What’s the Purpose of the Prestigious Military Challenge Coin?

The military challenge coin has become one of the most prestigious military and first responder markers of rank and camaraderie.

Did you know that more than 20% of veterans who served in either Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from severe PTSD and/or depression? 

What about the fact that, when many veterans return from their service, they feel as if no one appreciates the sacrifices that they’ve made for their country? 

Whether you have a veteran in the family, or just wish you could do more to show our members of the military how much you appreciate what they’ve done, there is one simple act that means a lot: giving a military challenge coin

What are challenge coins, and how will they help to show appreciation — and support — for those who have served? 

Keep on reading to find out. 

A Brief History of Military Coins

Let’s quickly discuss how the concept of a military challenge coin came about in the first place. 

There are two main conflicting narratives surrounding the birth of challenge coins — and you can believe whichever one you would like.

The Wealthy Pilot

Some people think the tradition got started when a wealthy member of the American Air Force in World War One wanted to thank the men in his unit for serving alongside him. 

He had bronze coins created for each man in his unit so that they would always remember their time together. He wore his coin in a pouch around his neck, and it protected him and made him feel close to everyone who fought alongside him. 

Unfortunately, his plane was shot down, and he was captured by German soldiers. He escaped, but the Germans stole everything but the pouch around his neck, which they hadn’t noticed. 

While on the run, he came across some French soldiers, who assumed he was German and planned to shoot him. He then showed these French soldiers his medallion, which had the American insignia around his neck. 

His challenge coin saved his life. 

The Vietnam Challenge

Other people believe the tradition of U.S. Army challenge coins began much more recently, during the Vietnam War. 

One of a unit’s favorite ways to pass the time was to head to a local bar while on leave or at the end of the day. The goal was to be able to prove that you’d been in combat. In some cases, they would hold up enemy bullets in the bar. 

If anyone couldn’t prove that they’d served, as a way to say “thank you”, they’d need to buy all those that had served a drink. 

Soon, soldiers and veterans alike started making challenge coins, and the tradition evolved into the “coin check” challenge many of us are familiar with today. 

The Modern Meanings of a Military Challenge Coin

It goes without saying that the meaning of a challenge coin usually contains a sentiment that’s directly related to the history of the person receiving it.

There are challenge coins for all different branches of the armed forces, and there are even designs created to build camaraderie between those who have served in medical units in the army. 

In the past, challenge coins were mostly seen as a way to create a greater sense of belonging and teamwork within units. 

In today’s world, though, they’ve taken on an additional meaning — one that has saved countless lives. 

Mental Health and Challenge Coins

In addition to PTSD and depression, as well as any physical injuries sustained in combat, there’s another very real threat to the safety of veterans — suicide. 

Sadly, many vets don’t always have access to the mental health care they need to process the complex and often frightening emotions that living in dangerous situations — and seeing difficult traumatic events — causes. Some cannot cope, and opt to take their own lives. 

We know that you’ll do anything to stop a veteran — whether or not they’re a member of your family or friend — from doing this. 

While it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs that someone might be suicidal, there is something else you can also do. 

Many people give veterans challenge coins to help ease the transition back into civilian life. These gifts for veterans carry an especially beautiful meaning. They let the veteran know that, should they ever need to talk or ask for help, you’ll be there for them. 

They don’t need to do anything more than simply slide their coin across the table to you, or show it to you. When they do, you’ll be ready to listen to what they’re going through. If they need immediate help, giving someone a coin means that you are ready to be the person they rely on. 

It’s a powerful and life-saving gift.

Are You Looking to Buy Challenge Coins Online? 

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand the meaning and prestige behind the idea of the military challenge coin. 

Whether your goal is to tell a soldier that you’re always willing to listen to them, or if you want to build friendships in your unit, a challenge coin always makes a great gift. 

Remember that these coins aren’t exclusively reserved for members of the military. They also make wonderful gifts for members of the police force, firemen and women, and others who help to protect and serve our country and communities. 

Additionally, they’re wonderful ways to promote a brand or even build teamwork among your employees. 

Spend some time browsing through our gallery of custom and pre-made challenge coins, and consider ordering some for the people you care about. 

4 Cool Challenge Coins Ideas to Enhance Your Event

Challenge coins have a long history of promoting a sense of community and showing support for fellow service members within the military.

However, as the popularity of challenge coins continues to grow, many companies, industries, and even non-profits have started to embrace the promotional and morale-boosting aspects of creating challenge coins.

Whether you want to create a challenge coin to recognize an employee, celebrate a friend’s birthday, or raise money for a cause, there are a few things you need to know first.

