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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We can abbreviate to either mils Mag. 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. Next Best Ways to Build a Campfire: Use the engineer compass to find the direction by lining up the compass with an object.

How to Find a Map Direction.

Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

L ook through the sighting slot and find some target a tree, boulder, whatever that lines up with your sighting wire. Depending on which text editor you’re pasting into, you might have to add the italics to the site name. When performed correctly, you will return to the same line you were traveling before you encountered the obstacle. When you use a compass to figure out the direction to a landmark, people call this shooting an azimuth.

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.

Determining a Bearing, or “Shooting an Azimuth”. How to Use the Engineer Compass.


Open the cover completely and pull back the rear sight. How to Read an Engineer Compass.

Mark the position of the notches to be with a pencil. Open the engineer compass until the cover is 90 degrees to the compass case. Rough direction to the cabin.

How to Read an Engineer Compass | Sciencing

Some of these compasses have a notch at each end of the housing along this line. Make a mark with your pencil at the notch on the end furthest from the sighting wire.

Use a file to make a permanent notch at each end. Extend your other index finger alongside the compass body and wrap the fingers of that hand around the fingers of your first hand.

Keep your head still and then read the azimuth through the lens bracket. Whenever the luminous magnetic arrow lines up with the luminous short line, you’re following your intended azimuth. Then use a straight edge to draw and label the Magnetic North Reference line. Return from Lensatic Compass to Home.

To use your lensatic compass to find the direction lensatoc your intended azimuth which you probably got from your map, using your protractor:. The degrees are in red, and are the ring’s inner measurements.

The north reference is an integral part of any bearing. For this task, the lensatic compass really lensatif. 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. Use the engineer compass to measure the azimuth to take a bearing or direction.


Close is good enough in horsehoes, but I’m hoping exact is the standard for artillery fire. Note the red number on the dial, which is the degrees under the black index line on the compass face. The older the map, the more likely the declination shown in the diagram is no longer correct.

In addition to degrees to measure directions in a circle, the military also uses 6, mils. Using a compass we can sight a bearing to our cabin across the lake.

Generally once you have drawn your own Magnetic North line, you will not need to do this again on this map sheet for many years. Use the illustration above to familiarize yourself with the components of a lensatic compass. 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.

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

One of the difficulties inherent to using a compass is that compss north is not the same as true north. Andrew SkillsSurvival. 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.