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The 10 Best Bow Sights

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It’s tough to think back to when the compound bow was not the premier bowhunting tool it is today.  It is even more difficult to consider a time when bows didn’t have bow sights. We have been hunting with archery equipment for thousands of years, but the compound bow with sight has become the premier instrument by far.

The modern bow shoots much flatter than was historically the case.  This is what allowed sights to become so prolific. The added speed and range only increase the usefulness and accuracy of a sighted bow.


Trophy Ridge Peak 5 Pin Bow Sight

A versatile bow sight with an unobstructed view, comfort, and durability.

It is still common to see traditional equipment without sights, and a few hunters still use compound bows without sights.  The difference is hitting a basketball at 50 yards and hitting a baseball at 50 yards. Sights have been one of the most influential pieces of archery technology, maybe even more so than the compound bow itself.

The main advantage of a sighted bow is the removal of human error.  By having pins sighted for different ranges or an adjustable sight, you narrow the range you have to estimate.  Taking the guesswork out of any part of shooting is key to developing pinpoint accuracy.

When you draw on a big buck or at an archery competition, the high-pressure moment is not the moment you want to make a split-second decision.  Your mind is already racing, and making a misstep is common and all too easy. Simply lining up a pin is a much more foolproof method of hitting a target.

Though there have always been incredible feats of accuracy done with a bow, the addition of sights has brought that level of accuracy to the common shooter.  To those who may not have the hours daily to dedicate to practicing shots.

While not all bow sights are old-style pins, the effect is much the same.  Older bow sights may have had as many as 7 pins, but modern sights can have a single pin or reticle.  The range is then dialed in for what you are shooting, much like a rifle scope.

You can still get both types; each has its own pros and cons.  Most shooters start with multi-pin bow sights but will move to adjustable eventually.  Knowing what works best for your shooting style and preferences may take some trial and error.

If you are searching for the best bow sights, those below cover all possible styles and types.  If you have further questions about choosing, we have included an all-encompassing buyer’s guide below.  Making a choice may not be easy, but we can at least make it an informed choice.

Our selection of the 10 Best Bow Sights

1. Trophy Ridge Peak 5 Pin Bow Sight

Trophy Ridge Peak 5 Pin Bow Sight
  • Pins: 5
  • Adjustment: Horizontal
  • Weight: 10.4oz

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Trophy Ridge has made quite the name for itself in the bow accessory market by offering some of the best quality products on the market.  Many high-end bows come pre-outfitted with Trophy Ridge sights and other accessories. These are simply some of the best sights on the market.

With 5 stacked vertical pins with a thin profile, you are guaranteed an unobstructed view. The small pins allow you to get a very fine bead on your target, making small targets and tight groups possible.  Each pin is hi-vis fiberoptic with rheostat-controlled lighting for ease of aiming in low light.

All of the pins are contained in a glow-in-the-dark ring to make indexing easy.  The whole construction is made of a high-strength polymer with all of the durability of aluminum but only 75% of the weight.  This easily reduced vibration while maintaining the overall integrity of the sights.

All of the adjustments to these sights are tool-less, making field adjustments easy.  Windage and elevation controls have a firm click control that locks the pins in position to prevent any movement you don’t want.  Everything about these sights is designed for convenience and accuracy, and you get plenty of both.

The vertical pin setup provides the ultimate versatility.  You get all of the benefits of a traditional multi-pin sight but without the cluttered view.  All of the pins are easy to see but never in the way. Once you have these sights dialed in, the accuracy you can get is unbeatable.  No matter if you are a hunter or target shooter, these are simply some of the best bow sights on the market.

2. Field Logic IQ Ultra Lite Archery Sight

Field Logic IQ Ultra Lite Archery Sight
  • Pins: 3 or 5
  • Adjustment: Horizontal
  • Weight: 6.5oz

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If you are more of a fan of traditional sights with horizontal pins, the Field Logic IQ may be the sight you are looking for.  While not the best-known brand, their products have been receiving a good bit of attention recently. While the sight style may be standard, it offers some features far beyond the previous iterations of traditional pin sights.

