The Importance Of Adjusting Bow Sights

Having your sight in the right position will allow for improved accuracy, yet there are still many archers out there who are not familiar with how to do this.

Fortunately, adjusting bow sights is an easy task to learn, and once you get the hang of it, you will understand how important it really is.

In this article, we will be looking at the importance of adjusting your sight and giving you some handy tips on how to do this.

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Why Do I Need To Adjust My Bow Sight?

When you purchase your bow, you will likely have an in-depth conversation with the expert about maintaining your bow and how to adjust the various components. They will probably talk you through how to adjust the sight, but when you are in such an excited hurry to get the bow home and play with it, this information might slide by the wayside.

Of course, you could return to the archery shop every time you need to adjust your sight, but this is hugely inconvenient. It is essential to learn how to do this yourself.

When we talk about archery, we often refer to precision and accuracy. It is common to understand that these two terms mean the same thing, but there is a crucial difference.

  • Accuracy refers to where you aim the arrow, i.e., its intended landing place.
  • Precision is where the arrow actually lands.

You may have noticed that your arrow consistently lands in another location despite aiming at a specific spot on the target. It may always land in this location regardless of the place you are aiming for. There could be a number of issues at play, but most likely, your sight needs adjusting.

With your sight correctly adjusted, you will notice that your accuracy and your precision go hand in hand rather than being passing acquaintances.

How To Adjust Your Bow Sight

There are two main types of bow sight that you will commonly see on modern bows, so we are going to take a look at both to give you a good idea of adjusting both.

These types of bow sight are known as the single pin sight and the multi-pin sight. Before we begin, it is essential to look at the basics and some top tips for getting your adjustments right every time.

  • You will need an Allen wrench to adjust your bow sight. These tools are commonly used for maintenance on various parts of the bow, so it is always a good idea to keep a set on hand.
  • Before you attempt to adjust your bow sight, you must consider your sight-in distance. In the main, with a multi-pin sight, this will be 20 yards, but in order to correctly determine this, you will need to start close to your target and gradually move back.
  • You should also fire a group of at least three arrows. This will allow you to determine whether the sight is the problem or whether it is your form. Shoot the arrows and see how consistent the shots are. If they all land in the same spot but it is not where you aimed, it is likely the sight.
  • When you are sighting your bow, it is vital that your anchor point remains consistent; if it does not, then your shots likely won’t be consistent either, and this can make sighting almost impossible.
  • To get the best results from sighting, you may wish to do it over several sessions.
  • If once you reach the bottom of the sight, you still want to shoot further distances, you can do this by lowering the entire bracket. This will likely improve the issue, but you should keep in mind that you will need to make sure that there is enough clearance for the arrow or face interference.
  • You may have spent a lot of time sighting your bow only to realize that the arrows are still not landing where you aimed. This might mean that there is an issue with your form, and you can check this by filming yourself shooting and looking at where you can improve. 

Multi-Pin Bow Sights

A multi-pin sight allows you to move the sight in all directions; up, down, right, and left. You will also notice that you can move the pins up and down too.

The pin at the bottom will be used to sight the distance that is furthest away, while in contrast, the top pin will be for the point closest to you. It is always advisable to sight the top pin first, and as we mentioned earlier, in most cases, this will be 20 yards, but you should start at 10 yards.

Begin by shooting three arrows, as we have already discussed, to check your form against the sight. If it is the sight that is off, you will need to loosen the screw to allow you to move the housing from side to side. Now move the housing towards the group.

You will now need to shoot another group of three, as this will allow you to check if the adjustment is sufficient. If you need to, adjust the housing once again until you have it just right. It is important to take your time.

The next step is to maneuver the pin either up or down, depending on where the group landed. If the group landed high, then move the pin up. Conversely, if it landed lower than where you have aimed, you will need to move the pin down. It is crucial to remember that the top pin must stay in the upper third of the housing.

You may find that you run out of room to move the pin, and that’s fine; all you need to do is to release the screw that allows you to move the housing up and down. Loosen this, and you will be able to continue adjusting. Make sure to fine-tune your adjustment as necessary.

Now you will need to move to 25 yards and take aim using your 20-yard pin. Try shooting another group of three arrows and check to see what the aim is like. If you don’t notice a significant drop, you can move on to 30 yards and continue with your other pins.

Single-Pin Bow Sight

You will find that the process of adjusting your single pin bow sight is very similar to the previous method. However, most of these types of sight will have some sort of lever or wheel used for adjusting the yardage.

The windage on these sights is used for adjusting the pin from left to right, whereas the elevation is used to move the pin up and down. You may find that you come to a point where you cannot use the windage anymore, but if this happens, simply loosen the screw to move the pin.

Once again, you will need to begin at 10 yards. Move the sight towards the group until such a time that the arrows land where you had aimed.

When adjusting your single-pin bow sight, you might approach the job differently, depending on how you shoot. Let’s assume that you always shoot from a set distance. In this case, you will work your way up to this while making adjustments to the pin as you go.

A lot of people think that they need to get their adjustments perfect every step of the way, but this is not necessarily the case. You do have some wiggle room, but once you reach your distance, you can then fine-tune the sight for the best results.

Alternatively, you may want to shoot from various distances, in which case, you will need to make use of a sight tape.

This is a piece of equipment that will attach to the side of the sight. It features distance markers, and these can be brought from a pro-archery shop, or you can simply print one out. Some archers go one step further and make a sight tape themselves using a piece of blank tape and a marker.

It is important to make sure that you have the correct sight tape when using a pre-printed one. Sight your pin at both 20 and 40 yards before measuring that against various tapes. This will allow you to figure out which one will work for your equipment.

Once you have attached the tape to the bow sight, be sure to check that it is accurate.

Peep Sights

As well as your bow sight, you might want to install a peep sight. This is a small bow accessory that fits into the bowstring and allows you to see through to your bow sight.

As you look through the peep sight, you should see a sort of tunnel with the bow sight at the end.

This will allow you to line up the correct pin to the center of the target, further improving your aim and precision.

A lot of archers like using a peep sight, and they can be very effective pieces of equipment. However, there is no denying that using one does take some practice, so you must be willing to put this in. Give it some time, and you will likely see the benefits.


There are two different types of bow sight that are normally used in modern archery, and each of these should be adjusted in its own way. This is not a difficult job and is an important part of owning a bow. Many people don’t bother to tend to this intricate detail, but they soon find that their accuracy and precision do not line up.

If you find that you are aiming for a certain point on the target, but your arrows consistently end up elsewhere, the problem may be that your sight needs adjusting.

If, however, once you have adjusted your sight, the arrows still do not land where you want them to, it is worth looking at your form as well.

About Brad Harris