Sights and Optics for Bows

Are you a bow enthusiast that loves the hobby and wants to increase your accuracy? If so, it might be a good idea to get a sight or optic for your bow. Getting a sight for your bow will make you more accurate and if you are a hobbyist, you will undoubtedly have more fun. However, if you are new to archery and have never used a sight before or are still unsold on the benefits of using one, there is some information that you probably want to know first.

We’re going to walk you through everything there is to know about sights and optics for bows including why you should use one, the different types of sights, and how you can use it when you do get one. By the end of this guide to sights and optics for bows, you should be a more well-rounded archer and be comfortable starting to venture into the world of using sights for your bows.

Benefits of Using a Bow Sight

Though the potential benefit of using a sight with your bow seems one-dimensional and self-explanatory, there are actually a couple of interesting reasons why you might use your sight with your bow in order to enhance your archery experience. Obviously, the main reason is that you can improve your aim by using a bow. This is of paramount importance to many archers, especially if you are going to be competing in competitions or hunting for food.

If you are shooting at any significant distance, you need a sight for your bow. Your eyes are not equipped to help you aim as accurate as you’d like and they just won’t cut it for competition or hunting. So, you need to bring some extra equipment in to help. In this case, it’s a bow sight.

While bow sights are extremely helpful for aiming in the beginning of your archery stance, they are far from the only benefit that sights offer. Another big advantage of using a proper bow sight is that you will be able to accurately focus on your target that you are shooting at. Without a sight, you cannot focus in on your target and you might find yourself missing easy shots.

If you are within a distance of 10 feet, you probably don’t need to go through the trouble of getting a sight for your bow. At that distance, it is insignificant and you can aim with your eyes accurately enough. If you were wondering if there was any shot that you can make without a sight for sure, it is shots within 10 feet.

A benefit that you probably never thought of when using a bow sight is that it can actually help you save money. Some archers don’t buy sights or don’t buy good ones to save money. Well, you actually put yourself at risk of losing more money that way. When you use a sight, you are much more accurate, which means your arrows will go where you intend them to go, for the most part. However, without a sight you are flying blind. This isn’t a good equation for any archer.

When you aren’t able to aim properly, you start to make bad shots and you lose arrows. Any archer knows that arrows are not cheap at all and most people hate losing them. Without a sight, you are much more likely to lose your arrow because you have less control over your aim. Thus, if you really want to save money, then you’ll invest in a one-time purchase of a good sight for your bow.

Another way that a sight saves you money comes into play if you are in competitions. As you know, your success in a competition often depends on your ability to make consistently accurate shots. However, this is pretty hard to do with you don’t have a bow sight. You should make getting a bow sight a priority if you are going to be entering competitions with your bow. With a sight, you’ll make better shots, do better in competitions, and hopefully win more money!

Finally, the final benefit to using a sight with a bow is the fun that it brings to hunting and competition. There’s something impersonal about using a gun when hunting, and you can feel a more primal instinct kicking in when you line up a shot with a bow and sight. If you love hunting and you want to get the best out of your hunting experience while making accurate shots and taking home food for your family, then getting a bow with a great sight is the only way to go, from many hunters’ perspective.

Types of Bow Sights

If you are considering using a sight with your bow but don’t know where to begin, you should know that whether or not to get a sight isn’t the only important decision that you’re going to have to make. Another crucial part of this process is picking the right type of sight for you. For the most part, which type of sight that you select is going to be a matter of personal preference and whichever one that you feel you can see better out of will win the battle for your loyalty. This rundown will show you all of the types of sights that are available and some strengths and weaknesses of each.

One tip that we do want to give you before we get started on this is that if you are a beginner, it’s probably best to start with a budget pick. That’s because archers frequently switch sight types in the beginning of choosing them because they want to get a feel for each one and determine which one works best from there. You won’t be able to do this if you run yourself out of money just trying to try out all the different sights. The best way forward when it comes to sights is by trial & error.

