PRECISION COMPASS. * LENSATIC *. PROVEN • RUGGED ACCURATE. CAMMENGA. FAX ( ANILINE AVE. HOLLAND, MICHIGAN Learn how to use the lensatic compass used by the US Military. I get lots of questions via email from people wanting to know how to use a lensatic compass, and I think I’ve covered that pretty well in a series of two posts.

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How to Read an Engineer Compass | Sciencing

You can use this feature to set your compass in the dark. 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 only problem is that this process takes time and tools. Now your map’s true north is lined up to your local magnetic north, and you’ve just completely circumvented the whole problem of declination also removing a potential source of error since declination changes with time. Let’s say you see a water tower off in the distance. 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.

Place your thumb in the loop on the side of the compass. Looking at the photo below, let’s say you’re at the north end of Sheeler Lake, where the penciled X is. Open the engineer compass until the cover is 90 degrees to the compass case. 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.

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. Want a free ebook on Land Navigation? 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.


Have no fear, the science here is sound a proven. The bezel clicks as it moves–three degrees for every click. Hold it square and straight in front of you like you mean business. Raise the compass up to your eye. Use the engineer compass to find the direction by lining up the compass with an object. I’ll get around to that one of these days. Learn Land Navigation Now.

This is a low level radioactive isotope that is used in a multitude of applications where self-powered illumination is necessary. Typically these features are prominent, such as a hilltop, a man-made structure, or an intersection, but they can be more nebulous if you’re in a tight spot.

That line should intersect reasonable close to where the other lines crossed. Whenever the luminous magnetic arrow lines up with the luminous short line, you’re following your intended azimuth.

In the last article we talked about declination, and how magnetic north and true north will vary depending on location and surrounding features. Do not move your head, but raise and lower your eyes when taking the azimuth using an engineer compass. There’s a better way, I believe, from both a time and an accuracy standpoint.

As long as you can hold the compass level and steady, the exact grip doesn’t matter. After reading those two articles anyone should be able to go out and perform basic land navigation with a map and lensatic compass. Line up the sighting groove in the bracket with the wire and an object in the distance.

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.

Hold your compass in the two-hand hold, steady and level in front of you. The normal method to transfer angles from your lensatic compass to your map and back is with a protractor and a pencil. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. The more back azimuths you can draw, the more accurate your location will be.

Point of Interest An “azimuth” is pretty much the comapss as a “bearing. Keep doing this until you get to where you want to go.


Lensatic Compass Guide

The back azimuth is nothing more than the opposite direction of the reading you’re taking. Those lines will intersect at some point if you’re done your resection properly. 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.

Take your lensatic compass and open it up all the way so it is one flat line. If the tritium in your compass has become dim such that you can’t read the compass at night, you can “charge” it up with any flashlight.

That’s the heading that you need to move along to reach your desired end or way point. Hold a compass level and steady to prevent the needle from touching the sides of the globe or the dial face. You now have your target’s bearing. It has replaced radium in recent decades after it was discovered that radium exposure is linked to an increased occurrence of bone cancer.

How to Hold a Lensatic Compass. How to Find a Map Direction. To check your process, and even add a little more accuracy to it, find another feature and perform the same steps. That is, take the azimuth you recorded and subtract degrees from it, or mills if using a military lensatic compass.

Using your protractor or other straight edge, you draw a line from your current position in the direction of where you want to go.

Using a Lensatic Compass

Use a compass to explore, navigate, map terrain and travel around the world. From here it’s simple.

Turn the cokpass cover more or less perpendicular to the base. We’ll start from the beginning, and go through everything you need to know to find your way over the terrain.