August 05, 2014
By Tony J. Peterson
Sights can be somewhat of an afterthought for many of us. This holds especially true for diehard whitetail hunters who tend to count on close-range shots. There's nothing wrong with not doting over your sight choice or being overly concerned with the little details sight-wise, until, of course, something goes wrong.
We expect our sights to function as advertised, and to be able to withstand run-of-the-mill abuse. However, when they don't hold up, our sights become much more critical than we may have thought. For many bowhunters, a bow without a sight is just a club.
To ensure that these in-the-field malfunctions are rare, sight manufacturers have put some serious design time into pin wraps and guards to protect the most fragile element of your bow setup — the sight pin. Consequently, broken pins are uncommon these days.
Sight makers are also offering products that are lighter and tougher than ever due to space-age materials, and they've addressed some of the issues with mounting quivers tight to our bows to reduce canting. Some have even created platforms for personal customization where you can choose multiple pin sizes and configurations, as well as finish options and even custom colors.
Still, the most important feature of any sight is being able to trust that when you pull up to make the shot, the pins will be intact and in the correct position. That peace of mind is priceless.
Following are the 2014 industry-leading sights brought to you by manufacturers who are all well aware of what bowhunters demand from their aiming accessories.
Looking to de-clutter your sight window? Consider the new Covert from Apex Gear
. The Covert lets you swap out its .019" pin through its Versa-Pin Technology to customize color choice, and it features a very visible rear-facing yardage tape. Each 8.5-oz. Covert is designed with a 1.8" aperture, boasts 2nd and 3rd-axis adjustment, and it will accept quiver mounts without the need for extensions.
Archer Xtreme Rogue
Take a close look at any of the Archer Xtreme
products, or more specifically the new Rogue
sight, and you'll see that it looks like it's designed and built extremely well. That's because it is. I reached out to CEO Mark Garcia to ask him what went into the Rogue's design, and he hit on two key points.
'First off, we use a five-axis CNC machine to create the Rogue, which allows us to taper the bracketing and the housing or, more importantly, cut down weight while encouraging strength, ' Garcia said. 'We also looked into motocross, of all places, to find a design for our 2nd-axis locking system, which can withstand a serious amount of vibration because it uses a ball joint instead of two flat surfaces like other sights. '
If you think that's not important, you haven't hunted hard enough. The Rogue is micro-adjustable (windage and elevation), and features full 2nd and 3rd-axis adjustment. Sporting five .019" fiber-optic pins, the Rogue is easily one of the best sights to hit the market this year.
Axcel Sights Armortech-HD
uses Armor Fiber Technology to protect the entire length of the pins on the Armortech-HD
. Available in 4, 5, or 7-pin configurations, all Armortech-HDs offer users the chance to choose from .010", .019", or .029" pin sizes. To cut down on vibration at the shot, Axcel outfits their 2nd and 3rd axis-adjustable Armortech-HDs with Mathews Harmonic Dampers.
Axion Archery Vue
From woodlot whitetailers to Western hunters looking to reach out and touch a distant bedded mule deer, Axion Archery
has a Vue
sight for all bowhunting occasions. Available in 3, 5, and 7-pin models, the Vue is a rugged CNC-machined sight that boasts a 2" pin guard (with glo ring), easy windage and elevation adjustments, and a bubble level. Choose from .019" or .009" fiber and a mulitude of finishes ranging from all black to Mathews Lost Camo or Realtree Xtra camouflage.
Black Gold Ascent Ambush
Even though I hail from a Midwestern state, I pay close attention to the equipment my Western bowhunting brethren rely on. This is because out West, you have to be a good shot to be a successful bowhunter. That's one of the main reasons why I started shooting Black Gold's
sights on my mule deer and antelope forays, and have expanded their usage to all of my hunts.
Their Ascent Ambush
is a 1 or 3-pin movable sight that is easy to set up (comes with 54 sight tapes) and use. It's also bright, thanks to the PhotoChromatic shell, and it's a breeze to mount to your bow, even if you opt for a one-piece quiver.
CBE Tek Hybrid
Adjustable sights are all the rage these days, thanks in no small part to sights like CBE's Tek Hybrid
. The fully micro-adjustable Tek Hybrid is available in 1, 3 and 5-pin configurations, each promising rugged, bright aiming points through the Improved Armed Guard Fiber Management System that contains a full 12" of fiber. The Tek Hybrid features a rear-facing sight tape so you can check yardage without moving your bow.
