When you think about archery, what do most people picture in their minds? Perhaps a target with bulls-eye circles drawn on it. Or maybe your mind’s eye is set on the field where you used to shoot when you were young and full of dreams.
Regardless of how we view our sport—as a means to an end or as something that takes up space all year long—there are many great sights available for use by archers across almost any budget.
This article will explore some of the best options for using these sights so that even if you’re just starting out, you can make sure you get the right equipment for your needs.
Types of Archery Target Sights and Scopes
Before looking into specific scopes, it’s important to know exactly which type of sight you’ll be shooting from. There are five main types of sights available today: fixed pin, movable pin, pendulum or treestand, competition (also called “wall”), and electronic.
Each has its own advantages, disadvantages, and uses depending on who would benefit most from them. Knowing this information ahead of time allows us to narrow down our search more effectively.
Fixed Pin Sights
These sights consist of a small post attached to the bowstring near the center of the grip. The arrow rest rests behind this point, and the front of the sight sits above the bowstring itself. A hole is drilled through the back of the post and the top half is threaded such that the user can slide pins over the threads inside.
These pins hold the entire system together while also acting as aiming points. They have several benefits, but one major disadvantage is that they tend to be heavy and difficult to adjust quickly.
This kind of sighting device was originally invented way before modern technology allowed us to create lighter materials like fiberglass and plastic. Today, however, new designs allow us to produce much lighter models and still maintain good stability. One example of this is the SightMaster Pro series offered by Bowtech Inc.
Benefits of Using Fixed Pin Sights
These sights offer the same features as traditional pins without being nearly as bulky. Another plus here is that they come complete with adjustable cheek pieces and flip-up rear sights. allowing users to adjust the length of the pull to their liking
Another advantage of these devices is that they provide extremely stable aiming angles. Because the posts are directly connected to the bowstring, they naturally keep the bow steady during shots. Additionally, because the pins move independently, they’re not limited by the size of the holes drilled into the post itself.
Most pins feature multiple positions, allowing shooters to choose between different aiming points and distances. For those interested, I’ve included a link below showing you how properly aligning yourself should look.
If stability isn’t enough for you, then perhaps weight is. Traditional pins put too much stress on the bow due to the extra weight. Some manufacturers are now offering lightweight versions made of aluminum instead of steel. While not quite as strong as the original pins, these newer ones are still very sturdy and durable.
If price isn’t a concern and you want the absolute lightest option possible, check out the PSE Precision Series, manufactured by Arrowhead Sports Products.
With weights of under 2 pounds each, they’re designed specifically for compound bows. You don’t need to worry about having the proper technique for hitting targets either, since the pins themselves aren’t going anywhere.
Movable or Single-Pin Sights
For years, hunters have been perfecting ways to increase accuracy and precision while hunting. Whether it’s using a range finder or taking measurements from trees, nature provides plenty of natural barriers that limit our ability to hit targets precisely.
However, by adding additional aiming aids, we can improve our overall performance dramatically. Since many archers enjoy moving around while practicing, sights like the V2 Optics 3D System provide greater flexibility than other single-pin sights.
Their design consists of two vertical pins mounted parallel to each other. At the bottom of the pins lies a horizontal piece that connects both ends together. Both sides of this bar contain four smaller slits cut into them. When activated, these slots release a red LED light source that shines downward towards the ground, creating an illuminated surface.
With this tool, archers can aim along the line created by the pins while simultaneously holding the bow horizontally. In addition, the LEDs can easily be adjusted according to distance. Users can simply turn a knob located at the base of the unit until the desired brightness level appears.
Once the LEDs reach their maximum output, the bars automatically lock into place. Even though these units are primarily meant to help with bowhunting, they work equally well for practice sessions outside. Simply remove the horizontal beams and attach them to poles or tree branches.
Benefits of Using Movable or Single-Pin Sights
This makes it easier to concentrate on fine-tuning your form rather than worrying about whether you’re able to see clearly enough to hit the mark.
One final note regarding this product: unlike the previous examples, this one does require a lot of physical effort to disassemble. However, once it’s assembled again, it only weighs 1 pound, making it incredibly portable and easy to transport.
Pendulum or Treestand Sights
While it may seem strange, this last category is actually the oldest variety of targeting systems currently available. Pendulum sights first started popping up in Europe in the early 1800s. It wasn’t until recently, however, that they became popular among American sportsmen.
Nowadays, they’re found mostly in outdoor markets and sporting goods stores. Despite their age, they continue to perform exceptionally well despite the fact that they haven’t changed significantly in hundreds of years.
The basic idea behind these tools is simple: mount a crosspiece on a stand and position arrows alongside it. Then suspend the whole thing off the ground using ropes, wires, or metal cables. As you might expect, keeping everything suspended requires skill and patience, similar to fishing.
Benefits of Using Pendulum or Treestand Sights
Using a pendulum sight involves maintaining balance throughout every shot. Although it sounds pretty intimidating, it doesn’t take much experience to master the art of swinging targets accurately. Plus, you won’t need any special training to start using one… anyone can pick one up and go!
As mentioned earlier, these kinds of sights often cost less than others. On average, they typically weigh around 5 pounds apiece. Some even include carrying cases that make transportation simpler. If you’d prefer to purchase a particular model, try visiting Amazon’s online marketplace.
Chances are, you’ll find it cheaper to buy direct from the manufacturer. Just remember to order sooner rather than later, since deals usually sell out fast. To learn more about buying archery accessories, read my article discussing the best places to shop for discount archery gear.
A few years ago, I had never heard of competitive sights. That said, I’m glad I took a chance to give them a try after reading about them in an article by Dave LeClair. Competitors love using these tools because they eliminate the guesswork associated with normal sight.
Instead, competitors must rely on clear lines and precise calculations to ensure success. After learning the basics of alignment, contestants begin focusing on their speed and timing.
Why Competition Sights Are Important
Every aspect of archery becomes critical in competition, including stance, body mechanics, draw, follow-through, and accurate releases. Like regular pins, competition sights consist of a central post with holes drilled into it. These holes accept pins that connect the platform to the bow string.
Unlike pins, however, competition sights are designed so that they can rotate 360 degrees, enabling the shooter to change his/her angle of approach whenever necessary.
Due to the complexity involved in finding the correct distance and positioning, competition sights are generally expensive. But thanks to technological advances, producers have managed to reduce prices considerably. For instance, Bow Tech offers products ranging from $50 to $400.
Competition sights are commonly used by serious archers interested in improving their skills. Many tournaments exist exclusively for individuals wishing to test their mettle against others. So consider giving one of these high-quality tools a try next time you feel inspired to step up your game.
In conclusion, choosing the best archery target sights depends largely on what type of person you are and what you intend to do with your hobby. People seeking to compete will likely gravitate toward competition sights.
Those who wish to hunt will probably opt for a fixed pin or pendulum style. Everyone else will probably fall somewhere in the middle between these extremes. Hopefully, this article will help you decide which direction you want to head in.
Remember, regardless of what kind of sight you ultimately select, always pay attention to proper usage techniques. Proper technique ensures that you spend your money wisely and achieve better results. Happy Shooting!