Choosing The Right Bow Sight: A Step-By-Step Guide

by | Jul 14, 2023

Whether you’re an experienced bowhunter or a target shooter, choosing the right bow sight is fundamental to improving your precision and accuracy. But with so many options and styles to choose from, where do you even begin?

You should choose a bow sight based on several factors. These include your shooting style, experience level, budget, and personal preferences.

A bow sight is an attachment that helps you aim. It gives you reference points to align your target with greater accuracy.

Think of it as the eyes of your bow, guiding your arrows towards their intended destination.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know for choosing the right bow sight: from budget to testing and how to choose based on your level of archery.

Choosing The Right Bow Sight: A Complete Guide

Shooting Style and Experience Level

When it comes to choosing the right bow sight, it’s essential to take into account your shooting style and experience level.

If you’re just starting out in the world of archery, it’s advisable to opt for sights with easy adjustments.

Best Beginner Sights

Sights typically recommended for beginners feature simple pin configurations and straightforward adjustment systems that make them user-friendly.

They allow novices to focus on improving their form and accuracy without getting overwhelmed by complex settings.

On the other hand, for experienced archers who have spent countless hours honing their skills, advanced features are of paramount importance.

These sights offer more precise adjustments and finer control over aim.

They often come equipped with micro-adjustable pins that allow for minute changes in elevation and windage.

Such features are particularly beneficial for archers who engage in competitive shooting or hunt at longer distances where even the smallest adjustments can make a significant difference.

Bow Sight Housing Size

The size of the sight housing is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a bow sight. Compact housings provide several advantages, such as improved manoeuvrability in tight shooting positions and reduced weight on your bow setup.

This makes them an excellent choice for hunters who often need to navigate through dense woods or climb elevated stands where space is limited.

Alternatively, larger housings offer certain benefits as well.

They typically come with larger apertures that allow more light to enter the sight, resulting in increased visibility even in low-light conditions.

Moreover, larger housings can accommodate multiple pins or additional features like bubble levels or adjustable yardage tapes.

Ultimately, the choice between compact and large housing depends on personal preference, shooting style, and intended use.

Bow Sight Materials

When considering bow sight materials, lightweight options are highly desirable among both hunters and target shooters alike.

Materials like carbon fibre or aluminium alloys are commonly used to construct bow sights that offer durability without adding unnecessary weight.

Choosing a sight made from lightweight materials ensures easy portability and reduces fatigue during long shooting sessions.

How Many Pins Do I Need?

One of the key considerations when selecting a bow sight is determining the number of pins required based on your shooting needs.

Fixed-Pin Sights

Fixed pin sights usually have three to five pins, each preset at specific distances. They offer simplicity and convenience for those who typically shoot within a limited range of distances.

For example, if you mainly engage in whitetail deer hunting and rarely take shots beyond 40 yards, a fixed pin sight with three or four pins should suffice.

However, if you enjoy shooting at varying distances or participate in competitions where targets are set at different ranges, multi-pin sights provide greater versatility.

Fibre Optic Sights

Fibre optic or LED illumination options are also significant factors when choosing a bow sight.

Using tiny strands of fibre optic cables, fibre optic sights gather ambient light from the environment and direct it towards the aiming point, providing excellent visibility even in low-light conditions.

Some models allow adjusting the brightness levels depending on lighting conditions for optimal performance.

Alternatively, LED-illuminated sights utilize battery-powered LEDs that emit their own light onto the aiming points.

These sights often come with adjustable brightness settings as well as different colour options like red or green.

LED sights are highly reliable and can offer superior visibility in bright daylight or when shooting in deep shadows where fibre optics may struggle to gather enough light.

However, they require occasional battery replacements or recharging, so it’s crucial to have spare batteries on hand during extended outings.

When considering fibre optics versus LEDs, it ultimately boils down to personal preference and the shooting environments you commonly encounter.

