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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Baseplate and Military Compasses

Using a compass is easier than it sounds. I have a friend that I hike with in the mountains of New Hampshire who asked if there was a compass class for dummies that she could take. To back up many people use gps devices these days and they work great in many situations. Compasses are considered by many old or antiquated technology. 

However there are those of us that still use them actively and here is why. Compasses always point north unless exposed to heavy magnetic fields and they do not have a chip in them to tell people where you are and if you are in a situation that is heavily wooded they still work and if the satelites go down they still work. 

Silva Polaris 177I have used both base plate compasses and military lensatic compasses and found them equally dependable and accurate. A baseplate compass like the one shown is has several scales for measuring, the needle which points north and an adjustable declination, very simple, very light and efficient. My personal compass is a silva 1-2-3 the most basic model in the line and has always performed for me very well. All of these models have luminous dots if you were to shine a flashlight or headlamp on them.

Lensatic compasses or sighting compasses are similar but the cover generally opens and closes. The point being that you can open the compass to the point for being able to sight in on the direction that is desired and look down often though a lens at the degree reading. Note on compass face are the degree graduations. Military compasses can have degree graduations of +/- one to two degrees where as my simple base plate compass has graduations of +/- 2 degrees which is more than accurate. Also note that this style ofcompass has a radioactive paint painted on it so that it glows in the dark or some have phosphorus in the dials so that they store up light and gradually release it.

All of the factors mentioned come into play how the compass sights, the degree of accuracy in the graduations, visibility of the compass at night. 

Questions email info@vtarmynavy.com or call 800-448-7965.

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