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Old 05-12-2007, 05:32 PM
Greg / MO
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Jackson, Missouri
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Default Review of Summit's Hot Dot sight

Oftentimes, when archery manufacturers venture into a new arena within our sport -- and outside the safe confines of what made them successful in the first place -- they do so with a bit of trepidation and risks are minimized by playing it safe. Someone forgot to tell that theory to treestand-manufacturing giant Summit.

Leaping full-steam ahead, there is absolutely no way Summit's venture can be seen as playing it safe. Its first offering into the world of bow sights is labeled the Hot Dot. Summit tags it as a "Premium Bow Sight", and that it is -- incorporating heads-up display technology found in machines the likes of Corvettes and military fighter jets. The Hot Dot uses electronic circuitry and a clear plastic screen upon which is projected a focused point of light which offers an almost infinite combination of adjustments.

Never liked the traditional horizontal pin setup, but was disenchanted by the difficulties of "gapping your pins" found in vertical-pin technology? You'll find no such problems here, as the only thing visible in this sight is your aiming point. The user can dial a wheel with his thumb and quickly change the number of aiming points from one to as many as six. Rotating the wheel all the way to the left puts the deluxe model into an incredibly advanced pendulum mode.

I've been blessed in my hunting career; I've taken a lot of deer, and all but a few have been from treestands. You would have thought that at some point in all my tinkering, I would have experimented with pendulum sights. I was certainly aware of the technology, but it never interested me enough to buy a sight strictly devoted to pendulum technology; I didn't want to give up the flexibility of multiple pins. Summit's Hot Dot allows the user to switch between both.

By scrolling the wheel all the way to the left, the sight gives you one single dot to sight in with at 30 yards. You can also easily adjust the calibration of the sight so that it takes into account if you've got a fast, medium or slow bow. I left the sight at the factory setting of medium to see how it would perform on my Bowtech Guardian.

Once sighted in for 30 in the pendulum mode on flat ground, and every shot from a treestand at 30 yards and in only requires you to point and shoot. No compensating for angles, distances... anything. The sight does the work for you. As previously mentioned, I've never used a pendulum sight, so I was anxious to try out this technology. After sighting in, I walked up to the farthest corner of my deck away from the bag target in my back yard. I didn't even try to estimate the range or anything; I just aimed and shot. Next, I walked the length of my deck to get closer to the target. Again, I did nothing but draw, aim and shoot. Here's the result of those first two shots. Keep in mind, this wasn't after shooting 30 or 40 shots to get "used" to the sight; this was my immediate first two shots after sighting the bow in on level ground at 30 yards.

Here's a reverse view of where I shot the two arrows from. After the shots, I lasered the bag from the far side of the deck at 28 yards. The near shot came from 20 yards, and I later measured the flooring of the deck to be nine feet off the ground. Even though Summit says the technology works best from an elevated position of 10-30 feet, it clearly performed flawlessly at a less-than-ideal height.

The amazing thing about this sight is that it has at its disposal 16 different "dots" with which to choose from in aiming while in pendulum mode. Summit calls these dots "fixed pins", but I think they're doing themselves a disservice by calling them that, as "pins" conjures up -- in my mind, at least -- a slender steel attachment device which usually holds up a fiber optic wire that has been upturned to serve as the aiming point. On this site, ALL you see is the aiming point. For those wondering, the LED is not projected out past the lens; all the light is projected back to the user.

As you aim your bow down and out from an elevated position, the circuitry inside the sight picks exactly which pin you should be using. So instead of the pin "swinging" like a traditional pendulum would, there is nothing moving inside this sight except different pins are lit up at a lightning-fast pace as you raise and lower your bow -- leaving you with only the one you need to aim with.

Summit chose to manufacture the sight housing out of the same high-strength nylon material it uses to make its Rapid Climb stirrups out of. The material is not affected by weather and offers excellent weight savings at only 8 ounces for the entire sight, yet is incredibly strong. The lens which reflects the aiming points is made out of a polycarbonate often found in the manufacture of safety glasses, and all brackets are aluminum. The two-inch sight ring centered perfectly in my 1/4" Fletcher Tru Peep.

Here's the frontal view of the sight. The two threaded holes visible on the left side of the housing and immediately outside the aiming ring are used to convert the sight for left-handed shooters. It comes set up for right-handed shooters, as pictured. You'll also notice the wheel at the lower portion of the housing which can be rotated to switch the sight from pendulum, to a single pin or to multiple-pin modes.

Here's a reverse view of the polycarbonate lens which sits at a 45-degree angle inside the housing and is used to reflect the aiming points. This is also a good shot at the thumb screws which allow the user to adjust the sight sans an Allen wrench if desired.

Below is a picture of the bottom of the sight. On the far right is the on/off button, and on the left is an extended knob which can be rotated or dialed to increase or diminish the intensity of the aiming dots.

Here I am thumbing the wheel over to show six dots, and you'll note their brightness as I had just come inside from shooting in the blinding sunlight.

To get an idea of how the intensity of the dots can be lessened, I took this picture. Summit says that the "pins" represent approximately a .019 size at their dimmest, and about .029 at their brightest setting. There was not a cloud in the sky and the sun was almost straight overhead when I shot off my deck, and I had no trouble at all in seeing the pin. Don't strain looking for all six pins in the pic below; I've turned it to the three-pin fixed group to show a different view.

The user can change from pendulum mode to a single fixed pin, to one of three pre-set groups which include a three-pin mode, a five-pin mode, or a six-pin mode. Any LED in any mode can be turned off, offering the choice to have anywhere from one to six pins to sight with.

In keeping with the theme of a completely unobstructed view of the target, there is no sight-level bubble inside the housing. Instead, Summit chose to use the circuitry available within the system to electronically monitor if the shooter imparts too much tilt to his bow. Torque the bow too much one way or the other, and the aiming dots go blank. Turn it back more perpendicular, and the dots reappear. For those worried about losing their aiming point in the heat of the battle, it actually takes a pretty good "tilt" to lose the dots; I had no problems whatsoever in shooting from a variety of positions.

The unit also has a battery-saver mode. If after five minutes of inactivity, the unit goes into a "sleep" mode. I use the term sleep because moving the bow in the slightest causes the unit to reactivate. There's no cause for concern if you've been sitting in a stand for hours and your bow has hung motionless at your side the entire time; just pick it up, point and shoot.

The sight is not waterproof, but is water resistant. Summit claims that under normal use, they've experienced no problems with it. It uses a common 2032 lithium ion watch battery which can be found at most retail stores such as Wal-Mart. The sight has a built-in battery backup which will retain your pin settings while you change out the lithium ion battery.

You can purchase this sight in a pendulum-only format for a suggested retail of $139.99. The deluxe model (as shown here) offers the flexibility of switching from pendulum mode to fixed-pin mode at the dial of a wheel, and retails at a suggested price of $159.99.

There is truly some amazing technology built into this site. The ability to "dim down" the pins on command should be extremely appreciated by bowhunters. I had more than enough of an aiming point in the brightest sunlight today, and yet was able to turn it down to a very subtle point in the darker confines of my home archery shop.

The interchangeability between pendulum and fixed-pin mode allowed me to experiment with a pendulum sight for the first time in my life, and it was an experiment that yielded astonishing results. Summit's marketing tag for this product is "Kill The Excuses", and they're certainly making it harder for bowhunters to come up with them.

Last edited by Greg / MO; 08-17-2011 at 10:27 AM.
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