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Best Archery Sights

Updated November 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 6 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 139 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best archery sights

    Last Updated November 2018

    You’ve shifted from the basic beginner’s recurve bow to a more advanced bow – maybe even a compound bow with plenty of bells and whistles. But the archery sight may not have kept up with the improved bow or your growing skill.

    Whether you plan to compete in archery tournaments, hunt game, or target practice for recreation, you still need a quality archery sight, but which one?

    Read on to learn about what makes a good archery sight, features to consider, and how much you can expect to spend on a quality product.

    Target sights are often used with extension accessories that improve aim without affecting the bow’s accuracy.

    A good archery sight matters

    For beginning archers, learning to aim properly involves much more than peering through a sight, so purchasing an expensive archery sight with all the bells and whistles doesn’t make sense. However, as your skill grows and you take on new archery challenges, an improved sight opens up a world of possibilities, whether you’re hunting or target shooting for fun.

    As long as the sight fits your bow properly, the type of bow you have plays only a small role in the type of sight you purchase. Recurve, longbows, and compound bows all have different requirements for mounting sights. The type of archery sight you buy depends on a few factors:

    • Target (what you plan to aim at)

    • Distance from the target

    • Time of day (or night)
       

    Check your bow for pre-drilled mounting points or accessory attachment points, or take it to a pro shop to determine which types of sights will (or won’t) fit your bow. If you’re in the market for a new bow, the salesperson should know what sights would fit the bow you’re considering.

    Single-pin accuracy

    Easy to mount to most bows, this sight’s small, single-pin design is good for longer-range shooting to 80 yards, delivering a tight shot pattern. It may take extra time to zero in precisely, but once set, this sight stays accurate.

    Types of archery sights

    Open ring archery sight

    This is a good sight for beginning archers and those using recurve bows. It works best at short range. It is also easy to use: simply align the target in the center of the circle and release the arrow.

    • Price: Open ring sights cost about $19 to $99.
       

    Pin sight

    This is a low-tech but popular option because of its versatility. Many skilled archers use a pin sight exclusively and swear by it for its accuracy. Because a pin sight can have a variety of additional features, such as illumination and laser assistance, prices vary widely.

    • Price: Pin sights range in price from $16 to $280, depending on added features.
       

    Peep sight

    This type of sight helps archers align the bowstring and sight pin to establish an anchor point by peering through a small aperture. It can be a big help in sighting the target correctly.

    • Price: Peep sights cost from $10 to $42.
       

    Adjustable sight

    This movable sight allows you to shift a single pin up and down to the exact estimated distance of the target, sometimes at full draw. Adjustable sights eliminate the need for multiple pins.

    • Price: Adjustable sights range in price from $42 to $290.
       

    Pendulum sight

    This sight automatically adjusts for elevation, such as when shooting from a tree stand, giving the archer one less thing to worry about.

    • Price: Pendulum sights cost from $65 to $120.
       

    Laser sight

    Laser sights project a beam of red light onto the target, making them good for low-light situations. However, the farther away the target, the less intense the beam, which can affect accuracy.

    • Price: Laser sights cost from $31 to $125.
       

    Red dot sights

    These sights reflect a light beam back to the sight. They are considered more accurate than single-beam laser sights.

    • Price: Red dot sights cost from $30 to $1,000.
       

    Holographic sights

    The newest type of archery sight, the holographic sight, projects a targeting reticle on a heads-up display within the sight. It works well in bright- and low-light conditions.

    Price: Holographic sights cost from $130 to $500.

    EXPERT TIP

    A good habit to develop is to stay in your stance – sighting the target – even after releasing the arrow. This improves form, steadiness, and accuracy.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Today’s sights have fewer fragile components, but many of the materials are thin, so take care not to break them.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    “Zeroing in” a new sight is important, so plan to spend a few hours at the archery range after mounting the sight to get the aim just right.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Archery sight features to consider

    Reticle inserts: These clear gels with an alignment pattern printed on them help archers line up their shots more precisely. Reticle inserts are often sold with or as accessories to open sights.

