If you are looking for extreme accuracy and precision with every shot then using a bow sight is essential. But there is now a way to take this up to the next level and get accuracy beyond your wildest dreams.
This can be done by using a bowsight with a built-in rangefinder and many modern archers are beginning to favor this type of equipment and wondering how they ever got by without it.
In this guide, we are going to be looking at how a rangefinder works and the benefits of using one with your bow sight as well as showing you our top picks.
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What Is A Rangefinder?
A rangefinder is a piece of equipment that is designed to improve your accuracy. Even if you are a novice archer, using a rangefinder will give you an incredible boost in your shooting skill.
Many people choose to use this type of equipment because it can give you the accuracy of an archer who has been practising for many years.
Typically, you would just use a bow sight when lining up your shot and while these are good, adding in a rangefinder will allow you to more accurately line up your pins for the most spot on shot.
The problem is that rangefinders on bow sights are still relatively new pieces of equipment and while they are, without doubt, innovative, a lot of archers are still getting to grips with how to use them.
How Does A Rangefinder Work?
When you look back over the recent history of archery, it doesn’t seem that long ago that the brass pins we are now so accustomed to using were the height of bow technology. But would you believe that was 25 years ago?
Since then, things have taken huge leaps to bring us technology that makes accurate archery possible even for someone who has never picked up a bow in their life. Well, almost, we’re sticklers for good technique and practising your stance.
But using a rangefinder will enable you to discover the exact distance between yourself and the target from the place where you stand. Surely, this requires some profound technology?
A bow sight with a built-in rangefinder is a great piece of equipment and when you first start using one, you may feel a little overwhelmed. It might feel alien and take some getting used to. But once you understand how these devices work, it becomes a lot easier.
When you look through the rangefinder at your target, you will see two dots; one red and one green. These both have different functions and can be confusing for archers who have not used this type of equipment before.
The red dot is what you will use to get the range; on the display, you will see the distance between you and your target. Once you are happy with this, you can begin using the green dot.
The green dot is what you will use to take your aim. In short, this dot will let you know where your arrow is going to land once it is fired.
A lot of people find it confusing because the green dot is not in the middle, where one might expect it to be. But this doesn’t mean that your aim is off. The green dot will only be in the middle if this is where the range you zeroed in on is located. Otherwise, it will be elsewhere.
But try not to let this put you off and see the green dot for what it is; a marker for where your arrow will land.
Using a rangefinder will allow you to combine your knowledge of the target distance with using the right pins and the correct power for the shot. Those who have switched to using this type of bow sight have talked about how easy they are to use and how often they are spot on target.
The Best Bow Sights With A Built-In Rangefinder
Once you understand the effectiveness of this type of archery equipment, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if you were ready to rush out and find one for yourself.
But don’t go anywhere just yet; we have looked at several bow sights with built-in rangefinders and have picked out our favorites.
Whether you are looking for something a little more affordable, or a rangefinding bow sight that is a bit more high tech, we have got you covered.
Garmin Xero A1i – Top Pick!
Garmin is perhaps one of the most well known names when it comes to this type of equipment; SatNav systems, rangefinders and other location devices. It stands to reason then that this is one of the most popular bow sights with a built-in rangefinder on the market today.
The range on this one is impressive with 100 yards for a regular target and up to 300 yards for a reflective target. Not only this but you are getting an automated ranging function and unobstructed view. This is thanks to the use of LED pins.
Furthermore, there are settings for both single and multi-pin use making this an incredibly diverse piece of equipment. The clear digital display lets you see all the information you need without having to take your eyes off the prize.
If you are zeroed in on a live target, the last thing you want is to startle it with noisy equipment. Fortunately, the Garmin comes with a silent button that is conveniently located for even greater ease of use.
There is a level included which helps to configure your orientation and there will be no light reflected towards the target so you get a crisp view at all times. And if all of that wasn’t enough, it is easy to clean and water resistant.
This one may be a little on the pricey side but with the range of features you are getting, this is indeed a wise investment.
IQ Define Pro – Best Value
If you want to dip your toes in the water without breaking the bank before deciding whether a bow sight with a built-in rangefinder is for you then this is an excellent choice. But just because this is great value for money, that does not mean that it is lacking features.
This is a 7 pin bow sight with an amazing degree of accuracy. What’s more, it is easy to use, especially if you are new to this type of bow sight.
