Since they started sticking pin sights on bows back in the 1980s, they have sure come a long way! The first bow sights were hard to adjust, prone to bending, and could easily get knocked out of alinement. Today’s best bow sights avoid most of those issues and will really help you lock in on that trophy buck!
There was a time where there were no sights and it still common to see traditional equipment with no sighting mechanism at all. I shot compound bows for years before I ever had a set of sights. Though I may have still benefitted from their use, those bows had none of the let-off that today’s bows have and the arrow trajectory was nowhere near as straight.
A modern bow will shoot flat, sometimes for dozens of yards. This makes the use of sights a viable alternative to what amounted to intelligent guesswork. By locking in pins at various ranges, estimation of hold over becomes much easier and human error is minimized.
If you are a bowhunter, you know what a pain human error can be. That moment when you draw on a big buck is not the time to make split-second decisions and risk your overly excited mind making the wrong one. The closer to a science we can make shooting an arrow, the better off we will be.
Of course, we don’t have to use pins anymore. A variety of sights exist that use a reticle, not unlike a rifle scope that can be quickly adjusted for range. Other sights may have a single pin that serves the same purpose. But if you want the old school pin sights, those are still very popular and highly available.
We will discuss the pros and cons of each type later, for now, let’s introduce some sights!
- Read more: Top 10 Best Crossbow Reviews 2018
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- 1 8 Best Bow Sights of 2018
- 1.1 1. Apex Gear Covert Pro – Best Reticle Bow Sight
- 1.2 2. HHA Optimizer Lite – Best Vertical Pin Bow Sight
- 1.3 3. Field Logic IQ Micro – Best Multi-Pin Bow Sight
- 1.4 4. TRUGLO Range-Rover Pro 2 Dot – Best Budget Reticle Sight
- 1.5 5. Trophy Ridge Pursuit – Best Budget Vertical Pin Sight
- 1.6 6. Trophy Ridge Volt 5 Pin – Best Budget Multi-Pin Sight
- 1.7 7. Trophy Ridge Drive Slider – Best Bang for Your Buck
- 1.8 8. FlyArchery 3 Pin Bow Sight – Best Budget Sight
- 2 How to Choose the Best Bow Sight
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4.0.1 Q: Which Bow Sights Will Fit My Bow?
- 4.0.2 Q: What do I need to adjust my bow sights?
- 4.0.3 Q: My bow still shoots left (or right) and I can’t get it dead on?
- 4.0.4 Q: With a multi-pin sight, what ranges should I use?
- 4.0.5 Q: Do I have to sight in a reticle or single pin sight at every distance?
- 4.0.6 Q: I have no archery experience; will a bow sight make me accurate?
- 4.0.7 Q: I am left-handed, will the sights work for me?
- 4.1 Related Tips and Reviews:
8 Best Bow Sights of 2018
1. Apex Gear Covert Pro – Best Reticle Bow Sight
When the first reticle sights came on the market, they were a huge gimmick and a lot of people bought into it. That left a bad taste in the mouth of many hunters. Today’s reticle sights are a more viable option and, in many cases, will work better for most people than a traditional pin sight.
The Apex Gear is what a reticle sight should be with an illuminated dot, easy one-handed adjustment, and even a micro-adjustable windage knob. Its sturdy enough to take the constant shock of a bow release and will get you dead on at any reasonable range you would care to shoot.
This is a personal favorite and one I can highly recommend if you are looking for an upgrade. Hunting is an expensive sport and we have to make each dollar count. Spend a few dollars on this, and it will improve your shooting. You will still have to do your part but this makes your part a whole lot easier.
- Easy to see and read
- Easy to set up and sight in
- Field adjustments are quick and accurate
- Adjustable brightness
- Fairly Costly
- May be awkward for long time pin sight shooters
2. HHA Optimizer Lite – Best Vertical Pin Bow Sight
If you are interested in pin sights but want a more full-featured sight like the Apex, consider a vertical pin sight. You get the more rigid pin rather than a plastic reticle but retain the ability to easily adjust to varying ranges. Your sight stays clear of clutter and you are still on target.
The HHA has a single illuminated pin that remains visible even in low light conditions. It is easily adjustable with one had to a variety of ranges and for windage on those harsh days or longer shots. HHA has also taken a lot of the work out of sighting in with their system. You can be up and on target in just a few arrows.
I would hazard to say that the Optimizer is probably on more professional hunters bows than any other sight out there right now. If it isn’t, it’s because they are sponsored by someone else. If you want a single pin sight or aren’t sure what sight you would prefer, give this one a few shots and it will make your mind up for you.
- Setup and Sight in is very simple
- Quick, tool-less adjustment
- Very Durable
- Somewhat heavy
3. Field Logic IQ Micro – Best Multi-Pin Bow Sight
If you are a traditionalist and want your true pin sights, there is nothing wrong with that. You just need to get really good pin sights! No adjustment needed, just pick a pin and shoot. Tens of thousands of deer have been taken with the old school sights, they are proven in the field, and today’s versions are much improved over those old brass pins.
