Price Paid: $32
The M-5 is a standard baseplate or protractor compass, also known in the U.S. as the 'Contender' or 'Smokekiller' model, and is in use by the U.S. Forest Service. (Outside North America the M-5 is known as the 'NATO' model and is issued to U.K. land forces along with the Silva of Sweden Type 4).
Unlike some other compasses, the M-5 has a long 5" rectangular baseplate that makes it easy to draw course bearings on a map. The compass bezel is fitted with gripping blocks to make it easy to rotate, and the compass dial is printed in easy-to-see raised degree markings. Those degree marks, incidentally, are printed on a large and VERY luminous plastic which makes them easy to read at night or in low light. The clear acrylic baseplate has a magnifier and a large luminous direction of travel arrow, and the rear corners are nicely radiused to facilitate comfortable holding. The M-5 also has adjustable declination using a small screw mechanism similar to Silva compasses, and it operates precisely and easily. Like other Suunto compasses, the M-5 has a quality needle mounted on a jeweled bearing. My example seems very well built with no 'slop' noted. Despite its length it is very lightweight and fits easily into a shirt pocket.
Cons: The M-5, at least my U.S. version, is not printed with UTM romer scales for finding a position on the map.
Where to Buy
The Suunto M-5 is not available from the stores we monitor.
You may want to check pricing and availability directly at these Suunto retailers:
You may be able to find it new or used at one of these sites:
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Here's what other sites are saying:
Similar to the M-3D Leader, but with an extra long rectangular baseplate. The extra long baseplate means there is room for longer map scales. This added feature, combined with the luminous bezel. has made this compass the top choice among wildland fighters using USGS maps. Map scales included are 1:24,000 and 1:62,500.