Which archery sight is best?
With a good archery sight, you won’t just improve your accuracy, you’ll hit your target more consistently too. Choosing the right model can be challenging though. There are dozens of brands and lots of different options. We’ve been looking at the latest so we can help you decide, and our recommendations at the end of this article cover all budgets. Our favorite, the HHA Ultra Site, may not look as advanced as some, but is a precision-made instrument that’s designed to satisfy both keen hunters and competitive target shooters.
What to know before you buy an archery sight
The first thing you need to think about is the type of bow on which you’ll be using the sight. Recurve bows don’t have the range of compound bows, so although sights follow the same principles, they are more straightforward (though that doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper). It’s an important distinction — you need to buy a specific sight for your bow.
The next major decision is whether to go for single- or multi-pin. Most recurve bows are the former. Compound bows offer anywhere from one to seven. In essence, a multi-pin archery sight lets you set different fixed distances for each pin. However, one shouldn’t assume that multi-pin bow sights are better. Many archers prefer less complexity, and a single pin that has rapid adjustment is a popular option.
Pins can be either horizontal or vertical, which makes no real difference, because it’s only the very end you’re focusing on. Width varies, from around 0.029” to 0.010”. Thicker pins are easier to see — especially in poor light — but thinner pins provide greater accuracy. Those of 0.019” are a popular compromise.
Surrounding the pins is a pin guard ring, often with a brightly colored rim. This helps you center on the target more quickly. While not a necessity, some archers also like to use a peep sight (mounted on the bowstring) to provide alignment between eye, pin and target.
What to look for in a quality archery sight
- Most archery sights have a spirit bubble for horizontal leveling. Adjustable models can be set for windage and elevation. Micro-adjustment dials allows for tremendous precision.
- Pin sights are designed to be used with the bow vertical — but some hunters shoot from unusual angles. The pendulum archery sight, which automatically makes adjustments for elevation, has been specifically designed to adapt to those situations.
- For better visibility in low-light conditions, some have pins that can be illuminated. Brightness may be variable.
- Some don’t have physical pins at all, but use LEDs instead, which declutters the view. There are also red-dot archery sights that project onto the target. They may incorporate a digital rangefinder and auto-adjust for elevation. The most advanced archery sights can even compensate for arrow speed.
How much you can expect to spend on an archery sight
It’s possible to find a cheap archery sight for under $20, and for modest ranges in good light conditions, they’re OK. There are a number of quality options in the $40-$100, but most of the top-rated archery sights are between $100 -$200. Those with built-in rangefinders and LED pins can be as much as $800.
Archery sight FAQ
Do more pins mean greater accuracy?
A. Each pin is set for a different distance, so if you shoot over a wide range then more pins offer greater flexibility. However, five or seven pins in such a small area can be visually confusing.
Are archery sights legal for hunting?
A. Most bow sights are legal, but those that use any kind of illumination or laser projection may not be. The wildlife agency in each state sets the rules — and they do vary — so you’ll need to check each place you hunt.
What’s the best archery sight to buy?
Top archery sight
Our take: Superbly made archery sight can achieve extreme accuracy in experienced hands.
What we like: Tough enough for hunting (and easy to adjust on the go), precise enough for 3D tournament shooting. Simple to install and set up. Lifetime warranty.
What we dislike: Quiver mounting requires additional hardware. Price will put some off.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top archery sight for the money
Our take: Very affordable entry-level model provides the necessary basics.
What we like: Nicely made aluminum body. Easy-to-read adjustment for windage and elevation. Pins offer reasonable clarity in normal daylight. Works right- and left-handed.
What we dislike: Mounting screws frequently missing. No set-up instructions.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: An archery sight that can work for the left or the right hand, and is extremely comfortable to hold with a sight light.
What we like: Design offers potential for a high level of accuracy. Tool-free installation. Quick and easy to make very fine adjustments.
What we dislike: Some users said this didn’t last them through their entire hunting season.
Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods
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Bob Beacham writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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