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597 of 620 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2010
This is a Chinese copy of the K&R brand (German) series "Meridian" compass that sells for $150.

No, this compass does not have the precision German machine detailing of the $150 K&R model. For example, on the K&R compass the bezel (the part you turn) is machined, but on this compass it is cast metal. But the build quality of this $14 compass is surprisingly good - as in, way better than I expected.

If you are looking for a direct sighting compass with 1 degree (or better) accuracy, that is quick to use and virtually foolproof, this is the bargain of the decade.

It does NOT have declination compensation, but then neither does the K&R model for $150.
As the other reviewer noted, the luminance is poor. But the reality is that if it is so dark that you need luminance, then it is also too dark to use a sighting compass anyway - so what's the point?

Is it accurate? - absolutely. Durable? - yes. Would I bank my life on it as my only compass out in the wilderness? - not a chance. Is it a great compass for taking bearings on a family camping trip? - Perfect.

For the price, this is an astounding compass.
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841 of 901 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2011
As mentioned in previous reviews, this is a copy of a German compass. It's sort of neat for 10 dollars, but, and this is the key thing to remember- It's not a good compass, it's a copy of a good compass.

Reading earlier reviews, it's clear that this product has gone through several iterations, paint colors, etc. It seems that the product has been modified over time to make it more appealing to the consumer, as many products are. There is nothing wrong with a product evolving and becoming better. The compass shipped to me has a "thumb ring" or lanyard ring mounted near the hinge, which accomplishes four things:

1. It can be used as a thumb ring, if you have very very small thumbs.
2. You can attach a lanyard to it, to tether the compass to its case or yourself.
3. It prevents the compass from opening fully
4. It prevents the compass from sitting level on a flat surface, for instance a map.

I chose the example of the thumb/lanyard loop/ring because it illustrates the central theme of this product; copies of good things are not always good copies. Or to put it bluntly, folks who know jack about compasses have no business building compasses. Adding features that prevent the compass from being used for its primary purpose are not improvements, they're un-improvements. A compass that won't sit flat on a map is not useful for navigation. You can shoot a bearing, you can follow a heading, but if you can't communicate that data to the map, you're not navigating, you're guessing. You could cut the stupid thumb ring off,like I did.

A few more points leading up to my thesis-

A. This is not a prismatic compass, as it lacks a prism. The German original has a prism, but the manufacturers have determined the prism to be unimportant, or too expensive. A small aperture has been substituted to allow viewing the compass card while taking a bearing. The aperture is located in such a way that performing these two operations together is difficult.
B. The sighting line in the sighting window is not aligned with the centerline of the compass. This would be the second most important criteria of the compass, with the first being an ability to indicate North.
C. The manual included with the compass refers repeatedly to features that the compass is lacking, such as the prism. I can only assume that the manual is for another compass altogether, perhaps a German compass.

OK, here we are, my point, finally. This is a compass, in that it points North, or at least mine does, anyway. Virtually every other feature is rendered somehow useless. All of that excellent German engineering, out the window, for one simple reason- the folks building this compass don't know a thing about compasses. They took a good compass, and copied it, but they didn't even really copy it- they just built something that resembles it.

There are a lot of counterfeit goods on the market, some are decently made and a good value, others are not. I have a Chinese made jacket, a copy of a jacket I could never afford. I like the copy- it's a good copy, and a good jacket. I don't expect it to last forever, but if I take care of it, it may be useful for years. Incidentally, the jacket from which it is copied is now made in China as well, but the price remains the same; five times what I paid for the copy. This fact alone was a major influence on my choice. I have nothing against Chinese manufacturing, so long as the product is useful for its intended purpose and well made.

The other end of counterfeit goods is things like this compass- just something that resembles the original, but is mostly fail. A product designed not to function well, not to satisfy the customer, only to separate them from their money. It's as if they had copied a car, but when you get the car home, you realized that the engine is just a chunk of metal with some wires and hoses sprouting out of it, and the tires aren't really tires, just plastic painted to look like tires. Perhaps the radio would work, so you could sit in your driveway and listen to the radio.

Which is what I would suggest doing with this compass- you could play with it while sitting in your driveway and listening to the radio. It's a toy, a compass-like object, a paperweight that points north. It's actually a crummy paperweight, as it won't sit flat on paper.
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149 of 163 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
I don't know what the past complaints are about. The compass I received is a plain olive-drab, no digital camo pattern. It's clean inside and out, no fingerprints. It has a bubble-level. It sits flat on tables. The back has angle, gradient & width/distance chart imprinted in the plastic.

I made image scans of the booklet that came with it, because the print is very small and somewhat hard to read. Figured the scans might come in handy for others as well, and also to show the compass' functions.

