Proper use of a compass is a basic but essential skill in backcountry hiking, which often involves getting off marked trails The lensatic Read more. Learn how to use the lensatic compass used by the US Military. Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass. Sighting the bearing. To determine our location we are going to combine two pieces of information.

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Enroll in my personalized step-by-step video-based online course. Do not move your head, but raise and lower your eyes when taking the azimuth using an engineer compass. Then turn the azimuth to the other direction 90 degrees left, in this caseand move the exact same distance as when you deviated from your original path.

Put that hand up to the compass, steadying the compass by placing your index finger along the compass’s side, and wrapping your thumb between the bezel ring and the rear sight. Turn the compass cover more or less perpendicular to the base.

Though such a simple device has been around for about a thousand years, compasses have not lost their utility.

Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

Want a free ebook lnsatic Land Navigation? Declinations to the west are subtracted from the degrees you are reading, and declinations to the east are added. The bezel clicks as it moves–three degrees for every click. Steady the compass by allowing the hand holding the compass to rest in the cupped palm of your other hand.

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

Check that the dial is floating freely. Line up the sighting groove in the bracket with the wire and an object in the distance. Next Best Ways to Build a Campfire: Note the red number on the dial, which is the degrees under the black index line on the compass face.


Hold the compass with your thumb fully in the thumb ring, and your index finger wrapped around and gripping the circular part of the underneath of the compass’s base. How to Use the Engineer Compass.

Note that we are using the magnetic dial in the compass. You will use these notches to align your compass with a line on the map or to mark the location of a bearing line your are about to draw. Perhaps this is why most military personnel are trained to plot bearings using a protractor on a Coordinate Scale and Protractor tool.

I keep one in my truck and one in my bug-out tp because they can save your life. Use the engineer compass to measure the azimuth to take a bearing or direction. Now, hold the compass level and squarely in front of you. In our example at the lake, our cabin is NE of our current location.

What Are the Parts of a Sextant? Point of Interest In addition to degrees to measure directions in a circle, the military also uses 6, mils.

Whenever the luminous magnetic arrow lines up with the luminous short line, you’re following your intended azimuth. Then, lfnsatic place your protractor on the map with its center point at your current position, making sure the north-south lines on the protractor line up with the north-south lines on the map. It has its advantages and disadvantages over the orienteering compass.

The fact that they glow in the dark especially, if they’re the tritium lebsatic 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 components of a lensatic compass. Just use the tape to mark the angle you need to point the needle in order to be pointing at true north.

Make an “L” shape with the index finger and thumb of your other hand. Hold it square and straight in front of you like you mean business. You can use this feature to set your compass in the dark.

Our bearing was taken from an unknown location, towards a known location. This is known as a back bearing. The lensatic compass is used by the U.

In your case, however, your declination is degrees West, meaning you’ll have to add degrees before you set your compass. With the thumb loop all the way down under the compass, put the thumb of one hand all the way inside the loop, and place the index finger of that same hand along compas side of the compass. Many wooden tables also have bolts, nails, screws, and other metal components.

Set up correctly, when the bezel mark and needle are aligned, the sighting wire points at the chosen landmark. Compss you don’t, visit the page just hyperlinked. Get your own customized topographical maps, built according to your specifications. 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.

Place your thumb through the thumb loop, hold your index finger alongside the body of the compass, and support it with the rest of compasx fingers.