How to Sight in a Bow: The Ultimate Guide & Tips for 2018

Are you new to archery or bow hunting? When you are just starting, learning the ins and outs of the sport can seem quite stressful, but the truth is, most of your fellow archers are more than happy to help you out.

Take, for example, the seemingly daunting task of sighting your bow. If it is something you have never done before, it is far too easy to end up feeling overwhelmed and giving up. The whole process of learning new things can be frustrating, but with the right tips and tricks, you will be well on your way to finding your perfect shot.

Check out our handy guide below with tips, tricks, recommended products and must-know information for sighting in a bow:

21.2-Which Bow Sights Should You Use

What Does it Mean to Sight in a Bow?

In layman’s terms, sighting in a bow is the process of adjusting the sights on your bow to help ensure your arrows will hit your desired target. It involves “following your arrow” during target shooting, noticing where your arrows are going instead of the target, and adjusting your bow accordingly.

Tips and Tricks for Sighting in a Bow

The first tip you should know about when it comes to sighting in a bow is that your initial goal does not need to be hitting the bull’s eye on a target. As a matter of fact, this should not be your first goal at all.

In the beginning, you should aim to get all your arrows somewhere on the target. If you get a grouping of arrows in the same general area of your target, then this is a good sign. It is a sign that you are doing things right: your aim, posture, release,and follow-through are consistent and effective enough to hit your target.

From there, you can begin the process of adjusting your sights.

Take note of where your groupings are. For example, if you are noticing a cluster of arrows in the lower left corner, then you can increase your likelihood of hitting your targets if you adjust your bow sights down and to the left.

Additionally, it is a smart idea to start with a standard and typical distance of 10 yards. It will not be helpful in the long run if you focus on “challenging” yourself with far distances or moving targets– the time for those challenges will come once you have sighted in your bow.

If you are struggling even to hit the target, take a step back and consider what errors you may be making. Remember to stand straight but comfortably, with your feet perpendicular to your body, and try to bring the string to the same anchor point with every shot.

After doing a circuit at 10 yards, you can begin to play with distance. Start small with 20 yards and make the necessary adjustments to your bow as you go along. From there, you can keep adding distance until you feel confident that your bow is sighted in.

My final piece of advice may seem like a cliché, but it has been proven time and time again to be true: practice makes perfect.

Even skilled bow hunters with several seasons behind their belt will spend weeks or even months practicing and sighting in their bow before a hunting or competition season. Needing to take some time to practice is a sign that you are getting better, not the other way around.

Which Bow Sights Should You Use? 

Before you begin the process of sighting in your bow, it is important you have the right tools. First things first, you should make sure you are using the right bow sight for your preferences.

As a newcomer, it can be hard to know what works best. Primarily, you have two options: a multi-pin sight that is fixed into place, or a single-pin sight where the pin is manually adjusted. With a multi-pin bow sight, each pin is designed to be used at a different yardage (20 yards, 30 yards, etc.). When you select a target, you simply line it up with the right pin, or aim a little higher or lower for targets that are in between pins.

With a single pin bow, you can use a sight tape to help you manually adjust your pin. This way, there is no “in between” or chance of using the wrong pin. However, it also means that you yourself must make an accurate decision when it comes to lining up your sight.

Some archers find that single pin bows offer more control and a clutter-free perspective, whereas multi-pin bows (particularly five-pin models) are the most commonplace and are straightforward. It might take some time to decide for yourself which model works best for you.

On Amazon, you can find a number of low to mid-priced bow sights that are

beginner-friendly, including five-pin sights and one pin adjustable models.


Although some products do come with a built-in light, many bow sights will not.

Black Gold - Rush 3 Pin (Black)

For this reason, it can be a wise idea to invest in an additional, add-on bow sight light if your current sight does not already have one. Prices can vary widely, but if you are a beginner concerned with pricing, there are options available for under ten dollars.

Whether you need a budget-friendly quick fix or are open to the idea of the more upscale Trophy Ridge model, a light could be an easy add-on to help you sight in your bow, no matter what the exterior conditions are.

 Archery Universal Black Plastic

 Trophy Ridge Rheostatlight

At the end of the day, having the right tools is an important element of archery. However, even more important than any gear is the attitude of the archer. With patience, perseverance and a willingness to learn and try new things, anyone can master the sport of archery.

While sighting in may seem like a big deal today, it is only the first step on a journey to be part of a sport that is as challenging as it is rewarding.

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