Present arms (command)

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This article is about a military drill. For other uses, see Present Arms (disambiguation).
Sailors of US Navy present arms during burial on sea on aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman
Soldiers of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force present arms with bayonets fixed

Present arms is a two-part drill command used by many militaries in the world as a sign of respect.

By country[edit]


Within the Australian Defence Force, the command "Present Arms" is executed using the following procedures.

  1. If unarmed, a salute is rendered (although this is usually given by the command "To the front salute")
  2. If armed with a F88 Austeyr; the command is "PRESENT - ARMS". For instructional purposes the movement is divided into two parts.
    1. 'PRESENT ARMS BY NUMBERS - ONE'. Move the right forearm smartly upward, bringing the rifle to a vertical position, the front handgrip in line with the right shoulder.
    2. 'BY NUMBERS - TWO'. Raise the right foot through the position of mark time and place it on the ground with the instep against the left heel, the foot at the same angle as for the position of attention. At the same time bring the left arm smartly across the body, forearm parallel to the ground, elbow against the body, hand against the base of the pistol grip with the fingers extended and together, and the thumb on top of the forefinger.[1]
  1. If armed with a 7.62mm SLR the command is "Present - Arms". This movement is divided up into 2 parts. The timing is "1, 2-3, 1".
    1. On the first "1", the rifle is flung from the shoulder to a position directly centred and perpendicular to the parade ground. At the same time, the left hand is brought up sharply and is to grasp the rifle just above the magazine.
    2. On the second "1", the right hand moves sharply from a grasp around the pistol grip to a "goose neck" grip directly above the rear sight or directly below the rear sight on the small of the butt. At the same time, the right foot moves to the "break step" position (i.e. the right foot is behind the left foot on a 45° angle - the left heel inside the right instep), this is executed through the proper "Mark Time" position.[2]
  1. If armed with a sword, the command is "Present - Arms". This movement is divided into 2 parts. As with the SLR, the timing is "1, 2-3, 1".
    1. On the first "1", the sword is brought to the "recover" position (i.e. in a vertical position, handle in front of the face, 10 cm from the mouth, guard to left).
    2. On the second "1", the sword is lowered in a sweeping motion towards the front, the tip of the sword is 30 cm from the ground, guard to the left and inline with the seam of the trousers.[3]

United States[edit]

Within the United States Military, it is executed in the following procedures:

  1. If unarmed, a salute is rendered.
  2. If armed with a firearm, present the underside of the firearm towards the one receiving the honor.
  3. If bearing a guidon, lower the guidon to a horizontal position with the lower portion of the staff resting in the pit of the right arm.
  4. If armed with a sword or sabre, on the first count raise the sword vertically or at a 30-degree angle from vertical, depending on the branch of the military, with the sword grip 6 inches in front of the neck, and then on the second count lower the sword to the right side, pointing at the ground at a 45-degree angle, with the right hand or knuckle bow next to the pant seam. The true edge is always to the left during the whole procedure of "present sword."

As with all proper commands, it is to be given from the position of attention only.

Following "Present arms", the command "Order arms" (also a two-part command) is given to return to the proper position of attention.


In the Singapore Armed Forces, The command, Hormat Senja-ta is given. A full arms salute is given to Officers of rank Major and above. A butt salute, with presentation of weapon and left arm at trigger is given to junior officers. In sword drill, the sword is raised, an act of kissing, then lowered in an 8-beat. The sword is pulled back fully.


  1. ^ RAAF Manual of Drill DI(AF) AAP 5135.001 Ch 5 Parragraph 510 - 511
  2. ^ RAAF Manual of Drill DI(AF) AAP 5135.001 Ch 5 (SLR Drill) Parragraph 515 -516
  3. ^ RAAF Manual of Drill DI(AF) AAP 5135.001 Ch 6 Parragraph 620 - 621

External links[edit]