Essentially winter guard refers to an indoor activity just like color guard. This activity originates from the ceremonies of veteran organizations and military ceremonies. The main point of differentiation between color guard and winter guard is that color guard is usually performed outdoors whereas a winter guard is performed indoors, mostly in a gymnasium or some other indoor facility. The performances that take place in a winter guard mostly make use of recorded music, instead of a live orchestra or a band. Mostly the winter guard performances are usually reserved for competitions which are normally conducted by regional and local associations that make use of criteria developed by Winter Guard International.

There are three primary types of equipment that are used in winter guard namely, rifles, flags, and sabres. Apart from these other items can be used to display more artistic effects. These equipments are used for performances in shows in order to display the extent of a team’s technical ability. In order to give the equipment a more uniform look and to save it from any damage, it is covered with a rubber or electrical tape.


Winter guard flags are the most fundamental pieces of equipment, in this case. These flags are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. The standard size among the flags constitutes a metal pole which is six feet long along with silk which is normally of five feet and follows a custom design.

Swing flags which feature a shorter pole are also available. The length of these poles is considerably shorter but they have a large piece of silk attached to them. Often, these poles are made from plastic which allows them to move smoothly. The main purpose of such flags is to enhance the artistic elements of the performance overall.


Winter guard rifles are molded to look like real rifles, but the rifles that are used during winter guard are made of lightweight hollowed-out or solid wood. The normal weight of the rifle is around 1-2.25 kilograms or 2-5 pounds. The standard length of winter guard rifles is about 30-39 inches. These rifles are primarily composed of 6 parts:

  • The neck is that part of the rifle which normally has the trigger on the original rifle.
  • The bolt is usually made out of metal or plastic and is connected to the body of the rifle with the help of screws.
  • The body of the rifle is its middle section and it has the most mass
  • The strap of the rifle is made of leather and it goes from the butt of the rifle right up to the nose.
  • The clip or the swivel is a piece of metal that is used to attach the strap to the rifle’s body.
  • Lastly, there is the butt of the rifle which is its heavier back end


Winter guard sabres are the more elegant form of equipment in such performances. These sabres have an average length of 30-39 inches which comes to an approximate of about 76-79 centimeters. These sabres are made from a variety of materials including plastic covered metal, plastic, and metal.