CAMPING & HIKING

Best Bow Sight: Your Guide to Hitting The Target

Best sight for bow
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Virtually all compound bows are fitted with some kind of sighting device. The bow sight is a device that is mounted on the rear riser of your bow to help you aim your arrow better. You can think of it as the bead at the end of a shotgun barrel.

The best bow sight helps to tell you where the target is. It is possible to shoot an arrow without a bow sight. Known as “instinctive shooting”, many archers prefer to use a bow sight because hitting targets accurately especially at long distances is very hard without one.

Basic To Extreme

There are many different kinds of bow sights ranging from the basic to the extreme. A basic bow sight is usually a fiber optic with 3-pin sight, a Lexan pin guard and twin pin tracks. The pins can be adjusted up or down for elevation adjustments. This type of bow sight is easy to use, mount and is usually very affordable at around $20.

Bow sight review

If there are basic bow sights then there are also more sophisticated ones. Usually more expensive and complicated, these types of bow sights are complex and have many added features. Aside from typical pin adjustments, extreme bow sights also have gang adjustments used for different windage and elevation.

Aside from the usual fiber optics, some best bow sight for the money also have vertical pin technology, anti vibration, camouflage finish, subliminal aiming rings and graduated scales. In other words, these kinds of bow sights are “loaded. As expected, all these extras don’t come cheap. Bow sights like these can cost upwards of $250 a pop.

Budget

The best bow sight is only the best if used by the most skilled hunters. How much you spend on your bow sight depends on your needs and budget. For the basic huntsman spending more than what is needed is overkill. For somebody who hunts in a rugged field, something basic should do since aluminum and other expensive materials could get scratched when hunting.

However, most bow hunters prefer “mid range” bow sights that offer premium sights but without the expensive price tag. Usually a $40-$60 investment is enough money to buy the best bow sight.

Bow sight budget

If you’re the sort of person who does 3D competition or your hunting requires specialized equipment, you might want to consider more extreme models. More sophisticated sights have more features to give you a more accurate shot. Here are some things to consider when choosing the best bow sight for the money.

Sight Types

  • Fixed Pin Sights are very common and is a popular choice among hunters. Fixed pin bow sights have 3 to 5 pins that can be adjusted depending on the target’s distance. The top pins are for short distances while the bottom pins are for longer ranges. Once a pin is tightened, they remain in this fixed position during use. Setting up the pins is easy enough however; you might need some trial and error to get the position correctly. For archers who like to take their time adjusting the pins a fixed pin sight can give excellent results and is reliable as well.
  • Moveable Pin Sight is different from a fixed pin sight because it does not have multiple pins. Rather than many pins, the moveable pin sight has only 1 pin that you can adjust each time you shoot. This is because this type of bow sight has a movable bracket, levers and worm gears that you can adjust for any distance in just a few seconds. Located at the back of the sight bracket is an adjustable pointer with graduated scales that to represent yardage.
    If for example you encounter game at 30 yards, you can simply adjust the bow sight at this distance and shoot. This can be very advantageous because unlike the fixed bow sight with a set of pins you have set for specific distances, the movable pin bow sight can be adjusted in a few seconds just by moving pointer. You can have as many yardage markings as you want. With a sharp pencil and lots of patience you can make markings for as many distances as you want.
  • Pendulum or Treestand sights are designed for tree hunters and this type of best bow sight can compensate for elevation to help bow hunters judge distance more accurately. To make elevated hunting more complicated, gravity plays a big role so arrows tend to land too high especially when angles are too steep. The pendulum or treestand bow sight has 1 pin that is mounted on a pendulum swing with a hinge.
    When you tip your bow forward when shooting downhill, the pendulum swings out and up to compensate for the downward facing angle of your shot. The steeper it gets, the pendulum will compensate more. Many treestand hunters can attest to the accuracy of the pendulum sight
  • 3D Competition Sights also called Target Sights are special bow sights used for competition. These types of bow sights are rarely used for hunting because they are usually too expensive, complex and bigger than your typical best bow sight. Most competition bow sights have moveable pin sights, complicated systems for windage and yardage and other features that are rarely used by bow hunters. It is quite common to find competition bow sights that are priced above $400.

