The evolution of bow sights has been nothing short of remarkable. From dial-to-the-yard capabilities of the best single-pin bow sights to toolless micro-adjust windage and elevation, to electronic rangefinding (like the Garmin bow sight), the technology keeps getting better. Bowhunters welcome it. Any feature that makes an archery sight more durable, accurate, and easy to use gets our appreciation. Of course, as with most everything in the bowhunting world, it’s all about customization. Bowhunters can select sights with dovetail extension bars, pins that taper in diameter, colored shooter rings—and the list goes on. There are single-pin moveable sights, multi-pin sliders, and those with a set number of fixed pins. Below is a list of our picks for the best compound bow sights for hunters.
The Best Compound Bow Sight Based on Hunting Style
Choosing a bow sight should be a fun process that doesn’t require anxiety meds. Yes, there are plenty of options out there, which can make choosing the right bow sight feel confusing, but don’t fret. We’re here to help. The most important thing to consider is the style of hunting you do the most often. If you’re a sit-and-wait hunter who likes to perch 20-feet up a tree or hide in the corner of a blind, a standard fixed-pin sight is the way to go. A standard three- or five-pin sight will be easy to set up, sight in, and durable enough to withstand season after season of abuse.
Those hunters who creep through open landscapes searching for game may have to reach out with farther shots. For this reason, a moveable pin sight makes the most sense. When an unsuspecting mule deer is on a steep mountain slope quartering away at 62 yards, dial-to-the-yard capability is what you want. A moveable-pin sight is also an excellent choice for those looking to test the range of their compound. When you can dial a yardage wheel to the exact distance you’re shooting and drop an arrow in the 10-ring, your shooting confidence goes through the roof. Then are the digital bow sights for the tech geeks. These sights incorporate built-in rangefinders and give you the proper, real-time holds for your shooting setup. Here’s our roster of the best bow sights for a variety of hunting styles.
Most Durable Bow Sight: Spot-Hogg Triple Stack
I’ve been a Spot-Hogg user for years. Why? Their sights are durable and offer the latest and greatest in sight technology. For 2021, this sight kingpin raised the bar once again. Enter the Triple Stack. Compatible with most Spot-Hogg sight models, the Triple Stack sports a trio of individually micro-adjustable vertical pins and three individually adjustable yardage indicators. The Always Up solar wrap boosts light intake, and pin sizes are available in .010- and .019-inch. Pros: The vertical pin design provides three distinct aiming points along a vertical plane, which reduces clutter in the housing. The dial-to-the-yard yardage wheel is smooth, and the sight comes with MRT Rings in sizes of Small Triple, Large Triple and Single Triple to ensure consistent eye-to-peep-housing alignment in any lighting condition. Cons: Pin brightness could be better in low light, and I’d like to see a more extensive selection of sight tapes.
Best Bow Sight for Tournament Shooters and Hunters: CBE CX5
Many tournament archers and serious bowhunters slap CBE sights on their risers. That’s because they work, and the new CX5 is a shining example of this manufacturer’s dedication to building field-ready products. With easy-to-manipulate second- and third-axis adjustments, five .019-inch blade-style pins work with 12-inches of fiber optic to ensure incredible pin brightness. Pros: Bright, accurate and incredibly light, this sight is a winner. Under 9 ounces, archers will cheer the carbon extension bar and the toolless micro-adjust windage and elevation. Cons: The position of the rheostat light could hang up on debris and be turned on without the hunter knowing.
Best Bow Sight for Low Light: Black Gold Pro Hunter HD
Black Gold set the world on fire when they came out with Photochromatic Technology, and the company has been skyrocketing forward since. For 2021, this sight manufacturer took the same popular features that made its Ascent Verdict such a hit and added a Pro Pin. This pin provides a narrower throat that ends in a round pinhead. The design reduces target obstruction and gives the archer a more defined aiming point. Pros: Archers love customization, and this sight delivers in spades. The Pro Hunter HD is available in a Pro X Base or 4-inch Wing Truss, and three- and five-pin head options are available. Cons: While Black Gold sights provided unmatched brightness, they aren’t as tough as some of the other best compound bow sights in this roster.
