Archery | Sights – What’s the Difference?
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Archery | Sights – What’s the Difference?

August 9, 2019

If you’re looking at getting into target archery,
you’re probably scoping out a sight. Yeah, that pun was off-target. Like many other bits of archery equipment,
sights come in a variety of models across the price range. The cheapest versions are
around 30 Australian dollars, while top-end models like those form Sure-Loc and Shibuya
can cost over $350. We’ll compare the two extremes: the Cartel
X-pert and the Shibuya Ultima. It’s important to understand what a sight
actually does. In its most basic form, the sight acts as a point of reference. Unlike what games may depict, using a sight
does not give you the ability to zoom in, and more expensive sights don’t give you more
magnification. In fact, target recurve archery does not allow
for the use of magnified lenses, though they can be bought for other uses. The sight does not magically make all your
shots on target. Improper use of the sight will make your shooting
even worse. For those familiar with firearms, you need
more than one reference point to get proper alignment. The bow sight is the first one.
The rear sight is your anchor point. It is critical that in the course of your
training that you learn to consistently anchor at the same point. Any change in vertical
or horizontal placement will cause your sight to be misaligned. A compound shooter has the benefit of the
peep as the rear sight, but alignment is just as important. The second important aspect in sight usage
is string picture. This refers to how you align the string in
relation to the sight. Archers may have different points of reference,
but commonly used alignments keep the string in line with the left or right side of the
sight ring, over the sight pin or along the inside of the riser. Whichever method you use, it is essential
to use the same point every single time. Consistent practice will ingrain the string
picture in your mind and your brain will recognise correct alignment before you make your shot,
allowing you to focus on the draw, hold and release. The final thing to note is that the sight
should not be the focal point of the eyes. The eyes should be focused on the target while
the sight and string are blurred overlays. It isn’t uncommon for beginners to go cross-eyed
or see two targets while they adjust their aiming technique. As far as selecting your sight goes, more
expensive sights allow for finer adjustments. Since I’m not a compound shooter, I can’t
give specific comparisons for compound sights. The general advice for sights is the same:
more expensive sights are easier to adjust and have more options for windage and elevation.
They are also sturdier and are less likely to come apart from extended use. Let’s have a look at recurve sights. The cheapest sights are the ones that come
with junior bow packages. Sold separately, they cost around 15 to 20 Australian dollars,
and are made mostly from plastic. This is the Cartel X-Pert sight, and costs
around 60 AUD. This is typical of what you would find in
a basic bow package. The X-Pert is made from carbon, though similarly
priced sights like the Cartel K-Sight are made from aluminium. The long bar is mounted on the riser and offers
a fair degree of movement, and the vertical bar can be moved up or down by unscrewing
the back. The front is marked with arbitrary digits.
It’s worth noting that these don’t correspond to distances. That depends on your arrow and
draw weight, so the figures are meant to give you a guideline for your own reference. The sight ring is square, and has a centre
pin. Normally, a bright plastic pin goes through the hole here, though it has come loose. Similar sights may have differently shaped
sight rings or paint the dot on the pin. It’s also possible to remove the ring and replace
it with a different one of your choice. The position of the sight is held in place
by these pins and adjusting the sight means loosening one or more. Fine adjustment is possible with this knob
and large adjustments can be done by loosening these pins and lifting the knob clear of the
rack. The prevent damage, it can be removed completely
and stored separately. As an entry level sight, sights like the Cartel
X-Pert do the job, providing a reference point to accurately shoot at a target and at an
economical price tag. However, they can be frustrating to work with
and don’t have the same hardiness as the higher range. The grooves are relatively wide, making ultra-fine
adjustment difficult, which can be a problem for long-range shooting. Having to tighten and undo the locking screws
can be a tedious affair and one of the biggest problems is that the vibration of the bow
causes the pins to come loose, producing a noticeable rattle. Failure to continually tighten the screws
between shots can result in a loose sight or, as you can see here, a missing screw. The sight is also somewhat fragile. The plastic
ring can break and the screw and be bent. They’re not tremendously horrible problems.
Remember, you are only paying around $50 for one of these sights, so you have to put up
with a few pains. They’re great for starting out, but if you’re
really serious, you might want to move onto something like this. This is the Shibuya Ultima sight, and this
the top of the range at over 350 Australian dollars. Sure-Loc has similarly matched sights and
similar features. The defining feature of top-end sights in
the precision and quality of manufacture. This one is made from carbon, though the aluminium
version is slightly cheaper. They also come in a variety of colours. In
this case, mine is silver. The design is vastly different. The markings are on one side, with the other
side blank, allowing the archer to do their own markings. The sight ring is nice, sturdy metal and the
sight block has no annoying pins sticking out. The patented locking mechanism is impressive.
This thing does not budge and does not come loose from extended shooting. The block features a quick-release lever for
large adjustment and easy removal. Both the windage and elevation knobs are very
tight, with each click moving the sight .002 inches, making it perfect for micro-adjustment. Higher-end sights also come with carrying
pouches as standard, with compartments for sight parts and a hex wrench set. We’ve skipped the middle range of sights,
ranging from 100 to 250 dollars. There’s not much to say about these other than being a
mix of characteristics from both ends of the spectrum. Think of them as more affordable
competition choices. As with practically everything else in archery,
it mostly comes down to how much you want to spend. Sights all do the same thing with
money going into precision manufacturing and user-friendliness. For those on a budget, the entry-level sights
like the Cartel X-Pert are perfect to learn with and can last for some time and depending
on how much time you put into training. Whereas options like the Shibuya Ultima are
serious sights for serious archers. As usual, hope you enjoyed this video and
found it useful. If there are any questions, post in the comments below and I’ll have a
look. I might be doing a few more videos comparing
risers and some other accessories, so if there’s anything else you want me to cover, just let
me know. I can’t cover everything, but I’ll see what I can do. Anyway, I’ll see you next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. There are three components: the sight block, the bar, and the part you have to screw onto the riser. Once you attach that last bit, all you have to do is slide the bar through and secure it with the large round knob.

