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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So, take your map and lay it down on a flat surface i.

Perhaps this is why most military personnel are trained to plot bearings using a protractor on a Coordinate Scale and Protractor tool. Make sure you include it when you ho or write a bearing.

The mils are in black, and are the outer measurements on the ring. When hiking, use a map to help you navigate unfamiliar terrain. Don’t even consider using the hood or tailgate of a vehicle. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. 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.

Using a Lensatic Compass

The degrees are in red, and are the ring’s inner measurements. 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. 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.

Next, do the same for the second point. Rotate the lensztic on elnsatic face of the compass until the indicator is directly over the “north” position indicated by an upper case “N”. Extend your other index finger alongside the compass body and wrap the fingers of that hand around the fingers of your first hand. That lensattic you skip the math, the protractor, the lines, and get it all done quicker. 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.


Our bearing was taken from an lensztic location, towards a known location. It’s important to hold your compass stable, squarely in front of you, and level. North is 0 degrees, so a declination of 10 degrees west would mean that you would point at degrees to point ohw true north. Then turn the azimuth to the other direction 90 degrees left, in this caseand move the exact same distance compaas when you deviated from your original path.

The key to the whole operation is having a map and being able to locate these features on that map.

Watch this video hoa YouTube There are different ways of holding the compass. 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. With solid land-navigation skills, you’ll be more confident and “at home” in the wilderness.

The more back azimuths you can draw, the more accurate your location will be. Using your protractor or lensatoc straight edge, you draw a line from your current position in the direction of where you want to go. Refer back to this “reality check” occasionally during plotting to make sure what you are doing makes sense. Sometimes even a metal belt buckle can interfere with a compass, which can result in an incorrect reading.

I keep one in my truck and one in my bug-out bag because they can save your life. Use the illustration above to familiarize yourself with the components of a lensatic compass. I get lots of questions via email from people wanting to know how to lensaic a lensatic compassand I think I’ve covered that pretty well in a series of two posts. Steady the compass by allowing the hand holding the compass to rest in the cupped palm of your other hand.

The declination diagram may not be drawn with an accurate angle, or the angle may not represent the current declination. The back azimuth is nothing more than the opposite direction of the reading you’re taking.


If you don’t, visit the page just hyperlinked. Tilt the lens bracket approximately 30 degrees from the perpendicular position of the compass. A compass is a floating magnetic needle that always points toward a magnetic north pole. Face the object that you want to measure using the engineer compass. Using a compass we can sight a bearing to our cabin across the lake. The only problem is that this process takes time and tools.

Note the red number on the dial, which is the degrees under the black index line on the compass face. There’s a lot of room for error and mistakes, and it takes time, which is sometimes a very precious commodity. Hold your compass in the two-hand hold, steady and level in front of you.

Use the engineer compass to measure the azimuth to take a bearing or direction. 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.

Turn the compass cover more or less perpendicular to the base. Using a protractor aligned with either True or Grid North depending on what the magnetic declination you are given is referenced tomake a mark on the map at the desired value. Use a file to make a permanent notch at each end. Looking at the photo below, let’s say you’re at the north end of Sheeler Lake, where the penciled X is.

Lensatic Compass Guide

You want to find your compwss using the technique of partial resection, so you need to know that tower’s bearing with a high degree of accuracy. Two-hand Hold of the Lensatic Compass.

She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. Keep doing this until you get to where you want to go. Take your hlw compass and open it up all the way so it is one flat line.