The sight is one of the most expensive accessories that you can buy for your bow. A good sight can help you aim more easily and is a good investment. The cheapest sights are available for around $10, while the most expensive sights can set you back $400. This makes shopping for a sight very difficult if you don’t want to break the bank. But of course, you also don’t want to buy junk.
I have shot both recurve and compound archery for many years and used multiple sights. From the most expensive sights available to the cheap beginner sights. In this article, I will give you 5 great options for sights, depending on your situation.
In this article, I will use some terminology such as sight arm, aperture, and sight pin. If you are unfamiliar with this terminology and want to know what these terms mean, read this article first.
1. Best beginner sight – recurve
This is a great sight if you are just getting started with archery. It’s not an overly complex sight, but still offers you lots of options to configure the sight. There are cheaper sights available, but they tend to be less configurable and sturdy. This sight just has a good price-quality ratio.
Another great aspect of this sight is the aperture (which is the part of the sight where you look through). A lot of beginners’ sights have a big aperture of translucent plastic. This blocks a large part of the target when you are looking through the sight. Also, translucent plastic can be quite distracting in sunlight in my experience.
Overall, this sight is a great option when you are just getting started. But if you are already more experienced, you might want to invest in a more advanced sight.
2. Best intermediate target sight
This sight is great for archers that have grown out of their beginner’s sight. This sight has two major benefits compared to the previous sight: a longer sight arm and better adjustment capabilities.
The benefit of the longer sight arm is that you can extend the sight farther forward. This has the major benefit that you can more precisely configure your sight. If you want to know more about how far you should extend your sight forward, you can read my detailed article here.
If you are investing in a more expensive sight, I also recommend upgrading the aperture. Sadly, no matter how expensive the sight is, you will always get a cheap aperture. That’s why most experienced archers buy a separate aperture and screw this onto the sight.
If you are looking for a good aperture, I highly recommend this aperture from Decut. The major benefit of this aperture is that it has a floating sight pin, which is held on with some acrylic glass. This reduces the overall clutter of the sight picture (what you see when you look through the sight). Also, the ring around the sight pin is bigger, which means that you can see more of the target through the sight.
There are 3 different sizes of sight pins available. If you are young and have good eyesight, you can pick the smallest pin. If you need reading glasses, I recommend the thickest pin. A smaller pin can help you be more precise, but you must still be able to see it!
3. Best advanced target sight
Advanced target sights often start from $100, because they are manufactured by name-brand manufacturers. This sight from Perogen offers the same features as those expensive sights at a fracture of the cost.
The biggest difference between this sight and the previous sight is the micro-adjustment knobs. These micro-adjustment knobs allow you to tune your sight very precisely. Another reason why I like those systems is that they tend to be more secure. Sights that do not have micro adjustment can sometimes rattle loose due to the vibration when you shoot.
Of course, there is a difference between this sight and the expensive sights of well-known archery brands. Expensive sights tend to have a more premium fit and finish. Some even have a carbon sight arm. But that doesn’t help you shoot any better, so I prefer to go for the cheaper options and save that money for other equipment.
Also, for this sight I highly recommend buying the aperture from the previous section. The included aperture is good for beginners, but not ideal for more experienced archers. If you don’t have the money to buy both this sight and the aperture, I recommend buying the cheaper sight, so you can still invest in a good aperture.
4. Best beginner sight – compound
Compound sights are different from recurve and target sights because they have a larger sight ring and often have multiple pins. These multiple pins allow you to configure each pin for a certain shooting distance. This means that you don’t have to change your sight elevation when you shoot at a longer or shorter distance, which is very practical for hunting and 3D archery.
If you are just getting started with compound archery this sight from Southland Archery Supply has everything you need. You can experiment with setting up the three pins and can fully configure the position of the sight. It also has a bubble level that allows you to check if you are canting the bow. Overall, this is just a solid beginner’s sight for a low price. But if you have more money to spend, you might want to check out the next sight.
5. Best advanced sight – compound
Compared to the previous sight, this sight from Limaity is much more advanced. Apart from the adjustable sight arms, this bow sight also has a micro-adjustment system. These are the large dials you see on the Y and X axis. This allows you to configure the position of the bow sight very precisely.