  2. This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for the video! I just started opening both eyes so I don't blink during release. I can see the target clearly as well. But I was really unsure about the string position related to the sight. This was a good reference thanks! (Also, my instructor lent me an older x-pert sight that is already bent and doesnt move vertically that well)

  3. Great video can you explain the different sizes and what there used for, or is there a best size for all around?

  4. The vertical bar determines how far you can put the sight up or down. This is particularly noticeable for longer distances with a lower poundage bow, which requires a significant trajectory. It's possible to move the bar down to get more sight settings, but that means less space to adjust for short range — a problem when you shoot variable distances (e.g. competition rounds, field archery).

    Changing the extension also alters the available angle, but its mostly a weight/balance thing.

  5. Great video. Very clear explanation of entry level and more expensive sights. You clearly know what you're talking about. Thanks for posting and sharing your knowledge!

  6. i got the same shibuya sight as you in black (but I shoot compound).
    It's a fantastic sight and I like it a lot more than the sights of Sure-Loc.

  7. I agree with this guy 100% and i experienced everything he said. I used to have a SF Axiom sight, it was pretty good but when I went up to 37~38 pounds draw weight it started dismantling itself. when I was able to save up, I went to buy a new sight. Got confused with the prices and mistakenly bought a shibuya ultima. honestly i'm not regretting that decision.

  8. First great video. I am in the process of upgrading my sons sight. The problem, as with most today, money. I simply cant afford the Sure Loc or Shibuya for him you reefer to. But his Cartel is coming apart. What is the best I can do with the less than $200 USD I have available? What he needs is repeatability. So the adjustments are important but who does the best job for the money? I am going nuts look into this.

  9. I use a hunting recurve because most of my shooting is in the bush on a foam target – just use one pin by removing or pushing the others down.  Same deal as this – you are looking through it, it's a reference 

  10. I was told plastic flights are not at good as feather flights, but when I go out to the archery range I see people with very expensive target bows using arrows with plastic flights.  Seems to me, if feather was actually better, they'd be using arrows with feather flights.  What is your opinion and recommendation regarding arrow flights?

  11. Nice and very informative video, what do you think which sight is better, the Cartel xpert that you showed or the cartel mighty….? 

