The QGM is awarded for "exemplary acts of bravery" by civilians and members of the Armed Forces where purely military honours are not normally granted.
The QGM has been awarded posthumously since 30 November 1977. Since then, the Queen's Police Medal for Gallantry and the Colonial Police Medal for Gallantry have been discontinued as posthumous awards, with the QGM, or the George Medal, being awarded instead.
To the end of 2013 there have been 1,044 QGMs awarded, including 19 second award bars. The armed forces received 525 awards and civilians, including police, 519 including 120 to the Royal Ulster Constabulary, almost twice as many as any other group. Thirty eight of the awards were posthumous, and 24 were to women.
The QGM is silver and circular in shape, 36 mm in diameter, with the following design:
The obverse shows the crowned effigy of the Queen, with the inscription "ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F.D.".
The reverse bears the image of a St Edward's Crown above the words 'The Queen's Gallantry Medal' in four lines, flanked by laurel sprigs.
The 32 mm wide ribbon is of three equal stripes of dark blue, pearl grey and dark blue with a narrow rose pink stripe in the centre. While awards to women generally have the ribbon fashioned into a bow, female recipients in the armed forces or civilian uniformed services have the medal presented with the ribbon in the same style as for male recipients.
The name of the recipient is impressed on the rim of the medal. When awarded to members of the Armed Forces, service number, rank, and unit are also included.
A further award of the QGM is indicated by a silver bar ornamented with laurel leaves worn on the ribbon. When the ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette denotes award of the bar.
John Leonard Graham GM. Detective Senior Constable, Queensland Police Service. Awarded in 1976 for the rescue of 36 occupants of the Coolangatta Hotel, after an arsonist set the hotel on fire on New Years Day, 1975. Anthony Lacon and Ian Rogers also received the QGM for this rescue. Graham had previously been awarded the George Medal for bravery in 1973, and was subsequently awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct.
Daniel Hellings, a 19-year-old Private from the 2nd Mercian Regiment of the British Army. Awarded in 2010 for uncovering several IED bombs in a combat situation in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. 
Anthony David Lacon (now Hewett-Lacon), a 23-year-old Queensland Police officer. Awarded in 1976 for multiple rescues from the Coolangatta Hotel fire, when John Graham and Ian Rogers also received the QGM.
Stephen Oake, an anti-terrorism detective who was given the award posthumously after being murdered in Crumpsall, Manchester by Islamic terrorist Kamel Bourgass. Oake had prevented the al-Qaeda member from attacking his colleagues, despite being unarmed himself and having suffered eight serious stab wounds.
Ian Kenneth Rogers, a 21-year-old Queensland Police officer. Awarded in 1976 for multiple rescues from the Coolangatta Hotel fire, when John Graham and Anthony Lacon also received the QGM.
Ranger Cyril J. Smith, 2nd Bn Royal Irish Rangers; killed by a proxy bomb at a border checkpoint at Killeen, County Armagh, Northern Ireland on 24 October 1990. A Catholic man, Patrick Gillespie, who had been a civilian employee of the British Army, was forced to drive where the soldiers would be, or his two sons would be shot. He was to tell the soldiers they had forty minutes to get clear but within seconds of reaching the checkpoint, the bomb exploded. Smith, also a Catholic, died trying to warn colleagues and was awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal posthumously.
Dominic Troulan. Awarded in May 1996 for service in Northern Ireland. After service in the Royal Marines and British Army, in June 2017 he became the first living British civilian to be awarded the George Cross since 1974 and the first holder of both the George Cross and the QGM.
Stanley MacLeod. Diving Superintendent on the Piper Alpha Oil Platform for leading 19 men to safety after the North Sea structure exploded.
^ abcAmong 40 QGMs to Australians, gazetted after the creation of Australian Honours System but before 5 October 1992, when any future awards to Australians are treated by Australia as foreign awards. Accounts of all Australian recipients is included in For Exemplary Bravery: The Queens Gallantry Medal by Nick Metcalfe, see sources below.
^Hellings, Daniel. "Chester soldier's gallantry medal for heroic rescue". The Standard. Natalie Barnett. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
^"Honours for Thai cave rescue divers". BBC News. 28 December 2018.
^Bunyan, Nigel (5 January 2009). "Detective murdered by al-Qaeda terrorist given Queen's Gallantry medal" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.