Be it in a warzone or adventure sports, timing is everything. Besides that, the knowledge of surroundings also helps in conquering a tough task. A tactical smartwatch can help in both cases, as it can show you accurate time as well as help you understand your surroundings better with its built-in navigational sensors like GPS, Compass, Altimeter, and Barometer.
Moreover, these watches are of military-grade standards that are built to last long and therefore can survive in extreme conditions like underwater, mountains, warzones, and more. Making them fit for soldiers and adventure enthusiasts who are always in the middle of some action.
However, finding a good tactical smartwatch is not as easy as it may sound, and therefore in this article, we share with you 7 of the best rugged and tactical smartwatches that will make you a better tactician and help achieve all your goals.
Quick links to read specific parts of the article
- Best Tactical Smartwatch Comparison Table
- The Best Tactical Smartwatches
- Buying Guide To Best Tactical Military Watches
Best Tactical Smartwatch Comparison Table
VIEW ON AMAZON
Garmin Tactix Charlie
Toughest Among All
Casio G-Shock Mudmaster
Best For Hunting and Fishing
Suunto Traverse Alpha
Best For Marine Activities
Casio Men's Pro Trek
The Best Tactical Smartwatches
1. Garmin Tactix Charlie
The first smartwatch that we would like to recommend is the Garmin Tactix Charlie. It is regarded as one of the best tactical smartwatches made to date. With military-grade durability and tactical specific features, this smartwatch is built for all the risk-takers out there.
It features a fairly decent-sized screen which allows you to read the information on it under direct sunlight as well as in the dark. It’s compatible with night vision goggles which allow you to use it for a night’s mission.
Also, with its preloaded color TOPO maps, outdoor sports activities like hiking, trekking, hunting, etc. are safer and more fun to do. Moreover, these maps are routable, which helps you trackback to your initial position when wandering in an unfamiliar location.
It also supports various navigational sensors like GPS, Glonass, and Galileo that keep you aware of your location even if you are trekking in a no man’s land. You can also use the same GPS to track your daily activities like running, cycling, and swimming, which is an added advantage of this watch.
Also since it’s a 10ATM watch you can use it for occasional surfing, swimming, and other water activities. However, it can’t be used for serious marine activities like deep diving and snorkeling. But, overall in normal circumstances, water cannot damage this watch.
It also has some important tactical features like Jumpmaster, waypoint projection, and dual-position GPS formatting that makes it a true military watch. Here’s a quick video about how these tactical features help you come out of difficult situations:
Besides providing you tactical advantage this smartwatch also keeps an eye on your health. This Garmin watch features a heart rate tracker that keeps monitoring your heartbeats 24/7 and provides you accurate data on your heart’s performance.
The battery backup is also a crucial thing to notice while picking up a tactical smartwatch so that you don’t end up with a dead smartwatch in the middle of an important task. Luckily, in this watch, you get a good battery backup that will last a few days even if you use the GPS quite often.
Overall, it’s probably the best tactical smartwatch that you can get for military operations and extreme adventure sports.
2. CASIO G-Shock MUDMASTER
Talking of rugged military watches and we don’t talk about G-Shock is that even fair? Not at all. So here we bring to you the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster which is a watch to go for if you are in the military or any such work profile that demands a lot of physical work.
G-Shock Mudmaster may not be your funky-looking smartwatch with all the features under the sun but it still has all the basic tactical features you will need to survive on a battlefield.
Although, this watch doesn’t have a built-in GPS it does have an Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass that are always handy in outdoor conditions.
However, the highlight of this watch and the reason we call it a great tactical watch is that it features Atomic Timekeeping. With this feature on your watch, you don’t have to manually set the time and date on it.
The watch itself receives radio signals at regular intervals that updates or synchronizes the time to the most accurate one. In military operations, every second count, and therefore a watch like the G-Shock Mudmaster with atomic time is mostly used there.
Also, you will never have this watch run out of battery because it is capable of solar charging so it automatically gets charged up when you’re tracking activities outdoor in the sun.
Moreover, you can use this watch 24/7, in bright daylight as well as in the midnight darkness. There are two small LEDs embedded inside the watch dial that help you see the time when there is not enough light. Also, the watch hands and numbers are luminescent so they glow when you need to see the time at night.
