The Types of Bow Sights and Their Uses
Practice makes perfect and this has never been more true than in the case of archery. However, no practice is going to get you very far when you’re not using the right type of bow sights. Luckily for all archers out there, bow hunting fans have created multiple kinds of sights so that you may actually get better at hitting the bull’s eye.
No matter if you’re an entry level or an experienced hunter, bow sights are going to help you a lot for not coming home empty handed. It also lowers the tracking time and makes sure you’re able to shoot and make a clean kill, or hit archery targets like they are nothing.
What are the main rules to remember?
If you’re new to hunting, you may want to start with something that doesn’t empty your pockets. The simple sights are really affordable, but this doesn’t mean that they’re not efficient. Simple designs are great for your basic skills and needs and a set of multicolored pins that you may set for various distances is a wise investment to make.
Each of the pins is independent so you can make adjustments without altering the other pins. The distance you set them for depends on your needs and you’re only limited by the number of pins that you can get on the sight. 3 or 4 pins is going to be enough for an average hunter and if you’re hunting in heavy terrain, even one pin may do the job.
The mounting bracket is also fundamental on a sight. It’s a simple plate where you’re going to attach the sight to the bow. You may need some screws for the attachments. Some let you detach the sights really easy, whereas others are going to be more permanent. Most brackets are universal and work on any bow, but you should check if the sight is going to take right and left handed hunters before buying them.
The more you’re willing to pay for your sights, the more features you should expect on them. There are multiple types to choose from, but you should find the ones that work for you and your wallet as well.
What are the main types of bow sights?
Let’s take a quick look at the most popular types of bow sights out there. It’s going to help you select better later on:
1. Fixed pin
They’re probably the most popular type of sights among the bow hunters. They’re really easy to set up and really precise when used right. Even if the simple design of multicolored pins is locked into place, it’s going to take you some effort to setting the pins for the right yardage. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error until you get it right so make sure you get the time for setting them.
When it comes to adjusting the pins for the right distance, it’s all about your specific needs and skills. Many fixed pins sights are going to let you add more pins so you may try multiple distances. However, the more pins you have, the trickier it’s going to become. 3-4 pins are the best number to handle. You may set one pin for 60 or 75ft and have another one for a longer shot and one for the closer shot. When you’re out there, you’re going to have the make other adjustments for those in between shots, no matter what the settings are.
You are going to need to learn how to compensate for the in between shots. You can use the pins as a guide and set the shot to fall between the pins when lining up the shot for the off distance. If you’re using a 60ft and a 90 ft. pin and your game is 75ft out, you should adjust the target between the two pins for a successful shot. Practice makes perfect, remember? You need to learn to guess the distance by shooting constantly until getting a good shot.
Learn how to aim low for the closer shot and high for the longer shot especially when you’re using one or only a couple of pins.
2. Pendulum sights
If you like hunting from a tree stand, the pendulum sights are the best choice for you. They’re one of a kind as they give you a new dimension to the standard and moveable pin sights.
A pendulum sight features a pin mounted on a pendulum inside the sight bracket, providing more precision. As the bow angle falls, the pendulum is going to dangle outside of the bracket, ensuring the more accurate shot.
In order to get the best out of them, you’re going to need to calibrate them for the right precision. This means you need to know about arrow velocity so the pendulum sights aren’t the best option for the entry level archers. They may also lose some of the precision for distance shots or when shooting from ground level.
3. Moveable pin sights
The moveable ping comes with just one pin and not several like in the case of fixed pins. The moveable pins let you set the pin for distance on any specific shot. The distance for the shot is marked on a slider scale (preset by the archer) and you’re going to need to set the sight for the right distance for every single shot.
You’re going to need to measure the distance for any shot so practice is fundamental. The main downside is that you need to adjust the pin for making a clean shot. This is going to lead to some issues especially if your game is always on the move. Constantly adjusting the sight is going to help your game to spot you, which isn’t something you want.
However, moveable sights are ideal for 3D shooting and competition.
4. Target sights
They’re used for the competitions as they ensure the highest precision. They’re anything but cheap and the size and price don’t make them the best choice for the average hunter. They’re made to use with specific aiming devices (single pins or lasers) that you may attach for higher accuracy. They come with settings for wind and height, which can only increase the precision of shots.
To be sure you don’t miss something and you spend money right, read also this guide “What you need to know when you buying bow sights“.
What about the mounting brackets?
There are two types of mounting brackets: the fixed and the dovetail. They have no effect on the shooting skill, but they’re able to give more or less accessibility to the sights.
Many hunters are using the fixed brackets when they don’t plan to remove the sight after setting it up. These make great recurve bow sights. A dovetail bracket features a fixed plate for securing and a slot for sliding the sight onto the fixed plate (you use a nut or a screw for securing it).
On the other hand, a competition shooter is going to have to remove the sights several times and the dovetail style bracket provides this type of versatility.
As long as you’re willing to learn a thing or two about the sights and the mounting brackets, it shouldn’t be complicated to make an idea about what you really need when you get out there. Just take time and…practice!