Bow Sights: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

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Archery is instinctive compared to hunting with a normal rifle, you are aiming with your senses but nowadays there are good sights to help you. Whether your bow hunting or go for shooting tournaments, hitting the target is of course extremely important. 

Shooting without a sight is commonly referred to as instinctive shooting, since the accuracy is low, especially at longer ranges. Therefore, most of the modern bows will feature some kind of optic sight used with a kisser button or a peep sight and a high-quality arrow rest, and novices can be outstanding accurate in their shooting.

 In this regard, compound and recurve bows boast added functionality since you can include bow sights and boost your accuracy. If you’re a beginner, adding a sight on your bow is inevitable. This article will give you some essential tips in choosing the best bow sight. It will also give some insights into some of the best bow sight brands.

Basic Sights versus High-End Bow Sights

 You’ll encounter some bow sights with basic features and others with sophisticated design. 

For instance, some sights feature optics fiber and three-pin, pin track, and a ping guard. These have pins which you can position up or down for elevation adjustments. Also, they can be screwed in and out of the bracket for precise windage adjustment. Hence, this kind of sight is simple and quite functional. It is common for hunting and recreational uses.

 Due to their simplicity, they will usually cost less as compared to the more sophisticated. On the other hand, we have those bow sights which are quite advanced in terms of construction quality, application, and features. With some high-end features, you can expect these to offer unmatched functionality, versatility, and extreme accuracy levels.

Most of these high-end bow sights feature gang adjustments. Hence, you can adjust the pins simultaneously. Therefore, these will allow excellent windage and elevation adjustment. Other exciting features of the high-grade bow sights include; fiber optic, pin lights, cam adjusters, and torque adjusters.

Simply put, you’ll encounter some bow sights which are loaded with tons of premium features just to make your bow more practical in various fields. Some of these sophisticated hunting and competition bow sights cost about $250 or more.

How Much Should One Spend On a Bow Sight?

The budget you allocate for a bow sight will depend on the intended purpose. However, basic hunting does not require high-end sights. For field use, you may just need to get more than a plastic model. Well, it needs to adapt well to the rugged field use. Therefore, you should consider a model that offers machined aluminum, fiber-optics, and easy adjustability.

Surprisingly, most hunters prefer to have mid-grade bow optics, which offer some of the premium features. As you would guess, high-grade bow sights are best for 3D shooting competitions.

These high-end bow sights are also applicable if your hunting scenario requires the use of sophisticated sights. In this buying guide, we’ve covered the significant types of bow sights, their features, and the renowned options. We hope you’ll be able to make an informed decision at the end of this article.

Types of Bow Sights

The Fixed Pin Bow Sights

We start with the most popular type ideal for hunting. This type usually has about 3 to 5 individual pins. These pins can be set to a particular distance, depending on the nature of the target. The top pin is for the closest distance while the lower pins are customized for longer distances. 

Once set, you should tighten them to remain in a fixed position for proper use. Customization of these pins and setting their range is usually easy, but practice can make it a little bit easier.

How Do You Sight Using Fixed Pin Sights?

Yard Increments

As an informed shooter, you need to take time as you set the pins right. Hence, your fixed pin set will yield impeccable results. You will need to set these pins for distances, which are easy to remember. The standard ranges are usually 5 to 10-yard increments.

When you set the pins correctly, shooting known distances becomes a breeze. Thus, if your target is 40 yards away, you’ll simply sight the bow by placing the preset 40-yard pin on the target then shoot. Now, the sight will do the necessary compensation due to the change in the arrow’s trajectory.

Shooting Unknown Distances

On the other hand, it becomes tricky when aiming at an unknown distance. Here, mastering the skills of estimating yardage does all the trick. And, you must choose the right pin for the yardage. If your target is 35 yards, a 30 pin will shoot slightly low while the 40-yard pin will shoot a bit higher. Thus, you’ve to train yourself to divide the difference and shoot somewhere between. Well, experts call this gap-shooting.