Both options have their merits, so choosing the right illumination system depends on individual needs and preferences.


These sights feature multiple individual pins that can be adjusted independently to accommodate various yardages.

This allows archers to quickly adapt and make precise shots without needing to adjust a single pin constantly.

These fine-tuning options let shooters make small adjustments. They can adjust both windage (left-right) and elevation (up-down). This ensures pinpoint accuracy even in challenging conditions.

Micro-adjustment systems usually use screws or dials for easy tuning. This makes them popular with serious target shooters and experienced hunters.

Compound Bow Sights

What Is A Bow Sight?

In simple terms, a bow sight is a device mounted on the riser (handle) of a bow that helps archers improve their aim and consistency.

It typically consists of pins or dots that act as aiming points for aligning with the target.

Bow sights come in various types, each offering different features to cater to different shooting styles and skill levels.

The primary purpose of using a bow sight is to enhance accuracy and increase the chances of hitting your desired target consistently.

By having reference points to align with, you eliminate guesswork and gain better control over your shot placement.

This not only boosts confidence but also ensures ethical hunting practices by minimizing the risk of wounding animals unnecessarily.

Importance of Choosing the Right Bow Sight

Choosing the right bow sight is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it can significantly impact your shooting performance by improving your ability to aim accurately at varying distances.

With consistent practice using a specific type of sight, you develop muscle memory and become more proficient in adjusting for elevation and windage.

Moreover, selecting an appropriate bow sight based on your shooting style and experience level makes archery more enjoyable and rewarding.

A well-suited sight will complement your skills while providing room for growth as you advance in your archery journey. Investing in a quality bow sight is an investment in your archery success.

You might want to choose a cheaper option. But compromising on quality can lead to frustration and inconsistent results.

Choose a reputable brand and a sight that suits you. This ensures durability, reliability, and optimal performance for many years.

Understanding Different Types of Bow Sights

Fixed Pin Sights: Basic functionality and advantages

When it comes to bow sights, fixed pin sights are the tried-and-true classics. They consist of multiple fixed pins, usually three to five, that are set for specific distances.

These pins serve as aiming points when shooting at various ranges. The pins are pre-adjusted by the archer based on their preferred distance increments.

One of the major advantages of fixed pin sights is their simplicity. They require minimal adjustment and can be quickly sighted in for consistent accuracy.

This makes them ideal for beginners or archers who prefer a straightforward setup without too many bells and whistles.

Fixed pin sights also excel in situations where rapid target acquisition is crucial, such as hunting scenarios where split-second decisions need to be made.

Single-Pin Sights: Enhanced accuracy and long-range shooting

For those who prioritize precision over simplicity, single-pin sights offer unparalleled accuracy. As the name suggests, these sights feature a single adjustable pin that can be fine-tuned according to specific yardages.

Archers can easily adjust the sight tape or dial to align with their desired range before taking a shot.

Single-pin sights are particularly favoured by target archers and those engaging in long-range shooting competitions due to their ability to dial in precise distances with ease.

By eliminating clutter caused by multiple pins, these sights provide a clear field of view and minimize distractions when aiming at distant targets.

Man Using Bow Sight

Multi-Pin Sights: Versatility for different distances

Multi-pin bow sights strike a balance between simplicity and versatility. Typically equipped with three to seven individual pins, each set at different yardages, these sights cater to shooters who frequently switch between various target distances.

The advantage of multi-pin bow sights lies in their adaptability across different shooting scenarios.

With pre-set pins representing common shooting ranges, archers can quickly choose the appropriate pin for their desired target distance.

This flexibility is especially beneficial in fast-paced situations, such as 3D archery courses or hunting setups where game can appear at unpredictable distances.

Pendulum Sights: Compensating for angled shots

When it comes to hunting from an elevated position, like a tree stand or elevated blind, pendulum sights come into play.

Designers create these specialized bow sights to counteract gravity’s impact on arrows shot at an angle.

