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. 

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.

Your Guide to Cleaning Your Military Coins

How do you clean your military coins? Keeping your coins clean and polished may seem like a no-brainer, but there are certain tricks you can adopt for best results. Read this guide on cleaning custom challenge coins to ensure they are cleaned without sustaining any damage.

Keeping your military coins clean and polished may seem like a no-brainer, but how do you actually go about it? Among coin collectors, experts and numismatists, there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to cleaning metal coins.

Thankfully, there are many viable methods to polish your coins. Read this guide on cleaning your custom challenge coins to keep them shiny without damaging them.

Keep in mind that you can combine most of the techniques below to keep your coins perfectly clean.

1) Washing Your Coins

The most obvious method to keep your military coins clean is washing. But be warned that there are many ways you can do this wrong.

To wash your coins properly, first assess how dirty they are. If there is considerable dirt buildup, hold them under warm running water for half a minute on each side. Then let them dry on a towel. Do not rub them needlessly, as the dirt might scratch off their surface.

2) Distilled Water or Soap Water

Washing under running water can only get you this far. If there’s persistent gunk on your coins you will need something more drastic. After washing your coins, dip them in distilled water or a soap solution.

Distilled water is gentle and will remove most of the gunk without affecting the color. Simply soak your military coin for a full day in and distilled water. Dip each coin separately, so they are not touching each other. The next day, scrub the coin with a soft toothbrush and dip it again for another day if that’s not enough.

If the coin is greasy, create a soap solution with dish soap and warm water. Dip your coins individually and rub them inside the water with an old toothbrush. Be gentle and you will see the gunk slowly coming off.

You may also soak the coin in the soap solution. If you do that, make sure you are using a weak soap with no acidity. This will make sure your coins remain unharmed. With a regular dish soap solution, most coins will be sparkling and clean after a single dip. If your coin is particularly dirty, rinse and repeat.

3) The Olive Oil Method

Collectors of ancient coins and other very delicate metals use olive oil to clean their possessions. Olive oil can loosen accumulated dirt, making it easier for you to remove it without damaging the coin underneath.

The process is slow and only suitable for the dirtiest of coins. Allow your coins to soak in olive oil for a week or more. During that time, change the oil if it becomes discolored, as it means it has been saturated with dirt.

Some ancient coins require six months or more in oil to be properly cleaned. Your military coin will be fine in a matter of days though. After soaking, take the coin out and gently clean it with dish soap and water.

4) Removing Adhesive Dirt

Sometimes glue, cement or some other extremely adhesive substance may stick on your coin. This is bad news but not irreversible. To remove such stubborn dirt, you will need to physically pry it off your coin with a toothbrush or a skewer. This is risky business but sometimes unavoidable.

Before resorting to physical methods, try soaking the coin in olive oil to soften up the dirt. This will make it easier to remove it without damaging the coin underneath.

5) Isopropyl Alcohol Bath

Dipping your coins in water and soap will remove grease. You will need different solutions if soap is ineffective.

Isopropyl alcohol is a mildly acidic universal solvent. In low concentration, it will dissolve built-up dirt. To make an isopropyl alcohol bath, mix it in equal parts with water. Let your coin soak in the solution for at least two hours before rinsing them with plenty of water.

6) Abrasive Solution

If you need to scrub off tough dirt, you can add a bit of salt to your isopropyl alcohol solution. A couple of tablespoons of table salt will make your solution abrasive enough to remove built-up dirt.

Place your coins in the mix and let them soak for a couple of hours before rubbing them with a soft toothbrush, just like the soap and water method. The added salt will create friction and peel off the gunk.

7) Water Softener

If you’ve left your military coins submerged in water for far too long, they may have accumulated salts and minerals on their surface. You can’t remove salts with soap, and an abrasive solution might peel off color in addition to the buildup.

Using dishwasher products like Calgon to create a “soft” water solution will allow you to remove salt buildup without physical force. Keep in mind that you should dip your coin in a Calgon solution for only a couple of minutes. Anything more and you might damage its outer layer.

8) Professional Help

Finally, if your military coin is very valuable, you should consider handing things over to a professional. A coin expert will be more qualified to clean your coin and prevent damage.

There are several chemical-based methods that are too complicated or dangerous for a layperson to attempt. We did not cover these in our guide, but an expert could be able to perform them on your coins.

Looking for More Military Coins? Check Our Gallery for Inspiration

Now that you know how to clean and protect your military coins, why don’t you take a look at our inspirational gallery?

