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. Use a compass to explore, navigate, map terrain and travel around the Engineers, the engineer compass is also called a lensatic compass.

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To uow this we need to establish an accurate Magnetic North reference line on the map. Your compass is now set. Turn your entire body as a unit until your predetermined azimuth falls under the fixed black index line. It has replaced radium in recent decades after it was discovered that radium exposure is linked to an increased occurrence of bone cancer.

Lensatic Compass Guide

Though such a simple device has been around for about a thousand years, compasses have not lost their utility. It may take a while to get it, and you should practice in a safe location before relying on one, but few devices are more able to help you navigate your way to safety. Use a straight edge aligned with the sighting wire and central pivot point. Close is good enough in horsehoes, but I’m hoping exact is the standard for artillery fire.

Lensxtic the compass in a horizontal manner until the azimuth is directly beneath the black index line on the face. So with that in mind, I’ll start a series of short articles that each focus on a single tip for getting the most out of your compass. Tilt the lens bracket approximately 30 degrees from the perpendicular position of the compass.


Using a compass we can sight a bearing jse our cabin across the lake. Open the cover completely and pull back the rear sight. The declination diagram may not be drawn with an accurate angle, or the angle may not represent the current declination. There’s a lot of room for error and mistakes, and it takes time, which is sometimes a very precious commodity.

Putting the two in a opaque bag or enclosure is effective as well. It has a half life of about 12 years. The normal method to transfer angles from your lensatic compass to your map and back is with a protractor and a pencil.

Start by putting your thumb through the thumb lenstic and putting your index finger alongside copass compass, similar to the cheek method. Use the illustration above to familiarize yourself with the components of a lensatic compass.

Be sure you understand magnetic declination. The bezel clicks as it moves–three degrees for every click. The azimuth is the angular measurement of an object’s direction in relation to the viewer.

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

In order to detect any errors we may have made, it is recommended that you plot at least one additional bearing to a different known location.

So the tritium will continue emitting “light” for quite a long time before it goes completely dark. 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. I keep one in my truck and one in my bug-out bag because they can save your life. 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.


Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

Want a free ebook on Land Navigation? Next, do the same for the second point. Keep your head still and then read the azimuth through the lens bracket.

Get your own customized topographical maps, built according to your specifications. When we plot it on the map, we will start plotting at the known location, and extend the bearing line back towards compaas unknown location.

Use a file to make a permanent notch at each end. L ook through the sighting slot and find some target a tree, boulder, whatever that lines up with your sighting wire. The mils are in black, and are the outer measurements on the ring. lensativ

Lensatic Compass Guide

Some of these compasses have a notch at each end of the housing along this line. An “azimuth” is pretty much the same as a “bearing. They give the basics of how they work, how to shoot an azimuth, how to get a bearing, and so on. Whenever the luminous magnetic arrow lines up with the luminous short line, you’re following your intended azimuth. If you don’t, visit the page just hyperlinked.

Well, that is, unless you’re doing something silly like holding the compass backwards.