Hello archers! So many of you have been asking me recently about my new Clearshot Archery Halo Aperture. I've decided to write this quick review for anyone who is interested in trying out the Halo or an open aperture sight pin. In total transparency I'd like to let everyone know that I am not sponsored or contracted in any way with Clearshot Archery and was not paid to give this review. We all know when it comes to archery equipment that unless you know someone willing to let you try out different equipment we usually end up buying it to try for ourselves, which can get expensive. In lieu of being able to try out several different options we turn to reviews from other archers, and that's why I'm writing this review. To help give my personal feedback and opinions on this aperture to any archers looking for some guidance before they purchase or for archers who still haven't found a pin they like for their set up. All photos belong to me, so please do not use them without permission.
This is my Clearshot Halo aperture fresh out of the package. It comes with 5 different colors for the aperture window. The different colors are designed for your eye to be able to pick up the aperture and the target more easily depending on lighting conditions and target coloring. Each color is given a guideline on Clearshot Archery's website:
Purple Aperture – Effective in bright conditions.
Green Aperture – Good all around color for bright shooting conditions and hunting conditions.
Red Aperture – Good all around color for bright shooting conditions and hunting conditions.
Gold Aperture – High visibility in low light conditions. Effective for shade Red/Green and full colorblind shooters.
Pink Aperture – High visibility in low light conditions. Effective for shade colorblind shooters.
Now these color guidelines are just that, a guideline for you to try out and see what works best for you. I started out using mine on the indoor range to test out the new aperture because I had never shot with an open aperture before. I've used several different pins in the past from fiber optic pins to your standard pins, but the Halo was my first open aperture.
I went into this aperture with a very open mind. Mostly because I wasn't sure what to expect, but I've also helped to review many different brands for equipment at my old range in Arizona and I know that because archers are so personal in their equipment choices that we can also have a tendency to be biased when we review something new.
When I first put it on target I was using the gold aperture on a 40cm single spot FITA recurve target. I literally felt like I didn't even know how to aim any more! It felt so weird to just have nothing to stare at in my pin and that's when it hit me. I shouldn't even be staring at my pin. In one draw, not even one shot yet, I had just unearthed the fact that I had been staring at my pin for months without realizing it. I have to admit that I felt really frustrated. I'm a coach and I've been shooting for years now and something so simple had been literally right in front of my face and I hadn't noticed until trying out this aperture. So I tried again and took aiming mentally out of the equation. I simply made sure I was over the center of my target (you can see if you're evenly spaced over the rings of the target by how it looks through the aperture) and focused on the rest of my shot process and it felt very odd, but I was pleasantly surprised.
This is the first arrow I shot with with the Halo. (Yes, there are several holes. We love trees and the environment, so we recycle often recycle targets for practice.) It felt like an amazing shot and it was! My groups were as tight from my first set to my last set pictured below. As fatigue settles in my groups usually widen to about the size of a grapefruit, but my final set was still closely grouped and scored a 30/30. I could not only see, but feel a very big difference in my shot process mentally. With the Halo aperture, even though I'm still aiming for my target I almost feel as if I'm not aiming at all. I really think it boils down to the Halo aperture shifting it more to a subconscious thought during my shot process. All of the focus on aiming is lessened and as a result the shots are stronger and the groups are tighter.
Float on target is almost nonexistent for me with this aperture as well. I've always had a little bit of my pin floating within the gold of the target, which is natural, but since I hurt my back in January and have been recovering the float was wider and more erratic. I saw an immediate difference with switching to the Halo. As I began to heal more and get closer to my form being back in shape, that float is now barely perceivable on target. I know a lot of archers that struggle with holding their pin on dead center with no movement before the shot. Some of this can be related to your bow's overall set up (especially with weighting/balancing the stabilizers), but some of it can be mental too and the Halo will definitely help.
