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399 of 405 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2012
I was one of those guys who served in the the early 70's and trained on a similar lensatic compass with basically the same specs as the current (1992+) contractor (Cammenga.) Here's some caveats...

1. Tritium is not a neon glow which backlights your compass and can serve as an emergency flashlight or locator beacon. Only the basic indicator lines and East and West markers glow - faintly. The picture that most vendors (and Cammenga as well) use to illustrate the 3H Tritium lighting is grossly exaggerated.

2. Whoever posted "my compass was made in 1977" didn't bother to take the time to fact-check with the manufacturer. The date code on my Cammenga compass is 12-01-77. Per Cammenga, this indicates it was manufactured in January of 2012. The "77" is a standardized code indicated it was made for civilian market distribution. Simple as that.

3. Make sure you're capable of either learning, or are already skilled at the use of a lensatic compass. When you take a sighting it doesn't get held out in front of you, it goes up on your cheek. Also, if you suffer from any sight issues, as I do with reading glasses, bifocals, etc, you might have difficulty using the magnifying glass viewer. Using a lensatic compass with eyeglasses is a bit tricky. It's not designed for old guys who can't read their newspaper without 'playing the trombone' to sight in the print..

4. The Cammenga 3H is the gold standard for compasses. Anything less is a dangerous compromise. Can you do without the Tritium? Sure. Until you need it.

5. Cammenga offers some great map & compass / orienteering resources, as does the US Army, for free. Don't pay for reprints which are available online for free. After all, your tax dollars helped to pay for the Army field manuals... why not use them? Simply Google "US Army Field Manual for [xyz subject]." There's lots of sources out there. Save yourself $15 bucks on a reprinted book.

6. The vendor who sold me the compass, OutdoorBunker.com, shipped it quickly and safely. Couldn't ask for more.

Cammenga FAQ page explaining date codes:
[...]

Excellent orienteering resource can be found at:
[...]
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2014
Excellent dry lensatic compass. This is an excellent unit if you know how and why it is used. This is the civilian-issued version of the US military M-1950 3H field compass (MIL-PRF-10436N). Cammenga runs each batch of these through rigorous testing to conform with military specifications (including shock resistance and magnetic accuracy). The compass is identical to military issued models. The company who makes the compass, Cammenga, was started in 1992 to primarily manufacture the model 3H compass for the US military. I love having both degree and mil scales.

Build quality is very good (gotta love aluminum). I love having the tritium- it's not mega bright but is sufficient and is necessary if you're navigating at night. The unit I got is marked with 3H (for tritium) on the bottom. It does not have the radiation marker that you often see with tritium compasses. Ignore any reviews where people are claiming they were made in 1977. On these compasses, you can find the manufacture date and lot number inside the compass next to the site wire in the format ## ## ## (Printed in black). My compass is marked "14 09 77". This means it was manufactured September (09) 2014 (14). The last two numbers indicate the lot number; however, the "77" is a generic number that means the unit was NOT made under government contract. I was glad the seller sent me a newly manufactured version (considering tritium is only good for 10-12 years).

I docked a star because the site wire is slightly crooked (which does affect siting efficiency). The rotating bezel is a bit flimsy/loose and doesn't click (it does stay in place well enough though). the included pouch is pretty ugly and awkward (it is military issue as well though). The design of this compass does make it difficult to align the bezel properly due to parallax (especially if you are facing south). Also, there is only a 1:50k scale, so if you're in the US and still stuck with 1:24k scale topo maps, you'll need to have an additional aid/scale to get UTM grid coordinates. If you're cheap like me, you can put some waterproof tape along the straight edge and make your own marks for 1:24k scale.

Oh yeah. There is also a 1 year warranty by Cammenga. Cammenga is very easy to get a hold of and answer questions via phone. They actually have a compass rental program for Boy Scout groups (and other youth groups). You have to call to get the details of what they offer. I think they would rent out their baseplate compasses for $15, with the option to purchase the compasses if you wanted to keep them for your Boy Scout troop.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2011
I ordered this compass on March 29 and received when promised April 5. I won't get lost with this compass. I used one like it while serving in the Marines. I've been wanting a compass for a while. I intended to buy this item from a military website until I compared it with Amazon. Where the item sold for $15 less.
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96 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2011
Eventually you're going to end up in a situation where your GPS is worthless. Whether the batteries die, or your in a canyon or heavy forest, or the satellites come crashing out of the sky, eventually you'll need an alternate tool for navigation. Time to bust out the old map and compass.

There's a reason the U.S. military chose this. This is one area where they didn't go with the lowest bidder. This is one of the most expensive compasses you can buy, and for good reason.

The case is heavy, the sighting wire is heavier duty than any other model available, and the liquid is freeze proof for continuous operations in colder temps.

The tritium means it will glow for a good ten years or more without being exposed to light. Perfect for night navigation.

Pair this with a good protractor, UTM grid and a topographic map and you should be able to find your way regardless of any other technology.

Critical for your survival, camping, and hiking kits.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2012
Very nice and very bright. Just like the ones I used back when I was 13-Bravo. I don't remember the one I had back when I was in U.S. ARMY Field Artillery being this bright, but those were probably fairly old. Very accurate if you need to shoot an azimuth and built like a tank to boot. Mil-spec.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2010
This compass is exactly like the one I used while in service! It is durable, rugged and grunt friendly!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2013
It is exactly as advertised and exactly as expected. Durable, tritium inserts are bright, dial is locked by the closing of the lenspiece, and is altogether the best lensatic compass you can get.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2014
Received the compass in a timely manner, tritium illumination was strong. However, I tested the compass on a testing post that was supposed to read 100 degrees (plus or minus 3 degrees). The compass read 80 degrees. I checked at another test post that was supposed to read 1 degree; the compass read 350 degrees. I will seek a refund.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2013
What I received was an obvious Chinese knockoff. Inspect your compass. Based on the reviews, some people get what they paid for and others do not.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2010
This product is something I have wanted for some time. Tried some of the cheaper versions and they weren't bad, but this one is very well built. It's like a mini tank in your hand. Hefty and robust. Initial testing: seems quite accurate! Can't wait to hike out and use it often!

The tritium is the only way to go. It costs substantially more that the, I believe phosphorus units, but it is worth it! Had installed tritium sights on one of my firearms and they were always visible. No need to "charge" them with daylight.

Even though I have a couple GPS units, this requires more skill to use, but needs no batteries.

The retailer Paint Ball Stuff 4 Less was very prompt to ship and to answer my email inquiry! Had the item just a few days after the order was shipped. Very quick!
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