Using a high-quality bow sight can greatly increase your experience whether you are hunting or target practicing.
Bow sights can improve your accuracy, boost your confidence, and increase your ability to aim.
Whether you are a beginner or intermediate archer, you will experience many benefits from using a bow sight.
However, if you are new to archery, bow sights can be pretty confusing.
Not only will it be hard to choose a sight, but it can be difficult to set up if you don’t know where to start.
Fortunately, this ultimate guide to bow sights will tell you everything you need to know.
We will cover what a bow sight is and explain the different kinds of bow sights.
By the end of this article, you will be able to choose the perfect one for your skill level and preference.
Most importantly, this guide will describe how to mount a bow sight and adjust it.
Adjusting a sight will be the most difficult aspect of the process for a beginner. But with our simple guide, you will get it in no time.
If you are ready to become a pro archer, keep on reading.
What Is a Bow Sight
A bow sight is a special aiming device that helps archers align their weapon with a target.
The housing typically consists of metal or fiberglass pins that are attached to the bow’s riser.
Bow sights ultimately help hunters have more control of their aim and improve the accuracy of their shots.
Many archers will usually center the sight in the middle of their target, which sets up their shot well and provides them with an accurate reference point.
History of Bow Sights
Bow sights have not been around as long as firearm sights have. Modern bow sights started to appear in the 1950s and have been popular ever since.
One of the first bow sights to be released was the K-C-S bow sight.
The advertisement for this sight mentioned that archers could use it for field and target practice as well as hunting.
Archers could also install the sight without any drilling required.
This sight and many other sights at the time were very basic. They only used a single-pin setup that would gauge more than one distance.
Archers commonly used these single-pin sights on traditional bows.
However, more modern sights quickly replaced the single-pin setups when compound bows appeared in the late 1960s.
As newer sights started to emerge, there started to be more variety of products available.
For instance, two main kinds of sights were introduced: adjustable pin sights and fixed pin sights. These models are still prevalent today.
How Does a Bow Sight Work
Bow sights can be confusing. In this section, we will explain how bow sights work so you can start using yours today.
Each bow sight will have a pin or multiple pins (unless you use a digital bow sight). Each pin will help you aim for different distances.
Say you have a four-pin sight. You can set the first pin for 10 yards, the second for 20 yards, the third for 30 yards, and so on.
You can set the pins up for any distance you like. Something to note about setting the pins up is that you need to keep your skill level in mind.
If you are a complete beginner, try to stick to closer distances such as 15 to 25 yards.
However, you will also need to keep in mind what distance your bow can shoot. Each bow is different, and not all bows can shoot a 45-yard target.
Types of Bow Sights
Before you buy a bow sight, you should be familiar with the different types of bow sights.
Certain models will be better for different bows and environments.
The kind of sight you get can also simply depend on your personal preference. Let’s take a look at the different kinds.
Single Pin Sights
Single pin sights only have one aiming pin. You can change the position by adjusting some dials on the sight. This will allow you to compensate for multiple distances.
Some archers prefer single-pin sights since there is not a lot of clutter.
You won’t be distracted by a bunch of other pins blocking the view, making target acquisition easier.
Multi-Pin Sights (Fixed Sights)
Multi-pin sights, also called fixed sights, provide the hunter with a fixed aiming reference.
It is helpful to know how to shoot with a fixed sight since many archers need fixed sights to enter target competitions.
There are many different variations of fixed pin sights. The most common sights are 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9.
If you are a beginner, many professionals recommend avoiding a nine-fixed pin sight.
These sights tend to feel a bit overwhelming for inexperienced archers since there is a lot going on.
With multi-pin fixed sights, you cannot adjust the pins as easily as you can with adjustable sights.
Once you set up the pins, don’t expect to move them on the go.
Multi-Pin Adjustable Sights
When it comes to most adjustable sights, you can move the pins to account for different distances.
Typically you will have around two to five pins on this kind of sight. You will be able to adjust the pins to shoot further than you could with a fixed pin sight.
The main benefit of multi-pin adjustable sights is that you can both have a fixed pin for close distances while still adjusting pins to account for further targets.
Unlike the other sight styles, digital sights are more modern and have only recently hit the markets.
These sights do not have physical pins but instead use projected dots to assist archers while aiming.
Something to keep in mind with digital sights is that they may not be legal in all regions.
You will need to check the laws in your area before you use a digital sight.
Mounting a Bow Sight
Now that you know what kind of bow sight is best for you, it is time to learn how to mount a bow sight.
