Garmin Xero Crossbow Scope Review

Garmin Xero Crossbow Scope Review

Rangefinding while hunting with a crossbow can be a bit of a hassle. The time between ranging your target with a rangefinder and then adjusting your scope can sometimes mean that you lose your shot altogether. 

To get around this, many hunters have started using BDX (Ballistic Data Xchange) products that adjust the scope reticle automatically. The problem is that this solution still requires two separate pieces of equipment and the use of an app on your phone.

The Garmin Xero X1i combines a rangefinder and scope into a single fully customizable unit. This means that you can now range with the click of a button and almost instantly see your illuminated reticle for the perfect yardage.

With a host of additional features and customization options, the Garmin Xero X1i offers unparalleled performance that will take your hunting experience to a whole new level.


The Garmin Xero is packed full of features that elevate the device to far more than just a combined scope and rangefinder optic. As their first step into the crossbow world, Garmin has clearly put a huge amount of thought into a list of features that transform your hunting experience. 

  • The built-in laser rangefinder allows you to confidently range up to 250 yards for game and 500 yards for reflective targets. (These figures will depend on your crossbow FPS, arrow choice, and ability.)
  • Customizable profiles allow you to easily switch between multiple crossbow setups without changing anything else on the scope.
  • Illuminated aim points adjust automatically to the ambient conditions so you can shoot confidently from sunrise to sunset. 
  • Digital leveling assists in helping give you even more confidence that your shot will always find its target.  


As well as combining a rangefinder and scope into a single optic, the Garmin Xero X1i is also very different in its form compared to most optics. The biggest differences you will notice are the size and weight of the unit. 

  • Magnification: 3.5x fixed
  • Weight: 30.4 oz
  • Length: 6.2”
  • Width: 2.6”
  • Height: 3.7”
  • Reticles: Digital only. The reticle can be a fixed brightness or set to adjust automatically to your surroundings with a built-in ambient light sensor.
  • Bow speed: Max 650FPS
  • Water rating: Nitrogen filled with an IPX7 rating
  • Aiming accuracy: ½” at 100 yds

What Crossbows Work Well with the Garmin Xero?

Like most optics, the Garmin Xero is compatible with both a Picatinny and Weaver rail. The unit has a generous 2.44” of eye relief but you’ll need to bear in mind that it is quite a lot taller than a conventional scope. For that reason, some crossbows may not have a sufficiently high cheek rest. 

Mounted to a TenPoint Nitro 505, you can see a pretty big difference between the Garmin X1i, a “standard” scope, and the Burris Oracle X.

You are welcome to stop by our shop in Milford, IN, and test out a Garmin Xero X1i unit on some of the crossbows we carry in stock to see how it feels. We will be happy to help you make any necessary adjustments for the perfect fit if you purchase in store.

We have found that using the Garmin Xero scope with Ravin crossbows is not an issue at all. In fact, it is as comfortable as their stock scopes.

TenPoint also now offers a high cheek rest attachment to make sure that hunters can find their optimum fit with the Garmin Xero X1i. The eyepiece of the Garmin sits at a similar height to the Burris Oracle X.

What I Love About the Garmin Xero

There aren’t many upgrades to your crossbow that will offer as many benefits as an advanced optics system. They allow you to get the absolute best out of your crossbow and arrows by optimizing the performance you can achieve and giving you the ideal target to ensure a successful harvest. 

The Garmin Xero X1i has by far the most features and customization options on the market today. For us at Borkholder Archery, the real standout features are:


You have the option to create multiple profiles that are fully customizable. This includes choosing the reticle and character colors and adjusting the brightness (or setting it to automatic) so that when you look through the scope, it is set up exactly how you want it. This is especially great for those who prefer to hunt in specific conditions, but it makes the optic perfectly adaptable to hunting from sunrise to sunset. 


The glass is extremely clear and easily among the best we have ever seen on a crossbow optic.

Battery life

It’s always a concern when you add any electrical component, while we’ve seen these batteries last over a year we recommend changing them before each hunting season. The batteries are a pair of AAA Lithium batteries. So if you ever run out of power, the batteries are easily available pretty much anywhere, or you can just carry a spare set with you.

Future proof

This powerful optic has been designed to work with arrows traveling at 650 FPS, which isn’t even possible… yet! The fact that Garmin has made a particular effort to future-proof this optic is a real statement that they are going to be big players in the crossbow industry for years to come.

Garmin is constantly sending firmware updates which means they are committed to the longevity of their scopes.

Where the Garmin Xero Misses the Mark

The amount of research and development that has gone into the Garmin Xero is really impressive. But, there are a few things about this optic that we feel some hunters will find to be too much of a compromise when switching over from a conventional scope. 

  • Weight: While we are very impressed with the robustness and build quality of the Garmin Xero, it does add 1.9lbs of weight to your crossbow. 
  • Scope height: There are limited options for eye relief, mainly because the eyepiece is higher than most scopes. 
  • Fixed magnification: While the 3.5x magnification does help in extending the scope range to 250 yards, the fixed 3.5x can be limiting. Especially if you are 80-100 yards away from your target, having additional magnification can be crucial to shot accuracy.

How Does the Burris Compare to the Garmin X1i?

The Burris Oracle X is a very different rangefinding scope. While it offers many of the same features as the Garmin X1i, it sits closer to a conventional scope with 2-7x magnification and a fixed reticle. 

If you can’t decide between the two, we have a full feature-for-feature Garmin Xero vs Burris Oracle X comparison article to help you make the best choice.


The Garmin Xero X1i is an upgrade that may not be for everyone. A lot of hunters may not like the idea of adding electronics to their crossbow, and others will probably be put off by the price more than anything else. 

But our aim is always to help our readers experience the most successful hunts possible and have great memories to share. The Garmin Xero X1i is undeniably the most advanced optic for any hunter because it allows you to get the best out of your crossbow.

If you still have questions or are interested in demoing the Garmin Xero, stop by our archery shop in Milford, IN.

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There is roughly a 23 grain difference when adding Firenock lighted nocks. It can result in lower impacted points at distances of 30 yards and beyond, and also change your front of center percentages.

There is a simulated weight that attaches to your nock just the same as the lighted nock that will make all of the nocks weigh the same. This will ensure your arrows all fly the same.

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