Is Gap Shooting Reliable?

If you’re a beginner, gap shooting may not go well with you. You may need to add more pins, which means more yardage increments. A good example is when you have six pins with 5-yard increments. This setting will enhance your shooting accuracy. But, this shooting strategy has some demerits because you’ll need to remember the distance which each pin represents. Also, more pins may hide the target and affect your aiming accuracy.

Why Do Most Hunters Prefer Gap Shooting?

Some hunters prefer single pins. They claim that shooting becomes better after you master gap shooting. For instance, if the pin lands 3 inches high at 15 yards, you could compensate that by having the pin 3 inches low. Hence, a single pin becomes better with time and is popular among highly-skilled hunters. It takes time, excellent estimation skills, and, of course, some endurance.

Luckily, most of these single pin bow sights allow perfect addition of pins. Whether you choose a beginner 20 dollars model or a 100 dollars model loaded with fancy features, a single pin bow sight is a splendid choice for hunting as well as recreational uses.

Moveable Pin Sights

This option is openly different from the single pin sight. Instead of having several preset pins, it features a single pin that you need to adjust for every shot. The mechanism relies on a system of brackets, lever as well as warm gears that move the whole sight setup up and down. Thus, you can adjust the pin in a second.

Sighting Using Moveable Pin Sights

At the rear of the bracket is the adjustable yardage pointer. There is also a graduated scale which shows yardage in values. It is a bit simpler than the fixed pin sights. For instance, if the target is 40 yards away, you need to position the pointer to the 40-yard mark and simply shoot. The common moveable pin sight usually features a 5-yard increment.

Hence, if you want to shoot a target at 27 yards, you need to ensure the pointer is between the 25 and 30 yards. As you can see, this option is more accurate because it allows you to choose the yardage before you even pull back the bow. Most shooting competitions offer different competition categories for the fixed pins and moveable pins.

 Moveable Pin Sight or Fixed Pin Sights?

Each has its own merits and drawbacks. The success of a moveable pin sight will highly depend on your yardage estimation. Thus, it is ideal for general application or competition.

However, moveable pin sights are not the best for hunting

Hunters won’t like the idea of having to adjust the point before making a shot, as there is usually no time to adjust the pointer while your game is approaching. Besides, the prey might detect your movements and run. However, few hunters swear by the moveable pin sights.

Treestand Sights

These are commonly known as the pendulum sights. As the name implies, they are for those who engage in treestand hunting. The sights are popular due to their capacity to compensate for elevation as you make downhill shots. If you are a beginner, you will find it hard to estimate yardage while in an elevated position. This situation is where the treestand sights come in handy.

This type features a single pin on a pendulum swing. Hence, it can swing up and down, thereby compensating for the downward shot. The pendulum sights are accurate just to hit the sensitive areas of the game.

However, it’s hard to claim that it has absolute accuracy, and needs to be calibrated according to the arrows velocity and elevation height of the shooter. Well, this is when it can claim absolute accuracy. However, it is ideal as long as it hits the specific body part of a game animal. It is also worth noting that treestand sights don’t have ideal accuracy for long-range shooting. Most will feature an additional fixed pin to double its accuracy for long-range shots.

3D Competition Bow Sights

Also called target sights, the 3D Competition Bow Sights are highly sophisticated and are perfect for shooting competition. You won’t be wrong to term these as the most accurate bow sights. 

Despite having great features, their size, cost, and sophistication make them not the best for hunting. 

These sight versions boast fancy features, including a moveable pin design with an improved elevation and windage adjustment. Also, they are large since they mount 6 to 12 inches ahead of the bow riser through an enhanced dovetail system.

Thanks to their threaded receiver, the target sights are compatible with a single pin, laser sight as well as the scope style sight. 