Any archer will tell you that this sport is 90% mental. Having said that, knowing how physical this sport also is should enlighten you to just how impressive that 90% really is and how it can affect your shooting. If you're an archer or you know an archer who struggles with target panic, then I 100% recommend giving the Clearshot Halo a chance. I have two archery students that developed target panic, one more recent and the other has struggled with it for a few years now and had taken a step back from the tournament side of archery as a result. Both have tried my Halo and both have invested in their own since giving is a shot. Target panic can be so difficult to overcome, and the Halo is helping both of these archers to regain their control of the target mentally. By removing a traditional pin and replacing it for an open aperture, it has allowed these archers to simply shoot instead of focusing on pin placement.
The Halo comes with several color inserts as pictured above and Clearshot shows some guidelines on how to start using those inserts (also listed above), but as with everything else related to archery the use of them is very personal. I have been using mine for just over a month now and will share with you which colors work best for me, but ultimately it's about using those colors in different settings and on different targets at different distances often to see which will be the most effective for you.
Purple Aperture – Effective in bright conditions. --> This color insert works very well for me outdoors because the purple stands out on my usual FITA 10 ring targets that I typically shoot. I've also shot this on the outdoor NFAA targets that are black and gold with success as well. It's my go to color for outdoor. I've also used it indoor and it worked well, but my eye doesn't find it as fast as some of the other colors under florescent lighting.
Green Aperture – Good all around color for bright shooting conditions and hunting conditions. --> This color insert works very well outdoors for me as well. It's not listed as a shade color, but I found I could shoot well with this color in shade on my FITA targets as well, but it couldn't pick it up in the shade on the NFAA outdoor targets. It just blended in the black too easily for my to find it well on target.
Red Aperture – Good all around color for bright shooting conditions and hunting conditions. --> Red is not my color! For any target. My eye just doesn't pick it up very well. The most success I had with this color insert was on the blue and white NFAA indoor targets. It worked ok for both single spot and 5 spot for me, but again there are other color inserts that are a better option for me.
Gold Aperture – High visibility in low light conditions. Effective for shade Red/Green and full colorblind shooters. --> This is my go to pin for outdoor low light. It works well in shade too, but it works very well for me when I'm running out of daylight for practice. I can find it on target fast and with little difficulty even in dusky lighting outdoors. I really like this pin on average for indoor shooting as well. It works excellent for me on the single FITA targets and the single/three spot NFAA targets. The only struggle I have with this insert is on the three spot FITA targets (both Vegas style and vertical). For some reason I feel like it doesn't stand out from the gold on the target enough for me to subconsciously halo it on the target like I like, so I use a different insert for those targets specifically.
Pink Aperture – High visibility in low light conditions. Effective for shade colorblind shooters. --> This insert rocks! I am not a fan of pink anything usually, but I wouldn't trade this color for anything. It works on every indoor target I've shot under all kinds of different levels of florescent lighting so far. It also worked well on NFAA outdoor targets for me, but it blends too much with the red on the FITA targets at distances further than 30M for me.
A MONTH LATER
Thank God for pin nocks is all I can say! If it wasn't for pins I'd be down a few arrows by now, which is a lot more expensive than some nocks.
A month has gone by shooting with this aperture and I am breaking personal best scores every week. I've recently changed the stabilizers I use and I purchased new arrows that came in yesterday as well, so I know everything works together to enhance your form, but I know that I honestly wouldn't be scoring and grouping the way that I am now if I had not switched to the Halo by Clearshot. Since I've been shooting with it this month, I've also had the opportunity to try a few other similar style archery apertures like the Mybo (comes with inserts that are all black to create different size halos on target) and the Ambo Iris (which is fully adjustable in size like a camera shutter in function). While there are some really great open aperture options out there for archers, my favorite is still the Halo. The multiple color inserts really make a big difference for me. It makes an impact on my form how quickly I can pick up my sights on target and I've seen a noticeable consistency with my Halo that I haven't been able to achieve with other open apertures. I'll update this post with some photos of what my groups have looked like recently (spoiler alert: they're pretty awesome! lol), but I wanted to make sure that I got this post up for those of you who have been waiting so patiently. Feel free to message us with your thoughts of the Clearshot Halo and we'll add them to our post too!!