Mercenary – How to Become One


(…and why you probably should, too.)

What is a Mercenary?

Well, WikiPedia tells it something like this:

A mercenary is a person who takes part in an armed conflict, who is not a national or a party to the conflict, and is “motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party” .

Well. That says it all, doesn’t it? You might think so, but it doesn’t. In our day and age, a mercenary can be more than that, and the definition just might need some updating according to what is actually going on around the world, and around the world’s armed conflicts. Wars, that is.

Before we start in on the how’s and why’s and where’s, there’s one little paragraph of law that you should keep in mind. We promise there’ll be no long-winded talk of the laws of war, but here’s a snippet from the Geneva Convention that you should think about before venturing into the world as a new formed mercenary;

Art 47. Mercenaries

1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
2. A mercenary is any person who:
(a) is especially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
(d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
(e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
(f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.


So. Basically, you don’t have any normal POW rights if you’re only doing it for the money. We’re just letting you know up front.

Becoming a Mercenary – The Why’s

- First up, what will matter most to a lot of people; it’s good money. It’s very good money, in many cases, simply because you put your life and limb on the line fighting someone else’s cause. You fight, they pay.

- Action. Believe it or not, this point competes for first place in surveys among mercenaries. Some of them want the adrenaline rush, some just miss their time in prior military service, and some don’t think they got to see enough “action” in their regular military service. If this is what you’re after, that’s fine, you’ll probably get all the action you can handle, but you still need to be careful – adrenaline can actually be had without you dying or getting injured, so don’t take unnecessary risk.

- Flight. It used to be that anyone could run away, become a mercenary, make some money and settle somewhere else as someone else, never to be seen or heard from again. That (mostly) isn’t so any more. Mercenaries are corporate resources now, with HR departments keeping tabs on taxes and addresses and all that paperwork. There’s one option though – we’ll get to that.

- Training. There are better ways to further your military training, get certified for equipment or operations, or develop your inner being, for that matter. Being a mercenary is still frowned upon by many, and having it on your CV might do as much harm as good. Still, it will look awesome to the right people, so don’t turn the idea down just because of this.

- Adventure.This point might have come under the “Action” point, but we thought we’d give it a bullet of its very own even so. If you’ve wanted to wade through jungle marshes, fight crocodiles or see the very worst of the worst of the earth’s deserts, mercenary life might be for you. At least you won’t have to pay for your plane ticket. Or your B&B.

Becoming a Mercenary – The How’s

- Foreign Languages. Learning to speak something else in addition to your native language is never a minus. Take the time and the effort to actually learn how to get by in German, French, Arabic, Russian or other large languages, and you’re well on your way – further, in fact, than you might think. If you’re reading this, you probably already know English, but if you somehow don’t, then learn that too. If you’ve got a country in mind that you want to go to, or a company that has specific country need that you want to work for, learn that language, be it Norwegian, Dutch, Polish, or whatever else.

There are several good language learning resources out there, among the best are Rosetta Stone, a computer program designed to have you learn a new language the “natural way”, i.e. like you learned your own language back in the day, or Praxis Language, focusing on Chinese, Spanish, Italian and French. That’s just a small selection of resources online, but if you’re serious about learning a new language, the paid services are worlds better than free “learn-a-phrase” sites. You should invest the time and small amount of cash required.

- Get in Shape. Getting in shape can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to. If you set your mind to it, and have a firm goal, that makes everything easier. If you’re overweight, you should consider WeightWatchers as a starting point. If you want to get straight on to training, then you need another starting point, like your local gym. Gyms can be expensive to join, and they’re really not always worth the money, so if you feel confident, you can try buying your own equipment (yours for life, and no more wiping off other people’s sweat from the gear). That means you would have to have somewhere to use it as well…

Getting in shape is imperative. In most cases, you will need to meet strict requirements and complete rigorous test in order to be accepted in military institutions, law enforcement agencies, and as a mercenary. You will need to be able to show off, brag about yourself and then be able to back it up with your physique. A boot-camp style training regime is recommended.

Getting in shape doesn’t just mean your body. It means your head as well. You will need to train your head just as much as your body, getting in the mindset of what you are about to do, what your goal is and what you are getting yourself into. A mercenary is a soldier, granted, a soldier of fortune, so to speak, but a soldier none the less. Going to war, and doing it for other reasons than personal conviction is hard, and you may even need to see a coach or a “shrink” in order to make sure you’re bolted together right before you try out for any of the mental exams you might face.

