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Archery Today’s Bow Sights

Today’s Bow Sights

In the market for a new bow sight? With plenty to choose from, let’s take a look at the options

Oh, how times have changed! Thinking back over 30 years ago, my bow sight was made of little more than a rough aluminum bar frame and three screw-in pins. Larger in diameter, the tips of each of the pins were painted, but they were certainly far from refined.

Today, much of my bowhunting success is attributed to the precise tuneability afforded by contemporary bow sights. Names like CBE, Trophy Ridge, HHA, TruGlo, Redline, Fuse, Spot-Hogg, IQ, Apex Gear, and Rocky Mountain are mostly household names with today’s bowhunting crowd. Among these brands, archers can choose from an array of fixed pin and fixed pin/adjustable hybrid sights, retina alignment, and even a digital rangefinding sight. While it would be impractical to highlight them all, allow me to offer a quick snapshot of today’s technical bow sights.


Most sight manufacturers make one or more fixed pin models. These are the simplest designs and, therefore generally the least expensive. From vertical single pin sights like the Redline RL-2 DTM and double pin sights, to horizontal stack multi-pin options like the Trophy Ridge Volt 5-Pin Sight, most beginning bowhunters tend to start out with a simpler fixed pin set-up. If you’re in the market for a truly basic fixed pin starter sight, look no further than the Trophy Ridge Mist 3 Pin Sight. This one is as basic and really cost-effective at $23.99. While it does have a sight level, it doesn’t have any micro-adjust options for windage and elevation or a light. By comparison, the more robust Trophy Ridge Volt 5-Pin Sight, with micro-adjust, 0.019 diameter top two pins, and 0.010 bottom three pins, vertical sight wire, second and third axis leveling, and sight bubble level, is priced at $149.99 right here on Pyramydair.com.

Trophy Ridge Volt 5-pin Sight
The Trophy Ridge Volt 5-Pin Sight


Most dial-up bow sights have one or more fixed pins with added functionality that allows the shooter to set a reference pin to the desired shooting distance by adjusting the sight in line with a preset distance marker tape. Again, some are vertical and others are stacked horizontally. Overall, these variable pin options with a dial-up capability are the most popular with today’s bowhunters. This is the type of sight I use for the majority of my bowhunting. On my Hoyt RX-5, I run a Fuse Flywheel Multi-Pin Slider Quick-Adjust Sight. The best of both worlds, it gives me a fixed 5-pin option for shots to 60 yards, but the flywheel can be quickly adjusted to precise yardage out to 100 yards. This particular sight is also available in a 3-pin option.

By comparison, Trophy Ridge for instance, also makes a single vertical pin dial-up sight called the Pursuit. Its simple design allows for precision adjustment using a dial on the outside of the frame. Most archers would set the single pin to either 20 or 30 yards and dial up to precise distances as needed.

Archer aiming bow, focus on sight showing pins.

Fuse Flywheel Multi-Pin Slider Quick-Adjust Sight


In a category all their own, Feradyne’s IQ Bow Sights are also available with a 3- or 5- pin configuration similar to other sights on the market. What makes them especially unique is their proprietary Retina Lock Technology. With an inherent naturally illuminated retina alignment window at the top of the sight frame, the shooter can easily centre the black dot to ensure consistency with each shot. IQ is so confident in their technology and sight design, they literally offer a money-back guarantee that you’ll shoot further and tighter groups than you ever have before.


One the market now for a few years, Garmin’s Xero A1 bow sight is a niche product. This digital marvel houses a small laser rangefinder that automatically reads and displays distance to your target, along with either a single- or multi- LED pin(s) for a clear unobstructed view for the shot. Activated by a silent single-button trigger, the rangefinder reads out to 100 yards on an animal target and 300 yards on a reflective target. This sight operates on two Lithium AAA batteries. With its digital capabilities, some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit use of this bow sight. Before investing in one, bowhunters should check regulations and comply with applicable laws in jurisdictions where they plan to use this sight.

Side view of archer with bow at full draw looking through her sight.

As with any precision shooting activity, archery commands focus and accuracy. To facilitate these necessities, many of today’s higher-end bow sights have multi-colored light-gathering fiber-optic 0.019 in. diameter pins. In my view, micro-adjust windage and elevation capabilities are a must, especially for fine adjustments. Some also have second and third axis adjustments as well as a built-in sight level to help archers avoid canting their bow. All of these features combined, provide archers with the tools needed to maximize accuracy in the field.

author avatar
Kevin Wilson
Kevin is an award-winning outdoor writer for over 30 years, team member on Wild TV’s popular Bowzone Live show, and operates Alberta Hunting Adventures. He currently lives in Alberta, Canada where he shares a passion for the outdoors with his family. As a professional outfitter and guide, Kevin offers his perspective on what it takes to have a successful hunt and shares his outdoor adventures.

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