Fixed Pin

The first type of sight that we’re covering is the fixed pin sight. These are probably the most common types of sight used among hunters. They come in some variations, but they are undoubtedly one of the most commonly used broad types of sights. These look simple, but they take a fair bid of adjusting in order to get it to where you need t to be. You have to adjust the pins using trial & error and there’s also a distance element to it as well. You’ll be using a different pin for each distance so it does take a fair bit of work to adjust it to an ideal spacing scheme.

One advantage to this type of sight is that you can put however many pins you deem necessary within the sight to give you a plethora of yardage options. With more options, you become a more versatile archer and have more shots at your disposal. However, it’s a fine line. You don’t want to put too many pins in your sight because they can often become a hindrance instead of something designed to help you out when you are shooting.

Once you do get a fixed pin sight set up, using it is pretty straightforward. You set different pins for different distances. If your target is a different distance than what you have your pins set to, then your sight is just going to act as a guide that you should be adjusting as you go. For instance, if you have pins set for 20 and 30 yards and your target is 25 yards away, you are going to want to set your target in between the two pins. You will become better and better at this as you shoot more and get more experience.

Movable Pin Sights

The next type of sight that we’re going to cover is the movable pin sight. These sights are used in the same way as a pin sight with one key difference--you only have one pin. Instead of setting your multiple pins at different distances and using them accordingly, you will only have one pin that you move around the sight to focus in on your target. The user of the bow can adjust on the fly and move the pin wherever you’d like within the sight.

While this sounds a little bit more convenient because you don’t have to set different pins, it’s actually kind of a hassle, which is why it’s not a very popular type of sight among hunters. This might be good for those who don’t have prey and instead compete in competitions, but it’s not idea for someone in stealth mode. This is because you have to constantly be adjusting your pin to make a good shot. This gives your prey ample time to spot you and move away before you are able to get a clean shot off. As you can imagine, this is a risk that many hunters aren’t willing to take.

Pendulum Sights

This is another type of sight that is very popular among hunters, particularly for those who enjoy hunting from a tree stand. Pendulum sights are a little different from other sights because it offers a distinct advantage to those who are shooting from a downward angle, which is why hunters who use tree stands are so inclined towards it. The downward angle of the sight compensates for the angle of the shot, giving them a more accurate way to shoot at their prey.

The fact that the pendulum is not in a fixed position means that as you drop your shot and move around, the pin will move with you and allow for the flexibility that you need when hunting a target that moves. This increased accuracy has led to the popularity of the pendulum sight as a viable option for hunters.

The main drawback to a pendulum sight is that it has to be carefully calibrated and can be a little bit tricky for those who haven’t used these kinds of sights before. If you are a beginner, it might be best to start with a more basic sight.

Target Sights

If you are not a hunter and instead have archery as a hobby or you participate in competitions, you probably use a target sight. If you are just getting into archery and you think that you will be on the competitive side of archery, this is the best sight for you to get. They are regarded as the most accurate sight around, which is great for those shooting in competition.

However, with this great quality comes great expense. These types of sights do not come cheap--and for good reason. They are made from quality materials and allow an archer to have a distinct competitive edge. This type of sight should be seen as a significant investment that should only be made if you are taking archery competitions very seriously and care about having an edge on the competition.

Target sights are not affordable by any means, but they are great to use if you are competing in competition and value accuracy above all else. You won’t see these used by most hunters because they are so expensive and not worth it to most of them.


If you are an archer, you now know that having a sight as part of your gear whether you are in the woods or in competition is essentially required to have any success. There are archers out there that do not use sights, but you are definitely going to be more accurate with a sight than without one. If you are serious about saving money and increasing accuracy, you will get a sight for your bow.

In our guide, we walked through the numerous benefits of using a sight with your bow and then touched on all the different types of sights that you can get depending on your budget, experience level, and which activity you are going to be using it for. Now that you know everything there is to know about bow sights and optics, you can start to do the necessary research on products that fit your needs and shoot more accurately for the years to come.

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