  12. Hey everyone. I'm new to archery and I'm using a recurve bow with a sight on it. My question is, which eye do I use aim the sight? Right or left?
    I pull the string with my right hand. I am also pretty sure I'm right eye dominant (most comfortable aiming with my right eye). When I use my left eye to shoot I always shoot too much to the left, but when I aim with my right eye I can hit the target, but the string blocks the sight.
    Thank you everyone. 

  13. Most of those sights are more expensive than my bow! Lol ive spent just under 500$ on all my equipment! How much was all your equipment? @NUSensei

  14. Hi, I've long been interested in archery and finally decided to get a compound bow and lessons are starting in a couple of months… so I was wondering if you had a video or something for beginners… like the most basic stuff and affordable equipment (for recreational archery only) thanks!

  15. Hi,
    I am looking for a new bow and your video is very usefull and go to the matter without any "sponsored" infos. I am looking for the Ultima but didn't know what's make the price but now I understand and even if I had some good result with my low end bow I think I will go for that Ultima as now I have the money for it.
    But I think it is more important when you shoot at long distances as one millimeter can do a real big difference, for low distances a mid range can do the job (except if you are at the Olympics's level 🙂 ).
    Thanks for your video, I will look more of them to have an idea about my new Bow!

  16. Hey really good video you have helped me with a lot of things to do with my archery. I have been aiming down the arrow but i think i will like a sight. I have a PSE Heritage series razor back. Its 66inch and 30 pound draw weight. I was hoping if you could recommend a nice cheap sight for my bow.

  17. @ 2:08, you're shooting with what looks like a blanket parallel to the shooting line.  What is it used for?  And thank you for all your videos! 

  18. Had my heart set on a Shibuya Ultima sight but then I got this great offer from another local archer. A whole Hoyt bow set with everything and a Sure Loc sight. Man, what a difference from shooting with a stupid Cartel sight that I was shooting with at the club.
    I'm quite new to the sport but I just wanted to let other new archers know that it's worth spending a bit more on your sight, cause those cheap sights are complete shit! (excuse my french).
    Everything comes loose and the adjustments are terrible.
    If you like the sport then I'd suggest saving up for a real sight. Either a mid-range or higher. If you are serious about the sport then I'd rather go for a great sight since it can last you nearly a lifetime.

    Sub to NUSensei. He gives good information and advice.

  19. i have a cheap cartel sight and im trying to land my shoots at 50 mts but even if the sight is set all the way down my shoots cant even reach the target they fall before hitting the target,this is because the cheap sight or because the low poundage? im shooting at 32 pounds bow.

  20. hi, i just got a sight, in second thought, it makes my shot much worse.
    without the sight, i could get a quite nice grouping and quite consistent shot, and with the sight, it gets all over the place and i cant even get the grouping right most of the time also, the setup is very troublesome

    do you have any tips on how to actually use the sight and how to set it up properly?

  21. Careful with those very long pins (the pic shown) – they are afaik prohibited in most competitions (e.g. "max. pin length 2cm")

  22. I think it's odd there is a such a huge gap between price range. I don't want to spend $300+ dollars on a sight, but I would be willing to part with a more reasonable $100 or so for one. Yet no one seems to have capitalized at this price point. Is there just a monopoly on target sights with little competition to drive prices down?

  23. awesome as always. just getting back into archery after many years. While much as stayed the same, the tech has changed only making things better. Maybe a video on how to setup a high quality sight and how to tune one would be helpful. Thank you again mate, bravo on some great videos!

  24. Does it matter where you mount the sight on the bow? Most sights come with multiple holes on the mount bar so you can mount it as close or as further away from the riser.

  25. Hi nusensei

    I just recently got my recurve sights, I understand for the most part of how to use it, what I don't understand is the horizontal extension bar. Does it matter how far out I move my sight? I have heard it has some implications on bow torque.

    Also naturally my arrow runs at a direction of 10 to 11 o'clock every release, this requires me to compensate horizontally, but my sight pin is too short (20 yards range, I guess it will be worse on longer range). Am I shooting wrong, or do I just have to change to a longer sight pin? (took some archery classes, no major complaints from the teachers, haven't took any advanced classes yet)

    Thanks nusensei, you da bes

  26. NUSensei, you mentionned several times the screws can come loose with shots. Once the adjustments are made, why can't one just use locktite thus eliminating that problem

  27. I'm looking into getting the Shibuya Ultimate (carbon version). However I feel it lacks one feature and that is to be able to remove just the sightpin "block" while the alignment part remains on the sight. Doesn't this mean that you have to re-tune the elevation on your sight at each session? Sights like Sure-Loc seem to allow this. Or do you leave the entire sight on your bow when you're not shooting?


