Two weeks before the Total Archery Challenge (T.A.C.) in Killington, Vermont and I am sitting in my office at my nine to five, working and definitely not cruising YouTube for archery videos, when my Dad calls. He tells me he signed up to shoot the Sitka course with me but needs a new bow sight. For those of you unfamiliar with the Sitka course it typically features the longest shots on the mountain ranging anywhere from 60-100 yards on small to medium sized 3D animal targets like sheep, goats, and the occasional bob cat, bear, or elk. Dad is a whitetail deer hunter by nature and typically rocks a fixed pin sight which was not going to cut it for TAC. Lucky for Dad I had been keeping my eyes on a few new sights which hit the market recently. So I shot him a link to one I knew he would like and a few days later a Lancaster Archery package arrived at his door with a brand new CBE Engage Hybrid 3 pin with .19 diameter fiber optic pins.
Before we get into the review of the Engage let’s talk about why I recommended this particular sight and why Dad ultimately chose it. Dad shoots an 80# Hoyt RX-1 which sends his 500ish grain Easton FMJ 5mm down range at 291 FPS. With these numbers any high end slider would easily be able to reach out to 100 yds and slightly beyond. Taking into account his preferences for high end gear and multi pin sights I narrowed the possibilities to the Spot Hogg Fast Eddie XL, Axcel Accutouch Carbon Pro with Multi-Pin Accustat Scope (hey Axcel/Truball can you shorten your damn names please?), and the CBE Engage Hybrid. All of these sights feature an adjustable dovetail mount and are offered in one, three, and five pin configurations with the Spot Hogg (my preferred sight) also available in a single post double pin. The reason I prefer the dovetail is the added flexibility. Dad is far sighted and I wasn’t sure how or at what setting his eyes would pick up the fiber optics best so any added adjustability was welcome. All of these sights also feature micro-adjust windage and each pin can be separately micro-tuned for elevation. This means that each of the three sight pins can be individually adjusted by simply loosening the set screw of the desired pin and turning the micro-adjust knob. Budget permitting, this is a feature I consider mandatory for any multi-pin sight as it makes sighting in more precise and hastle free.
(Top to Bottom : CBE Engage/Axcel AccuTouch/Spot Hogg Fast Eddie XL)
The Sure-Loc Carbonic and Fury would also have been in consideration but neither was expected to ship in time for TAC and at the time this article is published both sights are still only offered in a single pin configuration with no known release date for the multi pin hunting scope.
Another sight I probably should have considered but didn't was the Black Gold Pro Sight. It has the same fundamental features as the other sights I listed but I don't have a ton of experience shooting Black Gold at the time these decisions were made. I will admit think I have some sub-conscious bias against them. I don't find the Black Gold sights visually appearing and I have seen a few slow motion videos where the scope housing seems to vibrate like crazy after the shot. probably because the scope housing is mounted via a small dovetail bracket, which I don't love the look of. As I write this all out I am literally realizing how petty this all sounds... Based on what I hear from sources I trust, I would probably love Black Gold if I gave them a chance. Alas at the time of this article I had not so in full transparency I figured I would let you all know why and encourage you to also consider the Black Gold Pro Sight when making your own decision.
Almost as soon as I considered the Spot Hogg I disqualified it. I have run a Spot Hogg the past few years and absolutely love it but their multi-pin housings are heavy have been known to come loose on occasion. It’s especially vulnerable to this if you are running it on a heavy poundage bow with the dovetail fully extended. One thing a lot of people overlook is just how much vibration sights absorb hanging at the front of a bow. A sturdy lightweight scope and tower helps mitigate vibration and potential gear issues. Dad also cherishes how lightweight his RX-1 is so keeping this in mind I decided against the Spot Hogg. But I highly recommend the Double Pin Fast Eddie XL as an option to anyone else in the market… Long overdue review on this sight to follow soon.
Dad had expressed he had his sights (no pun intended) on the Axcel AccuTouch Carbon Pro (seriously Axcel, I’m tired just typing that). He really liked Axcel’s patented Accu-Click design which allows the shooter to set clicks at desired ranges letting the shooter know the sight is set without having to look at the tape. He also liked that the sight’s dovetail was constructed from lightweight carbon fiber. Ultimately, there were three things keeping me from recommending this sight. Its 450.00 $USD price tag was one. Two, I am not a fan of Axcel’s pins, especially for a hunting sight. They aren’t bad they just are not nearly as robust as either the Spot Hogg’s or CBE’s. The scope also doesn’t have a defined fluorescent ring like the Spot Hogg or CBE and I wasn’t sure if Dad’s eyes would struggle to line up the scope in darker conditions. Third, and most importantly, no one had an Axcel AccuTouch Carbon Pro available for purchase in time for TAC soooooo yeah…
So the Engage it was but it was not as though this was a “best of what’s left” scenario. The Engage shares all of the same fundamental features as the previous two sights with some added ones of its own. Like any sight unseen purchase this was somewhat of a gamble. Neither of us had any hands on experience with the sight but CBE has a solid reputation and it was apparent after unboxing the Engage that the Engage Hybrid would live up to the hype.