Peep Sights

A peep sight generally means a small hole usually connected to the bowstring. It looks like a black tunnel when you peep through it. You need to make sure in a straight line with the correct aiming pin. Some people find this particular feature very helpful. 

Rangefinder Bow Sights

Some bow sights come with an integrated rangefinder. However, the rangefinder’s capability is limited compared to the traditional versions. That said, the distance range is also limited, with no mode options, and these integrated range finders also lack reticle display.

But if you range your target within the bows effective range, you may never need the advanced features of a rangefinder. For hunting purposes, a rangefinder allows you to come to a full draw, get the range, aim, and shoot in one perfect moment. However, all rangefinders aren’t engineered equally.

The Best Bow Sight Brands

Trophy Ridge Fix Series Sight

The sight features Micro-adjustable pins- these are amazing features that allow fantastic precision. Hence, it allows for easy target acquisition and accuracy. 


Second Axis Adjustment

 The second axis adjustment is a high-end feature that allows heightened accuracy. And, it applies to both short and long yardage shooting. Thus, it is ideal for hunting all types of game animals, tactic use, shooting competition, and more.

Adjustable Brightness

This bow sight can work in all light conditions, thanks to the unique light feature. It offers adjustable brightness to match the shooting condition. The rheostat light is ideal for enhancing shooting precision regardless of the prevailing light conditions.

Incredible Pin Adjustment Tool

This bow sight comes with an ergonomic tool for pin adjustment. It is easy to access it in any shooting situation. Thus, it allows for more shooting precision and accuracy.


  • Versatile sight
  • Lightweight and robust
  • Easy pin adjustment
  • Excellent lighting


  • A bit pricey compared to other top-rated sights

Burris Oracle Rangefinder Bow Sight

This bow sight combines sight and rangefinder features; however, it has limited capabilities compared with the traditional rangefinder versions. It does not have a reticle display and has limited modes compared to the typical rangefinder models.

 Nonetheless, it is sufficient for bow hunting uses. 

Features of Burris Oracle Rangefinder Bow Sight

Pin-Free Display

This tool doesn’t have fiber optic pins. Instead, it features 52 LED aiming points that allow excellent aiming accuracy. It also doesn’t have a glass lens, and hence you can enjoy unobscured sight pictures free from dust, fog, and glare.

Outstanding Aluminum Construction

 It features rugged and durable aluminum construction. Hence, it can survive the harsh jungle. It also features built-in micro-adjustment features to help in fine-tuning. It allows an exact aiming point.

Unique Auto-Calibration

This bow sight will learn your arrow’s trajectory. And, it can store two trajectory curves for different arrows, draw weights and between hands. Thus, it allows for excellent aiming accuracy and precision.

Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Bow Sight

As a bowhunter, you can make it easy to select the best bow sight. You need to consider some crucial factors.

First, you need to use the least number of pins as possible. Also, you need to consider sturdy, well-protected, and high-quality fiber optics. You also should find a rounded pin guard which you can center in a peep sight. Well, here are the significant factors and guidelines to help you.

Do You Want a Fixed Pin Or Single Adjustable Pin?

Both sights have some advantages and disadvantages. The fixed pin sights offer a high level of confidence when the target presents itself suddenly. 

You won’t panic trying to get your pin to the correct distance, but you have to be sure you choose the right pin. It is, for this reason, most hunters will prefer single adjustable pin sight. 

The pin can move up and down with the help of a moving lever. And, in many cases, there will be a reference tape showing various yardages. Hence, in this case, it is not easy to select the wrong pin. But, it will require some extra time to make the adjustments. And, this may give the game some time to figure out your position and may have the opportunity to get away from you.

 How Many Pins Should You Use?

It would be entirely wrong to use more pins than you need. Using fewer pins makes the sight picture simple. If you are a deer hunter, one pin will be enough for anything below 30 yards. In this case, you should set it for 25 yards so that the arrow hits a few inches within your target areas. Also, you need to hold a few inches for under 15-yard shots.