Stay Tight technology ensures your sight stays perfectly aligned throughout its adjustment range. Third-axis leveling, an enclosed rheostat light, and a Tough-As-Nails Guarantee round out this must-see sight from CBE that's as suitable for spot-and-stalk antelope hunting as it is for pointblank whitetails.
Cobra Archery Buchead Elite Series
I like a large sight window, which is one of the reasons the new Buckhead Elite Series from Cobra Archery
caught my eye. With a 2" aperture and wrapped fiber-optic pins (.019"), the Elite Series offers the kind of sight window I'm looking for, along with the pin brightness and durability necessary for hard hunting and accurate shooting.
The Buckhead Elite sights are all designed with Mathews Harmonic Damper Technology, feature tool-less windage and elevation adjustments, and will work just as well for both right and left-handed shooters.
Copper John TST
, the newest offering from Copper John
, is short for Torque Synchronizing Technology. This technology is designed to improve your ability to more accurately shoot game by significantly reducing elevation and windage misses.
This is made possible by the radical design of the TST, which places the sight much closer to your eye (on the opposite side of the riser from most sights), so it will not move as much when you cant or torque your bow. Two versions — a 3-pin and 5-pin — are offered, with each featuring .019" pins, micro-adjustable windage and elevation, and 2nd and 3rd-axis leveling.
113 (3-pin); $
Fuse Helix Micro
The first thing you'll notice about the new FUSE Helix
line of sights is the look. I asked Business Development Manager, Jeremy Eldredge, about the eye-catching nature of the new sights, and he was quick to bring the conversation to functionality. 'Our Helix sights feature the all-new, noise-eliminating Stealthband Technology, ' Eldredge said. 'Essentially, these Stealthbands wrap around the pin housing and run along the sight's mounting block to kill noise and vibration. To top it off, you can choose from eight different Stealthband colors to customize your sight. '
Choose the new Helix Micro
, and you're getting a sight that is not only quiet and lightweight but also boasts Precision Steel Pins (.019") in 3, 5, or 7-pin configurations. All Helix sights are designed with Micro-Click Adjustable Knobs that allow you to feel each click while sighting in, which is key for precision, and quite frankly, much appreciated after working with so many sights that leave us guessing. To ensure that you can hit what you're aiming at on the level or at a steep angle, the Helix line offers 2nd and 3rd-axis adjustment.
3-Pin IQ Micro Bowsight
The 3-Pin IQ Micro Bowsight
is easily one of the best sights you could have with you in the whitetail woods. With its proper-form ensuring Retina Lock Technology, you always know whether you've unintentionally torqued your bow or slightly altered your anchor point.
Each 3-Pin IQ is designed with micro-adjust knobs for windage and elevation, 2nd-axis adjustment, and .019" pins. A Dual Position Mount allows you to affix the IQ a couple of different ways to match your shooting preferences, and the fully enclosed Stack Tight pins are bright and nearly indestructible.
If you don't appreciate 3rd-axis adjustability on your sights, then you haven't hunted enough rough terrain. It's clear the folks behind PSE Archery's Galaxy
have spent some time in up-and-down bowhunting country, considering the sight is designed with a 3rd-axis level to guarantee perfect mounting. Each Galaxy is outfitted with five metal pins that contain 8" of fiber (.019"). This no-nonsense sight comes standard with a UV rheostat light.
Pure Gold 75
Borne from the same minds that brought you Black Gold Premium Bowsights, PURE Bowsights are a welcome addition to the sight market with their PURE Gold 75
representing the best of the very best. It's no accident that the 3rd axis-adjustable Gold 75 landed at the top of the sight food chain; however, to truly understand why, it's best to go to the source. That's why I went to Black Gold's President, Mike Ellig, to ask him what makes this sight so special.
'We went to 7071 T6 aluminum, which has never been used in sights, so that we can make them stronger and far lighter in weight, ' Ellig said. 'We also built a drive system that is designed with a specially coated metal-to-metal interface that is super slick and will never break. '
That system is responsible for moving the housing up and down while dialing into range, and is critical to overall sight function. In addition to high-tech materials and designs, each Gold 75 features ultra-bright pins thanks to the use of SkyCoil technology, is outfitted with a fluorescent (interchangeable) guard ring, and offers the smoothest, easiest to fine-tune pins you're likely to find on any sight. The Gold 75 is available in 1 or 5-pin models.
