How Does A Bow Sight Work?

One of the cornerstones of archery equipment is of course the sight. If you’re a recurve or compound archer, chances are that you’re already familiar with bow sights. But if you’re a barebow or traditional archer, you might be baffled as to how those things work. They might look more complicated than they are at first glance, but how does a bow sight work?

First of all, it will be important to note that there are actually different types of sights. There will also be different sights depending on your preferred style of bow. The main types of bow sight preferred by archers around the world are the pin sight.

There are single pin sights and multi pin sights, and both of these work in slightly different ways to help you improve your accuracy. This is the main reason that recurve and compound archers use sights – to help them achieve more accurate scores. 

You can turn your metal barebow riser into a recurve bow by adding a sight to it, as well as some weights. However, if you have a wooden riser, this will make things a little bit trickier. So archers with traditional wooden bows don’t tend to use sights to help them aim.

How does a bow sight work?

Single pin sights come with a single point of reference. These are often used for static target shooting. Multi pin sights are often used for hunting, as each pin on the sight allows you to adjust for different distances. However, some archers find the multiple pins annoying. 

These sights tend to feature a T-shape that can be attached to your riser. They will often have numbers on the side to help you adjust for your preferred shooting distance, though it will be worth noting these numbers don’t refer to any specific distance. They are simply there to help you work out where you need to place the pin along the sight to help you reach the target.

Typically you will aim to have the pin right in the center of the target to help you improve your accuracy. However, it will be worth remembering that there will be a number of factors that will culminate in this accuracy.

Just because you add a sight to your ensemble doesn’t mean your shooting will improve. You will need to work on your shooting stance and form in order to get truly accurate shooting.

It is also worth noting that most compound bows also come with an additional peep sight on their string. This features a small hole where you can look through. You will need to line this up with the sight on your bow to achieve the accuracy that you’re after.

What do the pins mean on a bow sight?

Some sights come with multiple pins to allow you to easily adjust to different yardage increments. This will allow you to easily aim for different targets at different points without having to adjust your sights. For example, a 3 pin sight will be used to aim at a target from 10 yards, 20 yards, and 30 yards.

Because of this, multi pin sights are preferred by those who use their bows for hunting. When you’re out trying to hunt deer or other prey, the last thing you’ll want to be doing is constantly adjusting your sight so that you can hit your target. You will need a sight that can make your job easier.

Do bow sights fit all bows?

If you’re looking for a new sight to add to your bow, you might be wondering whether you need to buy a sight that’s been specifically designed for your recurve or compound. The great news is that the vast majority of sights on the market are actually universal. So a bow sight that works with a recurve bow is more than likely suitable for use on a compound bow. 

It will be important to check with the manufacturer’s specifications to see if this is the case with your preferred sight, however, most of the models on the market work this way.

How do you tune a bow sight?

When it comes to tuning your bow sight, the majority of adjustments will be along the horizontal angle. Take aim as you normally would, using the sight to aim for the middle of the target.

Make a note of where it is your arrows land on the target once you’ve fired all 3 of them. Remember to always aim in the same place.

When you go to collect your arrows, make a mental note of where your arrows are sitting on the target. Chances are you won’t have got them dead in the center on your first try.

If they are on the left, then you will need to slightly adjust your sight to the left. If the arrows are towards the right, you will need to adjust the sight slightly to the right. 

Next, you will need to repeat the first step. Take aim, making sure to aim for the same place each time, and not adjusting the sight in between.

Take a look at the grouping of your arrows on the target, and make any further adjustments you need to in order to get the arrows hitting dead center. It will be important to always shoot 3 arrows at a time first, as this will help to eliminate any human error.

In summary

So there you have it! You now know that the most popular style of sight is a pin sight. There are single pin sights and multi pin sights. 

Single pin sights are preferred by the majority of target archers, as this allows you to get better accuracy. The multi pin sights are better suited to archers who use their bows for hunting, as you can use them to aim for different distances without having to adjust the sight itself.

The vast majority of bow sights on the market will also be universal, so should be fine to use on both recurve and compound bows. It will also be important to ensure that you have the right shooting form and stance before you try using a sight.