How to Buy the Best Bow Sight

best bow sight buying guide

A bow sights is not a necessary piece of archery equipment, but it definitely is a coveted one as it lends to the accuracy of an archer’s shot. When it comes to bow sights there are certainly many options that are on the market and this can prove confusing to the neophyte archer looking to buy a sight for the first time. There are bow sights that are both simple and complex, and the sight one chooses is ultimately based on need and preference.

A sight is a device you will mount on the bow’s riser and you use it to help aim the arrow you plan to shoot. Some archers prefer instinctive shooting without a sight, but many archers prefer the greater degree of accuracy they gain from using a sight with a bow. All compound bows have a sight for aiming arrows. When an archer uses a bow sight in unison with a good arrow rest and a kisser button or peep sight it can lead to amazingly accurate shots. The simplest of bow sights has a pin guard, one or more pins, a pin track in which the pins move back and forth, and a mounting bracket to connect the sight to the bow’s riser. If opting for more complex models, the sight might have an aiming ring, fiber optics, a bubble level, vibration dampeners and a graduated windage and elevation scale.

Bow Sight Features

The simplest sights on the market are manufactured out of plastic or aluminum materials. These same sights are fitted with pins positioned in up/down positions: This is to pinpoint the elevation. More advanced sights are often crafted out of aluminum and they have a number of adjustable features.

An entry level sight is crafted of aluminum materials, which prove better than sights made of plastic since plastic is more likely to crack when the weather is cold. What’s more, plastic sights will sometimes crack if you accidently tighten them a bit too much. The metal sights are far more desirable and seek out sights featuring all metal components, including metal pins.

An entry-level sight will not feature microtune. This means you will need an Allen wrench to adjust the settings on the sight. The downside to this type of sight is that when you make a minor adjustment you might accidently loose the settings you already established because the sight slides out of its initial position. The pins on the unit will also be adjusted through the use of a wrench. If you are not careful when tightening the pins you can ruin the track they are on and in doing so, you will make the unit even more difficult to adjust.

Some sights have photochromatic features that allow you to adjust the brightness of the pin. When it is very light outside the pins will be one color and when it is darker, the pins are another color. Meanwhile, sights with microtuning. With microtuning, no wrench is necessary. You can simply adjust a dial or twist a knob to set the sight to a particular setting. Microtuning features allow you to adjust the pins, windage, elevation, and other sight settings. Additionally, some sights are fitted with fibro optic lights. Some sights are fitted with a single pin and others have several pins for marking multiple yardages.

Fixed Pin Bow Sights

One of the most popular bow sights, the fixed pin bow sights have pins that do not move. The number of pins ranges from three to five. Each pin is set for a selected distance. The lowermost pins mark distances that are further away and the top pin measures close up distances. To keep setup easy, it is best to set the pins in increments of five or ten: This way the distances are easy to remember. The key to a successful shot is being able to accurately predict how far away you are from your target since you will choose the pin that correlates with the distance that most likely corresponds with the target in question. It’s a good idea to get used to estimating yardage, especially from unusual angles, like sites where the ground is not level of you are in an elevated location or even if you are peering through a lot of trees and foliage.

Sights with a Moving Pin

Instead of being fit with preset pins, a sight can be fitted with one pin that is movable. With this type of sight, the archer has to stop and readjust the sight with every single shot. This type of sight is manufactured with worm gears, levers, and brackets, all of which can slide sight’s housing in up or down positions, so it takes mere seconds to adjust the sight. The unit comes with a point that is adjustable and that indicates a series of marks that are handmade or yardage. This type of sight can prove amazingly accurate.

Treestand Pendulum Sight

If you are using treestands, a pendulum sight is the best sight for your needs. This type of sight is made in such a way it can help you when making downhill shots as it compensates for the elevated position you are in at the time. Judging yardage from an elevated position is quite different from judging a shot on level ground. What’s more, when you are taking a shot from a treestand, gravity does play a role in the momentum and movement of the arrow: This can through the shot off. A treestand sight is made to help compensate for such issues and helps to improve one’s shot.
Target Sights

Target sights are also known as competition sights. These sights are incredibly costly and complex so they do not make ideal sights for hunting use. Nevertheless, you cannot beat their accuracy. The target sight is an advanced sight with a moveable pin and click adjustable elevation and windage. These sights are quite large and are mounted forward of the riser as much as six to 12 inches.


If you find a sight and the mount is already attached, you are working with a fixed plate design. Many of today’s sights have this feature. This type of device is mounted to one’s bow with the use of two Allen screws. In contrast, a dovetail mount requires that you mount a small bracket to the bow that is separate from the sight. The piece has a dovetail groove worked into it. The sight then fits to the dovetail groove. To connect the sight, you have to slide one bracket into another (the extension into the retainer) and turn the retaining nut until it is tight. The dovetail mount is simple to remove. A fixed plate remains attached to the bow at all times.

Recommended Products

Trophy Ridge React 5 Pin

A higher end model, the Trophy Ridge React 5 Pin is a fantastic sight for those looking for something high quality. It has a tool less adjustment system and automatically helps you get sighted in for longer ranges after zeroing in at 20 and 30 yards. And if you need more proof that this sight lives up to its hype, there are over 100 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.6 stars.

TruGlo Carbon XS

The TruGlo Carbon XS Bow Sight features four pins and a light. The site is affordable and lightweight. It is made of a carbon composite material. The shooter’s ring glows in the dark for easy use of the sight. The unit is adjustable for right or left handed shooters. The exterior of the sight is camouflage so it will blend in nicely with the environment.

The Three Pin Bow Sight

The Three Pin Bow Sight is adjustable for right and left handed shooters. It has a brass pin, fiber optics, and markings for windage and elevation. The unit is black with white notches for markings. The pins are fiber optic red and green colors. The framework of the unit is crafted out of durable aluminum. The price is an entry level price for sights. A bubble level is on the side of the sight.