Field Logic has made some awesome sights, especially for a relative newcomer on the market. Their IQ series sets a high standard for what a pin sight can be. Their illuminated sight pins are easy to adjust, even in the field and their proprietary retina-lock technology will help you identify and correct any deficiencies on your part.
Field Logic has enough faith in this product to guarantee you a better group or your money back. That takes a lot of faith on their part. But for a pin style sight, they make perhaps the best on the market and continue to innovate every year.
- Easy and accurate setup
- Tool-free adjustment
- Bright and easy to see
- Can help you correct shooting issues
- Money back guarantee
- Good value for the money
- Setup is more complicated
4. TRUGLO Range-Rover Pro 2 Dot – Best Budget Reticle Sight
I think at this point everyone has heard of TRUGLO. They have made hi-viz pistol and rifle sights for decades. Their foray into the world of archery sights has been just as successful. With a trusted name, comes a trusted product and you can put your faith in the quality of a TRUGLO sight.
This is a sight with a lot of adjustability to get you right where you want to be. The trouble with all that fine tuning is that it gets complex very fast. Getting it mounted, setup, and sighted in takes some time but when you do, you will find it’s a dead-on sight that will stay that way with easy adjustment from then on.
The Range-Rover can do everything the Apex above can do with one-handed adjustment for elevation and windage but the setup time knocks it out as my preferred sight. If you hunt the same bow year after year, you won’t have a problem. You will have a sight for life!
- Durable beyond belief
- Proven quality and accuracy
- Tool-Free setup
- Expensive for no additional features
- Complicated and heavy
5. Trophy Ridge Pursuit – Best Budget Vertical Pin Sight
For those with a little less money to spend and still looking for a quality sight, check out Trophy Ridge. They have a respected following in the bowhunting community for quality, simple sights that do the job and last a lifetime. If you dipped a little too far in your hunting budget this year, this is the sight for you.
While the Pursuit doesn’t offer all of the bells and whistles of the higher-end Field Logic, it does offer a single, adjustable, hi-viz vertical pin. The initial setup and adjustment may not be quite as easy as the field logic but once you have it on target, making the macro adjustments to get you on target is as simple as any sight.
This may fall a little lower on our list but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad sight. Far from. This is a great sight for the money with very few actual failings. It will get you a good shot if you take the time to set it up and you follow your basic fundamentals.
- Easy to set up and adjust
- Simple sight with no extra frills
- Still quite expensive
- Can be tough to read in the lowest light
6. Trophy Ridge Volt 5 Pin – Best Budget Multi-Pin Sight
As I said, Trophy Ridge makes great sights so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see multiple options from them on this list. They aren’t my personal favorite but they get the job done and don’t cost much to do it. If you are a fan of pin sights and want to keep it in your price range, this is a solid choice.
Much like the Pursuit above, this is not the easiest sight to set up when you first put it on your bow. It takes some time to get everything dialed in. If you are willing to take that time, their two-tone fiber-optic sights will shoot true even in the lowest light conditions.
As I said, don’t let the placement of this product on our list lead you to believe that it’s an inferior product. This is a great bow sight. It’s just not as adjustable or easy to set up as the optimizer. It also costs a good deal less. It’s all about finding the balance between what you want and what you are willing to spend to get it.
- Affordable and great quality
- Easy to set up
- Reversible for left or right hand
- Very easy to learn to shoot a pin sight
- Needs tools for adjustment
- No quick adjust features
- Could be more durable
7. Trophy Ridge Drive Slider – Best Bang for Your Buck
If you are looking for a vertical pin sight but you need quality on the cheap, take a look at our third option from Trophy Ridge. This will be the last but that still doesn’t make it a bad sight. It is a sight on a budget so you are giving up a little but not enough to risk missing a shot.
The Drive Slider is a bare bones sight in a market where everything that has to do with hunting has more features than a new car. Setup isn’t the easiest task but once you are, you will have no problems.
If there were a downside to this product it would be the usable lifetime. Where the higher end sights use quality bushings and bearings, those are left out on this Trophy Ridge. It may last for a few seasons but if you want long-term durability, you are going to need to spend a little more money.
- Accurate and reasonable quality sight
- Mostly Tool-free adjustment
- Lacks long-term durability
- Some sight glare in lower light conditions
- Major adjustments need tools
8. FlyArchery 3 Pin Bow Sight – Best Budget Sight
If you are still hanging around looking for the best sight in your price range, never fear. We attempt to cover all of the bases here and if you need something cheap that will land a great shot on a deer, the FlyArchery is it!
The only experience I have with this company is the sights that came on a second-hand recurve I bought. I had no idea who they were but I was surprised by how consistent the sights shot. They were easy to see and tight in the housing. Overall, I had no problem with them.