Types Of Mounts

The best bow sight for the money is usually either fixed plate mounted or dovetail mounted. A fixed plate design is mounted on the bow with two Allen screws and the entire bracket remains on the bow at all times. A dovetail mounted bow sight on the other hand has a small separate retainer bracket with a dovetail groove machined into it.

To put on the bow sight you simply slide it in the extension bracket and retainer. Next tighten the screws and you’re set. The advantage to using a dovetail mount is that you can take out and put on the bow sight easily.

Bow sight mount

As a general rule, hunters usually prefer the fixed mount design. This is because there is no need for them to take off their bow sights often. However, competition archers usually use the dovetail mount which will allow them to use different kinds of sights depending on the competition.

Best Bow Sight Features

The more sophisticated your bow sight is, the more features it is likely to have. Here are some major sight features your best bow sight of choice should have.

  • Fiber Optics is a digital technology that is designed to carry information over long distances. Hunters and archers have a new use for this technology: as a sighting device. This is because the translucent tip of a strand of fiber optic cable reflects light very effectively so it looks like it is lighting up. The more light it can gather, the brighter it becomes. This makes a bow sight using fiber optics a good hunting aid because it makes a good aiming point even during low light conditions.
  • Bubble levels helps hunters and archers keep their bow level. Unlike recurved shooters that deliberately shoot their bows with a tilted (canted) bow, most archers and hunters prefer to keep their bows upright when firing. If a bow is canted to the right, the arrow will land a little right and the same is true if it is canted to the left. Many people cant their bows without them knowing it. A bubble level helps shooters to be consistent and adds to their accuracy.
  • A gang adjustment is a feature of a bow that allows the shooter to move all the pins simultaneously. Gang adjustments can be for windage (moves left and right) or elevation (moves up and down). The adjustable pins make sighting and adjustment easier for hunters and archers while giving them a wider range of settings.
  • As bows get faster and faster, spaces between pins (pin gaps) get smaller and smaller. To accommodate faster bows, manufacturers are making bow sights that have pins that can be stacked close together. This is accomplished by using multiple pin tracks or angled pins that can be set literally one on top of the other. Bow sights with this feature are classified as having zero pin gap capability.
  • 2nd and 3rd axis adjustments are features that are not necessarily during general hunting. But hardcore enthusiasts and master tinkerers feel that these advanced features are necessary. Basically, this feature ensures that your bubble levels are telling the truth.

Aluminum or Plastic

Most of the best bow sights manufactured today come in either plastic or aluminum alloy. Aluminum is a good material for a bow sight because it is lightweight and durable. With the use of CNC machining, manufacturers can now make bow sights with very precise sight designs.

However, CNC machining does not come cheap so expect your best bow sight for the money to be a bit expensive if it comes in all aluminum alloy.

Aluminum or plastic

That’s why it is common to see a bow sights that are combination plastic and aluminum. Most bow sights on the market today have mounting brackets and frame made out of aluminum and pin guards made out of plastic. This isn’t to say that plastic bow sights are bad since some plastics are actually very durable. This type of bow sight is also more affordable.

Hunters and archers will always argue about the best bow sight and their features. However, they will all agree that shooting targets is easier with one. Check out some of the best bow sight for the money available today.

Top Bow Sights on The Market

Field Logic IQ 5 Pin Sight

Field Logic IQ 5 Pin Sight

Price: $130.93

Special Features: Retina LockTM instant feedback technology, tool-free locking knobs, micro adjust knobs for windage and elevation, stack tight pins, built-in sight level

Description: Increase your range and confidence with the Field Logic IQ 5 Pin Sight. If for example your torque is off by as little as a quarter of an inch, this can cause your shot to land 10 inches off at 40 yards.

To the avid hunter, this could mean a missed kill. However a good clean kill is possible with this best bow sight from Field Logic. It is easy to use. Simply follow the dot for a perfect shot.

The makers designed this sight to be comfortable and easy to use. It comes with 5 pins and fiber optic technology which can greatly improve aiming and firing capabilities.

