Image by: J&S Shoot Photography
A peep sight is the sight of choice for most compound bows, while certain recurve users also opt for this handy upgrade when it fits without disturbing alignment.
The basic principle of aiming through a peep sight is to line up the target with the peep sight’s pin by looking through the peep with your dominant eye, while lining up the forward sight (at the front of your bow) with the corresponding target as well.
So how to use a peep sight then? In this article, we gonna break down that question.
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Using a Peep Sight
Always determine what distances the pins are set to before attempting a shot. The top pin of a peep sight is almost always set to 20 yards while 10-yard increments are typically set to the rest (30, 40 and 50 yards). Ensure that your anchor point is not obstructing the view of your peep sight when aiming and adjust either your face position or the anchor point if it is.
As you shoot over further distances, line up the corresponding pin to the target according to its distance from you. Once the bubble is in the center of the level in your forward sight and your pin is lined up with your target, you’re ready to take your shot.
Picking the Right Peep Sight
Numerous peep sights are available in an array of different sizes and housing designs. The larger your peep sight the more light it lets in, while the sight housing determines the number of pins, how far apart they are spaced, where they are located, and your overall field-of-view. Most archers prefer a peep sight with a large, round housing of at least 1 5/8-inch in diameter due to its huge field of view and large amount of room to move pins around.
The further away your pin spread is from the riser of your bow, the finer the sight can be aimed. Your peep should allow only a small halo of light either outside of the sight ring or around the colored ring of the sight.
3-Step Peep Sight Installation
Your peep sight will usually be installed by a traditional D-loop although a torque-less loop is at times used instead which self-aligns. You need to get your peep sight into your string and aligned to the center. A bow press should be used to separate the strands of your bowstring. You can try other ways to separate your strands but this usually results in damage to you or the bowstring. Most archers opt for a two-color string when installing a peep sight as this is generally the most visually attractive option.
Step 1 – Finding the Right Height
Before setting the proper height of your peep get a friend to help you. With the peep sight installed on your string, close your eyes and draw your bow to your anchor. Once drawn, open one of your eyes and don’t move. Have your friend rotate the peep into alignment and move it either up or down the string. It needs to align perfectly with the forward sight aperture.
Step 2 – Calibration Shots
It takes a good deal of shooting to determine the proper alignment of your peep sight. Before you even begin to adjust the alignment of your peep, it is best to fire off at least fifteen to twenty shots with it roughly sighted. This ensures that the twists and tension of the bowstring settle in.
Step 3 – Peep Sight Rotation
When the right height of your peep sight has been found and a few shots have been fired off, your peep sight will most likely not be aligned perfectly to your eye. Rotate the peep sight by adding or subtracting half a turn at a time until the peep is in its proper position.
Step by Step Shooting with a Peep Sight
• Prepare for your shot by stretching and warming up
• Assume a strong shooting stance with your feet shoulder-width apart at a 90degree angle to your target
• Hold your bow in a natural position
• Nock the arrow and draw it back to your anchor points
• Now it’s time to sight your shot
Sighting Your Shot
• Look through the peep sight with your dominant eye and sight your target
• With the target lined up in the peep, sight your target through the forward sight
• Close one of your eyes making it easier to focus through your peep sight and make sure that your target is lined up with the appropriate pin according to its distance
• Once aligned to the pin in your peep sight, make sure your forward sight’s bubble level is in the center (adjust your bow position to the left or right if not)
• Instead of trying to make sure your peep sight pin lines up perfectly stable, allow it to float around the target slightly and release only when you are relaxed
Perfecting the Alignment of Your Peep Sight
To fine-tune your peep sight into perfect alignment you need to put your peep its center position and adjust my taking the string off the peg and then twisting in or out by a full turn. Never ever adjust by a half turn. Whatever you do on one side must be done on the other otherwise your cams will end up out of sync. At times you’ll need to flip the peep sight over once or twice until a stable balance has been settled into.
Generally, it will take just a few twists of the bowstring to correct any deviations, but if you want the highest accuracy you’ll need perfect perpendicular alignment which is only attained by careful twisting of the bowstring and strand swapping.
Fantastic Peep Sight Benefits
A great deal of patience is needed to set in a peep sight but once its installed and aligned, the benefits to your accuracy are immense. After some practice at shooting with a peep sight you’ll soon find yourself using nothing more than a glance to correct your position and fire. Peep sights help minimize distractions granting greater focus on your target. Some archers employ a peep sight and kisser button to ensure that their anchor point does not change. Once you learn how to use a peep sight you’ll always have a place for it in your archery.