Best Simple, Single Pin Bow Sight: HHA Tetra Max
If there’s a company that’s known for making the best compound bow sights with an effective, simple-to-use single-pin, it’s HHA. Now you can trick out your Tetra Max with your desired pin and scope size. Plus, when you drop some green on a Tetra Max, you get a pair of yardage wheels, which means you can swap setups in seconds. Pros: The yardage wheels are super smooth and changing them takes only seconds. The sight has a beefy build you can count on, and pin brightness is incredible. We can’t forget the noise and vibration-deadening Harmonic Damper. Cons: The sight is a tad on the heavy side, and I would like to see the yardage tape run flush with the gnarled grip of the yardage wheel.
Best Affordable Bow Sight: Apex Magnitude
Fitted with a new glowing shooter’s ring with vertical and horizontal gaps to improve peep alignment, the Magnitude may be Apex’s best sight to date. Second- and third-axis adjustable, this standard five-pin has click-adjust windage and elevation, and the sight is completely ambidextrous. CNC-machined from aircraft-grade aluminum, the build is sturdy and pin brightness is solid. Pros: The option of a detachable dovetail mounting bracket or fixed mounting bracket deserves a hat tip. This sight, for the price, has a lot going for it. Cons: Sturdy but not bulletproof, and I did detect a little buzz after the shot.
Best Digital Bow Sight: Burris Oracle 2
The next incarnation in the Oracle line, the Burris Oracle 2 features improved Auto-Brightness detection, Manual Brightness Control at lower levels and more. This is probably the best compound bow sight with digital technology that we’ve seen so far. The ease of use is the same as the original model, which is what archers loved about the Oracle in the first place. You don’t need to be a computer programer to operate this sight. Once it’s set up, the unit eliminates the need to dial a sight pin to the exact yardage. Push a button and get an instant yardage reading. Pros: Micro-adjustments on the LRF greatly improved arrow drop calculations. Did we mention ease of use? And yes, it’s waterproof. Cons: Electronic bow-mounted sighting devices are not legal in all states. Be sure to check regulations, and when batteries are involved, technological failure can occur.
Best Lightweight Bow Sight: IQ Bowsights Micro
Innovation and IQ Bowsights go hand in hand. The creator of Retina Lock Technology, this sight crafter gives those who covet lightweight and simplicity a 2021 winner. Dubbed the IQ Micro, the sight sports a 50 percent thinner bladed-pin construction to provide less clutter and improve containment. Second- and third-axis adjustable, this standard five-pin is fitted with .019 fiber optic pins and comes with a built-in sight level. Pros: The build is airy and clean, and multiple mounting holes in the bracket and toolless windage and elevation knobs are appreciated. Cons: I would love to see this sight offered with a dovetail extension bar. A little beef could be added to the windage and elevation knobs.
Best Affordable 5-Pin Slider: TRUGLO Range-Rover M4
The latest evolution in the popular Range-Rover series, the M4 combines the diverse range adjustability of the original Range-Rover and Range-Rover Pro LED (which many consider the some of the best compound bow sights for the money) with the multi-pin configuration of the Veros. The upgraded five-pin assembly showcases TRUGLO’s tried-and-true fiber optics to ensure obvious aim points no matter the lighting condition. Sweetening the pot is that this five-pin is a slider sight, which makes it an excellent choice for Midwest whitetails, western big game, and 3-D shooting. Pros: Unlocking the sight hood and manipulating the elevation knob, shooters can use either the top or bottom pin for their aim point, and the sight comes with 60 pre-printed yardage tapes. Cons: The slider wheels could be smoother. The sight bracket attachment bar is also a tad on the bulky side.
