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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Turn your entire body as a unit until your predetermined azimuth falls under the fixed black index line. Refer back to this “reality check” occasionally during plotting to make sure what you are doing makes sense.

For this task, the lensatic compass really shines.

Using a Lensatic Compass

But not to you, I trust. Unless you are stranded on a deserted islandknowing how to use a compass just may save your life! Then look at their map, slap the compass down, twist the house to find the bearing to their next point, and take off running. It has its advantages and disadvantages over the orienteering compass.

Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

The term ” lensatic compass ” is is used most frequently in the military, and only in reference to one specific model of compass. Make sure you include it when you say or write a bearing. Generally once you have drawn lensatiic own Magnetic North line, you will not need to do this again on this map sheet for many years.


You can use this feature to set your compass in the dark. A lensatic compass, also called a military compass, is a more advanced and useful version of a magnetic compass.

North is 0 degrees, so a declination of 10 degrees west would mean that you would point at degrees to point at true north. Using your protractor or other straight edge, you draw a line from your current position in the direction of where you want to go. Imagine that you want to hold it as if it were firmly mounted in that position. We will be orienting our map with Magnetic North. Proceed to that target.

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

There are several different types of hand held compasses that are designed for specific uses, and a lensatic compass is only one of them. Or make a permanent scratch mark, paint line, or cmopass marker line on each end. Newer Post Older Post Home. Andrew SkillsSurvival. Be sure you understand magnetic declination. The location we sighted the bearing to the cabin is where lensxtic back bearing intersects the lake shore.

You don’t want to hold it crooked, cockeyed, or off level. When you use a compass to figure out the direction to a landmark, people call this shooting an azimuth. The need to carefully orient the map, and the precautions about metal in the vicinity of the lensatlc makes this type of plotting more difficult than most other methods.

Now, read the degree marking under the fixed black index line. A round lensatic compass has no straight edge to align. Keep doing this until you get to where you want to go. Watch this video on YouTube Another useful method is to orient your map to north by using your compass.


Lensatic Compasses

The smaller the angle to Magnetic North, the more likely the diagram will show a larger angle. 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.

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. 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. Like any skillit is good to practice navigating with a lensatic compass before your life depends on it.

Close is good enough in horsehoes, but I’m hoping exact is compxss standard for artillery fire. For more information on forward and back bearings, see our tutorial on forward and back bearings. The north cimpass is an integral part of any bearing.