The sight comes in designs for right hand and left hand shooters. The fiber optics can also eliminate torque which can prevent you from taking an accurate shot.

Trophy Ridge Punisher 5 Sight

Trophy Ridge Punisher 5 Sight

Price: $49.99

Special Features: 0.029 fiber optic pins, easily customize sights to suit your shooting style, pins are easily field-replaceable

Description: The Trophy Ridge Punisher 5 Sight is easy to use regardless of your shooting style. It has durable construction and is easy to mount. Many bow hunters like this sight from Trophy Ridge because it delivers a lot of sight for less money. Pin set up is customizable, has high contrast glow ring and engraved reference marks.

When you’re in the field, you don’t have a lot of time to think about your gear or else you’re going to miss your shot. Hunters need something simple, dependable and consistent which is why the Punisher is a good bow sight for avid hunters.

Not everybody has the same shooting style and the manufacturers have taken note of this. This bow hunting sight is ideal for people who hold their bows straight or at a slight angle because it is capable of matching your hunting style.

With fiber optics it is also possible to hunt in low light using this best bow sight for the money. This is very advantageous when you are hunting during dusk or dawn and want to be in place and ready to line up when animals appear at these hours. It is a reliable sight that is affordable and durable.

TruGlo Carbon XS 4 Pin .019 Bow Sight with Light

TruGlo Carbon XS 4 Pin .019 Bow Sight with Light

Price: $25.88

Special Features: ultra-lightweight carbon-composite construction – weighs less than 3.5 oz, Trutouch soft-feel technical coating, reversible bracket for greater vertical adjustability, extra-long, fully-protected fibers, adjustable for left- & right-handed shooters

Description: If you want a bow sight that is inexpensive and very light then you have to try the TruGlo Carbon XS 4 Pin .019 Bow Sight with Light.

This best bow sight by TruGlo is designed for hunters who want lightweight, durable and balanced sights. Not only is it easy to adjust, it is also very versatile. This is a good bow sight to have when you want accurate shots up close and at a distance.

Many hunters have experienced their shots being off when their sights are too heavy. This is why hunting with TruGlo is not a problem. Shots are more accurate thanks to its lightweight design.

It is also easy to mount on any compound bow and is constructed using durable carbon materials. The TruGlo is not only able to provide accurate shots but can also handle the rigors of hunting. The bow site also comes in camouflage design which is advantageous because it can blend well in your surroundings.

The 4 pins are also very easy to adjust and can be adjusted for different styles of shooting. It is comfortable to use for right hand and left hand bows. Perhaps the best thing about the TruGlo aside from the very affordable price is the small push button light so you don’t have to fire arrows blindly. This best bow sight can help hunters improve their accuracy and consistency.

Trophy Ridge 5 – Pin Bow Sight

Trophy Ridge 5 - Pin Bow Sight

Price: $118.91

Special Features: Ballistix Copolymer System 24% lighter than aluminum but just as strong, tool-less micro adjustment, Rheostat Light, built in sight level, .019 fiber optic pins

Description: Durable, versatile and easy to mount are just some of the best adjectives to describe this bow sight from Trophy Ridge. Trophy Ridge 5 – Pin Bow Sightwas designed with bow hunters in mind.

It is constructed from durable copolymer materials so it can withstand different hunting situations. It can be used in different situations and can be mounted easily on any composite bow. Trophy Ridge also designed this bow sight to be adjustable for accuracy so you can shoot your arrows confidently in the field.

Hunters will love this bow sight because it can be used in different hunting positions. The sight has different holes for mounting so you can choose one that suits your needs. The mounting bracket is also reversible so you can place it higher or lower on the bow. With this bow sight you can shoot arrows horizontally or vertically.

Trophy Ridge’s innovative smart pin technology is revolutionizing how you adjust your pins. It comes with 5 pins but you only need to set the ones for 20 and 30 yards.

Once you have set these two pins for elevation and wind, the others will automatically fall into place. This will save hunters lots of time and frustration so you can get hunting the soonest. It also comes with the latest fiber optic technology so you can hunt prey when they are active.

