I was looking for a sighting compass and saw the Hi Gear Lensatic Compass in Go Outdoors. At only £5 it looked a bargain.It’s a copy of the US Army issue compass, but it’s similarities are cosmetic, and it doesn’t have the features required to make it a workable compass for field use. It’s marked up in mils, which I use when navigating as it’s more accurate, as well as degrees.
To take a bearing simply unfold the lid so that it is at 90 degrees to the base, and open the sight at the back. Look through the rear aperture and line the ‘foresight line’ on your target, and using the magnifier glance down and read off the bearing. So far, simple enough.
However the compass needle card isn’t damped very well, so it takes a long time to settle. This can be quite annoying. The actual US issue compass has a magnetic lock which can be used to fix a bearing. This compass has no such feature and any attempt to set a bearing involves turning the whole compass, waiting for it to settle and a bit of swearing.
This compass, while sturdily made, is of little use as an actual navigation tool. While it’s cheap, you would be better saving your money and buying a cheap Silva compass than buying this. I’ve given mine to my daughter as a toy, as it has little practical use. One to avoid.