How to Use a Lensatic Compass

Using a lensatic compass is not very difficult. However, knowing about the basic components is important though.

Basic Components

A lensatic lens has three components: the base, lens and the cover. The base contains the internal workings of the device. The cover shows the wiring and points used for navigation and also act as a protective shield. The main feature is the dial showing the compass. On the other hand, the lens has a floating dial. These are the complete features of course but some have more features. However these are the basic features. Now when all the basic have been known, the next step is to learn to use a lensatic compass.

Lensatic Compass How to Use a Lensatic Compass


Open the device setting the compass card at an angle if 90 degrees. The lens has to be lifted to an angle of 45 degrees. For making it easy to handle, set the thumb on the hook and check to make that the hook is set down before doing this step.

When the hook has been set, select the target. Now modify the wiring to make it aligned with the center of the target. Then read the compass card. The lens can be adjusted if needed. It can be read in the degrees or MILS. The eyes must not be moved away form the goal.

Setting the Bearing

This has to be started by setting up the device as stated before. The bezel line has to be now checked to make sure it is at the north. Set the direction right on north for using a lensatic compass. When the bezel and arrow have been aligned, the direction is now set and the sighting wire is also set. Now the directions have to be followed.

Following the Directions

A landmark has to be selected first which will act as an indicator point. Though this is only for setup purposes. Even if it disappears, the right location will be pinpointed by the device. This can even be used for creating a new reference landmark.


When the device is used for establishing the location, it is called resection. A map must be in place for using this feature. Some landmarks like trees or monuments can be observed. For using a lensatic compass, the azimuth has to be marked from your location to the selected landmark. It should be noted that the rear part of this is the orientation opposite to you.

180 degrees has to be subtracted from this measurement. The process has to be repeated for the other point. Get the set lines and the map along the reference markers or features that have been made. The lines have to be illustrated on the azimuth angle. Eventually, the points will meet. This is the location.

Tips and Caution

Some of the devices are not easy to use. Some time has to be spared to study its features. If it is still being studied, don’t go out and depend on it for finding the directions. It is a great tool for navigation but its functions have to be known first. The biggest challenge is probably reading the military units but one will get used to it in due time.

This is a popular device in the military. However it can also be utilized by ordinary people for a variety of uses. It will serve you well once you learn to use this great navigation device.

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