How to Use a Lensatic Compass

This guide on how to use a lensatic compass covers taking, setting and following a bearing. The techniques described below should work for most if not all the commercially available products.

How Bearings are Taken

Hold the compass and remove the lock cover halfway. The compass card has to be at an angle of 90 degrees. Position the lens arm at an angle of 45 degrees. Place your thumb in the thumb hook; that will keep the compass stable. Now you just have to find the object. Make adjustments to the sighting wire.

Your goal is to have it at the target object’s center. Move the lens down or upwards until the degree mark is correct. That is how you can read the compass card degree marking. The bearings are read in MILS or degrees; the choice is up to you.

Setting up a Bearing

Just follow the instructions given above. Next, set the bezel marking along with the direction arrow pointing north. The indicators are on the compass card. The orientation is ready after the directional arrow and bezel markings are set. Knowing this configuration is necessary for anyone who wants to learn how to use a lensatic compass. Use the sighting wire indicators and follow the course.

To Follow Bearings

Use the directions given earlier to set up the compass. Then choose a destination ahead that you will use as a point of reference. Depending on the path, the reference may vanish due to trees or other obstructions. In that case, rely on the compass. If necessary, you can set up another bearing.

Other Information

As the name suggests, this compass is used for navigating land and making precise bearings. This device is also used for artillery by the military. One of the reasons for its popularity is its accuracy. The typical lensatic has a ruled side and square in shape. This model is very useful for soldiers who have to do things like gauge positioning.


When studying how to use a lensatic compass, it helps to know its major components. The most important parts are the lens, cover and base. The cover protects the device while the base holds all detachable components. The directions are depicted in the device.

As these facts show, a lensatic compass is not that difficult to use. With a bit of practice, you will have no problems making it work for you.

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