In this post, we’re sharing with you some of our most effective tips and ideas on how to create cool challenge coins. Read on to find out how to create the perfect design for any profession and occasion.

1. Design Your Own Artwork

If you want to create a custom challenge coin that’s truly unique to your organization, one of the best things to do is design your own artwork. It’s also a great way to encourage teamwork in your office or unit. You could host an artwork contest amongst your employees, and have your team members vote on their favorite designs.

You could also involve your target market by uploading a few of the top designs to your brand’s social media account. Your followers could then vote on the design they’d like to see on the coins.

Remember that artwork doesn’t always have to be serious — it just has to mean something to the people you’re giving it to. Maybe you’d like to reference an inside joke that always breaks the tension in your office, for example.

Perhaps you’d like to print a design of a landmark in your hometown on your challenge coin, to show pride in where you live and the community you serve. The sky is the limit, so don’t be afraid to be bold when you’re designing your challenge coin artwork.

Other popular artwork ideas include your state’s flag, a sports team’s mascot or logo, or even a memorable date for your company or unit.

2. Consider the Finish and Plating

The overall look of a custom-designed challenge coin can be altered by the chosen plating and finish.

For example, for a memorial challenge coin, a black metal plating might the best option. If you’d like to reward one of your employees for becoming the salesperson of the month, a polished gold plating would fit this theme well.

Another element to consider is if you’d like your custom challenge coin to have a hard or soft enamel finish. Despite the name, this doesn’t actually refer to how soft or hard the coin is.

Instead, it’s all about the texture. If you prefer a smoother coin, then you should opt for a hard enamel finish. However, if you want to get creative with the coin’s texture, then soft enamel will be a better option. The best finish for your coin will also depend on the number of colors and design elements you’ve chosen to include.

3. Don’t Forget the Edges

What’s the final secret to bringing cool challenge coins to life?

It’s all about the edge of the coin. This is a beautiful, small detail that can have a huge impact on the overall design.

If you’re designing for a fire department, for example, you might want to go with the traditional choice of a scalloped spur cut edge. For a corporate challenge coin, an oblique line edge will give your coin a finish that’s similar to a merit medal.

If you want to take things to a more elegant level, opt for a stunning diamond crosscut edge. You can also choose two of the classic edge choices, a flat cut edge or a sleek rope cut edge. Remember that the type of edges you choose will also impact the overall feel of your coin.

4. Giving out Your Cool Challenge Coins

Last but not least, you also need to think about how you’re going to give out your cool challenge coins and the significance you want to attach to them.

For example, if you’ve lost a fellow officer in the line of duty, the coins could be a heartwarming memento to give to the other members of your unit at the memorial service.

You could also create custom challenge coins to give to the family members of fallen servicemen and women.

If the coins are a part of an employee engagement initiative, you could create a game surrounding them to promote and improve company culture. For example, every time an employee holds up a coin, everyone in the office collaborates in a five-minute brainstorming session.

The last person to hold up the coin has to get coffee for the rest of the team!

Plan an employee recognition party, and give out the coins as a wonderful party favor.

Are You Ready to Create a Custom Designed Challenge Coin?

We hope that this post has helped you to understand the design elements to think about when bringing cool challenge coins to life.

Ready to place an order for custom designed challenge coins for your next company event? Want to use coins to help raise awareness about a cause that’s close to your heart?

We can help with that.

If you’re still in need of a little design inspiration, feel free to browse through our gallery.

When you’d like pricing information, or if you’d like to speak to someone about the different design options for your custom challenge coin, feel free to reach out to us.

5 Army Challenge Coin Design Tips that Make a Statement

The right army challenge coin design can make a lasting impression. Discover our top tips for creating a design you’ll be proud to show off.

Challenge coins have a rich history dating back to Ancient Rome. They are often associated with the military and commemorate big events, units, special accomplishments, and more. Even though most people associate these coins with the military, they aren’t officially recognized by them. This means that coins are instead created by units, companies, and even individuals.

Anyone can create a challenge coin to commemorate an event or honor a person. If you’re thinking about creating your own Army challenge coin, keep reading. We’re giving you five essential design tips to help you create the perfect challenge coin.

1. Tell a Story

Military Challenge Coin

The goal of a challenge coin design should always be to tell a story.

Maybe it’s the story of a unit, a specific deployment, or a location. Challenge coins can even honor a specific soldier or commemorate the date of an event. Before you start thinking about what your coin will look like, decide on the story you want to tell.

When you start utilizing other design tips on this list, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to focus on. This will also make it easier to communicate with a designer or artist about potential images and text for your coin.