As a standard sight, there are two versions, a 3-pin and a 5-pin model.  The pins are thin enough to give you a clear view with some offset to allow them to sit quite close together.  Fiber-optic tips provide great visibility, and the possibility of adding is rheostat light to the sight can keep you shooting in the dimmest conditions.

The sight itself is made of a low-weight polymer that is quite rigid and strong.  It may lack the strength of aluminum but makes up for it by being more flexible and far lighter.  The whole sight weighs just a few ounces.

In addition to a sight level, the feature that makes this site unique is its patented Retina Lock system.  While this may only be a simple green and black dot, using it properly will help to ensure your form is correct and there is no torque in your bow when you release it.  No other company offers technology like this, and for the beginning archer, this is an outstanding tool.

While this sight does not have fine-tuning and uses an Allen wrench for adjustments, you still have enough versatility to make it work for you.  The 5-pin model is recommended for most hunters who shoot 50 yards or more. While shots like that are always tricky, this sight does make it possible.

3. TRUGLO Carbon XS Xtreme Ultra-Light Bow Sight

TRUGLO Carbon XS Xtreme Ultra-Light Bow Sight
  • Pins:
    5
  • Adjustment:
    Ambidextrous
  • Weight:
    4.2oz

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TRUGLO has made some of the best firearms sights for years, so it should come as no surprise that their bow sights are on par.  As far as fit and finish go, there are no sights better. Taken as a whole, they are still some of the finest sights made today.  Along with being one of the best bow sights, they are also one of the most affordable.

This traditional pin sight has 5 color-coded pins.  Most companies will only use two colors in their bow sights, but TRUGLO has gone the extra mile with a tricolor sight.  All of the pins are made of a carbon composite material and lined with fiber-optic filaments. The overall effect is an obvious, thin, and accurate sight.

The entire body of the sight is made of the same carbon composite material, making it one of the lightest sights available at just 4 ounces.  At the same time, it is quite rugged and durable. The sight ring is larger than most and very open with a great field of view. This sight is among the easiest to reach solid, tight groups on target.

TRUGLO has made this sight with a little extra adjustment on the windage and elevation.  For longer shots, there are no better bow sights. With the added level to keep you straight and very narrow pins, improved accuracy is almost guaranteed.

If you are in the market for a traditional style pin sight, the TRUGLO is the way to go every time.  It can be reversed for the right or left hand and comes in several color options. The design is thoughtful and has almost everything a modern hunter needs.  This is a bow sight that has been created the way it should be for the hunter.

4. HHA DS-5019 Optimizer Lite Ultra

HHA DS-5019 Optimizer Lite Ultra
  • Pins:
    5
  • Adjustment:
    Ambidextrous
  • Weight:
    10oz

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All good lists deserve one completely over-engineered product.  That is the case with all HHA bow sights. In the case of the Optimizer, it is probably the best bow sight around when it comes to single-pin models.  If you want tuning, accuracy, and overall ruggedness, this is the bow sight you are looking for!

With a single blade-style pin, you get maximum accuracy with plenty of strength.  The thin profile takes up very little of your overall view, making smaller targets easy to see.  Topped with a small fiber filament that gathers light directly through the sight rings, you have no batteries to worry about but still get a bright view.

Machined out of billet aluminum with brass fittings, this sight is the utmost in strength and durability.  It doesn’t care about the weather or harsh conditions. It just works. You could break it if you tried, but it is nearly indestructible under normal circumstances.  Should something happen, it even has a lifetime warranty to back it up.

Adjustments are far more fine-tuned than any other bow sight.  The oversized dial allows you to adjust the range quickly. Windage is equally easy.  If you are looking to pull off some serious long shots, this is the sight to do it with.

