The Suunto MC-2 is a compass that is widely considered one of the finest mirrored sighting compasses available. It is similar in many ways to the venerable Silva Ranger (type 15). For the MC-2G, sometimes called the MC-2 Global, Suunto started with the MC-2 and took it to the next level with the addition of their revolutionary global needle. The result is a truly excellent compass – a modern classic.
- Adjustable declination
- Jeweled bearing
- Additional sighting hole
- Luminous points
- Global needle
- 1:24,000 and 1:62,500 map scales
What Makes It Great?
Many of the above features are common to most premium compasses. However, there are two features that really set the MC-2G apart.
Additional Sighting Hole
The additional sighting hole is genius. With most compasses, the user must align the compass and then look through the sights on the top of the mirror. It is common to move slightly during this operation which takes the compass out of alignment and introduces a small margin of error in your azimuth. The Mc-2G has a second sighting notch at the bottom of the mirror. This notch sits in the center of a large viewing window. It is much easier to align the compass and sight through the lower notch without lifting your head at all. I find it much easier to use than the higher notch on most compasses.
Suunto Global Needle
The global needle is what makes this compass truly excellent. Most compasses use a needle that is balanced for specific geographical zones on the Earth. A compass that is balanced for North America will not work optimally in Australia. The Suunto global needle is a needle that has been optimized to work anywhere on Earth.
In order to achieve this, the needle itself is vastly different than most. The needle is not magnetized. Instead, the needle is attached to a small metal object that looks like a disk or bearing. This “disk” is what is magnetized. The needle is attached in such a way that it can tilt but there are small “wings” on the needle that will prevent it from tilting too far. The net result is a needle that works anywhere, dampens faster than any compass I have ever used, and can be used to take an accurate bearing even when tilted at angles as much as 20 degrees! Even if you never leave North America, you will love this compass because of how quickly it dampens and how forgiving it is.
I have found the MC-2G to be very accurate. The bezel is easy to read, spins smoothly, and stays in place reliably. The bezel is also works better with winter gloves than any other that I have used. The sighting mirror is large, clear, and seems to be mounted very straight.
Map work is a breeze thanks to the red colored map scales. These stand out well against most topo maps. The MC-2G also features 3 rubber “feet” that help the compass stay in place on the map. They stick especially well to the vinyl on map cases.
The adjustable declination is very easy to adjust with the provided tool. The adjustment tool rides unobtrusively on the lanyard until you need it. I should also note that the markings on the compass module make it very easy to return the declination to neutral, which is not the case on all compasses.
What Could Be Better?
The map scales and other markings on the base plate are not as deeply inset as they are on some compasses I have owned. Deeply inset markings help keep the base plate markings readable longer.
The luminous points on the compass do not glow as brightly or as long as some other compasses that I have used. They are really only usable for a short time after charging.
This is, without a doubt, the finest compass I have ever owned. Most of my experience is on Camennga lensatic compasses and with an old Silva Ranger that I lost years ago. While both of these compasses are great, the MC-2G’s combination of features helps it stand out in the crowd.
I don’t have a MC-2G, but I do have a M3G. Same compass without the sighting mirror. To save the scale markings, I simply used some of my wife’s clear nail polish to cover all the scales. It works well. Use a good quality polish, and be sure to let it dry completely.
Great tip Clyde. Thank you.