Bow sights are small instruments mounted on your bow to assist with your aim. Simply put, they function as a sighting device. These gadgets are attached to the riser of your bow and have a small ring with axes or points on them. Their function is similar to that of a bead on a rifle barrels end. This article will cover what qualities make good bow sights, as well as take a look at what we feel are the top 3 bow sights.
Details on Bow Sights
We are all looking for a little bit of an edge during a hunt, and when shooting at variable distances, bow sights can be essential. Typically you will know the distance you will shoot before you get in your stand or blind. If the deer is within 30-40 yards its go time. Outside of that, the risk of a humane shot becomes less and less. What if you needed to shoot at 45 yards? Would you be able to know what level of accuracy you will have at that distance.
You should not take a shot every time you see your target. A good hunter will know when to pass on a low percentage shot. You need to wait until it is within a distance that you consider to be a high percentage shot. Bow sights will allow that distance to be whatever you set it to, within your bows capabilities.
There are four different types of the best archery sights on the market. These include the fixed pin bow sight, single pin bow sight or movable pin sight, pendulum/tree-stand bow sight and green/red dot sight. All these top bow sights have varying degree of sophistication and usefulness and are all aimed at making your archery experience easier.
Why Are Bow Sights Mostly Used on Compound Bows and Crossbows, but Rarely on Longbows?
Bow sights can be mounted on all archery bows. However, they are usually used on compound bows and crossbows. Sights are rarely mounted on recurve bows and longbows because of the way they are constructed.
Longbows have a simple design and when you are holding the weight of the string at full draw, your muscles will tend to shake and quiver. Adding a sight to a longbow defeats the purpose of it. Longbows are traditional in nature and do not require any modern technology like a bow sight to help.
The longbow and recurve bow have a smooth draw motion with the weight increasing the further you draw. This is an advantage when you are hunting a flying bird or moving animal as you can keep the animal in sight as you draw and release the arrow at the right moment.
Compound bows and crossbows have cam/pulley systems as well as locking and release mechanisms that reduce or let off the draw weight. This in turn allows you to hold the full draw with less weight and thus take your time to aim at the target.
Compound bows and crossbows with sights are more suitable for shooting at non-moving targets. Aiming at a moving prey can be tricky if you are using a sight on a compound bow or crossbow, as you have to concentrate on two things – following the animal on the sight and releasing the locking mechanism to shoot the arrow. A split second delay can make you miss your target. The natural motion in recurve and longbow hunting leads to faster reaction times.
What You Should Consider When Purchasing a Bow Sight
There are a few factors to consider when shopping for bow sights. The two most important factors you should look out for include:
#1: How Effective the Bow Sight is in Low Light
If you are going to use the sight while hunting, it is important to know how the sight works when it is dark or in low light conditions. Typically there will be a half hour before sun up and a half hour after sun down where hunting takes place, so if you tend to operate in those conditions, it’s a good idea to have some added light.
On many compound bow sights, the points are LED lite. So they are constantly bright and very noticeable in low light conditions. On top of that many of them have an extra dial light that turns on to shine on the sight. This will most likely only be used if you are hunting in the dark. For early morning and late evening, the led points should be enoiugh.
#2: The Number of Pins your Sight Should Have
The number of pins on your sight will depend on the type of sight you are using and what you want to do with the bow. If you intend to go out hunting, you will have to consider the number of pins that are best suited for your task.
Factors such as the terrain and vegetation cover (that is whether the hunting grounds consist of open spaces or an area densely packed with trees) will determine the type of sight you choose. Other factors include the type of hunting you are going to do [tree stand or stalking], the type of animals you will hunt and the accuracy at which you will want to shoot.
Your personal preference will also matter, as some archers prefer “ gap shooting”, where the shooter aims at the gap between the pins while others prefer to aim at a single pin to hit the target.
Top 3 Rated Bow Sights Reviewed
When shopping for bow sights, you are bound to come across many models from different brands. As with any product, it is prudent to continue shopping around and compare your options. Below are three of the best compound bow sights that are worth considering.
Trophy Ridge Fix Series 5 Sight
This is a quality fixed pin sight made of durable material. The technology employed creates accuracy and is a perfect sight for down range shooting. It easily makes it into our top rated bow sights list.