- Join the Military, or a Law Enforcement Agency. Easier said than done. Most mercenary corporations or units require that you have at least three years of LE, Military or Security training or practice. It’s just the way it is. We’re not saying that they all require that, but it will look favorable in 100% of cases. Planning ahead is key here, and you will need to work at it.

Get three years of military experience, separate with an honorable discharge and nothing bad on your service records. That’s a big point. No one wants someone unreliable as a highly paid member of their team.

Or, get three years of police training and work. Separate on good terms with your department, and go on to get the big bucks.

There is another way to get the training and experience needed, but it’s going to take time, and it might be expensive for you. We’re talking about paying your own way through training, for example at Blackwater.  This can be a good way to go if you have the money, and it might open doors at the company you train with, if you make an impression. That also takes some preparation, of course, but hey. It’s what you want to do, right?

By the way, there’s also Global Dynamics (not the same  as in the TV-Show, but almost…) and Triple Canopy. Now, we don’t vouch for any of these, because there are a lot of unsavory and amateurish companies out there, claiming to be the best of the best of the best – just look at iKey Solutions, for example – we’ve written about them before.


Last, but not Least -The French Foreign Legion

La Legion Etrangere honor guard. Photo; US Army

Formerly a haven for criminals on the run, these days the French Foreign Legion is one of the world’s top special forces. Only accepting non-French applicants, it is a part of the French armed forces, but in some ways only by proxy.

A normal term of service is five years, at the end of which you will be provided with the opportunity of having a French passport, a new name and quite a bit of cash burning holes in your pockets. Their standards are high, and their level of insanity, according to many, is even higher, with rigorous training that frequently involves abuse of the recruits – as one ex-FFL officer told us; “If they don’t understand, I would hold their head under water, and when they came back up, they understood”.

They have forced language training (see, this is why we’ve emphasized French all throughout the page – they speak nothing else), and a higher number of training casualties than many other military organizations.

The Foreign Legion, 1978

The Kepi Blancs (the White Kepis) are some of the world’s most dedicated, fierce and daring soldiers, but also some of the most secret ones. They’ve made many first strikes unknown to most, among them Bosnia and the first Gulf War – that’s right – the French were some of the first into that one.

If you want to be a mercenary, you may well start there. Save up the cash, go to France and show up at their recruiting office. They’ll take good care of you. After a five-year term with them, there’s not a mercenary corp in the world that wouldn’t have you. A tip? Aim for the “2nd Rep”…

Photo; Jonathan Alpeyrie

Here is our Legal Reference Page for would-be mercenaries, where we’ve tried to simplify the rule of law as it applies to soldiers of fortune. Help us add to the page by leaving a comment or sending us an e-mail!

Hi guys and gals. Almost every day, we get emails from good people like you who want to know more about being a merc, make contacts and share information. So, we thought we’d make a forum for this specific purpose. Let us know what you think about it in the comments, or send us an email about it; contact@snallabolaget. com

{ 546 comments… read them below or add one }

De July 23, 2014 at 1:29 am
De July 23, 2014 at 1:27 am

Looking to put together a team of highly trained and motivated men. This will not be for everyone. If you feel that civilian life isn’t for you and you can’t stand working for sheep, please contact me. It’s time to become wolves !

SS July 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm

DanielR is right – they’re actually an important and elite part of the French army, first into many theaters where, amongst others, the US has taken all the “credit”… However, both historically and today, they’re a springboard into the merc lifestyle and profession.

craig24921737 July 21, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Still want it sick cizziy life been doing this ahit since I was 13 years off age as a cadet and progressed

DanielR July 21, 2014 at 8:27 am

The French Foreign Legion soldiers ARE NOT MERCENARIES as they are part of the French army

D.N.B. July 20, 2014 at 2:08 am

So first off, let me explain my scenario:

Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by tough military training and all kinds of special fighting forces trained for modern combat. I’ve always dreamt of joining a special military group or security contractor as a career. The thought of working a regular job and living a regular, boring life has always made me cringe. It’s a disturbing nightmare for me.

Since about 5 or 6 years ago, I’ve had my eyes set on the Marine Corps. It was a chance to join the ranks of a military branch that was right up my alley. Proud, fierce, and based on combat. It was also a chance to get my full US citizenship for free (I was born in Chile but spent most of my life here in the US, I’m a permanent resident). The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that the pay was laughable compared to most other countries’ offerings for military or security contracts. This, however, didn’t phase me because all I was really looking for was an opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted to do.