The sight has a quality weight to it. It’s heavy with a lot of mass but without feeling clunky. Instead it feels almost over-engineered like a Heckler & Koch pistol or a pair of Swarovski binoculars. The dovetail features four machined set screw points to lock the sight into position on the bow’s riser. The dovetail leads to the elevation wheel on the tower which is larger than the three spoke of the Axcel but smaller than the oversized wheel of the Spot Hogg. When adjusting the elevation there is no slop or creep in the knob or any of the other mechanisms. Simply give it a firm turn and the tower precisely slides where you want it to go. Granted, Dad’s sight was basically right out of the box when we took it to TAC so it will be interesting to see how it holds up over time but the sight continued to perform well in the foggy wet conditions we shot that day.
On the other side of the tower the sight tape sits at a 45 degree angle toward the shooter for ease of reference. This is similar to the position found on the Axcel and a big advantage over the Spot Hogg which has its sight tape on the elevation wheel itself. This is the one thing I never loved about the Spot Hogg. Your rest, arrow, scope, etc… is on the inside of the riser. To look on the opposite side to check or adjust yardage requires unnecessary movement and certain quivers will actually block the view completely. Not an issue with the Engage which also comes with laser engraved aluminum sight tapes. A step up from the printed stickers provided on either the Axcel or Spot Hogg. Moving to the scope itself the three .19 inch pins are incredibly bright. So much so that you will likely find yourself checking and rechecking that the sight light, which is included with the Engage, wasn’t accidentally turned on. The pins themselves are stout and similar in design to the Spot Hogg’s which are famously durable.
Priced at 350 $USD the Engage Micro Hybrid is incredibly competitive considering it also comes with a sight light and laser engraved sight tapes. If CBE skimped anywhere it is not apparent. Nothing on the sight feels plastic or cheesy with the exception being the fluorescent peep alignment ring and sight level. The ring itself is plastic which is fine but this fluorescent green plastic ring paired with the very small sight level makes it look like it was taken off a Bob the Builder toy. It just doesn’t fit the tough over-engineered design of the rest of the sight. The Buble on the level itself is also small making it slightly harder to reference than sights with bigger bubbles like the Spot Hogg. The only other mark against the Engage Hybrid is that it only has four adjustable lengths on the dovetail. This is about half what is available on either the Spot Hogg or Axcel and looking at the Engage Hybrid it seems like CBE had plenty of real-estate for at least one more position or they could have downsized the set screw to allow for more points of adjustment. But what do I know? I’m not an engineer.
Ironically, the things I loved about this sight didn’t really play out well for Dad. He said that the pins were too bright for his eyes which made them look like blurs rather than the bright crisp circles I saw. Worth keeping in mind if you are far sighted and maybe consider the .10 pins instead. Dad also found he had to put on his glasses to see the hash marks on the laser engraved sight tapes when shooting those in between distances. Definitely not ideal in the hunting woods… All things being equal he probably would have been better off with the Axcel had we not be pressed for time. The smaller pins would have actually been easier for him to see and the Accu-Clicks would have made adjusting yardage an easier and more confident process.
That being said, Dad shot the course phenomenally especially considering that before that day he had never shot a bow beyond 60 yards in his life. AND he only calibrated the sight a few days before TAC. This performance has more to do with the fact that my father is a bad ass more than anything else but the Engage certainly didn’t let him down. If you care to see some highlights from TAC check out our Total Archery Challenge video below.
We both learned a few lessons that day but one Dad walked away with was that you can’t place 100% trust in the sight tape chosen by the 30 yard and 60 yard calibration scales. At 70 yards and beyond Dad found himself shooting over the backs of a few targets early on. Some Kentucky Windage solved this but it is a lesson I have found true with all slider sights and calibration scales. Calibration scales are a great starting points but always check your dope at 80, 90 and beyond to find the tape that works best for your setup. Another advantage of sights with dovetails is that if you find yourself between two sight tapes you can move the sight in and out which will usually bring you closer if not dead on with one of them.
I feel like I say this every review but when it comes to high end archery gear we truly live in a blessed time to be a bowhunter. Any of the three sights discussed above will serve you just fine whether you are shooting Whitetails at 20 yards or foam targets and 112. The Sure Loc target models are currently retailing for 350 and 450 $USD so it will be interesting to see what their hunting scope ends up retailing at and how it competes with the Spot Hogg, Axcel, and CBE. Regardless, the Engage Micro Hybrid is worth some serious consideration and will be tough to beat considering its price point and feature rich design. You can check them out on CBE’s website at the link below.
or you can support the channel by purchasing from one of the affiliate links tied to each sight below.
You can also check out the Axcel and Spot Hogg options I discussed on their sights below.
Spot Hogg: http://spot-hogg.com/sights/