Part of the process of properly equipping yourself with a new bow is to also ensure you use the right accessories to fully enjoy the sport. A good quality bow sight is part of that process.
It will be necessary to determine which sight will best suit your needs and this can be a difficult and, at times, confusing task.
Ultimately, your choice will come down to a certain level of trial and error as you familiarize yourself with the sport and with your particular hunting or shooting circumstances.
The information on this page should be able to provide you with a good starting point with plenty of helpful links that will take you to further articles that dig deeply into the nitty gritty of choosing a bow sight.
The Best Bow Sight For the Money
Trying to compare bow sights that are vastly different in price is the height of folly. A sight that costs only $30 cannot compare with one that costs $1000.
For this reason we have grouped bow hunting sights at a series of price points to help you find the best value for money sights.
We have concentrated on price levels that give you the chance to find the best value for money sight possible.
Best Hunting Bow Sights Under $100 – includes a selection of bow sights suited for the bow hunter who is looking for a simple, easy to use sight without the extra bells and whistles
Best Hunting Bow Sights Under $200 – includes a selection of bow sights that provide added adjustability, more special features and use slightly higher quality materials in their construction
Best Hunting Bow Sights Under $500 – the top of the line bow sights come with a premium price. However, the design of these sights come with features that will give any hunter the edge when it comes to sighting in on the target. Many people firmly believe the premium price is worth every cent.
Types of Hunting Bow Sights
Fixed Pin Sights
The fixed pin bow sights have long been the most popular types of sights used by hunters. The sights are built with multiple pins and they can be adjusted to be accurate to specific fixed distances.
Although the settings can be adjusted it is generally not a simple process that you would want to carry out in the field.
These types of sights are most commonly designed with 3, 5 or 7 pins although you may also occasionally find a 4-pin or a 9-pin sight.
The most common set-up for a fixed pin bow sight is to dial the first pin into 20 yards and then set the next pins at either 5 or 10 yard increments.
As bow hunters become more accomplished at estimating distances it is then possible to hold the target over or under to compensate for when the deer does not stray exactly into the pre-determined sight range.
Variable Pin Sights
These sights might alternatively be known as moveable pin or single pin bow sights.
The majority of these sights have one pin and it is possible to quickly and smoothly alter the pin setting to an exact distance be using sight tapes which are supplied with the sight.
In some cases variable pin sights are also available with two pins.
There are a number of advantages to using variable sights and this is why they are quickly growing in popularity among experienced bow hunters.
They give you a clear field of vision because there is only the one pin in the sight window and they relieve you of the task of having to judge how far to hold over if you’re between pins.
As you become more accustomed to using them they can vastly increase your accuracy.
Hybrid Bow Sights
There is an increasing production of hybrid bow sights that offer the hunter a more versatile sight that has more than one feature built in.
The most commonly recognized hybrid is the multi-pin sight that consists of both fixed pin and adjustable pin capability.
But other sights classified as hybrids might be made with a combination of materials that provide a superior strength to weight ratio.
Or, in the case of the Spot Hogg sights, provide the ability to shift the sight window to offer increased adjustability.
Pendulum Bow Sights
Pendulum bow sights were created to properly target your game when you were shooting from an elevated position. The sight was able to compensate for the difference in elevation and enable you to still hit your target.
The pendulum bow sights have fallen out of favour with hunters in recent times, largely due to the fact that with the increased speed and power of the modern compound bows they are no longer required.
In terms of sights that are still made today, there is really only 1 available and that is the TruGlo Pendulum which is made as a treestand bow sight.
Digital Bow Sights
Known also as a rangefinder bow sight, this is the new kid on the block and they introduce a more technical aspect to the traditional bow sight.
As well as providing a means of putting the eye directly on the target, they can also provide the shooter with an exact distance to that target. This steps up to a new level of accuracy that may be attained before taking the shot.
And it can all be done without having to check a separate rangefinder or without having to hold over a fixed pin.
The Burris Oracle 2 Bow Sight is a leading example of this type of sight.
There will be a longer learning process involved as the new technology beds itself in and we become used to what they can do.
Being new technology, they are also more expensive which could be a major impediment for many hunters.
The other impediment to be aware of is these kinds of electronic bow-mounted sighting devices are not legal in all states. You need to check the regulations to confirm it is permitted where you will be hunting.
We have put together a fairly comprehensive round up of the array of digital rangefinder bow sights.
Variable Pin vs Multi-Pin
Whether a hunter chooses to use a single-pin variable sight or a multi-pin sight is really a matter of personal preference.
Some people prefer setting their sight beforehand to a number of known distances and can then choose the pin as they range their target.
Others prefer the versatility of adjusting their pin to the exact distance in the field.