So anyways, after talking to several recruiters, I’ve gone through a few steps towards meeting the requirements to join, all of which cost me a lot of time and money. I got my GED (I didn’t get to graduate with my high school class because of frequent trips outside of the US) which cost me a couple hundred dollars for the course, I’ve had 5 laser tattoo removal sessions on a family crest over my heart that disqualified me which cost around $200 per session (I still need maybe 2 more in order for it to be completely gone), and just recently I’m being told that I need to get 15 college credits as well before I can qualify to join.

Initially, I didn’t mind having to pay for my GED course and tattoo removal sessions even though this was already difficult enough for me to afford. I’ve tried my best to barely keep my head above water financially over the past couple years which caused me to go into some credit card debt that reflects on my not-so-pretty credit score now. So now I’m basically being told that I’ll have to shell out another couple thousand dollars out of pocket to pay for college classes just to qualify to sign, seeing as how nobody will give me finacial aid for a single semester of college and because of a terrible credit score. In other words, there’s no way I could afford to get the college credits without borrowing more money at a high interest and diving deeper into debt… Just to qualify.

I’ve gotten to the point where I just want to give up on the USMC idea. It simply doesn’t seem worth my time and efforts to go even deeper into debt for a job that will barely help me get out of it. I find it slightly ridiculous that I have to go through all this just to qualify.

So since a few days ago now, I’ve been looking at other options. I know for a fact I can pull myself out of credit card debt in a couple months with my regular job and strict budgeting. It’s no problem. Beyond that, I’m still looking for a career in a modern military setting.

I’ve been thinking about joining the French Foreign Legion. They obviously don’t require a never ending list of things to qualify for entrance, and it’s a force that really catches my interest in the sense that it’s highly combat based. Not only that but it would be a perfect way to start a career as a mercenary after the contract in case I wanted to work for a better salary elsewhere.

Now, before everyone starts mentioning the Army, Coast Guard, or any other branch of the U.S. military that might take me with my current qualifications, know that I’ve already decided the USMC was the only branch that the U.S. had which offered what I’m looking for. Although I highly respect Army SF (Rangers etc) or really any other SF group in every other branch I qualify for, none of them have that certain type of mentality I’m looking for (highly tactical training, not just physical training). I know a lot of you are also going to mention USN Seals, and as much as I would absolutely love to train as a Seal, if I can’t even qualify for the USMC, I highly doubt the Navy would take me.

Anyways, that’s really about where I am in regards to what I might do but I want to know all my options, too. What can I do and where can I go other than the FFL in order to fulfill my career dreams? What is there out there? I’m open to any and all ideas. In the end, I want an opportunity to work independently. I want to be able to choose between security contracts in the future after getting specialized training in a military that will take me. That or just stick with a career in a military that I end up falling in love with.

dbonacich @

andrew mericle July 19, 2014 at 11:42 am

If anyone can help me out with getting a contact or a way to get in the business let me know at
Here’s a little about myself
Currently in the military have just over a year left
Excelled through the ranks making the rank of Sgt in two years
Infantry, airassult,eib, soon to be going to ranger school
22 years of age, will have five years with military experience when finished with the next contract
Will only get out of the military as long as I know I have a job waiting so sooner I know hopefully the sooner we can work together

Oli July 19, 2014 at 12:54 am


Hi everyone,

I did two tours in Afghanistan. I was a sniper in Kandahar region. I was involved in a a variety of missions (mounted, dismounted, platoon supporting jobs, 4-men teams, mountains, ambushes, air transported, etc etc). Obviously I have a lot of experience with real sniper shooting/spotting, mentoring, air calls, artillery calls and so on. I also commanded a mix platoon of Canadians and Afghans under an American brigade. I think there are a lot of motivated guys who just want to go fight again. All they want is a good pay, and common warrior tools. Give them a shitty FOB and they will just give the taliban of other fanatics a good fight.

It’s sad all those warriors are still waiting and drinking coffee in their boring house, while so many countries need them. Why not unite, create connections, build a website and offer bundles of experienced, smart, mature and screened warriors? Most security companies are afraid to put their guys in some remote outposts. But the real warriors don’t mind it, they enjoy it. Give them 10-20k a month with enough ammo and they will walk the walk. I’m sure a lot of people would like to have such an outpost beside their targeted village. It’s way better than having some foreign kids staying in their towers, and restrained by remote politicians.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me. Lets make a community!