For most people, this is more bow sight than they will ever need.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t more sight than they could use. Other than the cost, there is little reason not to go with a sight like the HHA.  It will absolutely do everything you need a sight to do and then some.

5. Trophy Ridge Pursuit Vertical Pin Bow Sight

Trophy Ridge Pursuit Vertical Pin Bow Sight
  • Pins:
    5
  • Adjustment:
    Ambidexterious
  • Weight:
    4.2oz

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As with the last Trophy Ridge, these sights are among the industry’s best.  All Trophy Ridge sights are designed with performance in mind, and when it comes to bow sights, the single-pin sight is probably the highest-performing overall.  For the avid hunter, this is easily among the best bow sights made.

The single-pin design is already accurate.  When you make it slimline with an ultra-bright fiber and rheostat light, you get that accuracy at any time of day in just about any condition.  Your eye will be constantly guided into the sight pin itself by the glowing sight bezel and indicator lines.

Made of a combination of aluminum and the newest polymers, this is no doubt a durable sight.  One that weighs very little while being as tough as many of the much heavier sights on the market. Even the pin was designed with strength in mind but in a way that did not compromise its slim profile.

Adjustments are tool-free and easy to do in the field.   With the addition of polymer bushing on all metal surfaces, the bow can be adjusted quite well.  Initial setup may take a little time, but once you have all of the telemetry sorted out, this bow is a dead ringer for accuracy.

Available for either right or left and people with multiple mounting positions, this set of bow sights is easily adjustable to work for almost any shooter in almost any situation.  If you want a great single-pin sight, these are top-notch and often come included in several of the more popular bow kids.

6. Rocky Mountain 5 Pin Bow Sight

Rocky Mountain 5 Pin Bow Sight
  • Pins:
    1
  • Adjustment:
    Ambidextrous
  • Weight:
    8.8oz

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Rocky Mountain offers just what you need for those on a budget who want a sight with very few compromises.  While it may not be at the rock bottom of prices, it is among the cheapest quality sights available. For the price, you get a sight that has just about everything you need.

The Rocky Mountain sight is a traditional 5 pin style sight with steel tubes with fiber-optic filaments for easy visibility.  The top-mounted fiber coils provide an amazing amount of light for optimal brightness. This is a feature often offered on higher-end sights when electronic lights are not a desirable feature.

Regarding construction, the Rocky Mountain Bow Sight is milled from solid aluminum except for the sight ring, a high-grade polymer.  It may not be quite as bombproof as some sights, but it doesn’t need gentle care. It can easily handle the abuse of the backcountry in any weather or environment.

Like some other higher-end sights, this sight has three-axis adjustments to handle any shooting situation, even from an elevated stand.  All of the adjustments are tool-free and milled into the aluminum, so they never get scraped away. Elevation and windage are micro-adjustable for a solid zero and easy manipulation in the field.

One of the most important features of this sight is its size and weight.  At only 10 ounces and a very slim design, this is one of the most streamlined sights on the market.  It doesn’t add a ton of weight and will hold up quite well. The Rocky Mountain may not be the best bow sight on the market, but it is among the top.  It has earned its place on this list!

7. Black Gold Ascent Verdict Bow Sights

Black Gold Ascent Verdict Bow Sights
  • Pins:
    5
  • Adjustment:
    Ambidextrous
  • Weight:
    1.3oz

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Black Gold are premium sights without a doubt, and have a premium price tag.  The Ascent models are at the peak of bow sight performance. These are easily some of the best bow sights you can purchase, with everything you need and many features that most manufacturers never even consider.

These sights are a 5-pin traditional sight with very narrow pins topped with fiberoptic cable starting with the pins.  Rather than artificial light, Black Gold has opted to use a coil to collect light for the fiber optics. This novel approach ends up working quite well and doesn’t require batteries.