Most Customizable Bow Sight: Axcel Landslyde
One of the best compound bow sights that’s new on the market in 2021 is Axcel’s Landslyde. Known for engineering genius, Axel’s latest and greatest is fitted with a silky smooth and precise Quick Adjust Knob, which makes dialing to exact yardage quick and easy. The knob can be used for rapid adjustment by pressing in and sliding the head of the sight up or down. The sight accepts all Axcel metal sight tapes and features a pair of adjustable red pointers, which create a second aiming point reference. Pros: Options! The sight can be purchased as a single-pin, multi-pin, or the sight itself with no scope or housing. Shooters can choose between a direct mount model or a carbon pro dovetail model. The Landslyde sports an adjustable dead stop so archers can set the top pin location to the desired distance and have a sight stop at that location. Cons: Besides being pricy, this sight has so much built-in adjustment that for some, it may be a tad difficult to set up and take full advantage of each feature. Be sure to read the instruction manual and watch Youtube tutorials to avoid headaches.
Best Bow Sight for Sighting in Quickly: Trophy Ridge React Retaliate
Bowhunters love the sight-in simplicity of Trophy Ridge’s React series, and its latest addition, the Retaliate, is sure to get some attention. An airy yet durable aluminum mounting bracket is fitted with multiple mounting points, and post-shot vibration is reduced via the Ballistix CoPolymer System. Toolless micro-click windage and elevation adjustments boost the ease of the sight-in process. Pros: React Technology automatically sights in all long-range pins based on an initial sight-in of the 20- and 30-yard pins. Cons: The sight does not have third-axis adjustment, which will hinder those who tackle steep western terrain and take long uphill and downhill shots.
The Trail-Blaizing Digital Bow Sight: Garmin Xero A1 Bow Sight
An auto-ranging digital sight, the Xero A1 automatically measures the distance to the target and provides an LED pin for the shot. With a single glowing pin that appears out of nowhere, the housing is clear, and there are no other aiming points to focus on. This will boost accuracy. The sight promises a battery life of one year with a pair of lithium AAA batteries and has customizable pin options for those that prefer a multi-pin design over a single-pin design. Pros: I love the hushed single-button design to activate the LED pin(s). Another great feature is the sight lets you range game at rest or full draw up to 100 yards away. Cons: Electronic devices can fail.
How Do I Choose a Bow Sight?
After you evaluate the type of hunting you do, and honestly evaluate the distances you intend to shoot, you must consider price and features. The best compound bow sights typically run between $100 and $200 with pricier models in the $300 range and the digital models costing upwards of $800. While you don’t have to spend almost a grand on a bow sight in order to shoot accurately, a quality sight will help you become a better shooter. Quality sights are easier to dial in, they provide precise aiming points, and they give you clear aiming points in low-light conditions. Plus, they won’t move or fall apart on you during tough hunts. I highly recommend spending the money and getting the highest quality sight you can afford.
What is the Best Long Range Bow Sight?
When looking for a long-range bow sight, you get what you pay for. The sight will need to be a moveable model. You can select a single-pin moveable or a multi-pin moveable, but dial-to-the-yard capability is a must. You’ll also want a sight with a silky-smooth yardage wheel. Do your research, but don’t be afraid to go to a local pro shop and see if you can shoot the sight you’re interested in. You don’t want a yardage wheel that sticks. Moveable sights, because they have so many working parts, have been known to create some post-shot buzz. This is unacceptable. If you find that a moveable-pin sight rattles or makes any noise, it’s not the one for you. Other must-have features include a dovetail mounting bar. A dovetail bar allows you to customize the distance your sight protrudes out from the riser. Second- and third-axis adjustability is also a must. You want to make sure your bubble is never lying to you, especially when shooting distance at extreme uphill and downhill angles. Scroll through our list above and you’ll find a handful of sights that meet these criteria.
What is a Good Bow Sight for the Money?
It’s hard to beat a standard five-pin sight, and there are some great options out there from quality sight makers like TRUGLO, Apex Gear, and Trophy Ridge. I like a sight with toolless windage and elevation adjustments, and you want to be sure you can individually adjust each of the pins. Multiple mounting positions in the riser-attachment bracket are also a good thing, and don’t overlook pin brightness. A durable build is also super important. A sight gets beat up during a few seasons of hard hunting, and the last thing you want is busted or bent pins. Setup with a standard five-pin should also be easy and headache-free.