Check for Pre-Drilled Mounting Holes
Many bows have pre-drilled mounting holes that you can use to install your sight.
If your bow does have holes, it will probably come with a few different configurations.
This will give you some room to adjust the position of your sight housing.
If your bow does not come with pre-drilled holes, you will have to drill some holes yourself.
Make sure to reference the holes on your sight before doing this.
Mount the Sight in the Right Position to Improve Accuracy
How you mount the sight can also affect your accuracy. To mount the sight properly, place the pin far from your shooting eye.
Doing this will create more eye relief between the pin and your eye.
Mounting the sight using this technique will make it seem as if you are aiming down a long-barreled rifle.
Mount the Sight
Mounting the sight will not be complicated. Refer to the steps below to learn how to mount your bow sight properly.
One last thing to note is that most bows and bow equipment will require an Allen wrench.
So before you get started, make sure you have this tool on hand.
- Lay the bow sight flat against the riser. The sight housing should be on the same side of the arrow shelf on the bow riser.
- Align the mounting holes on the riser with the holes on the sight. After you align the holes, thread whatever screws you are using into the holes.
- When you thread the screws, be careful not to cross-thread them. Cross-threading will prevent a tight seal and could lead to damage to your sight and riser.
- Tighten the screws until the sight is tightly sealed against the riser. The sight should comfortably rest against the riser with no visible spaces. It should also not wobble at all when you try to move it.
After you mount your sight, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First of all, watch out for excessive noise or vibration coming from the sight.
These things could mean that the sight is too loose and not properly attached. Excessive noise could also be a sign of cross-threaded screws.
If this is the case, you will need to remove the screws and reinstall them.
Second of all, check the screws on the sight at least three times a year.
The screws can loosen over time, and it will be best to catch loose screws before the entire sight falls off and get’s damaged.
Adjusting a Bow Sight
Now that you have installed your bow sight, it is time to adjust it. Adjusting your bow sight is essential before you start using it.
What you are doing here is setting up your sight to shoot accurately and precisely with the aid of the sight. Let’s get started.
In this section, we will review the basic steps of adjusting your bow sight. Then we will cover how to adjust a bow sight with multi-pin sights and single-pin sights.
Determine What Your Sight-In Distance Is
Before you start adjusting anything, you will need to determine what your sight-in distance is.
Generally, you should start with your closest distance if you are using a multi-pin.
Most often, the closest distance will be around 20 yards.
Dial-In Close to the Target
This tip will be important if you are adjusting your sight for the first time. Make sure to dial your sight close to the target. You can then move back after doing this.
Shoot Three Arrows To Create a “Group”
Using good form, shoot three arrows. Try to aim so that they hit the same area of the target. This cluster of arrows is called a “group.”
After you shoot the group of three arrows, take a moment and compare where the arrows went to where you aimed initially.
You might have to move your sight towards the group if the arrows landed in an area you didn’t aim for.
For example, say your group of arrows landed more to the right on the target than you aimed. If this is the case, move your sight a bit to the right.
Adjusting a Multi-Pin Sight
If you have a multi-pin sight, there will be three main adjustments that you can play with.
First, you can move the sight housing left and right and up and down. You can also move the pins vertically.
The top pin on your sight should be the closest distance, while the bottom pin should be the furthest distance.
- Adjust your top pin first. Make sure to set this pin to 10 yards when first adjusting.
- Shoot three arrows. Then loosen the screw on the housing that controls horizontal adjustments and move the housing towards the group of arrows.
- Shoot three more arrows. After your second batch of arrows, examine how accurate your sight worked. If the arrows landed where you aimed for, you wouldn’t have to make further adjustments. However, you will have to make more adjustments if the sight was off.
- Adjust the sight until it shoots accurately. This may take a few tries. If you need more room to move your top pin, you can always adjust the sight housing and move it up or down.
- Move to 25 yards and shoot another three arrows. Use the 20-yard pin for this step and see if your shots are accurate. Adjust accordingly.
- Shoot another three arrows at the 30-yard line using your second pin. Adjust the pin according to where the arrows landed. Continue this process for all of the sight pins.
Adjusting a Single-Pin Sight
Single-pin sights will have two main adjustments called windage and elevation.
Windage will allow you to move the pins right or left, while elevation allows you to move the pins up and down.
- Start from 10 yards and shoot three arrows. Then, move the sight towards your arrows.
- If you intend to shoot one distance with your bow, slowly make your way there. Make multiple adjustments as you reach your desired distance.