Besides these tactical features, what else makes it a great military watch is its toughness. G-Shock is known for making roughed watches and you get the same durability on this watch. So it will easily last you years, even if you use it in the most extreme conditions every day.
Overall, if you are looking for a real military tough watch with advanced tactical features then there’s no competition to this G-Shock watch.
3. Suunto Traverse Alpha
If you are looking for a military-grade tactical smartwatch especially for purposes like hunting and fishing then you can’t get a better watch than the Suunto Traverse Alpha. Now the reason we say that because it comes with a unique automatic shot detection technology that keeps an eye on your shots fired using a rifle or shotgun. It also records your hunt using the built-in GPS for later viewing.
Moreover, you can create a point of interest by saving your current location. So that you can mark your favorite locations along a trail for later visits. This feature is also useful for hunting and fishing as you can remember the locations where you have placed your traps and fishing nets by marking them as your point of interest.
This smartwatch also comes with a location-based moon calendar that helps you determine the best time for fishing and hunting. Also, it has a sunrise and sunset alarm with a storm alert that helps you plan your day in advance.
Moreover, you get a number of navigational sensors like Altimeter, Barometer, and Digital Compass along with GPS and GLONASS that ensures you are never lost even if you are traversing in uncharted territory.
You get stainless steel bezels along with nylon straps on this watch that provides sturdiness to it. Also, with scratch-proof sapphire crystal glass, the watch looks rugged and indestructible. Moreover, these smartwatches are handcrafted in Finland and are tested to meet military standards so you can’t doubt their credibility.
Overall, if you are looking for a good midrange military watch that can also help you in fishing and hunting then you can go for the Suunto Traverse Alpha blindfolded.
4. Garmin Instinct Tactical Watch
If you are willing to get a tactical smartwatch that can track your outdoor activities as well as your health then you are in the right place. Garmin Instinct Tactical is an offering from Garmin to all those adventure enthusiasts who are also concerned about their health.
It has a built-in heart rate tracker that monitors your heart’s health along with a pulse oximeter function that helps determine the level of oxygen in your blood. Apart from health, it can also track your daily fitness activities like running, swimming, and strength training.
Talking of its tactical features, it has all the basic features you are getting in the Garmin Tactix Charlie that we reviewed earlier in this article like Jumpmaster mode, waypoint projection, and dual-position GPS format.
However, TOPO maps are missing from this watch, and also it has a black and white display while you get a color display on the Tactix Charlie. But, you are getting this watch at a very low price of what you would pay for the Garmin Tactix Charlie so you cannot complain much about it.
There’s also a solar version of this watch that gets charged itself when you are outdoors and exposed to the sun. If you are always out on an adventure then you should pick the Garmin Instinct Tactical Solar, because its battery will last longer.
In terms of durability both the solar and non-solar versions of Garmin Instinct tactical are built equally and can bear any type of extreme conditions. Also, both smartwatches are waterproof up to 100 meters so you can take them for swimming as well.
Overall, if you want a good tactical watch from a premium brand without paying premium prices then you can go with the Garmin Instinct Tactical watch.
5. Casio Men’s Pro Trek
This tactical smartwatch from Casio is designed especially for marine activities. It is a 20ATM watch that can go as deep as 200 meters in the water. The build quality is also commendable on this watch and therefore it can be used in salt waters without getting damaged.
Since it can go up to a depth of 660 ft in the waters, it can be used for professional marine activities and extreme water sports such as scuba diving, rafting, surfing, and more.
Not just under the water but this watch can also perform well in the fields as it features the ABC sensors which are Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass. Having these sensors in your watch you are always aware of your location and have an upper hand on the situation.
Also, it has an illuminated display that helps you see the time in the dark or when you are underwater where there is less light. The time it shows is also super precise as it features atomic timekeeping that automatically updates the time frequently so that it stays accurate.
And not just one timezone but you can see 31 time zones on this watch. It can show you the current time in any city across the world with the city name displayed on the screen.
Also, this watch can be charged using solar energy, so you never run out of battery when you are outdoors. You also get this watch at a good price point, if you are not in the budget to buy the G-Shock Mudmatser then you can definitely go for this G-Shock.
Overall, if you are a marine or someone who loves to be in the waters then this budget tactical watch from G-Shock is best for you.
