Differences Between the Army and Marines Basic Training

Updated February 21, 2017

Which is tougher: Army or Marine Boot Camp? This is question which has bedevilled armchair generals and started more than one bar brawl. The differences show that the Marines definitely have the tougher boot camp.


Marine Boot Camp lasts for 13 weeks. Army Basic Combat Training (BCT, the Army's equivalent of boot camp) lasts for nine weeks, plus a four- to 10-day Reception Battalion before BCT begins.

Army Physical Standards

Army BCT requires the following of a typical male recruit to graduate: 35 push-ups in two minutes, 47 sit-ups in two minutes and a two-mile run in 16 minutes, 36 seconds.

Marine Physical Standards

The Marines require the following of a typical male recruit: five pull-ups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes and a three-mile run in 24 minutes, 30 seconds.

Marine Rifle Standards

The Marines have three qualifications for Bboot camp shooting, at 200, 300 and 500 yards. It is the only service that has the 500-yard qualification.

After Basic

Marines go on to the School of Infantry for additional infantry combat training, regardless of whether they will actually specialise as infantrymen or not. Army recruits do not receive this additional infantry training.

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