Milled from aluminum stock, these sights are durable beyond measure.  In addition to the frame, the sight ring is also made of aluminum with an inset level.  The adjustment system for both windage and elevation uses a splined gear for more control and overall ruggedness.

The most notable additional feature of this sight is the 3rd axis adjustment that automatically tunes your bow to shoot from a deer stand.  Set your angle, and you should be right on target. Using this to shoot either uphill or downhill will be more accurate than any sight other than pendulum sights.

Initial sight in and zero is easy, and ranging targets afterward with the completely adjustable sights is a simple task.  Using preset tapes included with the sight, you can often get right on target when going up in range.

This sight was designed to get arrows out to 100 yards or more.  While adjustments are possible, it is still a challenging shot.  If Black and Gold can really make a sight that will pull off shots like that consistently, we all better pay attention to them.  They will be a brand to watch in the future of bow sights and archery technology in general.

8. GWS ProHunter AR Series Adjustable Bow Sight

GWS ProHunter AR Series Adjustable Bow Sights
  • Pins:
    5
  • Adjustment:
    Ambidextrous
  • Weight:
    10oz

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Single-pin sights are probably the most popular style of sight on the market.  They provide the maximum amount of accuracy and simplest functionality while being versatile enough for most shooters.  The GWS ProHunter is a great example of a single-pin sight and what they are capable of doing.

The pin, in this case, is a single steel tube with a fiber-optic core.  This provides maximum strength with minimum size for aiming at small targets.  You can get thin sights or some that are hair thicker if you prefer more durability.  Neither is large, with the largest being less than 3/10ths of an inch.

The sight’s housing is made out of milled aluminum for maximum strength but without all of the weight.  In total, this sight weighs under half a pound and is quite small if form factor. There are no wasted parts or accessories on this sight.  All in all, it is a minimalist design that makes for quite accurate shots.

A throw lever easily adjusts the single pin for elevation and a dial for windage.  Windage is controlled by a fine adjustment knob, while elevation is adjusted by a throw lever design. In the spur of the moment, this may not be the fastest design to get a shot off with, but the shouts you do take should be far more accurate.

If you are a hunter after the best sights possible, a vertical, single-pin sight is probably the best answer for you.  With a little practice, they function very well. They do require a little additional setup, but that is a one-time deal.  After you get the sight dialed in, you may never need to go through the whole zeroing process again.

Buyer’s Guide

Most high-end bows do not include sights when purchased.  Many mid-range bow makers have partnered with companies that produce quality products, but maybe not the ones you prefer.  Low-end bows may shoot well enough but often have sub-par accessories that need replacing. No matter which boat you are in, knowing your options and what they mean is very important to get the best bow sights for you.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of options available for bow sights.  Each has its purpose and advantage, and understanding these improves your chances of getting the product you want.  This is your hard-earned money. There may be benefits to trying various sights, but not if you are on a budget.

Making a purchase based on what you see as the most beneficial will save you money and trouble in the long run.  Almost all bow sights will fit any bow. It’s just a matter of what will suit your needs best and fit within your price range.  There will always be trial and error, but this buyer’s guide should remove some guesswork from getting a set of bow sights.

Types of Bow Sights

Traditional Multi-Pin Sights

If you are one of those people who has shot insights for years, you have very little reason to change at this point.  A set of pin sights can be just as accurate as any other type of sight on the market. They are far less common today than they were years ago, but they are still around.

Shooting with pins takes a little more practice, not just shooting for accuracy.  You need to practice your range estimation and quickly decide what pin to shoot off of. The number one issue with these sights is that the split-second decision must be accurate.

Picking the wrong pin can lead to an unfilled tag, a best, or a severely wounded but not dead deer at the worst.  Getting used to picking the correct pin and keeping your head in the game takes time. This is especially true if you are one of those people who are prone to knee-jerk reactions.

The difficulty of picking the correct pin is compounded by your number of pins.  Most hunters seem to prefer a three-pin sight. Competition shooters may go for 5 pin sights.  A 7 pin sight is only useful for the finest tuning or longest shots. This is the most critical decision with pin sights.