The reason for this is that you would sight in the pins in the same way that you would on any normal bow sight, so there is a degree of familiarity to using this one. Once you have done this, the rangefinder kicks in and gives you an accurate reading, leaving you to choose the correct pin.
Typically IQ models can only range to 99 yards but this one has been drastically improved giving you the ability to range out to 125 yards. The clear OLED display makes it easy to see the information and the device has a useful battery saving feature.
If you want consistency then the IQ makes a great archery companion. This is mostly because you have the option to choose the type of archery you are doing and the rangefinder will work alongside this.
With the Retina Lock function, you will also have much better hand placement on the bow as well as significantly reducing bow torque, further improving your accuracy.
How To Choose A Bow Sight With A Built-In Rangefinder
Since this is still a relatively new type of archery accessory, many people may find themselves struggling with what to look for. The options are still pretty limited and unlike other types of equipment, you won’t find yourself flooding with hundreds of choices.
That being said, there are enough choices to make it a good idea to check out certain functions and features before committing to any one model.
Now that you have seen our top picks, take a look at our tips for finding the right gadget for you.
There is no denying that archery is not the gentlest sport and there is a good chance that your equipment will be exposed to some heavy use and extreme conditions. The last thing you want is to invest in an expensive piece of equipment that breaks at the first sign of any wear and tear.
Of course, we are not suggesting that you mistreat your bow sight with a rangefinder, but we would recommend looking for one that is going to stand up to the challenge of bowhunting.
One of the best ways to determine if the bow sight will be of a high quality is to look at the materials from which it is constructed. Typically, a good bow sight with a rangefinder will be made from metals like aluminum and stainless steel.
These metals are lightweight but extremely robust. When used for external casing, you will find that they offer a generous amount of protection for the internal components and are often water-resistant.
Warranty And Customer Support
The bow sights that we have looked at in this article are made by extremely well-recognized and reputable manufacturers. But there are those out there that come from lesser-known brands. We are not saying that you should not consider these, but do be mindful of the warranty period and after sale support.
Since these rangefinding bow sights are relatively expensive, you want to be sure that you are covered in the event that anything goes wrong. Most products will come with a warranty but it is worth checking. Furthermore, you should look at what support is available from the sales team after you have made your purchase.
The entire point of using this type of equipment is to improve your accuracy, so if you have a rangefinder that is anything but precise, you may as well not be using it at all.
You should look for a model that features laser calibration as this will allow the device to ‘learn’ the dynamics of the bow that you are using.
Before you commit to a bow sight with a rangefinder, you should test it out. But do not do this without having something to compare it to. The best method to use is to compare the accuracy with ranging devices that you know to be accurate.
If anything is off, put it aside and try another model.
We have already talked about the fact that a bow sight with a built-in rangefinder is not the cheapest piece of equipment. That being said, there are budget options out there; but does a lower price mean diminished quality?
Not necessarily. The best value IQ rangefinder that we looked at earlier has an impressive wealth of features for a fraction of the cost of some of the more high-end options. However, you will find that some cheaper rangefinding bow sights are not up to standard. Again, the best way to find this out is to try before you buy.
The truth is that even those at the more affordable end of the range will be at least a few hundred dollars. You should consider your budget but we would recommend thinking about making the investment if you can.
Type Of Bow Sight
There are two main types of rangefinding bow sight; single pin and multi-pin; this is much the same as a regular bow sight. But the type that you use will depend on certain things. Understanding how each one works will help you decide on the type that will work best for you.
A multi-pin bow sight will usually come with the laser calibration that we discussed earlier on and has pins that you can move.
Conversely, a single-pin model feature, as their name may suggest, one pin. There is a notable advantage here in that your view will not be obstructed as with a multi-pin model.
Alternatively, you might decide to go for a model that uses LED pins which allows for either a single or multi-pin setting, making these a lot more diverse. Furthermore, regardless of which setting you use, your vision will not be compromised.
Modern archers have the advantage of many different types of aids that can help to improve their aim, accuracy and consistency. One such piece of equipment is the bow sight with a built-in rangefinder.
These devices are relatively new and a lot of archers might find using them a little intimidating. However, once you get a feel for how they work and get used to sighting your target in a new way, they will help make a huge difference in your performance.
There are several things you will need to consider before purchasing your now rangefinding bow sight but once you are aware of what you need, there are some excellent pieces of equipment out there.