Bow Sights- The First & Only Guide You Need When Buying

When it comes to archery, precision is fundamental. No matter if you’re bow hunting or you’re preparing for a tournament, hitting the mark is essential. With compound bows allowing one to mount a bow sight, it makes sense that any archer should know how to select and use a bow sight for better performance.


  • 1 What’s essential when selecting a bow sight?
    • 1.1 The use
    • 1.2 The time for practicing
    • 1.3 The price
  • 2 Which type of bow sight do you need?
    • 2.1 Fixed pin sights
    • 2.2 Pendulum sights
    • 2.3 Movable pin sights
    • 2.4 Target sights
  • 3 Do the brackets count?
  • 4 The final thought

What’s essential when selecting a bow sight?

You don’t just go and buy yourself a bow sight. There are a couple of things to get clear before you begin your shopping session:

  • The use

You need to know what you’re going to use it for bow hunting, tournament shooting, or shooting for fun. Just because you’re planning to bow hunt, doesn’t mean you don’t need to make any decisions.

For instance, you should know if you’re hunting various species at unknown ranges, or you’re only planning to shoot whitetails at close ranges.

  • The time for practicing

Some bow sights may imply a learning curve, as opposed to others.

If you have time for exercising, you should look for models that are more sophisticated and require more dedication.

  • The price

Even if the budget shouldn’t be a problem when buying bow sights, you may still want to take a look at it from time to time. The last thing you want is to buy some expensive bow sights and don’t have any money left to spend on other accessories.

Which type of bow sight do you need?

Your level of expertise in using a bow, and all the things we mentioned earlier count a lot when selecting your bow sights.

Without any further ado, let’s check some of the most common types of bow sights:

  • Fixed pin sights

They may be the most common type of bow sights, no matter their form. Setting them up is a breeze, and they can be highly accurate when used correctly.

Even if it’s a basic design with multicolored pins locked into place, it may take you some time and patience until you adjust the pins for the right yardage. Practice makes perfect, so it may take you a while until you get it right.

When it comes to setting the pins for the right yardage, it’s all about figuring out what you like the most. For many fixed pins sights, you may add several pins so that you can set various distances. Having more pins may become a struggle after some time, with 3 or 4pins being the most common setting. A pin for 20/25 yards, one for a more extended shot and one pin for the close shots may be enough. Once you set the pin, you should focus more on how to make the fine adjustments between the shots and don’t mind the pin settings that much.

The setting of your pins is going to teach you how to compensate between the shots. Use the pins as guidance, so that you may adjust the shot to fall between the pins. For instance, when you use a 20 and a 30-yard pin, and the game is 25 yards out, you have to set the target between the two pins for accuracy. Practice makes perfect, remember? You have to learn how to gauge the distance, so shooting is one way to do it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using one pin or several; you need to practice to aim high for the long shot and low for the close shot to get it right.

  • Pendulum sights

If you’re only hunting from a tree stand, the pendulum sights are a solid choice for your hunting. They’re exceptional since they come with a pin mounted on the pendulum inside the sight bracket. The pendulum gives you better precision when you’re using a downward angle for the bow. When the bow angle gets low, the pendulum is going to swing up outside of the bracket, giving you better accuracy.

Even if the pendulum sights are amazing for tree stand hunting, you need to calibrate them carefully for getting precision. You need to know a lot about arrow velocity, which an entry-level hunter may have no idea about. The pendulum sights come with limitations as they lack precision when shooting from ground level and shooting from a distance.

  • Movable pin sights

Unlike the fixed pins that come with several pins, the moveable pin sights feature just one pin. They let the archer adjust the pin for distance, no matter the shot. The distance for the shot is marked on a slider scale that the archer presets. The user has to adjust the sight for the right range for every single shot. Practice and gauging the distance is what counts the most for all shots.

The main pet peeve for the moveable pin sights is that you have to adjust the pin to have a clean shot, which may be a big problem when the game is moving all the time. You have to change the sight on and on, which may become evident for your game. Regardless of the minor downsides, the moveable pin sights are an excellent option for 3D shooting and competitions.

  • Target sights

The target sights are familiar for competitions since they impress with accuracy. However, they’re not the cheapest bow sights on the market. Due to their size and high price, the target sights aren’t a standard option on the field; they’re not very practice for a dedicated hunter.

The target sights are designed for use with various aiming devices (simple pins or lasers) that allow attaching for obtaining fantastic precision. They commonly come with settings for wind and heat, which can only help with the accuracy of the shots.

Do the brackets count?

There are two main types of brackets: fixed and dovetail. They don’t impact your shooting skill per se, but they may affect the accessibility of the sights.

Many hunters go for the fixed bracket design since you don’t need to remove the sight after setting it up.

You may secure the dovetail brackets with a fixed plate, but they also include a slot for you to slide the sight onto the plate. A nut or a screw can be used for securing the sights.

In the case of competitions, shooters may want to remove the sights and change them a lot, which the dovetail bracket may allow. Take it into consideration when selecting the bracket.

The final thought

If you’re planning to buy bow sights, you should take time and patience until figuring out which type of bow sights you need. No matter the final choice, no bow sight is going to replace practice for getting the most accurate shots.