More pins are just more complicated.  You will have enough to worry about without dealing with a mess of pins.  This is even truer in low light, where the color coding on the pins may not be visible.  Starting with, it is highly recommended that you use three pins until you are familiar with the system.  Excess pins can often be removed until needed.

Pin sights generally have no method of accounting for windage.  They are elevation adjustable only. You will have to learn to shoot correctly with the wind on your own.  Since shots are often not taken over a very long distance, this is generally a small concern. However, every hunter knows that the worst weather seems to happen when you have a buck in your sights.

Keep it simple and practice.  That is true of all sights but even more so with pin sights.  You will have less to deal with to get your sights set up but more on each shot.  If you want the best from this type of bow sight, you need to get it down to a science in your head.

Reticle Sights

The first attempts at reticle sights were right after introducing the pin sight but saw little success.  Those sights were not adjustable for range and proved hard to sight in. There were issues with placement and aligning the sight to the eye.  All in all, they were a failure.

It took several decades to refine the sight to what we have today.  Modern reticle bow sights may be the newest sights on the market, but their troubled predecessors gave them plenty of time to be refined.  They grow in popularity yearly and have seen far more innovation than any other sight on the market.

They may have their market share but are still not quite as popular as pin sights.  This will likely change over the next few years as more bow companies buy into the technology and begin packaging them with their bows.  If you are more used to rifle-style sights, these are far more natural to shoot.

Their more familiar interface is their first advantage over pin sights and can be a huge one.  The types of reticles differ from a dot to a standard crosshair. Which one is preferred is a matter of personal taste, but as archery sights go, these are quite effective for those new to bows in general.

A second large benefit of the reticle sight design is the less cluttered view.  Rather than having several pins in the window, you have a simple dot or cross. This gives you a fuller field of view and allows you to focus more on the target and less on what else is in the way.  This should not be underestimated when selecting your bow sight.

A final benefit is that most reticle sights are adjustable for elevation and windage.  This is really a two-edged sword. You must take the time to adjust your sights to your target or estimate the holdover.  This is often negated because most hunters set up so that deer enter the kill zone at a specific range.

Once you have your reticle tuned to your bow and the arrows you are using, these sights are very good at getting the accuracy needed.  Most are quite precise when set up correctly. And that brings us to the first negative. It takes more time and care to properly see in a reticle.

A second negative is the time it takes to adjust, but rifle shooters deal with that time and seem to do fine.  Whether you are willing to take the time to adjust is on you and your style of hunting.

The final point against reticle-style archery sights is durability.  Though it is not a universal trait, most reticle sights are somewhat less durable than pin sights.  If you treat your equipment rough, these are likely not the best sight for you.

Otherwise, you should be able to buy a reticle sight and do fine.  It is a technology that is worth trying at least once. They are accurate and work quite well.

Vertical Pin Sights

The sight that seems to have taken over the largest share of the market is vertical pin sights.  These are the best thought of as a blend between a reticle sight and a standard pin sight. They offer many of the advantages of both while having fewer negatives than either.

Some sights may have a single pin and are nearly identical to a reticle sight, while others may have multiple pins and function like standard pin sights.  This blending makes choosing which of these styles of sights more difficult.

Having multiple pins is probably best if you prefer a standard pin sight.  If you like the clear view of a reticle sight, a single-pin sight may be best.  Either way, you will have the ability to account for range and usually windage with these sights.

A single pin sight has range increments set up like a reticle sight.  Once sighted in, you will adjust the sight to the range you intend to shoot by a dial or slider.  Windage can be handled similarly. These are far more durable than a reticle sight but do the same job in the same way.

Vertical sights with multiple pins will look just like traditional pin sights with individual pins for set ranges.  Usually, these pins are stacked in a single line with varying heights so they are all visible. These pins need not be set up for range, but some may have windage adjustments.

