Tactical Tailor

High Angle Solutions – Silva Tactical Compasses

Three entrepreneurial brothers. One great invention. In 1933, Björn, Alvar and Arvid Kjellström invented the first ever liquid-filled compass, and the Silva began. Not only was it the first compass of its kind, but is also set the global standard for how navigation works.


From this beginning, 85 years ago, Silva have grown significantly.  As part of that expansion they have been making compasses for militaries all over the world for a number of decades.  This has predominantly been based on the Expedition 4, which was due an update.  Following development work with the Royal Marines and other elements of the UK military Silva have now launched an updated range of compasses.

The new range includes a more robust base plate and bezel which address the needs of a challenging operational environment.  It also brings in line a number of interesting technologies including prismatic elements for commanders and global needles for expeditionary forces required to deploy anywhere across the globe.  Included in the package are lanyards with distance measuring scales for 1:25000 and 1:50000.  They also allow measurement in both mils and degrees enabling greater accuracy and the passage of accurate information for fires as well as air.

Alongside these must have navigation tools Silva also provide headlamps, binos, mapcases and a huge range of accessories to help you find your way.  If you want any further information please email tribe@brigantes.com.

High Angle Solutions is a weekly series of articles focusing on military mountaineering solutions. It’s brought to you by UK-based , in conjunction with several other brands, both here in the US and abroad.

Tags: ,

7 Responses to “High Angle Solutions – Silva Tactical Compasses”

  1. d says:

    Been hoping they’d put a 1:50000 grid scale on a Silva Ranger (or the Sunnto conterpart), but this’ll do nicely.

  2. TominVA says:

    Very cool. Would love to see what the prismatic element looks like. What about illumination?

  3. Will Rodriguez says:

    Use to drive my CO nuts that I used a Silva while conducting movement. He wanted me to always use the Army lensatic which I also carried and used when I needed features the Silva didn’t have.

    Light, not clunky, easy to use, it never let me down.

  4. Linz says:

    That damn white protective case has been bugging me for 20 years.

  5. Benning Boy says:

    Are these Silvas made in Sweden or are they the American imposters? A good Silva is very useful in the field. I started with one in the early ’70s and continued with one until I retired in 2006. A standard GI compass is second best. The GI is only required to be plus or minus 3 degrees accurate. Over a few kilometers the error can add up to quite a bit. Swedish precision is to be prefered.

  6. Vince says:

    My first compass was a Silva. It was given to me for use in the Cub Scouts back in the early 80’s. Unfortunately, that base plate didn’t last too long though.

  7. Cdn says:

    Be careful…
    The Silva compasses sold in Europe (as shown here) are the Finnish quality Silvas. Those sold in North America are not. There was a trademark dispute, and the Silva name is NA is owned by another company. They are made in the dominican republic and through experience I can tell you they are not as trustworthy.
    The true Silvas are sold in NA under the name Brunton.
    I also highly recommend Suunto brand compasses.
    I have used the original Silva Ranger, amd Suunto MC2-G (global needle, most compasses are balanced for a specific hemisphere), both are good. Modern silva NA compasses should be passed over for a Brunton, Suunto, or a European Silva.