Champions keep playing until they get it right.
This has certainly been the premise for our story and Sure Sight.
Ours is not a "quick fix story" from a hair brain idea. Sure Sight was developed after researching a definite market need. We then took the concept and developed the engineering solution and hardware until we got it right, and fit for use according to the market needs and demands from bow hunters. It took just over five years for our engineers, software designers, industrial designers, tool makers, injection moulders and material experts to develop and then perfect our product – SureSight. This well-priced, easy to use, fully automatic bow sight is the result of an extensive and long term commitment to R&D. The entire process started in 2013 when one of the founding members of SureSight, Roger Macdonald bought his first bow, a Martin Magnum – Tracer and took part in a morning shoot with friends. “I was new to the sport and had to determine distances by using a range finder and then estimate distances between pins. It was difficult to get a kill shot and this left me feeling rather despondent. When looking for other alternatives, I was told about single pin bow sights that could be adjusted to the correct height. While this appeared to be the better option, it was a time consuming process that allowed for errors.”
When examining his options, Macdonald imagined how inaccurate, time consuming and difficult it must be when hunting with a bow. “One has a small window of opportunity to measure distance, adjust the pin to the correct height or select the correct shooting pin on a fixed pin sight, draw the bow, aim, and then release the shot. The longer it takes you to do this and the more you have to move in order to set up a shot, the less likely you are to shoot the kill shot on your target. An animal will bolt at the slightest movement and will seldom remain still for an extended period of time. A skilled archer, using SureSight can range, draw and shoot the arrow within 3 seconds of ranging the shot.
The archer can follow a moving target and release the shot immediately.
“For a viable solution, one would have to measure an accurate distance between yourself and the target and then use that value in a complex mathematical digital program that would then select the correct shooting pin. A range finder and laser spotter would then have to be integrated somehow and all data would have to be communicated within split seconds while aiming the sight at the target or animal. This would have to be done for every arrow weight, arrow velocity, pull strength and accurate distance measured for every shot,” explains Macdonald.
The engineering solutions, software, maths integration and hardware solutions were onerous. Determined to solve this problem, Macdonald then approached a good friend of his - John Tait, who specialises in integrated engineered software design. Over the next five years, they would develop five prototypes before creating SureSight.
Sure Sight V1 is born.
SureSight Version 1 – This was a contraption with little boxes glued and screwed together. A stepper motor was used to move the shooting pin up and down based on a reading received from a range finder. A processor chose the level of the pin based upon the range finder’s readings. When testing the contraption, a wall was used as a back-stop (to range at). Version 1 was a remarkable success as it allowed a person to hit a target at a distance between 10 and 50 metres without readjusting the program.
SureSight Version 2 – The next step was to combine the laser pointer and range finder into a common package. A complex software program, tackled formulas for different bow types, pull strengths, arrow weights and shooting heads. A new PC board was created. The shooting pin was able to adjust to increments as small as 0.1 mm. After a significant amount of research on all prior work done on bow sights, a patent was registered.
SureSight Version 3 – While version 2 was cumbersome, version 3 was re-designed for commercial purposes – focusing on accuracy, consistency, power efficiency and durability. This new design incorporated the range finder and laser pointer in a separate housing, with the PC board battery and an LCD display as well as a more elegant stepper motor in the other. Extensive testing was done to find the best quality and coloured lasers so that one could quickly and clearly see a laser on a target in bright sunlight at up to 100 metre distance. The laser dot was tested on various types of animals – buffalos, impala, eland, zebra, waterbuck, hartebees, mountain reed buck, kudu, giraffe, wart hogs, bush pigs and wildebeest ect. We had to make sure that these animals did not react to the laser being shone on them. Lastly version 3 was given to a SeppieCilliers who has broken world records in archery, he is a three times World gold medallist and a two times Commonwealth Games medallist. He successfully tested version 3 up to an 80 metre distance with great success.
Sure Sight version 4 - It was now established that the sight should have no mechanical working parts, and should present a shooting dot as well as shooting information within the same sight window, this is because once a shooting dot is displayed, you would not want to divert your gaze from the shooting window to view the information. the sight should also have a shooting resolution of no more than 0.5mm, and present the dot within a sight window that allows you clear vision of the target.
By January 2016 we had developed and assembled the new concept, that needed to be extensively tested, which we did over the following 8 months. We thought it would now be a good idea to see what the response would be from the public and members of the archery and hunting futurnity, and the best place to do this would be at a SABA shoot (South African Bowhunters Association). We approached Harry Marx, who is the president of this association to get his views on the sight and inquire if the sight would be allowed in a competition. Harry agreed to shoot the sight in the next competition himself, which was such a success that Harry wrote an article on the sight, which was published in the Africa’s Bowhunter magazine December 2016
Sure Sight version 5 - The comments we had at the SABA shoot were very good, many people were excited to see a product that would guarantee the correct shooting dot on any target or prize, except the fact that the sight was too big and bulky.
At this point we realised that we need to have all the components packaged in a smaller more compact housing, to achieve this we would need a much smaller rangefinder that could still deliver the accuracy we require, as well as the tooling for a moulded housing. We found what we believe to be the world’s smallest rangefinder that delivers accurate readings within 1cm range. We packaged all the components in a smaller and more compact housing and proceeded to test the sight
SureSIght Version 6 – By now the product had been tested by many serious to average archers and hunters with great, positive feedback. While every effort had been made to make the product compact, it was still too big. Our R&D team had to completely rethink the design and worked closely with an internationally recognised injection moulding and mould making company. This version is now 25% more compact than version 5. Tree stand angled shooting is automatically calculated into the software to compensate for the angled shot variation and both left and right sights are available. The new brackets and casings allow for the product to be universally mountable onto any bow within five minutes.
Within 30 minutes the SureSight can be mounted and set up onto any compound bow and can be shot / hunted with consistent accuracy from 1 to 120 yards without changing any setup on the bow or sight.