Photo credit: Brady Miller
Spot Hogg Hogg It MRT 5-pin bow sight
Spot Hogg Hunter MRT 5-pin bow sight
Photo credit: Brady Miller
Every year we see an influx of new archery sights to the market and there are some really nice options for every style of hunting and budget. Here are six of my favorites.
There is so much to love about the Ascent Pro Dovetail sight from Black Gold. Of course, you can’t review a Black Gold sight and not mention the pins. The photochromatic technology shell over the pin fibers manages the pin brightness and flares in bright light. If you own another brand sight, I’ll almost guarantee you know exactly what I’m talking about when I mention pin flare. Black Gold’s shell eliminates that and offers clear, perfect pin brightness in any light. In addition, the pins on the Pro sight are CNC machined, resulting in a more narrow throat and a very nice clear round pin head for precise aiming.
The Pro sight also has a wing truss dovetail mounting system, allowing shooting to move the sight head closer or farther away to obtain a perfect peep and sight ring alignment. The wing truss dovetail is the same weight as other companies’ carbon bars, but is composed of 6061 aluminum.
One of the details I really like about the Pro is the micro adjustable gang adjustment on both the vertical and horizontal plane. As you sight in, it allows you to loosen those set screws without fear of the gang slipping and moving. With the dial, you can make micro adjustments, which I loved about this sight. Even the pins are individually micro adjustable. The Pro has easy second and third axis leveling as well.
Overall, the Ascent Pro is a very nice slider sight. It’s available in a single pin, three pin, and five pin model. My personal favorite is the five pin, allowing me to set pins from 20 to 60 yards and the ability to use the 60 yard pin for extended yards. If there is a negative about this sight, for me, it’s the cost and the weight. It’s not cheap. It's a premium sight and the cost is significant at $449.95 for the five pin model. The weight is also something to consider since it’s one of the heavier options for a hunting sight at 11.3 oz.
On the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of weight is the new 2020 Mountain Lite. The biggest perks of the new sight are the weight — weighing just 8.2 oz — and the two needle duel indicator system. The duel indicator gives you the option to use the bottom pin and indicator to dial for the longer yarages or the top indicator for precise in between yardage shots. Whatever the situation dictates, the Mountain Lite offers you a precise aiming pin for it.
Like other Black Gold sights, the PhotoChromatic fiber cover gives you a clear bright pin no matter the time of day. It also offers second and third axis leveling and comes in both three and five pin models. The Mountain Lite is a really nice multi-pin slider sight for hunters looking for a lightweight option for backpack hunts.
It does lack the micro-adjustable gang and pin adjustments that the Ascent Pro and Ascent Assault offer. It also comes with the standard base that gives you three mounting locations/distances, but lacks the adjustability of a dovetail mount. Overall, the Mountain Lite is a great hunting sight at a nice price point: $249.95 for the five pin model.
Spot Hogg is known for their sights and, if you have ever picked one up or owned one, you know that they are solid. When you get a chance to handle the Fast Eddie XL, you’ll see that it is really well built. There are no loose parts or pieces, nothing will rattle or move, and the tolerances are so tight. Personally, it’s hard to imagine that there is any other brand of sight on the market that is more durable. The Fast Eddie XL is constructed almost entirely of 6061 aluminum.
One thing I like about Spot Hogg sights is that the adjustments are all micro-adjustable. The horizontal gang adjustment is solid — with an allen wrench you can very easily fine-tune your left/right impact point and the individual pin movement is simple and precise.
The Fast Eddie XL comes with a 6” dovetail mount and the MRT pin guard. With the MRT system, you can sub out sight rings, which are included, to acquire good peep alignment with your housing. In bright sunlight when your peep is clear, you can center on the inner ring. When light is low, you can center your peep on the outside rings. You can also use the dovetail to move the sight in and out for even more adjustability.
While durability and tolerances are very very good on the Fast Eddie XL, there are still a few things that are lacking. A slight annoyance: the dial for making adjustments to your slider has the scale on the riser side of the bow on a wheel used to move it up and down. I would prefer if the scale was displayed on the shelf side so that the bowhunter can quickly and easily make adjustments and see it without having to move the bow or look on the opposite side. The Fast Eddie XL also feels heavy to me on the bow. The double pin sight weighs in at 14.2 oz. The multi-pin models will be slightly heavier. One final note: The locking lever to keep the sight from sliding is a little awkward to use.
Overall, the Fast Eddie XL is a solid hunting sight and is available in single, double, three and five pin options. If you are hard on your equipment, consider a Spot Hogg. The price for the five pin model is $364.99.
The Custom Bow Equipment (CBE) sights are not as well known to western big game hunters as they probably should be. When someone asks, “What is the best bow sight for the money?” the Engage Hybrid sights are the first that come to mind. Consider that the five pin Engage is $319.99 and has a pile of features that many similar style sights do not. The Engage Hybrid sights all come with a sight light and metal sight tapes that can be attached with a couple of allen screws. There is a ton of adjustability in the sights, micro gang and individual pin adjustment. They offer a dovetail mount that allows you to move the sight closer or further to find the sweet spot. Both second and third axis sight leveling is easy. I like the neon yellow sight ring and the bubble level is quick to reference — and it's a bit lighter than a Spot Hogg.
Like every sight, there are a couple things that are minor annoyances regarding the Engage Hybrid sights. The biggest is the wheel used to move your housing up and down when dialing for longer shots. The wheel is a bit too close to the sight and the small grooves in it offer less than ideal grip when moving the sight. It’s not terrible, but it’s a bit awkward to get a hold of and make adjustments. The pins on the CBE sights are good, but they are not as clear or bright to me as the Black Gold. However, they have made headway since previous models of this sight and I think they are on par with the Spot Hogg sights.
Like I previously noted, Engage Hybrid are really nice sights. Direct competitors would be the Fast Eddie XL and the Ascent Pro, but consider that the CBEs are about $50 to $130 cheaper than those two models and you get a sight light and metal sight tapes. The Engage has its downfalls, but it’s a really nice slider sight for the cost and is available in single, three and five pin options.
The last couple I would note are not slider sights. I know... I know. Who buys a fixed pin sight any more for western big game hunting? Hear me out. I have killed quite a few elk with my bow and I have never had to take a shot over 55 yards. I shoot a slider sight and I feel confident out to 70 yards, but if I am honest with myself, a 70+ yard shot on an animal opens up the margin of error quite a bit. Do you really need a 70+ yard pin sight? You’ll have to decide, but there are some advantages of a fixed pin sight. One, you’ll dump some weight over slider sights. Two, you have less moving parts and pieces and, consequently, less can go wrong. Three, you are far less likely to get baited into taking a shot you might not be capable of making. Be honest with your abilities and the situation.
With that, if you do decide on a fixed pin sight, it’s hard to beat the Hogg-It and the Hunter. Both are five pin sights. The Hogg-It offers a 6.5” dovetail that can be moved in or out from the bow for a custom fit. The Hunter has a standard mount, but still offers four positions you can mount it with for some adjustability there. Both sights have micro-adjustability vertical and horizontal gang adjustment, as well as micro-pin adjustment. Both have second and third axis adjustment and the Multi-Ring-Technology for a custom housing/peep alignment. I also really appreciate the vertical center sight housing wire on all Spot Hogg sights.