Investing in a top of the line bow sight is one of the best purchases a bowhunter can make. Since their development in 1937, bow sights have come on leaps and bounds, becoming one of the most sought-after archery accessories in recent times.
If you are new to archery and bowhunting, it can be challenging to make the right purchase for your needs; that’s where we come in. Below you will find our picks of the best compound bow sights in 2019, which we have reviewed alongside a list of pros and cons for each.
If you are still stuck after checking out our reviews, we have followed our product roundup with a comprehensive buyer’s guide for bow sights. Detailing everything you will need to consider when buying a bow sight, from types of bow sights to features available.
So, let’s get into it.
Product Quick Comparison
The Optimizer Lite is a bow sight for beginners, allowing them to shoot accurately up to 60 yards with little adjustment required. The pin has been designed for accurate shooting from the get-go and is ready to operate in low-light conditions out the box.
Adjusting the unit is easy, and completely tool-free, once you have sighted in at 20 and 60 yards you are accurate at 5-yard increments in between. Construction is solid, and the fiber optics are entirely housed within the chassis, making this model extremely durable.
Rheostat light is included, allowing adjustment of the pin’s brightness in low-light conditions. Overall, I would suggest this as an excellent option for beginners due to. It’s ease of use, although you should be aware that some users have mentioned there is a lack of instructions.
- Low-light ready
- Good over distance
- Adjustable pin brightness
- Users have noted a lack of included instructions
Trophy Ridge is known for delivering quality products at affordable prices, and the Volt is no exception to this standard. Delivering exceptional accuracy through five .019 fiber optic pins combined with a spirit level for easy setup and consistent shooting.
Designed for both left and right-handed use, the Volt can be shared among friends and is compact and light enough to carry spares.
The fixed pins are infinitely adjustable, providing you with possibly the highest degree of accuracy available in today’s market. Pins are easily visible in all conditions thanks to a built-in, adjustable, rheostat light, included to enhance accuracy further.
At this price point, you would be more than happy with these features, but Trophy Ridge has taken it a step further. The Volt is also adjustable for windage and elevation if you desire it.
Admittedly it does take some practice to use it with any degree of competency, but the option is there if you want it. If you choose not to make use of these features, you still have a fully loaded, high-quality, fixed sight for little expense.
- Easy to use
- Requires adjustment tools
Apex Gear has provided a rifle-style dot sight for bow archers with the PWR-Dot Sight. A good crossover for hunter’s already used to using rifle scopes; the Covert Pro can help aid in the transition.
Adjustable for windage, if you have the skill level, the Covert Pro boasts an illuminated dot in the center of the reticle, enhancing accuracy even in low light settings. Additional lenses can be purchased for the Covert Pro, giving up to 2x zoom for improved distance shooting.
It should be worth noting that unless you are comfortable with dot-style sights that the PWR-Dot Sight may not be the smoothest transition for you. Unless you are competent with a mil-dot style reticle, you are going to have a difficult time adjusting for distance, and in my opinion, pins are still king for bowhunting.
Some users have also noted that while the Covert Pro is solid in hand, it comes at a price, with the unit being nearly 4x heavier than some comparable models.
- Adjustable windage
- Good crossover for rifle hunters
- Pins are still king
Trophy Ridge has included their React technology in the React V5, improving accuracy by aligning the pins in a predetermined way allowing your shooting skills to reach the next level. Directed towards more experienced bowmen, the React V5 features third-axis adjustment to improve distance shooting, a great addition to anyone who regularly hunts in open spaces.
Compared to its contemporaries, the React V5 does carry extra weight, but this is a trade-off for improved durability and resilience. Trophy Ridge has designed the React V5 for use with compound bows, and if you plan on keeping just one sight for a while, the React may be for you.
Tool-less micro-adjustments can be made to account for elevation and windage also, a feature I’m sure the more experienced among you will appreciate.
Rheostat light comes as standard, which, combined with a glow in the dark ring, offers up excellent visibility in all lighting conditions. As with a lot of Trophy Ridge sights, the React is ambidextrous, meaning both left and right-handed archers can use it.
- React technology
- Good visibility in poor lighting
- Suitable for long distance shots
- Might not be well suited to beginners
A single pin is featured on this model from Trophy Ridge, but the simple design of the Pursuit allows the user to get straight to business, with minimal fuss. If it is the first time setting up a sight, you may find the pursuit awkward at first. However, the single pin design is exceptionally accurate once tuned in.
The sight bezel features a glow in the dark embellishment, and a rheostat light illuminates the pin aiding in low-light applications. Manufactured from aluminum and polymer components, the Pursuit is a little heavier than its counterparts but reliable in its design and construction.
Not many comparable sights offer the same level of durability as this model, sure to last you several seasons or longer. Tools are not required to make adjustments, not a deal-breaker, but always a nice feature to have.
Easy to use for all skill levels, the Pursuit can also be adjusted for windage and elevation (however, this does require a tool); calibration marks are also absent.
- Easily adjustable
- Good in low light
- No calibration marks
Now that you have seen what we consider to be the best compound bow sights on the market, you may be at a loss on how to choose the best bow sight for your needs. If you are an experienced archer, you will probably already know your preferences and what you require.
For beginner’s it can be easy to become duped by clever marketing, thinking you are getting a product perfect for your needs when the opposite is true. That’s why we have composed this handy buyer’s guide detailing everything you need to know before buying a compound bow sight.
We have structured this guide into short, manageable categories, detailing critical aspects of bow sights and their applications. By the time you have reached the end of this guide, you will be armed with enough knowledge to make the right purchase for your needs.