Overall, the field of view makes vertical pin sights more popular than traditional pin sights.  The single row of pins allows a better view of the target and the intended point of impact. Having many horizontal pins can make it hard to make a shot, especially at a distance.  Vertical pins have fewer issues with that.

The primary reason that vertical pins are more popular than reticles is a blend of tradition and durability.  Pin sights have always been the go-to for archery sights, and getting away from those can be difficult, especially when a pin sight is generally more durable than a reticle sight.  Other than those factors, pins are reticles that are not so different.

Currently, these are the most popular bow sights and are often considered the best bow sights.  Most hunters use a vertical pin sight, and most competition shooters also tend toward them.  If you are unsure what sight style to get, these are the best compromise for sure. You will be able to shoot accurately with little difficulty.

Pendulum Sights

These are particular bow sights that are often very similar to a single pin sight, but they are mounted in a way that keeps the pin oriented properly when the bow is at an angle.  This makes shooting from an elevated position, like a deer stand, a much more simple process.

These sights are not incredibly popular.  They restrict their use to a specific type of hunting, and many times, hunters have killed deer on their way to and from their stand.  Most hunters prefer to practice or even sight their bows in a way that allows for accurate shots from the ground or stand.

In addition to a lack of versatility, these sights have a bad reputation for being inconsistent.  The sight moves by its nature and can throw people off who attempt to shoot quickly before the sight has fully settled.

All of the above said, if you shoot consistently from a stand and that is the only way you hunt, these sights will get you on target without added effort.  They are the only sight type that can do what they do. They can take the guesswork out of a shot. Just make sure you get sufficient practice with them before hitting the field.

Electronic Bow Sights

The latest technology for bow sights is red dot electronic sights that function much like the red dot sights used on rifles.  These sights are expensive but were projected to take over the market for archery sights. So far, this hasn’t happened, but as prices go down, you can expect them to become more popular.

For now, it is probably best to steer clear of these types of sights.  Some bugs still need to be worked out. Partly, this is due to the durability of the sights.  The stresses put on sight from a bow differ greatly from those from a rifle. These sights cannot stand up to powerful bows with a lot of shocks.

As for how they work, they are not much different than a reticle sight other than the projected dot rather than a physical one.  The sighting and range adjustments are nearly identical. In the end, I do believe these could be quite effective, but there will be growing pains until they have everything worked out.

Bow Sight Considerations

Types of bow sights aside, several considerations need to be made to choose an appropriate bow sight with the qualities you need.  Not every bow sight is created equally and will serve every shooter the same. Here are some of the finer details to keep in mind:

Number of Pins

Except for single-pin sights, you will need to choose the number of pins you really need on your sight.  This could be as few as three or as many as seven. This depends on the ranges you will shoot and how finely tuned you want your sights to be.

Most bowhunters tend to use sights that are spaced apart for every 10 yards.  Depending on where you zero your lowest pin, you could get as far as 50 yards with this setup.  This is more than sufficient for most hunters, especially in the eastern U.S.

As you move to more open terrain, some bow hunters will shoot longer distances and use pins set at the same 10-yard interval but with more pins.  Those that use a 7-pin setup often have them sighted at 10 yards through 70 yards. Taking a 70-yard shot is extreme, but some hunters manage it.

For the competition, you may even sight your pins in 5-yard increments.  This may be overkill for most people, but this is how to get it when you want extreme accuracy.  Just remember that seven pins at 5-yard increments will only get you to 35 yards. You are probably better off sight pins specific to the distances you normally shoot.

Decide how far your most likely shots will be, and pick a sight that can handle that number of pins.  A common number is 5 pins sighted at various ranges. If you are interested in the usual pin range setup, you can watch the movie below:

Pin/Reticle Size

You are looking for a minimal pin diameter in a quality sight.  This is often the difference between a good set of sights and a poor set of sights.  The smaller, the better, as long as they are stiff and strong enough to handle your shooting conditions.