Spot-Hogg Tommy Hogg
There is a reason you see Spot-Hogg
sights mounted on so many Western hunters' bows. In fact, there are several reasons. The most prominent one is that they are nearly bombproof. Sights like the Tommy Hogg
are full of features like tool-less windage and elevation adjustments, micro-adjustable 2nd and 3rd axis, and a removable rack for traveling. Durability comes courtesy of the solid 6061 aluminum construction and HRD Technology (no bushings). Choose from a 1, 3, 5, or 7-pin configuration on these movers to get the most out of your field time.
As an added option, swap out your standard aperture for a SPARK Hunter
, which is a scope that features crosshairs (choose from several colors). I've shot the SPARK Hunter extensively, and while I never thought I'd ditch my sight pins for crosshairs, I have on some of my hunts. This simple add-on is a game-changer for some situations, and it's worth checking out for most bowhunters, especially those who occasionally give in to bouts of buck fever.
320 (Tommy Hogg); $
200 (SPARK Hunter)
Square-Up Archery Power Pro
Bow torque is an accuracy killer, and it's often unnoticed when it counts the most — in the field. One sure way to not torque or cant your bow while aiming is through the use of the new Power Pro from Square-Up Archery
The Power Pro provides a visual reference to your sight window, and it immediately indicates whether your form is off so you can quickly correct it before you release your arrow. To improve long-range accuracy, the Power Pro is now available with Zeiss lenses in either 2X or 4X magnification.
Sure-Loc Lethal Weapon with Retina Lock
There is a very good reason that Sure-Loc has developed a cult following in the target archery world, and more importantly, why that following is spilling out into the hunting arena — their sights are high quality. For instance, their new Lethal Weapon with Retina Lock
is loaded with hunter-friendly notables like weatherproof components, five-axis micro-adjustability, MicroLock Pins, and a 2.25" frame.
The Retina Lock Technology used on this sight essentially forces consistent shooting form out of you. It's always there with its static black dot and easy-to-see floating green field that both need to align before you know it's time to release. Over time, the Retina Lock trains your body to hold your bow exactly the same way every single time until it becomes second nature.
Tactical Archery Systems Gen2 SABO
Built with a strong military pedigree, the new Gen2 SABO sight from Tactical Archery Systems
just might change the way you look at sights. The SABO abandons traditional pins in lieu of four independently adjustable holographic dots.
Not only does the SABO rewrite the rules for bowsights, it also greatly helps folks with eye-dominance issues, near and farsightedness, and even archers who have trouble seeing pins in lowlight situations. It is also legal in all 50 states because it operates off of ambient light, sans any need for electronics. For 2014, the Gen2 SABO is now available in a left-handed model for our southpaw bowhunting brethren.
Trophy Ridge React-ONE
If you haven't seen the React line of sights from Trophy Ridge
, do yourself a favor and check them out. I've shot and hunted with the original React, and now the new React-ONE
, and I can say that they are the easiest mover sights to dial in, which was entirely intentional according to Product Development Engineer David Hahn.
'What sets this sight apart is how easy you can be sighted in to 100 yards, ' Hahn said. 'Simply sight in at 20 yards, and then step back to 30 and zero your pin. Adjust the master knob until the pointer lines up with the 30-yard indicator, and you're set to 100 yards. It's as simple as that. '
Hahn is not lying when he says it's simple. The React Smart-Pin technology is truly impressive; however, the engineers didn't stop there. Each React-ONE offers 100% tool-less adjustment, multiple mounting holes, 2nd and 3rd-axis adjustability, and highly visible range indicators.
TruGlo Rival Hunter
Little things like the luminescent tape-illuminated bubble level and extra-long fibers for maxium pin brightness are what separate TruGlo's new Rival Hunter
from the rest of the pack.
Available in a 3 or 5-pin model, the Rival Hunter is a micro-adjustable (tool-less) sight that is designed with a reversible bracket for greater vertical adjustability, giving shooters more room to work with during the set-up and sight-in process. Each Rival Hunter is offered in black, Realtree Xtra, and Mathews Lost Camo to further complement your rig.