Types of bow sight
There are several bow sight types available; below, we have listed the most common archetypes that you are likely to encounter.
Vertical pin sights
Vertical pin sights are probably the most popular bow sights among archers, offering the benefits of a pin and reticle sight in one package. Nearly all top-level bowhunters opt to use vertical pin bow sights, and this trend continues through into target archery competitions.
Offering an uncluttered view of your target, vertical pin sights provide a similar field of view as a reticle sight.
Vertical sights demand a bit more attention during set up than other models but offer an improved level of durability and accuracy to compensate.
Multi-pin bow sights
Multi-pin sights provide the hunter with an added degree of difficulty or offer an additional challenge, depending on how you choose to look at it. When shooting multi-pins, quick judgments need to be made by the archer to determine distance before a shot is taken.
If you sight your target with the wrong pin, there is a high probability of missing the shot. Especially frustrating when confronted with the broadside of a large buck.
Multi-pin bow sights can also obstruct your view, depending on the number of pins the sight holds.
With many bowhunters now shooting downhill trajectories while at elevation, manufacturers have been working to solve problems associated with shooting from odd angles.
Pendulum sights are suspended on a rotating axis that keeps the sight level as you angle your bow on a vertical plane. Like all sights, pendulum sights take some time to set up and calibrate correctly.
Because of the extra technology featured in pendulum sights, they can end up costing exponentially more than some more traditional variants.
Reticle bow sights
Reticle sights are probably the most recent innovation in archery sights and have been growing more popular with time. If you hunt with a rifle also, reticle sights should provide you with a familiar feeling.
Reticle sights give a clear, unobstructed view of your target and remove the guesswork of pin-based sights, as they often require the archer to memorize how to line up the pin with the target.
There are some downsides however, reticle sights tend to be less durable than pin sights and can be slower to judge distance than multi-pin systems.
How to choose a bow sight
Choosing a bow sight can be difficult if you have never used one before, but the two most important deciding factors are where you hunt and how competent you are with your weapon.
In this section, we have listed several considerations to take into account before purchasing a new bow sight including hunting environment and features you might require.
The type of bow sight you require is likely to be dictated by the environment you typically hunt in. Most sights will be suited to a handful of situations, but no sight is perfect for all situations.
If you tend to hunt in areas of dense foliage and woodlands, shot distance will average between 25-30 yards. Adjustable sights are typically wasted in such situations, especially if your hunting ground is densely crowded with vegetation.
If you regularly hunt in less dense, flat, open areas, then adjustable sights start to become a viable option. If you are regularly taking shots between 40-60 yards in open areas, you are likely to be afforded the time to use a more complex sight.
Although if you are taking shots over such a distance, you should make sure you are well-practiced enough to make an ethical kill each time.
Some bowhunters choose to utilize a hybrid setup for mixed environments where they may move between woodland and wider open spaces. Archer’s that do this set their bow up with both a fixed sight and an adjustable sight using specialized multi-sight mounting adapters.
This is out of the skill level for most bowhunters, and you must make sure you are competent enough to use such a system.
Number of pins
More pins don’t equate to better results, and the number of pins you need should be considered carefully before making any purchase. Too many pins are likely to clutter and obstruct your view, either blocking the target entirely or becoming a distraction.
Multi-pin bow sights typically use between three and seven pins, to establish the number of pins you require you will need to determine the ranges you shoot at, and how regularly adjustments will need to be made.
When it comes to pin size for bow sights, smaller is always better. Larger pins may not only obstruct part of your target but are inherently less accurate when tuning your setup.
Small pins have a smaller surface area by which to evaluate your shots when setting your sight, providing a higher degree of accuracy. Most sights come in .010, .019, or .029 diameters.
It is also important to ensure that the pins on your selected sight are robust enough to withstand the rigors of bowhunting.
Modern bow sights are more commonly being seen with adjustable lighting, with even inexpensive sights utilizing fiber optics. Advanced bow sights may feature adjustable light outputs, allowing you to set your preference no matter the time, day or night.
There was a time when only the most advanced, top of the line bow sights came with a spirit level. Nowadays, spirit bubbles are featured on almost every sight on the market.
Spirit levels assist you in dialing in your sight and fine-tuning your setup; they are also helpful for monitoring your form when shooting. Today’s advanced sights will often feature multi-axis levels to enhance your precision further.
It seems as if every year there is a new feature on the market for bow sights, modern sights are regularly found with dials to adjust for elevation and windage.
Before buying a new bow sight for hunting, you will want to make sure that it can withstand whatever activities you plan on participating in. Bow sights with an aluminum or aluminum alloy chassis that is durable and lightweight are ideal for most situations.
Cheaper, budget-models, are likely to be constructed with a plastic chassis and are great for light use or target shooting, but lack the robustness required for intense bowhunting sessions.
For my money, if I were in a position where I needed to acquire a new bow sight, I would go with the Trophy Ridge Volt. It has all the pro features you’d expect, at a price point that is hard to pass up.
I will say, however, that for anyone new to the game, you will be hard-pressed to find a bow sight for beginners better than the HHA Optimizer Lite. An excellent, easy to use sight that is entirely tool-free and remains accurate over a range of distances.
Do you agree with our picks of the best compound bow sights in 2019? Let us know in the comments below if you have used any of the models, or have alternative suggestions.
At Archery Edge, we are always looking to publish the most up to date, relevant content for the modern archer. If there is any topic you would like us to cover, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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