Complete Guide: How To Use Compound Bow Sights

by | Jan 10, 2019

Hunting with a bow requires you to have a steady hand and sight that you can rely on. This makes sure of your aim for a target. Since the target is always moving, the field of view in question always needs to be at a proper aiming height. There is a lot of sight mechanism that can be used to enhance this field of view. In this article, we’re going to give you a tutorial on how to use compound bow sights and improve your target shooting.

But before we dive into the actual tutorial, let us first discuss what bow sight actually are, their types and why having a bow sight can be really fruitful.

What Are Bow Sights?

Bow Sights (aka Bow Scopes) are items that can be mounted on the bow to ensure a better aim. These are very similar to the scopes used in rifles. The sights are built to provide more aim control to the archers (or hunters). The core technology of the bow sights is quite simple. It provides a better view of where your arrows might ultimately land. While shooting arrows, everyone wants to hit the bull’s eye and a sight helps you get to this goal. A clean kill or a headshot is always satisfying and targeting such small spaces can be difficult without using a bow sight.

Garmin Xero A1 Bow Sight, 2' Auto-Ranging Digital Bow Sight, LED Pins for Unobstructed Views, Left-Handed
229 Reviews
Garmin Xero A1 Bow Sight, 2" Auto-Ranging Digital Bow Sight, LED Pins for Unobstructed Views, Left-Handed
  • Auto-ranging digital bow sight automatically measures distance to the target and provides an LED pin for the shot
  • LED pins allow you to clearly see your target, unobstructed by physical pins
  • Silent single-button trigger requires minimal movement; lets you range at rest or full draw up to 100 yards on game or up to 300 yards on reflective targets
  • Customizable for single-pin and multi-pin configurations or manual pin selection
  • 1 year of battery life with 2 Lithium AAA batteries (not included)


Type and Advantage of Bow Sights

Bow sights can come in various types, the types mainly depend on the type and the number of pins the sights have. These types are explained below.


Fixed Pin

Fixed Pin sights are very easy to use and simple to install which makes it more popular among the bow hunters. The design is also quite simple with fixed pins of different colors gets locked into a place. However, this can take quite a while to get used to. Practice will always make the learning process faster though. Fixed pin sights come with a variety of pin option. More the number of pins could, however, be not beneficial. You’d need 3-4 pins maximum.


Moveable Pin

As the name suggests, moveable pin sights have pins that can be manually adjusted, unlike the fixed pin sights. The pins can be adjusted for distance, i.e, you can manually select the mode of sight for a target at a certain distance. The sights with moveable pin typically come with a slider for different presets of distance. Despite providing a more customizable aiming, the movable pins also have considerable drawbacks as a clean shot is quite difficult to make with all the options under your belt. The presets can also be very confusing for novice archers. Apart from that, this type of sight might be very good for serious archers.

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TRUGLO RANGE-ROVER Series Single-Pin Moving Bow Sight, Black, Right-Handed, .019' Pin, Click Windage Adjustment
307 Reviews
TRUGLO RANGE-ROVER Series Single-Pin Moving Bow Sight, Black, Right-Handed, .019" Pin, Click Windage Adjustment
  • Clean, circular sight picture with all-metal pin; Adjustable yardage-stop customizes maximum yardage setting
  • Extra long, fully protected wrapped fiber; Ultra-smooth bracket for easy one-hand adjustment
  • Sight housing accepts 1.87" scope lens (sold separately); Laser marks for windage and elevation adjustments
  • Quiver can be mounted directly to bracket; Adjustable for left and right-handed shooters
  • Tool-less yardage lock; Includes over 40 pre-marked yardage tapes to simplify setup


Pendulum sights

When you’re hunting from a tree or someplace where there is a lot of movement and you can’t sight in with a steady hand, then, pendulum sights can be best for you. The pendulum sights have a pin placed on a pendulum inside your sight bracket. It makes up for the unsteady hand and gives more precision when you’re aiming at a downward angle. When the bow angle drops, the pendulum swings up outside of the bracket providing a more lethal shot. The drawbacks of these pendulum sights are that they aren’t that impressive when you have a target at a considerable distance. Also, you should know the arrow velocity for a better shot which isn’t something a novice hunter will know.


Target Sights

Target Sights are commonly used in archery competitions. They’re considered most precise among all sight types. Having said that, the sights aren’t common among hunters as they are considerably sizey and have an expensive price. The target sights are also used with laser scopes for even better precision. The sights have customizable options for wind and height adjustment which provides it with plenty of accurate shots.



The brackets aren’t the type of scopes but still, they’re to be considered. These mounting brackets come in two varieties: fixed and dovetail. The brackets don’t really affect the shooting skill of the archer. As far as popularity is concerned, most hunters opt for the fixed bracket design as it is easier to remove. Dovetail brackets have a more extensive installation process and they’re comparatively difficult to remove. Competition Archers may have many reasons to remove the sights and fixed brackets are more flexible in such case.


Proper Guide: How To Use Compound Bow Sights

Let us now get into the tutorial and see the stepwise process of using a sight with a compound bow.

  • The first thing to remember before using a bow sight is your posture and form. The form needs to be on point, the posture should be straight and the anchor point should be consistent.
  • After this get your bow sight, install it. You’ll have to mount it to the bow. This is a very easy process and makes sure to look into the instruction manual that comes with your sights. Make sure you get this right, as a properly installed sight will be more helpful to you.
  • The next step is to actually sight in the bow. As we know there are many types of bow sights, sighting them depends on the type. Also, the sliders and the distance settings on the sight may also vary with the manufacturer.
  • The final thing to do is to test the sights at various distances, start from 20 yards, then go to 30 and 40 yards. See if you can hit the bull’s eyes. Also, be bold and try out a various combination of the settings that you have on the sight.
  • Hit the practice range and be familiar with your sights. Once you get the hang of it, shooting from a bow sight will be no problem at all.


Tips For Using Bow Sights Perfectly

  1. The anchor point is important, it makes sure your sighting is consistent. Anchor points depend with an individual and this should be kept in mind.
  2. The adjustments should be minimal. You shouldn’t jump, for instance, from 20 to 40 yards directly. Maybe get a unit increment or a 5-yard increment. Typically, the 10-yard increment is considered normal but you should try out all the settings at your disposal.
  3. Sighting in a compound bow is really just a hit and trial process. You have many types of sights and there are multiple settings. At the end of the day, you have to find what suits you yourself.



Bow sights aren’t absolutely necessary if you’re already an experienced hunter. But for a novice, it can be quite an important item. The sights provide you with an important field of view that make sure you get a concrete shot everytime you shoot the arrow. We saw how the type and number of pins make up for the types of sights you can buy. The important thing to consider here is what kind of an archer you are; a hunter and a competitive archer may have different needs. So, it depends. The installation process of the sight is pretty straightforward; read the instruction manual and mount it to your bow. Using the bow itself is kind of a tricky thing. There are multiple options and settings, you can find the ones that suit you with training in a hit and trial way.

  Last update on 2022-09-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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