Your story doesn’t need to be overly complicated. In fact, it’s usually best to keep it brief. If it is too broad, it can be tough to choose a specific detail to focus on when designing your challenge coin.

For instance, rather than trying to create a coin focused on a soldier’s entire military career, you could choose a single accomplishment. You could also focus on the individual by including a picture and the dates they joined the military and when they retired.

Either of these options will allow you to keep your image simple and the text short. We will go into more detail about why this is important later in the post.

2. Start with an Image

Custom Dragon Challenge Coin

Once you decide on the story your challenge coin will tell, the next design decision you need to make is what image you will use.

Most military challenge coins feature a picture or illustration in the center of the coin. It dominates the space, providing a focal point around which the text and other design elements are centered. Popular images include flags, aircraft carriers, unit logos, and the logos for various branches of the military.

But when it comes to custom challenge coins, the options you have for choosing an image are endless. As long as your image isn’t too large to fit on a coin or too detailed to come across clearly in the small space, you can make it the focus of your challenge coin.

Your chosen image could be a picture of military equipment, like an airplane or a ship, a building, a logo, or any other image. You could even include an illustration of a person’s face. You can also create a unique design, such as a caricature of a mascot or a sketch of an important building.

Depending on the size and type of images you choose, you may be able to shrink them down and include more than one on your coin. For instance, an image of a person or piece of equipment superimposed on an image of a flag or a map.

3. Make Your Design Pop with Color

USAF Custom Shaped Coin

While some military challenge coins are colorless and left in the color of the chosen metal coating such as bronze or silver, color can be a great way to make your design pop.

With such a small amount of space to work with, a few touches of color can help certain elements stand out from the rest. They create definition between shapes that make it easier to see the details of your image. While you can use several colors in your design, beware of going overboard. On a small coin, too many colors can make your design cluttered and tough to read.

In addition, complementary colors can help make your coin more aesthetically appealing.

4. Keep it Short

The image you choose for your challenge coin may be the focal point, but the text you choose is just as important.

Whether you choose to include a unit name, a date, or other important text, it’s best to keep your message short. Too many words mean you’ll need to use a smaller font, which can be tough to read on a small coin.

If you decide you need more words to get your message across, reduce the size of your chosen image instead of trying to squeeze everything onto your coin.

5. Don’t Neglect the Back

 

Once you’ve decided on the perfect design for the front of your challenge coin, it’s time to consider the space on the back. Leaving the back of your coin blank can leave your coin looking unfinished.

One idea for the back of your challenge coin is to include a single word or phrase. While the front of your coin might be more decorative with images and text, a less complicated back can call attention to your message.

Another option is to continue your design onto the back, making it as unique as the front of your coin.

Designing Your Own Army Challenge Coin

Now that you have a few tips for designing your own Army challenge coin, it’s time to get started.

No matter the type of coin you’re looking to design, we can help. Check out the different types of challenge coins we produce to start searching for the right options for any design elements you have in mind.

Challenge Coin Discount – Thankful for Upgrades in November

** Promotion Expired**Challenge Coin DiscountChallenge Coin Discount – Thankful for Upgrades

For the entire month of November we are offering a free upgrade when you order 100 or more custom challenge coins.  We are thankful for our customers, which is why this thankful November we want to say thank you with a free upgrade!

Choose between:

a. Free upgrade to Antique nickel, brass, gold, silver, copper, and bronze.

B. Edge upgrade to Oblique line, Bevel, Bevel Diamond, and Cross Cut.

C. Packaging: Free upgrade from PVC to velvet bags.

***for the antique finishes that they aren’t available with hard enamel coins.

Check back often for other challenge coin discounts! And remember, we offer free shipping and free artwork from our talented artists. We are here to help!

Learn more about us here. Thank you for considering custom challenge coins!

Fill out our free online quote to receive this challenge coin discount! Mention “Thankful for Upgrades!

 

6 Unique Custom Challenge Coin Designs to Take Inspiration From

Challenge coins are a great way to memorialize your service in a unique way. Here are 6 custom challenge coin designs you take inspiration from today!

Military challenge coins have a unique and long-lived history, and over the years countless designs have been created. Whether you’re currently serving in the armed forces or you plan to someday, you may want to create one yourself.

Custom challenge coins inspire and honor the members of every military branch, past, present, or future. Why not create one to honor the men and women you serve with? Deciding on a challenge coin design can be tricky, though. Where do you begin?

To give you some inspiration, we’ve tracked down six unique, custom-designed coins. Take a look. You may get some ideas for your own custom challenge coin.