    Iris: Open ring sights may have an adjustable “iris” or aperture that can reduce or increase the diameter of the aiming circle to help with accuracy.

    Pins: Pin sights can have one, two,  three, or more pins. The number of pins doesn’t necessarily mean improved aim. For example, many hunters only use single-pin sights because this eliminates aiming mistakes that come from using the wrong pin.

    Illumination: Pin sights that are illuminated can be a big help in low-light situations because archers can use the illuminated tips to line up correctly on the target. However, some archers find them to be a hindrance because they can be too bright and make the target itself hard to see. These sights are generally either battery-powered fiber-optic lights or glow-in-the-dark tritium paint at the tip of the pin. You can easily guess that the biggest drawback to battery-powered sight illumination is the battery!

    Elevation and windage adjustments: These are vertical and horizontal adjustments that compensate for the angle that the target is from the shooter, and for the wind speed, which will alter the arrow’s course. Make sure these adjustments can be made easily. Some sights use adjustment knobs, while others must be adjusted using an allen wrench.

    Built-in bubble level: Not every sight has one, but a level can help archers hold the bow vertically and keep it from canting to one side or the other, which can affect the arrow’s trajectory.

    Feature-packed value

    Accurate at shorter ranges of around 30 yards, this sight mounts firmly and stays zeroed. The included bubble level along with clear windage and elevation marks add value to an already nicely priced bow sight.

    Tips

    • In archery, the sight isn’t the only factor when it comes to accuracy. Your stance, body position, and even the way you release the arrow can all affect your aim and accuracy.

    • When shopping for a sight, consider whether features like adjustment knobs or GPS locators will be useful to you or just expensive add-ons you’ll never use.

    • Some states may not allow electronic archery sights for hunting. Check local regulations before using laser, red dot, or holographic sights to hunt.

    • If you need to adjust elevation and windage frequently on a pin sight, a “gang adjustment” feature makes this easier by enabling all the pins to be adjusted together.

    Multiple-pin sights can speed up aiming when shooting at moving targets, such as when hunting wild game.

    FAQ

    Q. Is it better to buy more than one archery sight for different distances or just one sight with multiple aiming pins?

    A. The biggest consideration in choosing a sight is where you hunt. East Coast hunting has different sight requirements than hunting in the Rockies. Generally, those east of the Mississippi are hunting at ranges of less than 40 yards. There’s no need for more than one or two pins at that distance. In the west, ranges can increase to 60 yards or more, increasing the need for multiple sight pins.  For those who will only be shooting at set targets, consider the typical distance(s) at which you’ll be shooting. If it’s usually the same distance every time, a single-pin sight is fine. If you target shoot at multiple distances, choose a two- or three-pin sight.

    Also, at short ranges of up to 35 yards with a bow that shoots arrows on a flat trajectory, one pin is usually sufficient.

    Q. I use a recurve bow with no sight, and I don’t have a great target shooting average. Which sight will help me improve my aim?

    A. For archers, accuracy involves more than aligning their eye with the sight. Stance, body position, and even the way you release the arrow all affect aim and accuracy. To test this, try shooting several arrows at a target positioned just ten yards away. Use a recurve bow with no sight, and then try it using a bow with an attached sight (borrow one if necessary). If your aim doesn’t improve much between the two, then the sight isn’t the issue. Work on your overall shooting form.

    Q. Why do archery sights with similar features vary so widely in price?

    A. As anyone who has shopped for a bow sight is aware, the price of the same basic type of sight can vary by hundreds of dollars. Pin sights are a good example of this: at the lower end, $40 is a reasonable price to pay, and some are as low as $16. Higher-end pin sights can reach $280 or more. It has to do with the materials used along with additional features like light-beam range finders, adjustment knobs, sight lighting, and even GPS locators. When shopping for a sight, consider each of these features and whether they will be useful for what you’re using the sight for or just a pricey but unnecessary add-on.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Michael
      Michael
      Writer
    • Samantha
      Samantha
      Writer

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