April 7, 2020 By:

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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Hold the compass with compsas 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.

The usual precautions about magnetic objects in the vicinity of the compass should be taken. We can abbreviate to either mils Mag.

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. Tritium is considered safe for external use because it is a weak beta particle emitter – so weak in fact that the radiation it emits cannot penetrate human skin. Rough direction to the cabin.

As long as you can hold the compass level and steady, the exact grip doesn’t matter. You may be tempted to use the MN line on the declination diagram, but be careful. Use the engineer compass to find the direction by lining up the compass with an object.

Use a file to make a permanent notch at each end. In our example at the lake, our cabin is NE of our current location. How to Hold a Lensatic Compass. 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 on our map.

Want a free ebook on Land Navigation? From your known location on the map, you take your protractor, line it up to true north, find the angle to your next point, adjust for declination, and then shoot that angle with your compass. When you use a compass to figure out the direction to a landmark, people call this shooting an azimuth. This one will deal with night and low light navigation, a topic that could span several lengthy articles on its own.


Whenever the luminous magnetic arrow lines up with the luminous short line, you’re following your intended azimuth. 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. If you don’t, visit the page just hyperlinked. I get lots of questions via email from people wanting to know how to use a lensatic compassand I think I’ve covered that pretty well in a series of two posts. Set up correctly, when the bezel mark and needle are aligned, the sighting wire points at the chosen landmark.

Rotate the bezel on the face of the compass until the indicator is directly over the “north” position indicated by an upper case “N”.

We’ll start from the beginning, and go through everything you need to know to find your way over the terrain. 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 the earth.

Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

The north reference is an integral part of any bearing. That’s the heading that you need to move along to reach your desired end or way point. Pay particular attention to the surface your are working on. Using your protractor or other straight edge, you draw a line from your current position in the direction of where you want to go. Many wooden tables also have bolts, nails, screws, and other metal components.

You don’t want to hold it crooked, cockeyed, or off level.

Keep commpass head still and then read the azimuth through the lens bracket. The key to the whole operation is having a map and being able to locate these features on that map.

Make a mark with your pencil at the notch on the end furthest from the sighting wire.


Using a Lensatic Compass

Watch this video on YouTube Another useful method is to orient your map to north by using your 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. We will be plotting our bearing relative to Magnetic North, so there is no need to adjust for a different north reference. The smaller the angle to Magnetic North, the more likely the diagram will compzss a larger angle. In the event that you’re under strict light discipline in a military setting, for example you can simply sup your hands around the compass and the head of the flashlight so lenswtic no light escapes.

Extend your other index finger alongside the compass compasss and wrap the fingers of that hand around the fingers of your first hand.

Plotting a bearing on a map using a round lensatic compass

To use your lensatic compass to find the direction of your intended azimuth which you probably got from your map, using your protractor:. The cover protects the compass from damage and also contains a wire stretched from top to bottom.

Get your own customized topographical maps, built according to your specifications. How to Lensagic the Engineer Compass. 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.

Lensatic Compass Guide

Compsas 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.

Hold your compass in the two-hand hold, steady and level in front of you.