1. The Silent Cobra

One unique design we came across was simple but instantly attention-grabbing. Why is that? The coin was in the shape of a cobra.

How could this coin not grab your attention, with its focused staredown and metallic strength? The great thing about this design is that it doesn’t say anything–not with words, anyway. The front of the coin only holds the snake’s image. But it definitely carries a story. What does the cobra represent? What was this coin given for?

This type of coin is perfect if you’re looking for a conversation starter. If you would like to add some details as to why it was given, include the information on the back. This will allow you to commemorate the event or group it represents while still keeping that eye-catching look of a text-less image.

2. Anchors Aweigh

Military challenge coins come in all sorts of shapes, despite their being called coins. You don’t have to stick to the round look–the snake design definitely didn’t.

USN Challenge Coin

Another amazing design we found was in the shape of an anchor, complete with a chain hanging down throughout the design. Members of the Navy will love this nod to their chosen military branch. This design was sleek and elegant while nodding to the hard work of life at sea.

Is there a specific shape that would nod to what you’re commemorating? If so, try implementing it into your design.

3. Vehicle Inspiration

Custom Shaped Challenge CoinWing Shaped Challenge Coin

Challenge coins are meaningful no matter their shape, but there’s no rule stating your coin has to be round. Shake things up by going with another shape–it can be entirely unique if you’d like.

For a nod to your specific group, why not design your challenge coin in the shape of a vehicle that’s frequently used? Air Force members may appreciate a coin that’s in the shape of the plane they usually fly. Or a ship-shaped coin would be appropriate for Navy members.

If you’d rather not use the entire vehicle in your design, you can still nod to the specific military branch by using part of the vehicle. A wing or an anchor will make it easy to tell what branch the coin was made for.

To make your challenge coin unique, include your own combination of messages, information, memories, colors, and more. If a vehicle shape isn’t unique enough for you, create a shape that’s all your own!

4. Spinner Design

US Army Spinner Coin DesignWhite House Military Challenge Coin

If you’d like your design to be interactive, get inspired by a coin that spins inside itself. This coin design features a rectangular frame, in the center of which is a coin section that spins, thanks to an axis that keeps it safely connected to the frame. The spinning section could hold whatever you’d like. Maybe it’s a regiment number or the year and name of a specific battle.

If your desired info won’t fit in the small centerpiece, that’s okay. You’ve still got the frame are to include words and dates.

5. Event Tickets

Marine Ball Ticket Challenge Coin

If your coin will commemorate an event, such as a Marine ball, get inspired by looking at ticket-style challenge coins. These coins come shaped just like the tickets you’d get for an old movie or Ferris wheel ride. Feel free to throw a big old “admit one” on one side, just like the designs we’ve seen. The other side of your coin can include your commemorative information.

We’d suggest adding information about the event itself, to remind you what you were “admitted” when you got the coin. You can also add troop or branch information. Insignia or other symbols would look great too.

For an added nod to the movie-theater feel, consider making your text flow like the end credits of a film.

6. Plain and Simple

Spartan Custom Challenge Coin DesignSpartan Challenge Coin

Maybe one of the most unique coins we came across was the least flashy of all. In fact, it was completely plain. All it showed was the silver shape of a helmet.

This sort of simplicity will really make your coin stand out. While others tend to involve color, aggressiveness, or other flashy design elements, this one came across as almost solemn.

This particular coin held the shape of a Spartan helmet, but there are plenty of other helmets to choose from. Why not use a traditional shape of headwear that represents your military branch?

Though simple and silent, this design lets viewers know what branch it represents while letting them reflect on what it means. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking pin, go for something simple that reminds the barer and any viewers why it was created in the first place.

View other custom and unique challenge coins designs to get even more inspirations for your next custom challenge coin design.

Create Your Own Challenge Coin Design

Challenge coins are highly versatile. They come in all shapes, designs, colors, and metal types. The sky’s limit when it comes to creating your own design.

These six coins each offer unique ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Keep them in mind when creating your own challenge coin design and see what you come up with!

We specialize in creating unique challenge coins. If you’d like to create your own custom challenge coin, we’d love to help. Click here to learn more about our military challenge coins.

8 Great Gifts for Veterans They’ll Be Sure to Love

If the veteran in your life is in need of a pick-me-up or a birthday present, click here to check out these 8 great gifts for veterans that’ll make them smile.

Veterans Day is just around the corner. And that means trying to come up with the perfect gift for the veteran in your life.