David July 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Have law enforcement experience and currently a State police officer. I am 28 and in the greatest shape of my life(former college athlete) , I work and focus on health(workout). I want to search for a new path a much more faster pace lifestyle/job then the one I am currently in. I would appreciate it, if I can receive information on transitioning into the mercenary job field! Thanks much !

landsknecht July 16, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Great article,

I am a German an served in the German Army for three years as an Officer Candidate and was promoted to Lieutenant. I speak English(with English accent), German (of course) and basic Chinese.
My personal wish is to become a professional and I hope, that I will reach this goal one day.

eliot July 15, 2014 at 6:48 am

I really enjoyed reading this article. Somewhere in the back of my head I really wish to go into this field of work. I’ve spent 5 years in the Marines as a grunt and as much as I hated the “BS” in the Marines, nothing got me more pumped than combat. I went on 2 tours to Afghanistan (Nawa in 09-11 and Garmsir 2011) participated in Operation: Moshtarak with 1/3 It’s kind of sick but those were the best times of my life.
I’m pretty sure no matter what job someone picks up along the way, it’ll still have BS to accompany it, but I’d rather be doing something that I like that has BS on the side than doing something that I “settled” for with BS as a main course.
I feel a “normal” job is just not for me. To others settling to be normal is awesome, I can’t do that. I’ve spent a year out of the service and its driving me nuts trying to be normal. Maybe I’m psychotic, but I passed all my psyche exams in the Marines so I guess I’m fine. Sorry about this random ramble that came at the end. I do like your explanation on why/how one should be a Mercenary, insightful I guess, it gives good basic info on how to prep. good job!

Andrew Murphy July 11, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Hi guys I’m looking for a new career I’ve been in the yard security business for two years and is looking forward to be a merc any ideas how to get the job.

redstar July 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm

2005 to 2013 Naval corpsman for 3 years seal program for 5
training in explosives, field medicines, heavy equipment/weapons, and close quarters combat.
languages spoken: French, English, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, German, and some Portuguese.
combat experience: 4 years Afghanistan, 3 years Iraq.
i am unmarried, and a orphan so i have nothing to lose

Oliver July 9, 2014 at 10:31 am

Im German, Want to be a mercenarie, I speak 3 languages ( German, English, Portuguese) Little Spanish aswell.
2 years of German Military Exp , 7 months in Afg, Mes, Kdz
Paramedic as Civilian, good Radio Operator Skills

Olli July 9, 2014 at 10:22 am

Nation german, I speak 3 languages ( portuguese, English, German ) Little spanish aswell,
2 years of german military exp and 7 months of Afg.
I am Paramedic, looking for some action…

Nathan Beeley July 9, 2014 at 3:59 am


I am a 24 year old man living in California with prior security training as a California State Guard. I have prior military experience in the Army. I am looking for a PMC job or company that will hire. I will travel anywhere or do anything to be a mercenary. For the folks that are interested email me at

stephen w July 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm

former U.S Army Paratrooper. I need to get back into the game. Working at a desk is going to make me lose my mind! any suggestions on were I might find more desirable employment?

T. Viik July 8, 2014 at 1:20 am

Estonian ex-mil (4,5y), hon discharge, age 28, in shape.
Sniper, signals, fire support, recon.
6 months in Afghan.
Looking to become a merc so looking for contacts, if any available pls contact me on, in two weeks time will start the paperwork on going back to mil for CAR mission but would prefere work on private sector.

Joshua July 6, 2014 at 8:46 am

10yrs as an EOD tech. 4 combat tours. 1 Sadr city Iraq, 1 tangi valley afg, 1 andar afg, 1 korengal valley Kandahar. Worked with variety of tier 1 groups. Hit me up if your interested.

Jadranko July 2, 2014 at 4:21 am

From Bosnia, been in the war since day one i was 8 years old, learn in war how to use weapons, mortars, sniper, land mines. lunch rockets, shoulder RPG, 9K38 Igla, M79OSA and many more..Sometimes i miss smell of gunpowder ..

Cameron Seger July 2, 2014 at 4:11 am

I was in the Army a short time I am now out and do not like the civilian life. I am needing a life change. I have looked into being a mercenary for a long time. I am willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal. Someone please help me with finding the right steps into this career.

C. Commander July 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I’m looking to bolster the ranks of a well established private army. Primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to: taking over the world. Dominating the weather. Making ‘Duke’ and his homo friends look like idiots.

Applicants must be well versed in combat in unusual environments such as underground bases, under water, space, fighting while hang gliding.

Ability to name every kind of snake is a big plus.


Thomas salkeld June 29, 2014 at 11:39 pm

I want to be a merc. More than anything. I want it so bad somebody please help me find the first steps and path so that I can fulfill this need. Please email me at

Srikanth June 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Want to be a part of it.!

