This was the first year for any of us at the Archery Trade Association show in Indianapolis and it was an amazing time. This show is a trade show so it is not open to the public. All of the major companies in the archery and outdoor industry companies attend the show, so you are able to see all of the new gear before it is available in stores. Along with the companies come the talent, so all of the big names in the industry were there. If there is a someone that you have seen on a hunting show on TV, YouTube, Facebook or Instagram there is a good chance they were at this show. Walking around the show it was nothing to see Jim Shockey, Tim Wells, Cameron Hanes, or Michael Waddell. World class factory archers such as John Dudley, Steve Anderson or Tim Gillingham were everywhere ,some even working the booths. Social media personalities such as Born and Raised Outdoors, The Hunting Public and Hushin were everywhere. Then there was the opportunity to shoot al of the new bows for the yea,r as well as look at all of the new products coming out for the upcoming year. So, for a couple regular guys not in the outdoors industry, who happen to be archery fanatics, it was somewhat overwhelming to say the least.
The main buzz this year was surrounding the Garmin Xero and IQ Define Rangefinder sights. Both sights have rangefinders with scanning modes that allow you to range your target while at full draw. The Garmin unit is much like a holographic rifle sight where there is a glass lens with led dots that are displayed rather than pins. There is a series of green arrows that guide you to where the led is ranging , and you have get everything lined up before the reading it is giving you will be accurate. Now, I can imagine that if you were to have a large amount of time to spend with the sight and practice with it regularly t would be an easy process, but having 10 minutes with the sight and playing with it it did not seem intuitive and seemed rather impractical, and with a price point of $700-900$ I don’t see them flying off the shelves. The IQ on the other hand is nowhere near as advanced as the Garmin, (with the garmin if you have a garmin watch will also drop a gps pin at the last sight that you ranged prior to the shot) is a far more practical product but it has it deficiencies also. The IQ Define has a rangefinder built into the side of the sight that you calibrate, with the laser they provide you, to your 20 yard pin. So once calibrated you see an animal off in the distance, place you 20 yard pin on the animal, hit the button and it will tell you the range. Where I see this as being a problem is you are on the animal with the 20 yard pin, the shooter needs to remember to now move down to the appropriate pin before making the shot. These were the sights that were being talked about all over the show, but the diamond in the rough we feel is a sight we found that is being produced by Buck Rub Outfitters in Wisconsin called the Carbon Fixation. The Carbon Fixation bow sight is a 2 pin sliding hybrid sight that offers a horizontal fixed pin with a vertical sliding adjustable range pin. It has 3 feet of fiber optic wrapped around a glow in the dark rechargeable tape for better low light shooting. The fiber is also integrated in to the side of the slide where the sight tape is so in low light if you can’t read the numbers you can see the illuminated fiber for the different yardages. For the average hunter this is probably the best sight that we have ever seen. This sight retails at 139.99 and the design is superior to anything else that we saw in terms of an everyman’s hunting sight.
There were tons of cool products at this years trade show but I think that this is truly the one that stood out most to us as new and innovative product that had not yet been represented.