Trophy Ridge Pusuit Site Vertical Pin Sight

Trophy Ridge Pusuit Site Vertical Pin Sight

Price: $64.39

Special Features: Delrin BushingsSmooth, quiet movement with no metal-to-metal contact, adjustable indicator pin allows for ultra-precise adjustments to compensate for various conditions, 100% aluminum construction, Rheostat Sight Light included, Low-Light Glo Indicator Tape 14″ of .019 fiber optic for each pin sight level with third axis adjustability

Description: Trophy Ridge Pusuit Site Vertical Pin Sight is best for the money and uses aluminum construction to give hunters a lightweight bow sight that can be mounted on almost any composite bow.

The fiber optic pin is very easy to adjust and it also comes with 3rd axis adjustability. Because it is lightweight, this bow sight by Trophy Ridge won’t affect the balance of your bow. This means hunters don’t have to compensate when shooting due to the weight of their bows. Aluminum is a good material for bow sights not only because it’s lightweight but also because it is corrosion-resistant.

Some hunters might be uncomfortable with this bow sight because it only comes with 1 pin. However, it can easily be adjusted so that you can accurately hit your target after adjusting it for wind and elevation. If you need to shoot targets uphill or downhill, the 3rd axis adjustability will ensure that you can land shots at the center of the target.

Lastly, this bow sight is also ultra quiet which is very important when you’re hunting game. It is manufactured using Delrin bushings which prevents parts from rubbing resulting in a quieter shot.

HHA OL-5519 Optimizer Lite .019 5500 Sight

HHA OL-5519 Optimizer Lite .019 5500 Sight

Price: $133.21

Special Features: Sight Housing: 1 5/8″, fully protected fiber optics, tool-free adjustments, fiber Length: 5 ft, includes sight .019

Description: HHA OL-5519 Optimizer Lite .019 5500 Sight is easy to install, has sturdy construction, easy to adjust pins and can be used for low light settings. HHA understands that hunters do not have a lot of time to make complicated adjustments during a hunt.

Hunters will appreciate how easy it is to make adjustments using this best bow sight from HHA. You don’t need lots of tools. Once the sight is set to 20 and 60 yards, hunters can shoot accurately up to 80 yards.

It is a simple looking bow sight that is colored black to make it easier to blend among the surroundings. Fiber optics technology will also enable hunters to hunt even in low light conditions. It also features a rheostat light so hunters can easily adjust the brightness of the pin.

Novice hunters can easily gain confidence when using this bow sight from HHA. Not only is it great for making long range shots but it can also improve accuracy of experienced hunters.

Truglo Pendulum Adjustable Bracket 1-Pin Sight .029″ Black

Truglo Pendulum Adjustable Bracket 1-Pin Sight .029" Black

Price: $79.30

Special Features: rheostat light EXTREMELY quiet, most advanced treestand sights available, automatically compensates for distances of up to 35 yards, pendulum can be locked in place for ground shooting, .019″ Pin extra-long protected, wrapped fiber, adjustable for left and right-handed shooters, pre-printed yardage tapes included (TG701 only), 1.8″ Aperture diameter, Removable adjustable rheostat LED – violet

Description: Truglo Pendulum Adjustable Bracket 1-Pin Sight .029″ Black is the most perfect choice for the consummate treestand bow hunter. This is a very versatile sight that can be used by left or right handed hunters.

If you get tired of treestand hunting, it can be adjusted so that it is locked in place for ground shooting. It comes with an adjustable bracket so that hunters can use the 1-pin adjustable sight. Once adjusted to your preferences, the sight will automatically move the pin to compensate for elevation and yardage.

This best bow sight for the money is lightweight, durable and compact which is what the most demanding bow hunter needs.

Conclusion

The best bow sight can help you save money. If you can’t shoot accurately at your target you end up using lots of arrows.

Sight on a bow

While most arrows are priced affordably, the cost of always replacing them can add up over time. Using a bow sight can help you save arrows and money. But aside from this, it can help boost your accuracy, confidence, make longer range shots and make your kill a humane one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.