Additionally, anything above 30 yards, three-pin, will be helpful. In this case, you can set the pins for 20, 30, and 40 yards. Moreover, you can set five pins for 20,30,40,50 and 60 yards. These will be perfect for follow-up shots on a wounded game animal.

What is the Ideal Sight Pin Diameter?

Bow sights come with an array of pin sizes ranging from 0.2 inches to 0.1 inches. The larger the pin is, the more visible it will be even in low light. However, larger pin diameters reduce the long-range shooting accuracy as it won’t allow precise aiming.

However, with the invention of fiber optic pins, the diameter doesn’t matter. Even a pin as thin as 0.19 inches will still be visible in low light conditions. Modern archers feel comfortable shooting with 0.19 pins. These small pins allow precise and accurate aiming.

Fixed Plate vs Dovetail Plate

Most of the box sights feature fixed plate design. It means that the bracket is directly attached to the box. However, others come with a separate mounting bracket. 

Most hunters value the simplicity and reliability of the fixed plate. On the other hand, 3D shooters prefer the dovetail plate design. It allows the use of different sights, assuming they use the same bracket. A professional shooter may require different sights, and hence the dovetail makes the process easy and takes the credit. It makes changing the sight easier.

Pin Guard Design

Today’s bow sights usually feature round pin guards. It is unlike the previous models, which had square pin guards. The rounded pin guard can help you aim better and quickly. You won’t need to center individual pins, but instead, you can focus the guard into the peep.

This step will allow you to use the same anchor point for short and long yardages; all you need to do is raise the bow until you see the correct pin is on the spot. You also need to use a larger peep as this allows better shooting by allowing more light through.

Bubble Level Feature

This feature is an essential addition on a bow sight that allows you to center the level for each shot. You can be sure you’re holding the bow the right way, and each time, thus, it prevents side to side inaccuracies. 

You, however, need to ensure that the sight is at a perfect level with the bow. For this reason, most of the bow sights come with a second and third axis tuning. They help in adjusting your sight to the best level.

Are Sight Lights Important?

Some top-rated bow sights feature pre-taped features. It allows the installation of a small screw light, which can further help in illuminating your sight pins for accurate aiming in low light conditions.

Micro Adjustment

 Every archer enjoys having pinpoint accuracy in all shootings. You need to fine-tune your bow sight for you to have accurate aiming. Hence, micro-adjustment is a must-have feature for the modern bow sights. 

This unique feature allows you to fine-tune your sight vertically and horizontally. Amazingly you won’t need fine-tuning when you have already sighted the bow and pins locked-down. It will be up to you to consider if you need this amazing feature.

Gang Adjustment

This feature helps you to adjust all the pins together simultaneously. Now, this adjustment can be either for windage or elevation. So, these are essential features that allow easy setup and adjustment. This aspect can be very effective for any game hunter because it allows maximum flexibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need a Single Pin Or Multiple Pin Compound Bow Sights?

The option depends on the intended use. If it’s for basic hunting expeditions, a single pin sight is ideal. It allows more flexibility and is easy to maneuver when a golden chance arises. However, multiple pin sights will offer the convenience of sighting for long yardages.

Which Company Makes the Best Bow Sight?

This aspect should be a matter of preference. However, there are some renowned companies such as Burris, Trophy-ridge, Garmin, and more. The Burris bow sights are indeed the most popular among professional hunters.

Are the Fiber Optic Pins the Best?

Many hunting enthusiasts and bow experts feel that fiber optic fins are ideal. You won’t need a source of light on your sights as these pins are visible in low light conditions and allow you to hunt down even in bad weather. Hence, fiber optic pins offer reliable functionality.


Bow sights are great bow accessories. Besides enhancing successful hunting expeditions, they allow excellent target aiming when you’re in a target shooting competition, making it an exciting experience.

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