- If you want to shoot multiple targets, you will need to use sight tape. You can either buy sight tape from a shop or print some out yourself. Sight tapes stick to the side of your sight and represent various distances.
- When using factory-printed sight tape, make sure to sight your pin at around 20 and 40 yards first. Use the two marks and then match them to the tape; this way, you can see what tape works better for the bow. Then you can put that tape on your bow sight and test its alignment.
Bow Sight Maintenance
After you buy your first sight, it is essential to know how to maintain it properly.
Your sight is a crucial part of your bow, so follow these tips to avoid damage or a possible replacement.
Take Care of Your Riser
The riser is what the sight is attached to. Therefore, the first step in protecting the sight is to take care of the riser.
If the riser gets damaged, the sight will probably get damaged as well.
Make Sure the Grip Is Stable
The first thing you should do is to make sure the riser grip is stable. Scan the grip for any cracks, dents, or weak spots.
If your grip is attached with an adhesive, make sure it is not loose. If it is, apply more adhesive to secure it.
Check the Areas Above and Below the Riser
Another important step is to check the areas where the riser attaches to the limbs of the bow.
Inspect areas both above and below the riser, ensuring that they are attached securely.
These areas experience the most pressure when you draw your string. For this reason, they are the most vulnerable to wear and tear.
You should routinely check all of the bolts and screws and make sure the pieces don’t wobble at all.
Make Sure Your Sight Is Installed Properly
Now that you have checked your riser make sure that your sight is properly installed. Check all of the screws.
Ensure that they are tight and that the sight is not physically loose. You should be checking these things regularly.
Check the Sight for Erosion Marks
Another thing that you should check for is erosion marks. If you spot any signs of erosion, it may be a sign to replace the entire piece of equipment.
However, there are ways to prevent your equipment from eroding.
Store Your Bow Properly
One of the most important things is to store your bow properly. This will be the best way to prevent damage. So let’s look at a few essential care habits for your bow.
Store Your Bow in an Area That Is Climate Controlled
Storing your bow in a regular climate that is not too hot or cold will protect your bowstrings.
A climate-controlled area will also prevent moisture from damaging the equipment and leading to erosion.
Furthermore, moisture could also cause some parts of your bow to warp and rust screws and bolts.
Therefore, avoid storing your bow in a humid area at all costs.
Use a Bow Case While Travelling
Using a bow case is never a bad idea, even as a permanent storage option.
However, you should always use a bow case while traveling since you could drop your bow or knock it against a car door or wall, for instance.
There are two kinds of cases; soft and hard. If you want the most protection, a hard case will be the way to go.
You should also use a hard case if you are flying with your bow. If you travel a lot by car, then a soft case will work fine.
But, ultimately, a hard case will be the best choice since they are waterproof and will prevent scratches, dents, and corrosion.
Whichever case you prefer, always keep your bow in a case while traveling to keep the sight safe.
Use a Bow Stand While Retrieving Arrows
Another thing to keep in mind is to use a bow stand while retrieving arrows.
When you are target practicing, you will need both hands to retrieve the arrows.
It is crucial to avoid leaving your bow on the ground. Someone could easily step or trip on it and cause damage.
While most ranges will have stands for you to use, some won’t.
You might want to pick up a bow stand if you are target practicing at home or ranges that don’t provide bow stands.
Wipe Down Your Bow After It Gets Wet
While it is okay to shoot in the rain, you should always wipe down your bow after it gets wet. Don’t put it in the case until it is fully dry.
Otherwise, some parts on your bow could begin to rust, including the screws holding your sight in place.
Bow sights do not have to be as confusing as they seem to be. We hope that this ultimate guide to bow sights have cleared things up for you.
Bow sights are aiming devices that help archers align their bows with a target.
Many archers use sights since they increase the amount of control they have and the accuracy of their shots.
There are a few different kinds of bow sights, including single pin, multi-pin fixed, multi-pin adjustable, and digital sights.
Bow sights are pretty easy to mount since most bows come with predrilled holes that you can mount your sight on.
When installing your sight, make sure to avoid cross-threading. Tighten the screws until you tightly seal the sight against the riser.
It is quite easy to adjust your bow sight. However, it will take a bit of time.
There are a few basic steps to the process: determine your sight-in distance, shoot three arrows to create a group, and adjust your sight housing towards the arrows in the target.
Repeat these steps until the sight is accurate.
To avoid costly damage, take care of your riser, and make sure to always store your bow in a safe, climate-controlled area.