Here at Custom Challenge Coins, we offer you limitless possibilities when it comes to designing your own challenge coins. From traditional squad badges to more exotic designs, we guarantee 100% satisfaction at the lowest price!

Your Guide to Challenge Custom Coins

Challenge coins have a lot of value. If you’re unfamiliar with the tradition of custom coins, read all about challenge coins here.

custom coinsAn estimated 30% of war veterans will experience PTSD at least once in their lives. Every year, nearly 45,000 Americans take their own lives.

More than 50% of people are deeply unhappy with their current place of work.

Think these three statistics are unrelated?

Think again.

Whether you or someone you love has served in the military, has survived a suicide attempt, or just feels unchallenged and unappreciated in their work life, chances are that what they really need is someone to talk to, and someone to listen to them.

However, as we’ve all likely experienced, sometimes asking for help can be hard.

This is where challenge and custom coins can come into play.

But what are challenge coins, and how can they help to both improve and save lives?

Read on to find out.

The Different Uses Of Challenge Coins

So, what exactly are these custom coins, also referred to as challenge coins?

They began, primarily, as a military tradition.

In the past (and still to this day!) members of a regiment were each given a single coin. When a soldier showed their coin, it automatically meant that everyone else in the room needed to produce their coin as well. If someone had lost their coin, or simply didn’t have it on them, they would be responsible for buying everyone a round.

These custom coins not only helped to develop a strong sense of camaraderie among military members. As time progressed, the coins began to take on a more significant symbol.

After the end of their military service, military veterans often produce their coins in a civilian environment. This signals to the other vets in the room that they need someone to talk to. Perhaps they’re going through a tough bout of PTSD, maybe they’re feeling depressed, or they might just be looking for a friend.

Whatever the reason, showing custom coins and challenge coins in the “real world” is a sign that help, in any form, was needed. It is also a symbol of mutual respect and friendship — a way to find people that know exactly what you’re going through, because they’ve been there themselves.

Different Types Of Challenge Coins

Because of the high success rate of the military challenge coins, custom coin culture has exploded in recent years.

Not only are they incredible collector’s items, they can also help to celebrate a special occasion or work as a part of your employee recognition program.

Today, there are many types of coins for people from all walks of life.

For example, there are coins for firefighters, police officers, Masonic members, veterans, and even standard corporate coins.

Especially popular are suicide prevention coins, which usually come with either a yellow or white ribbon placed subtly in the design.

Whenever someone is feeling suicidal or depressed, all they need to do is present the coin to a person that they trust. The coin will serve as an unspoken signal that the person in distress needs immediate attention — without them having to do anything other than hand the coin over.

In short, no matter which type of profession you want to help commemorate, chances are that there are already several custom coins for it.

How Custom Coins Help People

Now that you know all about the different types and uses of challenge coins, let’s take a look at how they actually help people.

First of all, especially for those who once served in the military, it’s easy to feel forgotten or overlooked. It’s also hard not to feel like a burden upon a return to civilian life.

These coins help veterans — and their family members — to open up the lines of communication. In some cases, challenge coins are even used as recruitment tools.

When a new member of the military gets their challenge coin, it’s like getting an acceptance into an exclusive club. Some may even choose to have a special ceremony to commemorate the occasion.

Challenge coins are also a wonderful and effective way to boost employee morale, and to make the people working for you feel valued.

The flexibility of the meaning of challenge coins makes them the perfect solution for nearly any workplace issue.

Is someone dealing with sexual harassment at work, or is a survivor of assault? They can simply hand their coin over to a human resources representative to signal safely and without drawing attention to themselves that they need help.

Want to incorporate more employee feedback in your leadership style at the office? When an employee hands you their coin, it can signal that they’re having a problem or see an issue that needs addressing privately.

Need Custom Coins? Let Us Help

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand the meaningful — and sometimes truly lifesaving — history behind challenge coins.

Now that you know more about how they can help to unite veterans, your employees, those struggling with mental illness, and much more?

It’s time to have your own custom coins created.

That’s where we come in.

We offer a wide range of classic designs, in addition to working with you to create custom artwork that will make your coins stand out.

Spend some time on our website to learn more about how our years of experience, dedication to quality craftsmanship, and expertise in dealing with sensitive issues surrounding challenge coins can help you to create the perfect pieces.

We offer your 100% satisfaction guarantee, and our glowing testimonials speak for themselves. Reach out to us to get your custom price quote today.