Pendulum sights have a pivoting mechanism. This mechanism lets the sight pin swing freely when you tilt the bow downwards.

This ensures that the arrow’s trajectory remains aligned with the target when shooting downhill or from an elevated position.

While primarily used in hunting scenarios, some archers also employ pendulum sights during 3D competitions where angled shots are common.

By understanding these different types of bow sights – fixed pin, single pin, multi-pin, and pendulum – archers can make informed decisions regarding which sight best suits their shooting style and specific requirements.

Each type offers unique advantages that cater to different archery disciplines and shooting scenarios.

Additional Features to Enhance Performance

Bubble Level: Keeping Your Aim Aligned

When it comes to achieving consistent accuracy with your bow, proper alignment is key. That’s where a bubble level on your bow sight can make all the difference.

This small but essential feature acts as a built-in tool for ensuring that your sight and bow are perfectly levelled when taking aim.

By keeping an eye on the bubble, you can adjust your shooting form accordingly, preventing any tilting or canting that might throw off your shot.

A levelled bow allows you to maintain optimal accuracy and increase the chances of hitting your target dead centre.

Detachable or Adjustable Sight Tapes: Nailing Yardage Estimation

One of the challenges faced by archers is accurately estimating the distance between themselves and their target.

To tackle this issue, many modern bow sights are equipped with detachable or adjustable sight tapes.

These handy tools allow you to calibrate the sight according to different yardage settings, making it easier to judge distances accurately while in the field.

By adjusting the tape based on known distances or using rangefinders, you can quickly align your pins for precise aiming, reducing guesswork and increasing shooting confidence.

Second-Axis Adjustment: Conquering Uneven Terrain

When venturing into various outdoor terrains for hunting or target shooting, uneven ground surfaces often come into play.

To compensate for these challenging conditions, some advanced bows sights offer a second-axis adjustment feature.

This adjustment allows you to align your sight housing perpendicular to gravity’s pull even when shooting uphill or downhill.

Properly setting this axis ensures that the pins remain truly vertical regardless of how inclined or declined a shot may be – thereby maintaining consistent aim and minimizing any potential accuracy deviations caused by uneven terrain.

These additional features serve as invaluable enhancements for your bow sight, providing the necessary tools to fine-tune your shooting.

The bubble level ensures proper alignment, giving you a solid foundation for accurate shots.

Detachable or adjustable sight tapes help conquer the challenge of estimating distances, allowing for more confident aiming at various yardages.

The second-axis adjustment compensates for uneven terrain, granting stability and consistency in aiming regardless of the shooting angle.

By considering these features when choosing a bow sight, you can elevate your archery experience and master the art of hitting bullseyes with ease.

Budget Considerations and Brand Options

Price Ranges Based on Quality and Features

When it comes to choosing the right bow sight, your budget is an important factor to consider. The price of bow sights can vary significantly based on their quality and features. Generally, you can find:

  • Entry-Level Bow Sights – $30 to $100

These sights are often basic, with fixed pins and limited adjustability. However, they can still serve beginners well.

  • Mid-Range Bow Sights – $100 and $200.

They have better features like micro-adjustable pins. They also use better materials for durability and improved accuracy.

These sights are good for beginners looking to upgrade. They’re also good for experienced archers who want reliable performance at a reasonable price.

  • High-End Bow Sights – $200 to $500 or more

They come with advanced features and cutting-edge technology.

These premium sights have ultra-precise adjustments. They use superior materials like carbon fibre or machined aluminium.

This makes them lightweight but sturdy. They also have innovative illumination systems for low-light conditions.

Recurve Bow Sight

Popular Brands Known for Durability and Reliability

When it comes to choosing a bow sight that will withstand the rigours of regular use while maintaining accuracy over time, opting for well-established brands is a wise move.

Some renowned names in the industry include Trophy Ridge, Spot Hogg, HHA Sports, Black Gold, TruGlo, and Axcel.

