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.

Author: Arasida Negore
Country: Burundi
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Software
Published (Last): 8 January 2010
Pages: 398
PDF File Size: 17.89 Mb
ePub File Size: 20.30 Mb
ISBN: 889-3-66680-969-2
Downloads: 8761
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Netaur

The lensatic compass is used by the U. It has its lensatci and disadvantages over the orienteering compass. One advantage is it’s probably more accurate when it comes to “shooting azimuths,” meaning the act of determining the specific compass direction to a spot on lensaic earth.

Learn Land Navigation Now. Enroll in my personalized step-by-step video-based online course. We’ll start from the beginning, and go through everything you need to know to find your way over the terrain.

com;ass With solid land-navigation skills, you’ll be more confident and “at home” in the wilderness. 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.

Use the illustration above to familiarize yourself with the components of a lensatic compass.

Using a Lensatic Compass

Some of the components’ terms are used in the explanations below. An “azimuth” is pretty much the same as a “bearing. How to Hold a Lensatic Compass. It’s important to hold your compass stable, squarely in front of you, and level. Open the cover completely and pull back the rear sight. 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 one side of the compass.

Make an “L” shape with the index finger and thumb of your other hand. 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.

Now, hold the compass level and squarely in front of you. Imagine that you want to hold it as if it were firmly mounted in that position. You don’t want to hold it crooked, cockeyed, or off level. Hold it square and straight in front of you like you mean business. Two-hand Hold of the Lensatic Compass.

How to Find a Map Direction. To find directions from your map, you’re going to need a protractor, a special instrument used for measuring angles. Looking at the photo below, let’s say you’re at the north end of Sheeler Lake, where the penciled X is.


You want to go cross country directly to Devil’s Wash Basin, a deep and beautiful lake you’ve heard a lot about. Using your protractor or other straight edge, you draw a line from your current position in the direction of where you want to go.

Lensatic Compass Guide

Then, you 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.

You then see where the line ldnsatic drew intersects with the protractor’s numbers, lsnsatic this case degrees. In your case, however, your declination is degrees West, meaning you’ll lensatjc to add degrees before you set your compass.

Be sure you understand magnetic declination. If you don’t, visit the page just hyperlinked. Hold your compass in the two-hand hold, steady and level in front of you. 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.

The bezel clicks as it moves–three degrees for every click. You can use this feature to set your compass in the dark. Your compass is now set. Whenever the luminous magnetic arrow lines up with the luminous short line, you’re following your intended azimuth.

Well, that is, unless you’re doing something silly like holding the compass backwards. But not to you, I trust. In the daytime, you’ll normally find something in the distance on your azimuth and walk to it, so you don’t have to keep staring at the compass. At night, however, or in other periods of limited visibility fog, blizzard, etc keeping these two luminous bits lined up will be your only remedy. 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.

In addition to degrees to measure directions in a circle, the military also uses 6, mils. The degrees are in red, and are the ring’s inner measurements. The mils are in black, and are the outer measurements on the ring. I guess the military needs the extra accuracy now and then say, for example, to precisely place artillery fire. Close is good enough in horsehoes, but I’m hoping exact is the standard for artillery fire. For this task, the lensatic compass really shines.


Let’s say you see a water tower off in the distance. You want to find your position using the technique of partial resection, so you need to know that tower’s bearing with a high degree of accuracy. Turn the compass cover more or less perpendicular to the base.

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

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. Steady the compass by allowing the hand holding the compass to rest in the cupped palm of your other hand. As long as you can hold the compass level and steady, the exact grip doesn’t matter.

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.

Now, read the degree marking under the fixed black index line. You now have your target’s bearing. Determining a Bearing, or “Shooting an Azimuth”. To use your lensatic compass to find the direction of your intended azimuth which you probably got from your map, using your protractor:. Hold the compass steady and level, and up to your face. Turn your entire body as a unit until your predetermined azimuth falls under the fixed black index line. L ook through the sighting slot and find some target a tree, boulder, whatever that lines up with your sighting wire.

Proceed to that target. Keep doing this until you get to where you want to go. Return from Lensatic Compass to Home. Want a free ebook on Land Navigation? My page, fully illustrated book is yours for the asking. Get your own customized topographical maps, built according to your specifications. Point of Interest An “azimuth” is pretty much the same as a “bearing.

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