An excellent compass for the very low price.
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243 of 272 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2012
I teach map reading and orienteering. I really did not buy this compass for actual use. It is a piece of crap. I bought it to show students what happens when you buy cheap compasses. It does have one nice feature and that is that you can read the compass dial though the peep hole while aiming at an object. But you cannot lock the dial. There is no way to adjust for declination. Worst of all, the instructions are not only unreadable without a magnifying glass, they provide no useful information. They don't even identify all the parts on the compass. There is a scale on the lens but what it is for or how to use it are not explained. There is a scale on the back but it is unreadable. And the reference to the Army Study Guide is useless. Not only is the path to the instructions wrong, when you get there, there is no information about setting declination. WORST OF ALL, it is TOTALLY INACCURATE.
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94 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2009
I have seen these compasses appear on the market and out of curiousity, I ordered one. I am surprised at its solid build and quality. I almost thought that its a sort of chinese military compass as it has the same digital camo pattern used by the chinese peoples liberation army. It also came in a non marked box with no instructions and labeled made in china. The compass itself also has no markings as to the maker. I took some readings with it and compared them to my brunton compass and they were dead on. I gave it four stars because it only has a luminous mag north arrow with poor luminescence and no luminous cardinal points. The card "face" also moves a little slow in the fluid filled capsule but who needs speed when taking a precision reading. viewing through the aperture also works well and it also has a military mils scale. Decent compass.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I used this once to test it. It worked fine. I had it in my car as part of an emergency kit. After a few months, I took it out to look at it again and noticed it wasn't working. Upon further investigation, the liquid had either drained out or evaporated. In either case, it makes this item useless and not dependable (you sort of want to be able to depend on a very basic compass). I tried unscrewing the magnifying eyepiece to add water and it just leaked out the other side.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2013
This product has many problems with it. Many of which are both manufacturing and advertising issues.

1. This is not a Prismatic compass. It lacks a real prism which can be aimed.
2. This so called "Military Prismatic Compass" is not anywhere near Mil-spec or even basic manufacturing standards.
3. The compass card had scratches on it. They were minor, but noticeable.
4a. There was no fluid to float the compass card or allow the bearing to move freely.
4b. Because the bearing couldn't move freely, I had to coax the compass card into pointing North; even then, I only knew it was pointing North accurately because I know which way is North.
5. The bubble level is definitely not level.
6. The dial doesn't move easily. It's rougher in certain positions to move.
7. The compass won't sit flat on any surface because of the Thumb ring.
8. The lanyard is a joke. Not even a lanyard hole or ring. It is strung through the Thumb ring, which inhibits the ring from closing fully and it inhibits the Lid from opening fully.
9. The pouch that comes with it is cheaply manufactured. The thread is already coming loose.
10. The instructions are for a real Prismatic compass, not this compass. What's worse is the fact that the Seller obviously knows this, because the note in the instructions to just ignore the differences. They didn't even take the short amount of time it would have taken to re-write the instructions for this compass.

Now, obviously this is a knock-off, but that isn't what bothered me the most, and in fact, I don't really care. What really bothers me is that the materials used to make this are worth more than the compass itself. Like others have said, a needle floating on a leaf in water works better than this piece of junk.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2013
As a military item it did not come close.
north (which was south west)
The screws in the bottom were missing (The bottom came off)
It looked to be of great quality but its primary function did not work
The only good this is... it is a AMAZON PRIME which means I can return the item
I got the item at 7pm and by 7am it was in the mail as returned.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2012
First of all, this is an inexpensive version (made in China) of the German K&R Meridain Sighting Compass (similair to the MK 9657), which sells for quite a bit more ($150). I bought this compass for $8.50 and it is the same compass which is being sold for around $28 to $40 on other sights.

Observations:

1) The box and the advertisement state "Military Prismatic Sighting Compass". This compass is not a prismatic compass as there is no prism which folds over the compass card to allow for viewing the compass card and target object simultaneously. It does have a "magnified" adjustable peep hole to accurately view the compass edge dial. Therefore, this is a "LENSATIC COMPASS". That being said, this is a very durable, accurate compass. Mine is dead nuts accurate to true north and, viewing the compass card thru the peephole lens with carefull reading, it is very accurate and usable.

2)The build quality is quite durable and acceptable. The outer dial does glow in the dark illuminating both the compass card and the lensatic sighting. However, it should be noted that this is built to be a $30 compass. Don't expect this to be of the same build quality as a higher priced military/hiking compass.

Conclusion:
If a calibrated, high precision well made compass is required for the serious hiker or adventurer - go for the German K&R Meridian ($150) or the US Military Commenga Compass for around $60. Both of these are proven professional compasses used in the harshest of environments.

If an average, or in this case, a little bit better than average compass is needed for general hiking and camping - for $8.50 (and even at $30) this is an excellent alternative. This is a darned good deal and alot of compass for the money - way better than many of the plastic compasses out there and a great deal more accurate. I'm giving it 5 stars for the value. Highly recommended!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
this product is a piece of crap, don't waste your time or money. send me your address and I will ship you this one.
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