  28. I'm brand new to the Olympic discipline, but a long time and experienced compound target shooter. I took an 8 year hiatus and am just now getting back into the sport and trying some new things as well. One thing I noticed is that I don't see Toxonics sights like I used to. It appears they are still around but it just seems the company has lost it's edge in the target market. Any commentary on them? That said, both of my new rigs have Shibuya Ultimas. My old Hoyt Smoke still has my toxonics sight from back in the day. Thanks for your videos, by the way. They have been a huge help in pointing me in the right direction starting out with Olympic style shooting.

  29. NUSensei, hoping you can assist. I've just come into my possession of a Shibuya sight but is missing the "offset bracket" and a couple of the screws were not standard. Do you know or recommend where to best source parts for a Shibuya sight (in Aus or online oversea)? Tried my our local Archery shop here and was told parts have to be specially ordered and is costly. Appreciate any help here.

  30. NU sensei how to adjust if the target 15 M or 30 M please give clue I see a number at the front of the sight

  31. do sights come in left and right hand?
    For example I am left handed can I buy any sight without worrying if it is right or left?

  32. My string picture has the string way off to the right, beyond the knobs of the sight. I used to have the string aligned with the red dot, but that went so wrong.

  33. Hello NUSensei… Thanks so much for all your useful & helpful videos…
    I've learned a lot things about archery from you… 🙂

    If you don't mind i wanna ask a few questions, hope you willing to answer…
    1. What is the best Pin Size for practicing competition target shooting?
    (ex: 0.019" / 0.029" / 0.039")
    2. And what is the best Pin Color for practicing competition target shooting?
    (ex: Red / Yellow / Green)
    3. I have found this combo price for Sight + Scope really match my budget…
    It's "Decut DC-RE Sight" + "Decut Tawant Scope"
    Have you know or heard some info about it?
    And do you recommended it NUSensei?

  34. What would be the settings of sight for distance of 145 meters archery range. Here in Bhutan we play in long distance like 145 meters. thank you.

  35. I have the Shibuya two click which I am always having trouble with. I had a stroke a couple of years ago making my brain turn it the wrong way and the windage knob on the side is alien! I do not know which way to finely tune the left and right so therefore do not use it but need to know which way towards me or away from me for left and right fine tuning. When holding the bow, with the string nearest me, do I turn it towards me for left or vice versa, You may find this a bit shocking but it is either that or buy the shibuya Ultimate as my two click has a bad habit of moving a lot!
    Grateful for your help

  36. I have a question. Is there a big difference between the Shibuya ultima and the Shibuya ultima standard (aluminium bar vs carbon bar)? I am planning to buy a new sight and my archery shop only has the one with the aluminium bar and Im really interested in buying it but im not sure if it would be better buying the carbon one from an online shop. Thanks in advance!

  37. Sights? you have two eyes, right? That's all you need.

    I had to give you a hard time about trad archery. You do you, bro.

  38. Could you go into the topic of Recurve Scopes, I understand you use a Titan scope…

    What is the good the bad and the ugly???

    I have splashed out on the Spigarelli carbon slim sight and would like to hear about the scopes does and don’t

    Excellent video across the board… please keep it up

  39. I would recommend the Cartel Focus K sight (aluminum) for beginner. I love sights with micro adjustments and being able to adjust without loosening screws but the price point is just way beyond what i can afford at the moment.

  40. Two people can have the exact same set up and variables and still end up with different shot placement. I sight might help a little, but I don't think it's that helpful. I think learning to aim instinctively is a better choice.

  41. I have question that keeps on my mind from a long time ago and l hope someone can help me perhaps: l have read the world archery rulebook and l noticed that in rule states that "It shall not incorporate a prism" but l see many sights that have glass on them and they are allowed…. if so, that would mean that a red dot, provided it is not electronic is legal on recurve archery?

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