Also, the sight pins are a huge improvement over the previous sight. In the first place, you get 5 pins instead of 3, which gives you more flexibility. Secondly, the sight pins come with a light which makes the fiberoptic brighter, which makes it easier to see the pins.
Overall, you get a ton of great features for an affordable price. There are more advanced sights on the market, but this is a good trade-off, as most sights are much more expensive.
6. Best high-end sight – compound
The Trophy Ridge React Pro is the crème the la crème of bow sights. If you are looking for the best compound sight, regardless of the price, this is the sight you should choose. The amount of technology that is integrated in this sight is just amazing.
The biggest feature of this sight is the so-called React Technology. This feature makes sure that you only sight in on two distances to set all your sight pins correctly. This is a great feature that makes tuning the bow sight a lot easier.
Another great feature of this sight is that you can adjust the 3rd axis of the sight. This means that you are able to cant the sight forward and backward, making sure that the aperture is perfectly aligned with your peep sight.
What to consider while buying a sight
I already discussed some important differences between high-end and low-end sights. In this section, I will explain in a bit more detail why these features are important.
For the target sights, I recommend buying a separate aperture. This is because the aperture is arguably the most important aspect of the sight, as this is the part where you look through.
An advanced sight might allow very precise changes, but if you have a bad aperture, it will be difficult to aim with precision. Cheap apertures often have a large unclear sight pin and a small outer right that blocks a large part of the target while aiming.
So, if you are on a budget and you don’t have the money to buy a solid sight, make sure to at least buy a decent aperture.
Multipin vs single pin
Archery sights come in two form factors: single pin and multipin sights, which refers to the amount of sight pins available in the aperture. Multipin sights are often used by hunters and 3D archers. You zero each pin for a different distance, which means that you don’t have to make any changes while hunting. Simply estimate the distance and choose the corresponding sight pin.
Target archers, on the other hand, typically use single pin sights. Since target archers are not constantly aiming at targets from varying distances there is no need for multiple pins.
The multiple pins can even hurt the performance of the target archer. If you accidentally pick the wrong pin, you will aim too high or too low. So, to simplify the shooting process and clean up the sight window, target archers prefer to use a single pin sight.
On more expensive sights you will find that there are micro-adjustment knobs. These knobs allow you to make very small changes to your sight. Most cheap sights have micro adjustment knobs for horizontal adjustment, but not for vertical adjustment.
More expensive sights generally have micro-adjustment knobs for both horizontal and vertical adjustments. This not only helps you to precisely zero your sight, it is also more secure than the cheaper sights that feature a sliding rail design.
When I shot with a cheaper sight, I often had issues with the screw of my sight rattling loose due to the vibration of the bow. On cheap sights, the aperture will slide down, which means that your shot will be off. This will never happen with a sight with a micro-adjustment system because it is way more secure.
Below, I will answer some of the most common questions about sights.
Do these sights also work for a lefthanded bow?
The multipin compound sights are specific to either a right-handed or left-handed bow. So, if you buy a multipin sight, you must make sure that it fits your handedness. The single pin sights can be configured for both bows. You simply remove the sliding rail and reverse the sight arm.
Is an expensive sight worth the cost?
The difference between a $10 and a $50 sight is huge. But once you go beyond $100, the differences tend to get smaller and smaller. There are still differences, but they won’t affect your accuracy much. In the video below, I give some examples of the features that a high-end sight offers over a low-end sight.
How to tune and configure a sight?
Once you have your new sight, you must center it. This means that when you look through the string, the sight pin is exactly in the middle. Once the sight is correctly centered, we say that the sight is center shot. This ensures that you have a good starting point to configure your sight.
If you have some solid groups, you can start configuring the sight. If the groups are below the target, you need to move it down. The same is true for all other directions. It might seem counter intuitive, but you always move the sight towards the error. So, if you shoot too much to the left, you move the sight to the left.
This only covers the basics though, setting up the sight is more complicated than this. If you want to do it right from the start, you might want to read my detailed article listed below:
I hope this article helped you narrow down your search for a solid archery sight. If you feel that these sights do not fit your need, you might want to read my in-depth articles on choosing a bow sight. There I discuss all the different aspects that you need to consider:
From that article, I got feedback from my readers that wanted my product recommendations, which led me to write this article. If you have any feedback or questions, please let me know in the comment section down below! I read all comments and try to reply in one or two days.