The Trophy Ridge Fix Series Sight 5 has an innovative design. It uses a tool-less adjustment function for windage and elevation, which makes dialing in the bow easy. This is an important feature that is being more readily used in new sights.
The ease of use makes the Trophy Ridge one the best trouble-free fixed pin sights to use and the preferred choice for most hunters. This bow sight measures 11 x 5 x 4 inches. Its pros and cons include:
- Tool-Less adjustment for windage and elevation
- On-Board Tool for adjusting pins
- Field replaceable 0.019 inches fiber optic pins
- Sight light and high contrast glow ring with laser engraved reference marks.
- Some users have complained that the neck mount is rather narrow so it tends to unscrew slowly and fall off. This however can be prevented by continuously tightening the neck mount to the bow sight during use.
Field Logic IQ 5 Pin Sight
As the name implies, Field Logic’s IQ 5 bow sight features a five-fixed pin set up, so it is different from the traditional single pin sight. The sight is lightweight and designed to reduce torque in your wrist when you fire the bow.
It is well built, durable and fits seamlessly onto your bow. The optional light feature provided tends to wash out some aspects of the sight but does not contribute much to the overall performance of the sight. Below is a list of strengths and drawbacks to expect should you decide to settle for this bow sight.
“Typically I set my top pin at 20 yards and
then the next pins at 10 yard increments, all
the way up to 60 yards on a 5 pin sight. If I
ever have to shoot a target at less than 20 yards,
I just compensate by placing the pin slightly
below the target. This gives me a range of up
to 60 yards with no issues.”
- Uses retina lock technology for accuracy in landing the perfect shot
- Has micro adjust knobs to adjust windage and elevation
- Stack tight pins and built in sensor to monitor sight level
- Has tool-free locking knobs for easy locking
- Instant feedback retina lock TM technology that shows where the actual shot will land and controls consistency, muscle and memory form.
- The optional light can wash some the sight and is not really necessary to the overall performance of the sight
- The sight is only suitable for mounting on right hand bow models.
Truglo Archers Choice Range Rover Pro Green Dot Sight
Features on the Truglo Archers Choice make it the best dot bow sight in its class. These include a green LED aiming point that lights up, 11 brightness settings, adjustable slider sight, and yardage tapes. The slider sight includes a yard stop that you can lock to make sure sudden movements do not change your settings. Addition of an LED aiming point greatly improves accuracy on long range shooting than in other bow sights. The adjustable brightness settings can help during unpredictable lighting conditions.
This bow sight from Truglo is adjustable and features an ambidextrous design to accommodate all archers regardless of hand orientation. It can also be adjusted to accept a scope lens of 1.87 inches.
We are also fans of the Truglo brand, having recommended some of their other optic solutions as well.
- Adjustable yardage stop and 40 marked yardage tapes
- Illuminated green dot for long range shooting accuracy
- Smooth elevation adjustment and micro windage adjustment
- 11 brightness control settings and 2nd and 3rd axis adjustable illumination
- Adjustable for right and left handed shooters
- Adjustable lens ring and accepts scope lens of 1.87 inches.
- Bottom aperture screws will need tightening after a while since they tend to become loose
There are plenty of options if you want to buy a bow sight. Different brands offer a variety of models with varying features and price points. The bow sights listed here all have features for adjusting elevation and windage to improve the accuracy of your shot. Our top 3 bow sights have sight illumination functions to ensure you get a clear view of the target pins. Except for Field Logic’s IQ 5 Pin Sight, the rest are adjustable to fit both right and left hand bow models.
Trophy Ridge’s 5 Pin bow sight and the Field Logic’s IQ 5 sight both have five fixed pins as well as features that make adjusting the range and elevation of shots easy. Ease of adjustment and an affordable price tag make the Trophy Ridge Punisher 5 bow sight one of the best choices for hunters who are on a budget.
Field Logic’s IQ 5 is ideal for all shooters whether they are beginners or experienced hunters. As for Truglo’s Archers Choice, this sight is based on the dot system and operates slightly different but with the same premise. We don’t think you can go wrong with any of them but please reach out and contact us if you have any further questions.