The pins or reticles on a bow sight must be thin enough to allow you to see your target past the end of the pin.  As you get more distance between you and the target, your pins will need to be smaller. For a hunter, seeing a target about the size of a softball at 40 yards is usually a good goal.

This will help you keep a tighter group and get a finer-tuned accuracy with every shot.  Fatter pins or reticles will make getting consistently small groups nearly impossible. This can harm the competition shooter but is not optimal for the hunter or anyone else.

Though a deer has a rather large vital area, you will not always get a shot broadside to the deer.  It may be at a harsh angle to you and make the overall presentation of the target much smaller. You should always check the pins against the ranges you plan to shoot to make sure they will work for you.

Pin Spacing

This is only a concern with multi-pin sights, but it can be a big concern with modern bows.  A faster bow will shoot much flatter. When pen sights were invented, most bows fell well under 300fps and had significant arrow drops.  Modern bows have much less drop.

Thick pins may not allow you to space your pins close enough together to get the range increments you want.  Pins that have a thick mounting point may have a similar issue. If you know the bow, you plan to put the sights on. You can often use bow data from other hunters or the manufacturer to estimate your pin spacing.

Other than thin pin sights, one other method of overcoming this is the vertical pin sight.  Because the sights are stacked one behind the other and are of different heights, you have much less spacing.  Reticle sights will have no such issue. You will rarely encounter this problem until you get into premium bows.  At that point, you will need a premium set of bow sights.

Sight Adjustments

Older-style bow sights used Allen wrenches as the sole method of adjusting sights.  This meant they were often very firmly placed but could be hard to fine-tune in the field if needed.  If you use multi-pin sights, this may be an acceptable method of adjustment. It can be more frustrating, but your pins will never have to move after the initial setup.

Reticle and single-pin sights should always have a method of easily adjusting for wind and elevation.  Some shooters will use an immovable single pin and estimate shots from that pin.  This negates most of the reasons for using a bow sight in the first place.

If you are looking at a single pin or reticle sight, always note how the sight adjusts and how much you can adjust the sight.  You will need at least 30 yards of elevation and 20 yards of windage to cover most hunting scenarios.

An additional feature that you may find on higher-end sights is gang adjustment.  This allows you to move all of the pins at one time. This is rarely useful for elevation but can be very useful when shooting in a crosswind.

Some shooters will adjust the whole pin rack when changing arrow weight, but you are probably better off re-zeroing your pins.  You can easily live without gang adjustment in most cases, but it can make things easier for the beginner.

Sight Visibility

Everything above covers what we need our sights to be, but nothing matters if we can’t see them.  Every hunter knows that the best hunting is during times when the light is lower. Right at sunup or sundown is generally when hunters are waiting in their stands.

In less than perfect light, during the stress of the hunt, those pins can blur a little, and you may not be choosing the pin you think you are.  This is especially true of those that use a larger number of pins. One mistake here can mean a missed deer or one hurt but not killed.

At a minimum, you should have sights painted in bright colors, with each pin a distinct color so that it can be easily differentiated from the others.  This was the standard for many years and served hunters quite well. That doesn’t mean it’s the best option.

Many modern sights have gone to using fiberoptic filaments for their sights.  These are thin, stand out well, and come in enough colors to make sure you have each pin different.  Unless all of your shooting will be in times of decent visibility, this is the minimum I would settle for.

There are other glow-in-the-dark technologies, but none are equal to fiberoptic regarding sheer visibility.  The only upgrade becomes electronically lit sights. Some still use the fiberoptic, while others have an actual backlight to make your pins more visible.

There are two concerns about electronic lighting.  The first is the obvious question of whether the deer sees you with a light on your bow.  The answer is generally no. The lights are only bright enough to see the sights, and that is all.

