and do some other things. What does all that mean? And is there a place on the web that I can find a graphical representation? It's kinda hard to describe these motions in words.

10-25-2001, 12:57 PM
You might try this link to an Army field manual about visual signals:


10-25-2001, 01:05 PM
What a great link!

I didn't see the pointing-to-the-eyes gesture there, though. Did I miss it? This one has bothered me for a long time, too. It seems to mean "watch me," but ... well, duh, you know?

10-25-2001, 01:11 PM
I was just wondering the other day what that gesture menat... I'd guess it means something like "I see" or "in sight", or "keep a lookout", but I don't know.

I'd suggest that the most useful gestures would be ones that you make up yourself? They'll be the most relevant, and the easiest to remember.

10-25-2001, 01:13 PM
IIRC, it can mean watch me, as in cover my back. Or it can mean, I want you to look over there or scout over (right, left) flank.

10-25-2001, 01:13 PM
While in the military, I saw that gesture used in two different ways:

1) I point to you, then I point to my eyes, then I point somewhere else. Translation: You go look over there.

2) Just before starting off in a vehicle convoy, whoever is in charge would walk down the line of vehicles. If you didn't have your headlights on, he'd point at the lights then do the gesture you mentioned. Translation: Turn on your headlights.

10-25-2001, 02:36 PM
Well, if you point to your eyes with two fingers repeatedly, it usually meant "Send near side security up for crossing a danger area." Conversly, the same signal with the fingers pointed away from your eyes meant "far side security." You can use it for "look over there," etc. It's all according to how you set up your SOPs. For simplicity's sake, we used what is basically in that manual link provded by 45ACP.

Waving hand over shoulder = Move out.
Hand in air, hand open = Halt, take a knee. (look out for hasty security).
Hand in air, hand in fist = Freeze. Don't move, perhaps a mine field or other dangerous location.
Hand crossing chest = linear danger area
Pump fist = Speed up.

Different units will have slight variations, and you can use them for paintballing; just make sure everyone knows them. Also...remember, get behind some cover, damnit!


10-25-2001, 03:06 PM
More important than using "real" hand signals is making sure your whole team is on the same page. Unless you're all sneaking round in the woods you always just yell. Have fun. My friends and I have been meaning to go play for some time now somthing always comes up.