If you were bow hunting back in the 1980s, this is the same concept of a pin sight. They have added fiber-optic for low light rather than the glow-in-the-dark nail polish I used, but they adjust and set up the same way. If you are running budget gear and looking for sights on the cheap, you won’t go wrong with FlyArchery’s sights.
- Surprising quality and durability
- Setup is straightforward
- Very affordable
- Needs tools
- No micro adjustment
- As plain as it gets!
How to Choose the Best Bow Sight
With the many options available in bow sights today, it’s best to know what you are looking for before you break out the wallet and start ordering. Having a good idea of the setup you prefer and what you want it to do will go a long way toward making sure your money is well spent.
Picking a bow sight isn’t like picking a pair of shoes. All of them work and all of them will fit your bow, it’s just a matter of which you prefer and shoot best. Some of that is going to be trial and error but we will get you as close as we can.
1. Reticle Sights
These may be the newest style of sight on the market but that doesn’t mean they haven’t had plenty of time to be refined. They are still growing in popularity but have yet to equal the single pin sight as the choice for most professional hunters.
If you are more used to seeing your target through a rifle scope, you will feel right at home with a reticle sight. With a pin sight, you will often have to remember exactly how you hold the pin in relation to the target but the reticle takes out the guesswork. Just line it up and take your shot.
Reticle sights are also less cluttered. There is nothing but a single dot. No multiple pins to confuse. Of course, they are slower than a traditional multi-pin sight if you have shot pins before. The reticle also tends to be a little less durable than pins are requires more care to make sure it doesn’t get scratched.
2. Vertical Pin Sights
Probably the most popular sight style on the market today, the vertical pin blends the benefits of the pin sight with that of the reticle sight. Most professional hunters use these sights and if you watch Archery competitions, you will see more of these than any other style.
Like the reticle sight, your sight picture stays uncluttered. There is nothing to look at but your sight pin and the target. They are still slower to adjust than just picking a pin and shooting but are far more durable than the reticle sights to being scratched or damaged.
You will need to remember how you position your pin on the target but most people are at least somewhat familiar with the same principle from open sights on a rifle or handgun. There is little other guesswork, set your range, position your pin, and let the arrow fly.
3. Multi-Pin Sights
If you have shot pin sights for years, there is little reason to change. They can be as accurate as any other sight with practice. I shot these until a few years ago when I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. I still have bows with these on them and have no intention of changing them.
With pins, you have to make a split-second decision on the range and you have to get the right pin. Sometimes a hunter picks the wrong pin and that tag goes unfilled. Getting used to that and keeping it in your head can be hard when there is a buck in front of you.
You also have to account for windage and in-between distances on your own but that is part of the challenge of the hunt. They do take more time and finessing to get set up and on target but once you have them, it’s really hard to mess them up. There are a few modern pin sights that have more adjustment but I tend to just leave mine where they are.
If you do use pin sights, I highly recommend using as few pins as you need to avoid a cluttered view. Some of my sights have a single pin sighted at 25 yards but most have three.
Bow hunting has always been a challenging sport with a steep learning curve. I don’t think anything will change that anytime soon. Getting a good set of sights and taking the time to get them dialed in and shooting where you want will at least take pointing the bow in the right direction out of the picture.
You will still need a strong set of fundamentals and good shooting posture to really make them work for you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a set of bow sights will suddenly turn your bow into a guaranteed hit machine. It all takes skill and even the best bow sight will never work if you haven’t got a proper release.
Get a set of sights, get them dialed in, and practice! Nothing you can buy will help you more than just shooting your bow, time after time. That is what separates the professionals from the amateurs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which Bow Sights Will Fit My Bow?
This is probably the single most popular question on bow sights. Any sight should fit your bow. The industry is pretty standard these days. I have yet to find a bow that will not fit any sight.
Q: What do I need to adjust my bow sights?
Most modern sights have some form of tool-less adjustment to make things easy but you will still find some that need an Allen wrench. That should be the only tool you will need. Other than that, time and a movable target will get you where you need to be.
Q: My bow still shoots left (or right) and I can’t get it dead on?
This may be an issue with fundamentals but could also be caused by bow torque. Sometimes powerful bows will twist and is made worse if you are shooting from a stand, on an incline, or using a glove. Most modern sights have a torque adjustment.
Q: With a multi-pin sight, what ranges should I use?
The standard is 20, 30, and 40 yards. This is my preferred setup and has worked for many hunters over the years. If you have more than three pins, keep going up by 10 yards a pin.
Q: Do I have to sight in a reticle or single pin sight at every distance?
No. It would seem that way with so many differently powered bows but most companies have simplified the process. Sight in at a low range and a high range and you should be good. The
sights will come with a stick-on range scale to suit your needs.
Q: I have no archery experience; will a bow sight make me accurate?
No. Fundamentals with a bow make you accurate. You have to invest the time to be able to shoot well. Bow sights will make you consistent and that is more important in the end.
Q: I am left-handed, will the sights work for me?
Yes and no. These specific sights are intended for right-handed shooters but almost all of these options come in a left-hand specific sight.