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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It’s important to hold your compass stable, squarely in front of you, and level. Now, hold the compass level and squarely in front of you.

Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

You now have your target’s bearing. Two parts of this line include the sighting wire, which you can align with things that are visible on the map, and the center of the rotating compass card. You can use this feature to set your compass in the dark. If you don’t, visit the page just hyperlinked.

To compaass your lensatic compass to find the direction of your intended azimuth which you probably got from your map, using your protractor:. Close is good enough in horsehoes, but I’m hoping exact is the standard for artillery fire.

Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

Refer back to this “reality check” occasionally during plotting to make sure what you are doing makes sense. Extend your other index finger alongside the compass body and wrap the fingers of comass hand around the fingers of your first hand.

Many wooden tables also have bolts, nails, screws, and other metal components. Going back full circle to the specific purposes that compasses are built for, we realize that a military compass would be used fairly frequently to take sightings. The mils are in black, and are the outer measurements on the ring. Rather, it is designed for accuracy and ruggedness. Steady the compass by allowing the hand holding the compass to rest in the cupped palm of your other hand.


It has its advantages and disadvantages over the orienteering 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.

Or make a permanent scratch mark, paint line, or permanent marker line on each end. Our bearing was taken from an unknown location, towards a known location.

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.

You then see where the line you drew intersects with the protractor’s numbers, in this case degrees. The usual precautions about magnetic objects in the vicinity of the compass should be taken. Like any skillit is good to practice navigating with a lemsatic compass before your life depends comlass it.

Some compasses can be adjusted to include declination, so after adjustment, a reading of 0 degrees would point at true north. Some of the components’ terms are used in the explanations below. How to Find a Map Direction.

Lensatic Compasses

Nowusing a straight edge, draw the bearing line and extend it in the desired direction. Hold the compass steady and level, and up to your face. This is known as a back bearing. To determine our location we are going to combine two pieces of information on our map.

At night, however, or in other periods of limited visibility fog, blizzard, etc lendatic these two luminous bits lined up will be your only remedy. compasa


Whenever the luminous magnetic arrow lines up with the luminous short line, you’re lensayic your intended com;ass. Turn your entire body as a unit until your predetermined azimuth falls under the fixed black index line.

The reason you want to set up the compass rather than just keep your eyes on the landmark is because your vision may become obscured. One disadvantage is, unlike the orienteering compass, it’s not easy to make it double as a protractor, meaning you’ll have to carry a protractor with you.

So from now on, when you hear the term lensatic compassthink lens, think accuracy, think ruggedness, and think sighting. An orienteering compass, for example, is designed for ease of use when taking a bearing from a map and heading off at full speed to the next point on a lensatuc.

Using a Lensatic Compass

What is a Lensatic Compass? Newer Post Older Post Home. In addition to degrees to measure directions in a circle, the military also uses 6, mils. Then turn the azimuth to the other direction 90 degrees compaass, in this caseand move the exact same distance as when you deviated from your original path.

If your compass does not have these notches, you should add them. Most people assume that lensatic compass is the “proper” term for all hand-held compasses, but that it not the case.

The bezel clicks as it moves–three degrees for every click. Want a free ebook on Land Navigation?