At first glance, the lensatic compass can seem a bit daunting. Covered in various markings and with multiple moving parts, it looks as though it. Learn how to use the lensatic compass used by the US Military. I have half a dozen navigation apps on my phone, so I rarely get lost! But phones have several major weaknesses: battery life and signal reception. Both of those.

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While speed is important in many tactical situations, a lensatic compass is not necessarily designed for speed. We can abbreviate to either mils Mag. Most people assume that lensatic compass is the “proper” term for all hand-held compasses, but that it not the case. The need to carefully orient the map, and the precautions about metal in the vicinity of the compass makes this type of plotting more difficult than most other methods.

Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

When we plot the bearing on our map, our location will be where the line between our location and the cabin crosses the shoreline of the lake. Let’s say you see a water tower off in the distance. Using a compass we can sight a bearing to our cabin across the lake. Watch this video on YouTube Another useful method is to orient your map to north by using your compass.

Be sure you understand magnetic declination. Turn the compass cover more or less perpendicular to the base. Refer back to this “reality check” occasionally during plotting to make sure what you are doing makes sense. You now have your target’s bearing.


It has its advantages and disadvantages over the orienteering compass. Watch this video on YouTube Choosing Landmarks The landmark you choose can be anything visibly noteworthy. The lensatic compass is used by the U. But not to you, I trust. Imagine that you want to hold it as if it were lnsatic mounted in that position.

The fact that they glow in the dark especially, if they’re the tritium kind which will glow for years without having to be exposed to light means you can use your compass without a light for night navigation.

Use the illustration above to familiarize yourself with the elnsatic of a lensatic compass. The location we sighted the bearing to the cabin is where the back bearing intersects the lake shore. There are several different types of hand held compasses that are designed for specific uses, and a lensatic compass is only one of them.

Though such a simple device has been around for about a thousand years, compasses have not lost their utility. Perhaps this is why most military personnel are trained to plot bearings using a protractor on a Coordinate Scale and Protractor tool. Using our compass we have sighted a bearing to our cabin of mils from Magnetic North. Holding the compass up to your face, angle the rear sight so that you can read the compass dial clearly through the lens while peering through the sighting slot and lining your distant target the water tower, in this case up with the sighting wire.

How to Hold a Lensatic Compass. In your case, however, your declination is degrees West, meaning you’ll have to add degrees before you set your compass.


How to Use a Lensatic Military Compass – Navigate Safely in the Wild

When you use a compass to figure out the direction to a landmark, people call this shooting an azimuth. Making sure you don’t move to change directions, turn the glass compass housing until the short luminous line is directly lined up with the luminous magnetic arrow.

Then look at their map, slap the compass down, twist the house to find the bearing to their next point, and take off running. Learn Land Navigation Now.

You may be tempted to use the MN line on the declination diagram, but be careful. I keep one in my truck and one in my bug-out bag because they can save your life. Place your thumb through the thumb loop, hold your index finger alongside the body of the compass, and support it with the rest of your fingers.

Whether laying in artillery, taking a sighting to a target, or performing a resection to figure out how far you’re off course, the lensatic compass excels at sightings and accuracy. Point of Interest An “azimuth” is pretty much the same as a “bearing.

Some of these compasses have a notch at each end of the housing along this line. A lensatic compass, also called a military compass, is a more advanced and useful version of a magnetic compass.

Instead you will use an imaginary line that runs down the center of the compass.