We research the refractive index (RI) sensing characteristic based on the bandpass spectrum caused by the self-imaging effect in the single-mode-multimode-single-mode (SMS) fiber structure theoretically and experimentally. A new selectable parameter, i.e., no-core fiber (NCF) length, is investigated for improving the sensitivity of the sensor. The results show that the sensor’s sensitivity will be enhanced by shortening the NCF length when the self-imaging number remains constant. Experimentally, a maximum sensitivity of 1923 nm/RIU (RI unit) has been achieved when the RI ranges from 1.334 to 1.434. This work demonstrates a method to improve the sensitivity of SMS-fiber-structure-based RI sensors featuring a low cost, compact size, low insert loss, and high sensitivity optical fiber RI sensor.