The second question becomes how they are powered.  If you have these sights, you must carry spare batteries to ensure they function.  Not all sights take the same batteries or have the same usable lifetime.

Some will take common batteries that can be purchased at any convenience store.  Others may use specific watch batteries or even specialty lithium batteries that must be ordered.  How much you are willing to go through for batteries is up to you.

Reticle sights are often set up the same way.  Some models may have no lighting or reflectivity, while others are very reflective.  Most reticle sights do have a backlight. Regardless of your choice, reticle sights are often more visible in low light than pin sights.

That said, I would still prefer some visibility enhancement on my sights.  It can come in handy should you be in a darker spot than you planned.

Sight Levels

Most sights come with some level to tell you if you are canting your bow or not.  Depending on how far you should tilt your bow, your point of impact can be drastically affected.  The bubble level is a small consideration that can have a huge impact on your shooting.

A slight tilt is unlikely to cause many issues unless you shoot an especially tricky one.  It’s when you are in the moment and trying to angle a shot through brush or tree limbs that things can get out of hand.  Having that bubble right where you are looking can save you all that trouble.

This is not a necessary inclusion in a bow sight, but it can be a good thing to have.  You may rarely ever need to use it, but that one time you do, it can make all the difference.  This should be a lesser consideration than the other points but not one that is completely neglected.

Size & Weight

Back in the 80s, some compound bows could top out at nearly 10 pounds.  At that point, adding much more weight was adding to the pain of shooting that bow.  Modern bows have less of an issue with weight. Thanks to modern materials, a bow made this year can weigh less than 3 pounds.  Still, you want your sights to be a manageable size and weight.

How large, complicated, and heavy a sight you are willing to deal with is on you.  Lighter is always better. So is a sight that doesn’t protrude too far off the bow.  You don’t want something that can easily get snagged or broken.

Most modern sights are fairly lightweight, so that is less of a concern.  However, some have a large profile. This can hinder carrying your bow to and from your hunting location and storing your bow in general.

Pick a sight that goes well with your intended use.  If you have ample room to store your bow and be used in open areas, a larger sight may be ok.  If you plan to drag it through the dense brush, a smaller sight is often preferable.

Materials

Bow sights are generally made of either plastic or aluminum.  There is no clear choice that is universally better. Aluminum alloys and specific plastics are more important factors.

Aluminum will typically be stronger.  This is true of aircraft-grade aluminum and several other stronger alloys. Some aluminum is fragile and bends easily.

Plastics come in a wide variety of formulations.  Some plastics are stronger than most aluminum alloys.  Others are brittle and cheap. Some plastics can handle a fall from a tree stand with little issue, while others will break with very little force.

The best deciding factor for materials is brand and price.  A good brand of sight will usually be made of premium material.  They will also cost more to allow for better materials. This doesn’t mean that you need a sight that costs hundreds to get quality.  Just steer clear of unbelievably cheap sights unless you plan on using them very lightly.

Conclusion

No one has ever said that archery was an easy sport.  The basics are simple to get down, but it is quite a challenge when it comes to fine-tuning and getting the best results.  The learning curve can be quite steep if you don’t have someone experienced to help you.

Bow sights are a great way of eliminating one of the more challenging aspects of the sport early on.  As you progress, you will find that there are ways of fine-tuning your hits. With practice, bows are capable of extreme accuracy.  You will need some of the best bow sights to get the level of accuracy you and your bow can.

Fundamentals and shooting posture will always be the most important facet of archery.  After that, having a solid set of bow sights that are correctly dialed in will give you everything you need.  Whether it is bow hunting, competition, or just for fun, you want your best performance.

Get your form right, get good bow sights on a decent bow, and practice!  I have seen archery shoot quarters at 30 yards. You can get to that level if you are dedicated and have the proper gear.


Trophy Ridge Peak 5 Pin Bow Sight

A versatile bow sight with an unobstructed view, comfort, and durability.

David Harris
Written by
David Harris
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