Garmin Xero A1i Pro bow sight

Review: Garmin Xero A1i Pro bow sight

Garmin’s Xero A1i Pro is a further improvement on the company’s groundbreaking bow sight which not only has a built-in rangefinder but lights up an electronic pin to show you exactly where to aim at any target within range. When hunting live game up close, the Xero A1i Pro sight lets you point, range and shoot very quickly and accurately, and its controls are at your fingertips to eliminate almost all movement that might alert your target.

The Xero mounts directly to you bow and features a highly accurate rangefinder, eliminating the need to separately measure distance before the shot. With the range measured, the Garmin then calculates the trajectory and sets an LED-illuminated pin on-screen for an accurate shot.

Garmin Xero A1i Pro bow sight
The Garmin bow sight mounts solidly to the bow and should boost your accuracy to a new level

The new A1i Pro looks very similar to the previous A1 and A1i models but the technology has been upgraded, incorporating several adjustments and additions requested by bowhunters.

A major addition to the Xero A1i Pro are four micro-adjust knobs on the unit. Two are for windage and elevation adjustment of the sight and two allow you to adjust the screen’s pitch so it is perfectly aligned relative to your eye when at full draw. Having used both the old and the new Xero, I can confirm this new adjustment system is a lot quicker and easier to use, with loads more precision.

This new unit’s screen displays instructions for setup, without the use of books or online resources.

The sight can be attached via a Picatinny rail or with the included bracket and dovetail mount, with one screw that will quickly allow you to remove the sight for travel or storage. The new dovetail option is in my opinion a lot quicker.

Garmin Xero A1i Pro bow sight
Setting pins from 20m to 70m. Note also the spirit level in a handy position

You fit the silent trigger to the grip or riser in a convenient position for your finger when holding the bow, holding it in place with the Velcro strips provided. Plug the trigger cable into the Xero and insert a pair of AAA batteries, and you’re ready to begin.

Dynamic Level is another new feature. The Xero features a physical bubble level but Dynamic Level has two red pins that appear above and below the sight pin (green) to tell you if you are holding the bow straight or not. If you tilt the bow to the left, the top pin flashes; tilted right, the bottom pin will flash.

Setup includes choosing metric or imperial measurements, choosing red or green pin colours and setting the brightness.

Begin sighting in by setting the range for your first pin, which in my case was 20 metres. I shot an arrow then made the necessary adjustments until the arrow was bullseye with the site pin. Continuing the process at 10m intervals, I eventually had the unit set up out to 70m, my desired maximum range. Other dedicated bow hunters tell me they have theirs set up to 100m or more.

Garmin Xero A1i Pro bow sight

My bow can now range and pinpoint shots from 20 to 70 metres and anything in between at the press of a button. It’s extremely quick and accurate.

Another great feature is the fact you can customise single or multiple pins onscreen to represent multiple distances. And there’s even an XD setting for extended ranges that will allow you to shoot even further by programming a distance in.

The Pro now has Flight Apex to show the trajectory of an arrow; arrow profiles allowing you to set different profiles for different weight arrows; and Laser Locate to link the Xero to compatible Garmin GPS units. This last feature would work well if, for example, you’ve shot something in thick bush. By pinpointing where it was hit on the Xero and transferring the data to a compatible device, you’ll be led straight to the spot. Remember, thick bush presents a different picture once you’re in there trying to locate a fallen animal and this feature takes care of that beautifully.

I first took the new A1i Pro out fox whistling and after a few bursts on the whistle a mature dog came in at a trot. As he neared 20m I muttered “stop” and the fox came to an instant halt, broadside. The distance reading was 21m and in an instant the red dot sight pinpointed where to hold and the rest was easy.   

The Garmin Xero A1i Pro retails for $1699 and is available in right- and left-handed versions. Find out more at your local Garmin outlet or the Garmin website.

Garmin Xero A1i Pro bow sight




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Tony Pizzata

Tony's hunting career spans more than 50 years, from small game here in Australia through to big-game hunts around the globe. His first article was published in Sporting Shooter magazine almost 40 years, and he has worked full-time here as National Sales Manager and Field Editor for over 35 years. Tony's contribution to Sporting Shooter's solid foundations spans its printed history as well as its move to a digital future.