Veterans are special people who deserve our utmost respect, yet shopping for veterans can often seem like a difficult task. But all it really takes is learning a few gift ideas that any veteran would love to receive.

Still need some help thinking of something great? Fear not, we are here to help!

Let’s take a look at some gifts for veterans day that you’ve likely never thought of.

8 Great Gifts for Veterans They’ll Be Sure to Love

If the veteran in your life is in need of a pick-me-up or a birthday present, keep reading to check out eight great gifts for veterans that’ll make them smile.

1. Tactical Beer Coozie

There are few things in life better than enjoying a cold one while hanging out with family and friends. And the best way to keep your cold one cold is with a beer coozie.

Well, you can thank Empire Tactical for taking a great idea and making it even better. Their Tactical Beer Coozie is the perfect blend of patriotism and practicality, featuring padded Thinsulate insulation wrapped in velcro, designed for attaching the patch of your choice and looking cool while you chill in the sun or beneath the stars.

2. The Original Whisky Bullet from SipDark

As the saying goes, it’s always five o’clock somewhere. And when it’s time to kick back with your favorite whiskey, you want it cold and smooth.

The Original Whiskey Bullet from SipDark keeps your beverage of choice ice cold without getting watered down. These stainless steel bullets come in sets of three and can be personally engraved for an additional fee. They can come with or without a stylish wooden display box.

3. Counter Strike Coffee

For many people, the morning can’t get started properly without a good strong cup of coffee. This is doubly true for anyone who has spent time in the armed forces. Coffee is a way of life.

That’s why Counter Strike Coffee makes the ideal gift for any veteran who needs his cup of Joe at first light. Counter Strike is premium coffee offered in a variety of blends. All beans are single origin, small batch and artisan roasted to maximize flavor.

Take one sip and we think you’ll agree that you won’t find a more full-bodied, smoother coffee anywhere.

4. Paratrooper Poptop

This is a super cool gift that is sure to put a smile on the face of anyone who enjoys a cold beer at the end of a long day.

This bottle opener is in the shape of a universal static line snaphook. Each one comes in a silk baggie made from a genuine decommissioned parachute.

This gift is hard to beat for any veteran but would find a special place in the heart with former Paratroopers.

5. Combat Flip-Flops

These flip-flops are flat-out unapologetically cool. Not only is this footwear perfect for chilling out anywhere from the patio to the beach, manufacturing them provides badly needed jobs for workers in Bogata, Columbia.

This is a unique business model that fulfills an important mission, both investing in people who desperately need the work and providing a great product for those who have served our country.

6. Military Challenge Coins

Challenge coins are not only fantastic mementos, but they also serve as symbols of a much higher purpose. These keepsakes are a reminder of service to our country and protecting the freedom each one of us enjoys daily, while also reminding us of the ultimate sacrifice that so many have made over the years.

Military challenge coins come in a variety of shapes and metal colors, including gold, silver, brass, black nickel, and copper.

There are numerous design options, including rope-cut, wave-cut or crosscut. And designs can incorporate specific insignia, dates, and special wording.

7. Mancrates

Mancrates are just about the coolest gift we can imagine. Available in wooden crates or ammo cans, they come loaded with every guy’s favorite stuff.

The vet in your life will undoubtedly hold a special place in his heart for the Outdoor Survival Ammo Can. This gift idea has everything needed for your next adventure.

The Outdoor Survival Ammo Can includes a survival guide that’ll teach you everything from how to start a fire with flint to how to navigate by the stars or moss on trees.

Its contents also include a collapsible shovel, a 50-foot paracord, an emergency survival blanket, and a paracord knife with firestarter.

This awesome gift will inspire almost anyone to want to abandon society for long stretches alone in the wilderness!

8. Cigars

Cigars always rank among the favorite gift ideas for vets around the world. Because few things in life are better than lighting a tasty cigar and telling stories of the glories of military life.

It’s hard to go wrong giving cigars. Just imagine the scene: old pals gathered together, with cigars and bourbon in hand, remembering shared memories of the good old days.

Nothing beats the aroma and flavor of quality tobacco. So put a smile on the face of your favorite vet with a box of great smokes!

Awesome Gifts for Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an important opportunity for each of us to show love and support for those who have selflessly serviced our amazing country. This is why picking the best gifts for veterans is so vital.

The freedom that we enjoy should never be taken for granted, and this list of gift ideas should make shopping for the vet in your life a little easier.

The men and women who serve in our armed forces should always be shown the love and respect they deserve for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis. Anyone of these gifts would be a good start to show how much you truly appreciate them!

Click here to see six facts about military challenge coins you didn’t know.