Their sights combine rugged construction with user-friendly features. These include tool-less adjustments.

Professional archers highly regard Spot Hogg as a brand. This is due to their exceptional build quality and precise micro-adjustments.

With Spot Hogg sights, you can expect minimal vibration and superb accuracy.

HHA Sports specializes in single-pin sights that are renowned for their exceptional durability and brightness. Their adjustable sight tapes make it easy to estimate yardage accurately.

Value-for-Money Options Without Compromising Performance

If you’re on a tighter budget but still want a bow sight that delivers solid performance, there are several value-for-money options available.

Some brands worth considering in this category include TRUGLO, Apex Gear, and Trophy Ridge.

TRUGLO offers a range of affordable bow sights without compromising quality. With features like micro-adjustable pins and durable construction, their sights provide excellent value for archers looking to maximize performance without breaking the bank.

Apex Gear is another brand offering reliable and affordable bow sights. Their lineup includes options with advanced features like illuminated dots or fibres for improved low-light aiming.

Trophy Ridge also offers more budget-friendly models that don’t skimp on quality. These sights provide essential features while still maintaining durability and accuracy, making them ideal for beginners or those who want an economical yet reliable option.

Remember, while price is an important factor when choosing a bow sight, consider your specific needs as well.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between cost and performance will lead you to the perfect bow sight for your archery pursuits.

Trying Before Buying

Visiting Archery Shops or Attending Trade Shows

When you’re going through the process of choosing the right bow sight, nothing beats the experience of trying them out in person.

Visiting archery shops or attending trade shows dedicated to the sport can provide you with an opportunity to get hands-on with different models and interact with knowledgeable staff.

Archery shops often have shooting ranges where you can test various bow sights, allowing you to feel their weight, assess their comfort, and get a sense of how they align with your shooting style.

Trade shows are another fantastic option for exploring a wide range of bow sights under one roof. These events bring together manufacturers, retailers, and experts in the field.

You can browse through multiple booths showcasing different models and talk directly to representatives who can offer guidance and answer any questions you may have.

It’s an excellent chance to compare features side by side and make more informed decisions.

Testing Different Models on a Range

Once you have shortlisted a few bow sights that pique your interest, it’s time to take them for a test drive on an archery range.

Most archery facilities have lanes where you can shoot at targets from various distances.

This practical testing phase allows you to evaluate how well each sight performs when aiming at different distances and under diverse lighting conditions.

During your range session, pay attention to factors such as ease of adjustment, visibility of pins or reticles, stability when aiming, and how quickly you can acquire targets consistently with each sight.

Don’t rush the process—take your time experimenting with different settings and observing how each sight enhances your accuracy.

Related: How To Use The Sight On A Recurve Bow


Does a bow sight make a difference?

Yes, a bow sight can significantly improve accuracy and consistency in shooting.

What is the easiest bow sight to use?

Pin sights, especially single-pin sights, are often considered the easiest bow sights to use due to their simplicity.

How important is 3rd axis on a bow sight?

The 3rd axis on a bow sight is important for shooting at steep angles, as it ensures your sight aligns correctly with the target.

Does the level on a bow sight matter?

Yes, the level on a bow sight matters as it helps maintain proper bow alignment, which is crucial for accuracy.


Choosing the right bow sight may seem daunting, but with careful consideration and thorough testing, you can make an informed decision that will greatly enhance your archery experience.

Remember to visit archery shops or attend trade shows to get hands-on experience with different models.

Testing the sights on a range is crucial to evaluating their performance under real shooting conditions and verifying their compatibility with your shooting style.

Ultimately, when you do come to choose the right bow sight, it is very much a personal decision.

It should be based on a combination of factors such as your shooting style, experience level, budget constraints, and individual preferences.

By following the guidelines outlined in this article and putting in the time to experiment with different options, you can find a bow sight that aligns perfectly with your needs and helps you hit those bullseyes consistently.