garmin xero shot show ata 2018
Garmin Xero

The Brand New Garmin Xero Bow Sight: What is It, and How Does It Work?

Garmin has released a new bow sight that ranges and then provides the corresponding pin to the distance.

Garmin has introduced an unbelievable innovative product to the archery world at this years ATA Show. They have released the Garmin Xero A1 and A1i.

The Garmin Xero is a digital ranging, laser bow sight.

This is a groundbreaking innovation in the archery world, and after reaching out to Garmin, here is what we know so far.

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This bow sight, at the touch of a button, will scan and automatically measure the distance to your target. Once you receive your distance, a virtual lighted pin appears for the shot.

Calibrating the Garmin Xero will probably be the longest process for setting up a bow sight you will ever experience, but the results look like they're gonna blow your mind.

Once you are calibrated, you can enter hunt mode, which allows you use a single-button trigger that you mount on your bow's grip. This button allows you to range your target while at full draw, allowing for a one hand operation.

garmin xero

Once at full draw and while ranging your target, the sight will provide you with the compensated distance to the target based on the angle. After the target is ranged, the Garmin Xero will then provide you with the distance and angle.

The new bow sight will also provide you with a virtual LED pin that is only visible to the archer. This pin will match that of the compensated range, leaving you with a precise pin location. That eliminates distance estimation or the need to use a rangefinder.

Garmin also said that the Xero A1i includes something called Laser Locate™. This will estimate your arrow's point of impact and transfer that location to the hunter, giving them a precise location to begin tracking and recovering their game.

The Garmin Xero allows you to make some customized settings to the bow sight, too. You can automatically provide a single-pin configuration or specify manual pins. With the Xero A1i bow sight, you can also customize red and green LED multi-pin configurations, if color options are your thing.

Our thoughts

Looking at this new bow sight, I can see hunters benefiting in the field tremendously. There will be less movement if you're not using a rangefinder. If a deer moves while you're at full draw, you no longer have to guess how much further or closer it went. I really think it would  be very intriguing tool to use.

Like anything though, I have my concerns. My initial worry surrounds the fact that a bow sight is an intricate part of your set up. With this being an electronic, what happens when the electronics fail or if the batteries die? Do extreme temperatures affect it? Does it add a lot of weight to your set up?

I reached out to Ted Gartner, the Corporate Communications Director at Garmin, who assured me these were things they already thought through. Gartner said that in fact, the sight is a lot lighter than you would think. It's almost directly comparable to other single pin, industry leading bow sights.

He also mentioned that the power requirements were pretty low, averaging out to a year's worth of use with two AAA lithium batteries. Ultimately, he set my mind at ease by addressing the bigger question:

"Our engineers considered unit failure, and engineered and tested this sight to be as rugged as possible - looking at vibration, temperature, water resistance, and many other factors," Gartner said. "In the unlikely event that the range finder portion becomes inoperable (cut cable, etc.), the unit will still work. That means you can set it to the fixed pins that you've previously ranged - which can save a hunting trip."

He added that they've had the Xero in beta tester hands since the beginning of fall hunting season, and "they're all beyond impressed."

Being a big fan of Garmin products and someone who has fallen in love with my Garmin Fenix 5, I can only believe this product will be solid.

The Garmin Xero A1 and A1i models come in with eye-opening price tags, but considering this is a rangefinder and a bow sight in one, I don't find it too crazy. The Garmin Xero A1 retails at $799 while the A1i retails at $999.

Most of your rugged, solid quality bow sights can range anywhere from $200 to $500 alone depending on the brand and model. Add in your average, good quality rangefinder to price out between $300 and $600, and between the two you are already at a minimum of $500 possibly over $1,100. So the price isn't too far out there when you do some math.

However, for most of us, it's still hard to drop $1,000 in a bow alone, so it will be interested the see how well-received they are by the general bowhunting public.

Also, since the Xero is an electronic sight, it's likely not going to be legal to use for hunting in certain states. As of right now, this is the information Garmin has collected:

It's yet to be seen if the remaining states will make any sort of exceptions, but we're guessing they won't at first.

For more information you can check out the Garmin Xero on Garmin's website, and view several more videos on their YouTube channel.

Like what you see here? You can read more articles by Dustin Prievo here. Follow him and his hunting team, Top Pin Outdoors, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.