U.S. Military Lensatic Compass


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title U.S. Military Lensatic Compass
Manufacturer Stocker & Yale
Page By Chucky
Page Type Oct 11, 2002 / Oct 6, 2013
Object ID 510
Hits 13652
About the size of a U.S. Dollar Bill when opened, this compass is Olive Drab Green. It has red numbers representing degrees and black numbers representing mils. The tritium in the compass is in all parts required for navigation (bezel, north seeking arrow, "E," "W," and the pointing end. It has a 1:50,000 scale on the left edge measuring up to 6,000 meters. There is a wire and aiming sight for precise azimuths. This unit requires "controlled disposal" due to the radioactive tritium. It is identified with a National Stock Number (NSN) as 6605-01-196-6971. This product is available commerically with some effort. If it does not have the "controlled disposal" warning on the back, it does NOT have the tritium, and is probably pre-Vietnam era, and not an "official" military compass, by today's standards. Cammenga has replaced Stocker and Yale as the primary contractor making these. This was updated on 6 October 2013.


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Chucky - Oct 11, 2002 11:24 am - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
This is a rugged workhorse of a compass that will hold up under the most demanding conditions. The degrees will not rub or wear off as they are protected unlike many civilian versions. The ability to take precise azimuths is readily evident. This compass really shows its advantages when navigating in significant darkness, due to the ease of determining or following an azimuth in total darkness with the tritium. I have used identical compasses in training in jungles (Panama and Honduras), brutal humid cold in Korea, as well as at altitude (Andes in Chile), in combat (Panama 89-90), and I always carry it when conducting civilian mountaineering. A number of independent map stores carry this item, as well as a number of military surplus stores, but be certain to check them for accuracy and defects at the latter. UPDATE October 12, 2003: Stocker and Yale went out of business over a decade ago, however, Cammenga Corporation manufactors the current government issue tritium filled lensatic compass for $89.95 for the general public. It is National Stock Number (NSN) 6605-01-196-6971. It is a superb rough duty compass meant for serious business!

Nikolas_A - Jan 30, 2005 3:21 pm - Voted 3/5

Untitled Review
Ok, this compass has set a standard allright, but it has shortcomings too. First of all, I would never carry such a heavy compass when climbing, I use the much lighter Silva Trekker instead. I also don't particularly like the idea of having radioactive material with me.

I used this compass during my military service but I got to use the Konustar more, because it was more usefull in the dark.

It is pricey and the "controlled disposal" requirement is a hussle.

travisgollaher - Oct 27, 2005 3:57 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
This is still the millitary standard compass. I am currently using this on a regular basis, over hear in Iraq. I have had mine for 4 year's now and can tell you that it is ,very dependable,very durable,and of corse percise. My job in the millitary demand's accuret azimuth's reading's for distance's greater than "35 K". That is a long way. The only complaint is it's weight.

donhaller3 - Mar 13, 2007 6:52 am - Voted 4/5

Military lensatic
Nothing wrong with the real thing other than weight and bulk. I think it is overkill, but it won't fail you. See my Ranger review.

There are a ton of fakes that look like the real thing out there that are generally worthless.

The non-tritium models work as well for what we do. There seem to be a fair number of them liberated or purchased by old guys in my age group.

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