Someone who has used a single pin slider bow sight for some time finds it’s a very simple process to move the pin to the desired distance.
Fortunately, there is also a range of single pin sights designed for the beginner to use and learn on.
As with all pieces of equipment, it comes down to what feels most comfortable to use. The more you practice with either the variable pin or multi-pin sight, the more proficient you will become.
Bow Sight Options For Poor Eyesight
The aging bow hunter or anyone with failing or deteriorating vision will understand the frustration of dealing with blurry pins when once they were crisp and sharp.
Suddenly, those smaller pin diameters are out of the question.
Fortunately there are a number of different products available that will ensure all hunters, no matter how challenging their eyesight might be, can continue to enjoy their sport.
Read more in our article about how to deal with bow sights with poor vision.
Vertical Pins vs Horizontal Pins
We all expect a vertical pin when we use an adjustable single pin sight. But what about multi-pin sights?
We need to work out whether it is worthwhile using a bow sight with vertical pins rather than horizontal.
Take a look at our in-depth examination of whether it is better to use horizontal pin or vertical pins for hunting.
Guide to Bow Sights
There are many different places and situations in which bow hunters regularly hunt. Each spot, be it in a tree stand, surrounded by undergrowth or out in the wide open spaces, will require a bow sight with different qualities.
You need to choose the bow sight that is designed for the type of shooting you will most frequently be engaging in.
For this reason we have put together a series of guides that presents you with a wide selection of bow sights that cover all types of hunters. No matter how much experience you have there is going to be a hunting bow sight that will meet your needs.
Single Pin Bow Sights
Spot and stalk hunters on open landscape are more likely to prefer the quick adjustability of a single pin sight.
This is certainly the case with the more user friendly single pin slider sights.
They allow for the option of a short range shot with the capability of dialing out to longer ranges.
These sights are rapidly growing in popularity as the technology develops and hunters finding they have the time to dial the exact yardage when their target moves.
Probably the most popular type of multiple pin bow sights used for hunting.
The 3-pin sight gives you a simple set up that will allow you to set the most frequently used distances.
Read our examination of 3 pin hunting bows sights.
Another popular type of multi-pin sight, the 5-pin bow sight, provides the same short distance aim as the 3-pin sight.
The additional 2 pins allows the hunter the option of longer distance shots.
Read more about the selection of 5 pin bow sights.
7 Pin Bow Sights
A far more busy sight window comes with the 7-pin bow sight. There is plenty of range versatility available with this many pins. There is not quite the same range in terms of the number of companies who produce the 7 pin sights but there is definitely a lot of quality.
The 7-pin bow sight is recommended for the more experienced hunters who are well versed in navigating multiple pins in their sight window.
Which Bow Sight Will Best Meet Your Needs?
The bow sight you need is going to be based on a personal preference.
Some people are on a tight budget and will need to consider price when making their decision. The number of pins could be important with some set on 7 pins to cover their favorite distance option while others like the ability to dial in a single pin.
The majority of bow sights will fall within the $100 to $200 price range and for this money you can find a high quality sight.
Look for a sight that provides sharp, precise aiming points and is easy to dial in.
There should also be some type of provision for shooting in low light conditions.
Durability is also a big factor, particularly for hunters who will be traversing heavy or overgrown terrain.
The best plan should be to pay the most you can possibly afford to get the bow sight that provides you with all of the features you need.
Another decision that must be made is the size of the pin diameter you feel comfortable using. The most popular choice is .019” diameter over the .010” purely for the light transmission that is possible.
You need to work out whether the target will be too obscured by the larger pin diameter or if the .010” will be difficult to see.
We do the analysis in our comparison of .010 vs .019 bow sight pins.
Low Light Conditions
A good quality hunting bow sight must be able to capture and expand any light it can find to help the pins to stand out brightly.
Some sights do this by supplying more sight fiber, others use an included light to artificially brighten the window.
Take a look at the selection of recommended bow sights that perform well in low light conditions.
Dovetail Mounts vs Fixed Mounts
There are circumstances, however, when it is preferable to position the sight further from the eye and the way in which this is done is by using a sight with a dovetail bar mount.
Meanwhile, a standard bow hunting bow sight mount is quite compact and usually positions the sight window in line with the bow’s riser.
We have performed a comparison of the range of bow sights available that feature dovetail mounts.
The type of bow sight you decide to use is going to be a matter of personal preference. Some people are comfortable setting their pins to predetermined distances and will then shoot the gaps when their out in the field.
Others find it quite reasonable, with plenty of time and control, to dial in the distance in the moment and shoot accurately that way.
With the wide range of products now available with any combination of pin choices and adjustability there has never been a better opportunity to shoot accurately and consistently.
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