Which Sight Pin?
by Adam Miller
Why are there so many different sight pins to choose from?
Sight aperture/pins are a very important part of your equipment and choosing the right one for you might be more complicated than you first think. The best archers in the world use a variety of different sight pins, but we can’t tell exactly if one brand is favoured over the others.
1. The Basic pin sight
This is the sight pin that is supplied with most Recurve sights. It's a basic circle (aperture) or in some cases a square with a coloured dot in the middle. It's easy to use and fairly cheap to replace, but is it the right one for you? Is it too big? too small? The wrong shape? The easiest way to find this out is by trying something else. Here are a few different styles you might like to consider using instead.
2. Small diameter aperture
These apertures are usually the same as the standard one that came with your sight (nevertheless, not all sights come with pins, so always make sure you check when buying a new sight). They come in a variety of colours and shapes with different price ranges to suit all budgets. This is what you want to buy as a spare if you like the standard one you already have, and having a spare is always a good idea. You can try Cartel Round Sight Pin CR-305, or the Shibuya Recurve Sight Pin Aperture.
Pro’s: They are the cheapest option and chances are you already have one.
Con’s: For some people a small diameter sight pin can be hard to see, and at shorter distances not enough of the target is visible through the aperture.
3. Large diameter aperture (also known as a scope)
For this one, the outer diameter of the aperture housing has been increased in size. This means you will be able to see more of the target when aiming at the gold. Usually these come with a glass lens (no magnification), and sometimes rubber or plastic rings of different sizes. They allow you to change the diameter of the aperture and reduce the amount of the target you can see. A good example of this would be the Decut - Recurve Sight Pin Tawant 1.0mm or the Spigarelli - Clear Point Recurve Scope.
Pro’s: They're much easier to see, with the option to change the viewable aperture as you change distances.
Con’s: More expensive, at longer distance they can make aiming less precise for some people.
4. Interchangeable pin
Interchangeable pins allow you to remove the basic pin and change it for a circle, a square or a variety of different colours and shapes. This can be useful when you're changing targets or distances, as they are very easy and quick to change. One of the best examples of this would be the Beiter - Sight Pin as you can buy many different styles of insert for it.
Pro’s: It's a good way to change how you see the target, to find what works best for you, with the ability to quickly change the pin if you prefer a different setup for a different distance.
Con’s: Slightly more expensive and the small inserts are easily lost or broken in your equipment case.
5. Light gathering pin
These can be useful as the small dot in the center will light up making it easier to see when aiming at a target. They are usually made from a small piece of fiber optic that draws in the light making it glow. They can come in different colours to suit different lighting conditions. You can try the small diameter low budget pins from Cartel
Or a high end one from AAE
Pro’s: This does help to light up the sight and make it easier to aim at the target.
Con’s: Under some light conditions the colour of the fiber can be lost on the target, or in some cases can cause a light flare making aiming more difficult, requiring you to have several different colour fiber options ready to swap over if needed or removed if the light is too bright.
6. The best of both
Some of the larger diameter scopes offer both an interchangeable sight aperture with a light gathering fiber option. With this you could change the viewable size of the aperture and also gain the added benefit of the light up pin. As another option you can also get coloured dot stickers to place on the lens if you prefer that to a fiber option. A good example of this would be the Shrewd - Flex Dot Kit Recurve Scope (this is the official scope of Brady Ellison).
If you want the most versatile scope on the market then the AXCEL - Curve RX Pro Rheostat Recurve Scope will be for you, but it is also the most expensive option.
Pro’s: These give you the best of all the options, with so many different combinations available. With the Axcel Rheostat you can even increase or reduce the amount of light the fiber can use, allowing you to change the intensity of the pin brightness for different weather or lighting conditions. Dutch olympic archer Sjef Van Den Berg helped create his own version of this scope the AXCEL - SJEF Signature Curve RXF Field Recurve Scope. This does not have all of the options the more expensive one does, but it's a well designed sight, and works very well for target and field archery. You will have to order it in left or right hand.
Con’s: Very expensive and some people find they’re too big, making aiming more difficult. If you buy a version that uses glass, this will require cleaning and in bad weather can be difficult to keep clear of rain.
I hope this helps you to choose your next sight pin. Why not ask a fellow archer what they like to use and take a look at their sight, maybe you'll find something you like more than the standard one you're currently using?