6. Suunto Core
If your budget is extremely tight but you still want to get a tactical smartwatch for outdoors and wilderness then the Suunto Core seems to be the right option for you. It is a cheap smartwatch that has all the basic tactical features with military-grade sturdiness, which will help you come out of difficult situations.
Although it does not have a GPS you still get an Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass on it that are crucial for tactical activities. Also, it has a sunrise and sunset alarm on it that keeps you aware of the day.
It can also sense a drop in air pressure and alert you about the weather change and upcoming storms so you can stay safe when you are wandering far from home.
The watch is also water-resistant to 100 meters so you won’t have an issue taking it in waters with you. However, you should not do extreme water sports with it but rest it can handle pretty smoothly.
The build quality overall seems quite rigid on it and you can expect this watch to stay in good working condition for some time to come. According to a review on Amazon one guy has used it for over 6 years. So in terms of durability, this watch is a complete winner.
Overall, it’s the best military watch under $200 that you can buy for tactical purposes if you don’t want to spend much on a watch.
7. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
At last of our list, we have yet another Garmin watch for you. But this time it is a multisport watch which you can also use for tactical activities but most importantly for training for different sports. It has full-color TOPO maps as you would get on Garmin Tactix Charlie and the maps are routable so you can easily track your way back to the initial position.
It has more advanced navigation sensors including GPS and GLONASS that can track the most challenging environments that alone GPS cannot track. Also, there is a 3 axis compass on it that keeps you informed about the direction in which you are trekking.
Along with the compass, there is also a gyroscope that helps indicate the orientation of the watch for better calculations of direction and distance. All these features combined make this watch a great tactical smartwatch that can help you come out of even the toughest situations.
Talking of its multisport feature, it can help you train for different sports including running, cycling, and swimming. Yes, you can swim with this watch as it is a 10 ATM watch that can easily handle surface-level water activities including swimming.
Also, there’s a heart rate sensor on this watch that helps you monitor your heartbeats so that you stay aware of your heart’s health and know-how it’s performing.
The build quality is also super solid on this watch as it is mainly built with stainless steel that provides it rigidity and sturdiness.
Overall, it is a well built tactical smartwatch with multisport training facilities. If you happen to be an adventure enthusiast as well as a sportsmen/ athlete then you should definitely go with this watch.
Buying Guide To Tactical Military Watches
The first thing to consider before buying a smartwatch for military or outdoor purposes is its durability. If the watch is not durable it won’t last long in extreme situations you are going to be in. Look for a watch that has a shockproof and waterproof body (at least 10 ATM). Also, the screen of the watch needs to be scratchproof or has Gorilla Glass protection if you want to use it for a longer-term.
2. Navigation Sensors
Since you are going to use these watches outdoors, you must go for a watch that has a good navigation system. Having a GPS or other satellite navigation systems like GLONASS or Galileo on your watch helps you stay on the right path and track your locations. Other than that, a tactical smartwatch must have ABC sensors, which stands for Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass.
Altimeter: It is responsible for providing the data related to the elevation, which is helpful when you are hiking or rock climbing with this watch.
Barometer: The barometer senses the variation in air pressure and predicts weather changes and also alerts you about an upcoming storm.
Compass: A compass helps in determining the direction you are heading in and ensures you don’t get lost.
3. Tactical Features
Besides navigation sensors, a tactical watch may have some advanced tactical features like night vision that allows you to see the time in the dark. Also, for showing accurate time some watches also uses atomic timekeeping that uses radiofrequency to update the time to the most accurate one.
Some advanced tactical watches also have a stealth mode which disables the GPS and wireless connectivity to stop sharing your location when it’s not safe to do so. You may also find the Jumpmaster feature on some tactical military watches that help you while you’re airborne so that you can land safely. However, not every tactical watch has all the features but you can go with the one that has all the features you need the most for your area of work.
4. Battery Life
Last but not least, the battery life of your tactical smartwatch needs to be good so the watch never runs out of power when you need it the most. You can also pick a tactical smartwatch that supports solar charging for extra battery life.
Which Watch Do Military Professional Use?
Army professionals mainly use G-Shock Watches because of their durability and tactical features.
Is Apple watch good for the Military?
Apple Watch is an all-around superb smartwatch but is not fit for military use because it's not that tough neither it features advanced tactical features.
Which is the most rugged tactical watch?
In our review, we found the G-Shock Mudmaster to be the most rugged tactical watch you can buy.