With so many bow sights available on the market, picking the right one for you might be a little much to swallow. I get a chuckle these days with how many options there are given the fond memories I have of my first bow sight. These days, it would look like more of a joke than a bow sight. It was a rusty relic begging for attention.
Bow sights really are something else these days with the level of craftsmanship that’s put into them and the mind-blowing precision they can provide. From fiber optic pins to micro adjustments and built-in rangefinders, they are a work of art. It is undeniable that they have made us a more successful bowhunter of the modern day.
Finding a bow sight that checks all of the boxes can be an uphill climb. Lucky for you, we like to climb here at GearJunkie. We’ve broken down our top picks of bow sights for 2023. For a side-by-side spec comparison, have a look at our chart, and be sure to read our buyer’s guide to help you decide which bow sight is best for you
The Best Bow Sights for Hunting of 2023
- Best Overall: Black Gold Ascent Verdict
- Best Budget: Redline R3
- Best Single-Pin: HHA Tetra Single Pin
- Best Multi-Pin: CBE Trek Pro
- Best in Technology: Garmin A1i Pro
Bow Sight Comparison Chart
Why You Should Trust Us
Well, we bow hunt … a lot. Luckily, we have the opportunity to have multiple sights on hand to test in varying hunting scenarios and extremely differing conditions. We test bow sights in the mountains and on the plains. They hone in on targets in broad daylight and in the dwindling glimmer of last light.
Rain? Yup. Snow? Definitely. Brutal heat? We’ve cooked them and then some. Our goal is to get them into the field the same way you will, so you can be confident in the stances we take.
As for myself, bowhunting is something I think about every single day and I’m lucky to spend a good majority of my year with a bow in my hand. From the alpine to the desert, I’ve fortunately stalked and ambushed big game animals successfully with a bow and arrow. It’s my passion and I have a deep appreciation for the level of difficulty that goes into a successful archery hunt. Gear that compromises that success is gear I won’t waste my time with.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Bow Sight
Single-Pin or Multi-Pin Bow Sight?
Perhaps the biggest question for bowhunters looking for a new sight is whether to get a single-pin or a multi-pin version. Each of them has its own pros and potential cons in the field. We’re going to break that down for you here. With any luck, you’ll know exactly what to set your sights on after the fact.
As I mentioned above, multi-pin bow sights are without a doubt the most common bow sights used among bowhunters. There are several reasons for that. The first is they are a set-it-and-forget-it system. With the exception of using a multi-pin slider, your pins are what they are.
This leads me to another benefit: Quick yardage pin acquisition is easier with a multi-pin. When a hunter draws their bow back, they know what their pins are, and there is no “hold on, let me dial,” especially after an animal decides to move.
Lastly, multi-pin bow sights also shed light on arrow trajectory. For instance, if you are aiming with your 40-yard pin, but while doing that, your 20-yard pin is sitting on a branch at the halfway point, you’ve likely got a deflection in your future and need to adjust.
On the flip side, multi-pin sights don’t offer the best of sight pictures. There’s just a lot going on in there, which can muddy your view.
With that in mind, having a plethora of pins inside the housing also has a way of confusing folks. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard say “used the wrong pin” after a miss.
Furthermore, these are a set-it-and-forget-it system, but unless you’re using a slider, you won’t be stretching the distance too much in practice. There is great value in practicing long-range shooting, as it makes one even more accurate at the shorter ranges.
While single pins might not be as prevalent in the mountains as multi-pins, there is 100% value in running one pin versus multiple for bowhunting. The first that comes to mind is more of a clear-sight picture. There is no clutter and no such thing as using the wrong pin accidentally in those high-intensity bowhunting situations. You’ve got one pin to worry about, and that’s it.
And with that one pin, you’re going to get exact yardage accuracy. A single-pin sight operates off of a sight tape, so the hunter can dial exact yardage and not have to worry about pin gapping (example: aiming between 30-40 pin for a 35-yard shot).
Single pins are also incredibly easy to sight in. Unlike having to go through sighting in each and every pin on a multi-pin, single pins only require one to sight in two different yardages — a close shot and a farther shot. From that info, you’ll be able to get your sight tape, and it’s off to the races from there.
It’s not all roses and sugar plums with single-pin sights. And really, this all comes down to one disadvantage that affects a few different things. The disadvantage is time. Single-pin sights are a time sucker because they take longer to adjust for yardage.
So, when that elk decides to move last minute while you’re at full draw, you’ll either have to let down and readjust or try to compensate and risk your precision. It’s a sticky situation either way.
This can also cause one to take an even longer amount of time coming to full draw. When things heat up quickly, you need to act quickly, and a single pin doesn’t lend to that in the least. Even if you’ve got all of the ranges memorized in front of you, you’ll still have to adjust your sight to wherever that animal steps out.
And when you do have to adjust your sight, this is more movement you’re throwing into the mix. Bowhunting is a game of inches, and the less movement, the better on our part. Having to move and adjust your sight is a hunter risking getting busted, as well as risking precious time doing so.
Choosing between a single-pin and multi-pin bow sight all comes down to comfort and personal preference with a sprinkle of your own hunting style. I know folks that just prefer not to monkey around with remembering which pin to use in the heat of the moment, so they shoot a single.
A popular tactic for ambush hunting from a tree or ground blind. And then I know folks that are diehard spot and stalk hunters, and they feel they need those multiple pins in order to act quickly when that opportunity finally arises.
Whatever it is, pick one, run with it, and know how to use it — because the most important thing of all is being able to put the arrow where it needs to go, right behind the pin.