Paul Garcia June 27, 2014 at 10:47 am

1990-1994 US Air Force, Ramstein AFB, Germany
U.S.A.F.E. Elite Guard – Initially, I entered the Air Force as a Security Policeman. I graduated the academy with distinct honors. Only the top 1% of all Security Policeman in the Air Force are even considered to be recruited. I was responsible for the protection of the European Air Force Command Center, sensitive Top Secret materials and locations. I assisted in the personal security of various visiting dignitaries, Prime Ministers and Heads of State. President Bush and John Major are a couple examples. In civilian terms, the U.S.A.F.E. Elite Guard is the military version of the U.S. Secret Service. I also shot expert marksman with every weapon I was ever qualified on. Trained and qualified for the base ” Swat Team”. Received individual close combat training and worked directly with O.S.I. On several Protective Services Details. Received High Speed Armored Car Defense Training and anti-terrorist training in Germany.

john johnston June 27, 2014 at 12:39 am

P.s. you can call or text 972*400*5456

john johnston June 27, 2014 at 12:35 am

What’s up ? I did 4 yrs as an 0311 in the corps.was in a cold weather/ mountain battalion…spent 2 months above the artic circle in Norway, 6 months in the jungles of Okinawa and mountains of south Korea..qualified expert M16A1, qualified expert 45/9mm…placed 2nd in super squad competition.. SPIE rigging, helo casting experience etc..honorable discharge…someone get a hold of me..I miss the excitement.. I want to do this..Semper fi…jdj51768…

Hélder June 26, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Hi, i am a police officer, with some military experience.
I think i need a life turn,,,
How can I become a mercenary (I am living in Portugal)?
Best regards,

Salah A

Riki June 26, 2014 at 1:41 am

Im sure somebody I will be a mercenary ,, and I don’t care even if I die ,, I love to join in legion but Im scared they will not accept me :(((
Im not even Muslim but sometimes I think to go in Syria to fight
im 19 years

Chaz June 25, 2014 at 5:16 am

Former military – MOS 18B (Special Ops Weapons Sergeant) tired of civilian life and I really miss the adventure of the military. Want to be a mercenary.

wilbo June 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Anyone need a Para Reg mortar man?
Plenty of experience, both grav and support. Mortar expert both indirect and direct 60 or 81. Always up for it and i will work my bollocks off for the right person.

Edgar June 20, 2014 at 12:22 am

What university would I have to go to, to become a mercenary? What would be the best university here in the USA? Name many! 4 year college with degree.

Mathis June 17, 2014 at 12:38 am

Frost email me:

frost June 16, 2014 at 12:01 am

I’m most interested in joinung but need lil help getting started. i miss the army life even thou it was shortly spent. i now drive 18 wheelers but wanting to do something that allows me to use my abilities and weapon skills. any ideas
thank you

frostbite June 15, 2014 at 11:05 pm

I’ve been looking into becoming a merc just never knew how to i was in the army a short time but miss the fast pace and now drive a truck and keep up on my studies of weapons and tatics. do you have any ideas for me on were to go and what i can do?

Mathis June 15, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Ash email me at

Ash June 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm

hi there, obviously i’ve been attacted to the merc lifestyle via a few different sources but i am looking to join a small time company if anyone knows of any i would be extremely grateful

Best Regards,

SS June 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

Get a passport.

blah blah! June 14, 2014 at 1:08 am

No Questions Asked.

blah blah! June 14, 2014 at 1:07 am


blah blah! June 14, 2014 at 1:06 am


blah blah! June 14, 2014 at 1:04 am

I am American..I was in the Navy… I am NO Civilian and NEVER was.. but I cannot Afford to go to France and as of now Hold no Passport.

blah blah! June 14, 2014 at 12:58 am

I want to be a Mercenary.

SS June 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Hi Roy. Thanks for your insight and compliments – its always interesting to hear the insights of people who have actually been there, so to speak. Let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed or should talk about.

Roy Holbert June 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Interesting site you have here. Too bad you didn’t exist when I got into ‘the game’ back in the 70′s.
Still, it is an interesting life, if you don’t mind not have family of friends. A wife wouldn’t tolerate your
being gone for years at a time. Friends, at least those I had, found being friends with a professional
killer just too much, always afraid that I would ‘snap’ and start killing people. Got the same reaction
after I came back from Vietnam. Any way, Great site, Great writing.

Roy H.

roby June 9, 2014 at 3:57 pm

i’m lock for a job in ucranean war

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