I could tell my buddy, who owns and operates a local pro shop, was getting a bit aggravated with me. Our riveting kinetic energy conversation was turning stale, mostly because my mind had drifted from it to a very confused consumer. As my friend rambled on, I watched. The man was staring, totally dumbfounded, at a very long, very full shelf of sights and rests. He would pick up a sight, almost scared to touch it, and then put it down. Seconds later he would grab a pair of rests, one in one hand and one in the other, and begin reading the approved manufacturer verbiage. Then, just as he had done before, he would place them back on the shelf and rub his head in confusion. I couldn’t help myself. As the words, “Are you even listening to me anymore?” floated in and out of my mind, I went to offer some assistance.
After conversing with the gentleman for a bit, I discovered he was looking to test a few new sights and rests. His timing was perfect. It was early June, meaning he had plenty of time to test and tinker. He wasn’t pushing up against the deer season opener, trying to throw a last-minute gear Hail Mary. His only problem was he had no idea which sights and rests to test, and the numerous choices were making his anxiety rise.
Sound familiar? If so, don’t fret. Truth be told, sight and rest manufacturers have done a wonderful job beefing up their products. Today’s top-end sights often feature one or more of the following: multiple pin configurations, multiple pin sizes, toolless laser-etched windage and elevation adjustments, extended dovetails, and more. Not to be outdone, rest manufacturers are offering throngs of drop-away style rests offering full-containment, zero bounce back, vibration/noise reduction, ease-of-tune, cable and limb attached operation and the like. So, there is no reason to worry and rub your head wondering what the perfect combination is. After all, you’re testing sights and rests, not formulating a plan to resurrect our dismal economy. Don’t stress. Make it fun.
Start by making a list of possible sights and rests you would like to try. Next, do a little Internet surfing and check them out online. Visit manufacturer websites and read online reviews to get your finger on the overall pulse of the particular sights and rests you’re researching. You can even go as far as calling sight and rest manufacturers to pick their brains about product features. Next — and this piece of the puzzle is crucial — go to a reputable archery pro shop to look at and test the sights and rests on your final list. I recommend pro shops over big box chains for a trio of reasons. First, a reputable pro shop will let you shoot and test various sights and rests. Second, those who own and work at pro shops are typically gear nuts and can’t help themselves. They will have already tested all the new, innovative sights and rests out there. Third, they will be able to help you assemble your sight correctly and tune each rest to your bow. Testing and deciding on new gear is a pivotal part of offseason preparation, and you want the experience to be enjoyable and fill you with confidence.
Don’t get in a hurry. A top-notch pro shop will have an indoor range, even if it’s a cramped single shooting lane in a hallway. Take time to test and learn about all the features of each sight/rest combination. In addition, take time to shoot each combination until you know without a doubt you’ve found your dynamic duo for 2014.
To get you started and give you a jumping off point for your research, the staff of Whitetail Journal has assembled product information on some of the most innovative, game-changing sights and rests on the market in 2014. Strap in and buckle up.
Red Hot Sights
- TRUGLO’s (888-887-8456; www.truglo.com) new Range-Rover has archers buzzing. This single-pin wonder boasts a patent-pending ZERO-IN Adjustment Dial, promising easy, reliable and precise adjustability no matter the conditions. Other innovative features include its CNC-machined housing, one-hand adjustable bracket and adjustable yardage stop. Also from TRUGLO is the three- and five-pin Rival Hunter Archery Sight Series. Equipped with a stainless steel tube pin design and patented DDP Technology, it allows you to achieve accurate aiming.
- Copper John (315-258-9269; www.copperjohn.com) brings its Torque Synchronizing Technology Sight to market for 2014. The TST makes bowhunters better shots on game by allowing them to just aim and shoot. The TST comes in three- and five-pin models and requires no extra parts or alignment devices. This sight is easy to use and heeds the accuracy call.
- Archer Xtreme (406-924-6113; www.archerxtreme.com) brings another sight revolution in 2014. Dubbed the AXT Rouge, this sight sports a rugged exterior and features ultra-fine micro-adjust knobs for windage and elevation. Center Core Technology encapsulates and protects the .019-inch fiber-optic pins from damage.
- Trophy Ridge’s (800-694-9494; www.trophyridge.com) React Series — the React and React-One — is raising eyebrows. Both sights feature Smart Pin Technology, which simplifies the sight-in process. With the React, sight in the 20- and 30-yard pins and your 40-, 50- and 60-yard pins will be dead-on. As for the React-One, sight in at 20 and 30 yards and the remaining yardage markers will be dead-on out to 100 yards. Accurate, quiet, fast and reliable, these sights are deadly.
- HHA (800-548-7812; www.hhasports.com) has something hot for single-pin lovers. For 10 years running its legendary Optimizer Lite Ultra DS-5519 continues to impress. Showcasing totally toolless windage and elevation adjustment, A.R.M.O.R. Pin Technology, patented DS-Tapes and a Mathews Harmonic Damper, this sight is phenomenal. Simply sight in at 20 and 60 yards and then select one of the included 52 color-coded tapes.
- G5 Outdoors’ shiny new penny, the 2.7-ounce Cmax arrow rest, is a full-containment drop-away style rest that G5 cycled over one million times without it breaking down. In addition, the launcher arm can be activated via the all-new push-button activation system or by simply drawing the bow string back.
- Trophy Ridge has introduced the Revolution 2.0. It’s a full-containment drop-away rest with promised clearance at the shot. Beefed up windage and elevation adjustments provide increased strength, and the replaceable polycarbonate launcher arm is available in various colors.
- QAD is showcasing the UltraRest HDX. Offering extreme compatibility and versatility and available in throngs of custom colors, this rest shimmers in the limelight. The sleek, curved capture bar provides additional clearance. Advanced Vibration Technology squelches unwanted noise and vibration, Lock Down Technology prevents bounce back and Velocity Drop-Away Technology prevents the arrow from ever falling from the rest.
- Vaportrail has the new Pro-V arrow rest. A limb-driven rest with an arrow containment option, the Pro-V offers simple setup, adjustable spring tension and a free-floating launcher arm. For 2014, the size of the rubber dampener has been increased, making this rest quieter than ever.
Don’t waste another minute. Now is the time to test. Find the perfect sight and rest marriage for your bow and your shooting confidence will grow with each practice session. My final tip: Unless there is catastrophic sight or rest failure, don’t start toying with the idea of a new sight and rest as deer season nears. Remember, there is a time to test and a time to rest when it comes to archery related accessories.