While on my search for the best compound bow sight, I came across a saying that explains the importance of using a sight. “Shooting a compound bow without a sight is like riding a bicycle without handlebars.”
This perfectly explains what it would be like to try to use a compound bow without a sight. Now there are many people out there that will preach instinctive shooting, but if you want consistent, clean kills, you will need a bow sight. We owe it to our quarry to give them a fast and ethical death.
Types of Sights
Bow sights come in many varieties today. They all have different features and abilities. However, the best way to break them up is by their pin type. That allows us to break the sights into three different groups:
- Adjustable pin
- Fixed pin
There is a fourth option that is pretty new to the market, digital sights. However, we did not review any digital sights for this article as they are not legal in many places.
Adjustable Pin Sights
Adjustable pin sights are also known as single pin sight. As you might expect, it has only a single pin. This pin will usually be set to your usual hunting distances. However, if an animal presents a good shot that is a little off one of these distances, you can adjust your sight quickly to the exact distance.
While single pin sights are the most accurate in the field, they possess one major caveat, the fact that you must adjust for nearly every shot. This is fine in sports shooting but no animal is going to stand there and wait for you to adjust your sight. However, there are many hunters that use and love them.
Fixed Pin Sights
The most popular of all the bow sights is the fixed pin sight. They offer the widest variety of distances with the simplest setup. A fixed pin sight can usually have anywhere from 2-9 pins. However, most will have 3-5 pins. Depending on how many pins you have, a 5-10 yard split would be most common.
This would be the sight I would recommend for beginners. Once you get the sight set up, you can have your 10, 20, 30, and 40 yards dialed in. This allows you plenty of opportunity to test your bow at different ranges.
Once a common sight, the pendulum is not as popular as it once used to be. The main reason behind this is its ineffectiveness at long-range shots. However, where the pendulum really finds itself at home is in a tree stand.
This is because the pendulum allows the angle of the sight to adjust. You can see how this can be effective for saddle or tree stand hunting. If you’re in your tree stand and aiming down at a deer, the sight will tilt with you, now aiming downwards is not so difficult.
Although not many archers use a pendulum sight on the ground, they can be locked in place for use on the ground. However, they are not as accurate as many other options on the market.
5 Best Bow Sights
Now that we know what to look for in a Bow Sight for Hunting, let’s take a look at the top 5 sights on the market today.
Trophy Ridge React H5
- Great value
- Very well lit in poor conditions
- Not great for low draw weights
- No micro adjustment
Trophy Ridge is a well-known brand in the bowhunting industry, and this H5 sight is a testament to their excellence. They are owned by Bear archery who produces high-quality bows at affordable prices.
This sight can easily set up to 60 yards. Its 5 pins allow a perfect setup of 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards.
The pins are fairly bright thanks to a Rheostat light, which is a nice feature. The battery is included and operates the three levels of brightness with the push of a button.
There are many nice features packed into this sight, making it a great buy for the money.
The accuracy of this sight has to be seen to be believed. You normally don’t get such accuracy on sights in this price range. This is thanks to its patented React technology, where after only two pin adjustments, the sight will deliver dead center accuracy from any distance.
So after you have sighted in at 20 and 30 yards, React automatically sights you in at 40, 50, and 60 yards without the need to make any other adjustments.
One thing that might be overlooked is the use of a red pin for 40 yards. I like this feature as 40 yards is a common shooting distance.
Overall the build quality is pretty good. It feels nice in your hands, and it’s easy to see a lot of effort went into making this sight.
HHA Sports Optimiser Lite-5519
If you’re in the market for a single pin sight, the Optimizer Lite Ultra is certainly worth looking at. HHA is well known for producing quality sights, and this one is no exception.
The first thing we notice with this sight is how light it is, which makes it a great choice for hunters that are really trying to keep their bow weight down.
Another nice feature on this sight is the rheostat light, similar to that found on the React H5.
The tool free windage and elevation adjustments make the yardage very easy to read without having to turn the bow or reach out and adjust.
It’s easy to see why this sight has lasted over ten years on the market and still triumphs today. With the features mentioned above and other quality features like the ability to easily sight in at 20 or 60 yards, we can see it easily lasting another ten years amongst the top bow sights.
CBE Engage Hybrid
The Engage Hybrid is packed full of features. One of our favorite features this sight possesses is the dovetail mounting system. This mounting system makes it so easy to attach and detach the sight when needed.
With 3 pins and the sight tape, it’s perfect to set up at 20, 30, and 40 yards. The sight tape allows out to a hundred yards, use this in conjunction with your top pin, and you have a very capable sight.
The quad track design does well to eliminate any rocking or rattling.
The revolve micro pin system allows you to adjust a single pin at a time. Simply loosen the hex screw to whichever pin you want to adjust and turn the knob at the top to make micro adjustments to that single pin.
The Rapid Drive is another one of our favorite features. This elevation adjustment system is fast and precise. Simply make one turn of the knob for 1.5 inches of travel.
Black Gold Pro Ascent Verdict Single Pin
- PhotoChromatic technology
- Unconditional guarantee
- Extemely durable
- Sight tapes not great for low poundage
Without a doubt, the Black Gold Pro single pin is one of the best, if not the best single pin sight on the market today.
With so many added features, one would be forgiven for thinking it difficult to use. However, this sight is intuitive, and any hunter can quickly get the hang of it.
It is one of the most solid built sights we have come across thanks to its high-performance PhotoChromatic shell coupled with its splined vertical drive gear. This sight is tough.
If I could have only one spot and stalk sight for western big game hunting, this would be the one.
Spot Hogg Fast Eddie XL
Spot Hogg is maybe one of the best-kept secrets in the bowhunting industry. You don’t often see beginners sporting a Spot Hogg sight on their bow, nor do you see many websites recommending them. However, you will see numerous experienced hunters using them. This is because they know what works well. They’ve been through the best sight lists, and they’ve put in their time in the field with inadequate sights.
If you’re a beginner, we’re giving you a free pass by letting you in on this secret. If you’re a veteran, you’ll already know how effective these sights are, and I bet you agree with us.
While Spot Hogg has a great lineup, it’s the Fast Eddie XL that we tuned in on. Being the successor to the Fast Eddie, the XL had big shoes to fill, and boy did it fill them.
Available in multiple options, from a single pin all the way up to a seven-pin, this sight really does have you covered whatever you fancy.
The use of HRD technology rules out any slop or buzz, while the use of 6061 Aluminum for the construction makes it super light while remaining ultra durable.
- Compensates up to 35 yards automatically
- Pendulum can be locked
- Bubble located outside sight housing
If you are a dedicated tree stand or saddle hunter then look no further for the perfect sight. Hunting from an elevated position offers an incredible advantage but might be difficult to do with a standard sight.
This Pendulum sight solves that problem.
The first huge benefit we see with this sight is the ability to be locked, so for those of you who like to mix it up between stand and ground hunting,you will really appreciate this.
Constructed with CNC machined aluminum allows it to be both lightweight and durable.
Another great benefit of this sight is it’s ability to suit both right handed and left handed users.
With the pendulum locked in place you will be able to shoot up to 80 yards, while the pendulumn is swinging freely you have the added advantage of automatically compensating for distances up to 35 yards.
While there are many more top sights out there, these are our pick of the best bowhunting sights. Maybe we’ll get around to reviewing more in the future. However, I’m sure if you choose one of these you can’t go wrong.
Now that you’ve learned about the types of sights and picked your favorite sight, it’s time to sight in your bow.