How to aim a compound bow technique

How to Aim With a Compound Bow for Maximum Accuracy

A lot of people think that they can pick up a compound bow and start shooting without learning how to properly aim. This simply isn’t the case. If you want accuracy in each shot, you need to take the time to learn how to aim with a compound bow. With a little practice, you’ll be hitting your target in no time!

In this article, we will walk through the steps of how to aim with a compound bow to ensure accuracy in each shot. We will also look at how we can aim with and without sights and I will share some tips and techniques to increase your accuracy.

How to get Ready to aim:

1. Establishing the Right Stance:

Achieving a proper stance is the foundation of accurate shooting. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and perpendicular to the target. Keep your body balanced and relaxed, ensuring stability and minimizing unnecessary movements during your shot.

2. Nocking Your Arrow Correctly:

The nocking process involves placing the arrow on the arrow rest and aligning it with the bowstring. Ensure that the odd-colored fletching faces away from the bow. This positioning is crucial to achieving a clean and precise release.

Hold the bow horizontally so the string faces you. Slide the arrow in the arrow rest and then hold it by the shaft just below the fletching. Make sure the cock feather is facing upwards because it plays important role in arrow flight. Then apply some pressure and fit the nock of the arrow in the bowstring. Make sure that the arrow is straight and at a right angle to the bowstring. Check your nocking point if you have one.

3. Holding and Gripping the Bow Properly:

Hold the bow in your non-dominant hand (left hand if you’re right-handed, and vice versa). Your hand should be relaxed and your fingers should lightly wrap around the handle. Your thumb may be meeting your index finger. Avoid excessive tension in your fingers, which may cause torque and disrupt your aim. A consistent grip minimizes variables and ensures better shot execution.

4. Establishing the Right Position:

right position for aiming with a compound bow

Stand straight and tall and position your body squarely towards the target while keeping your shoulders relaxed and parallel to the ground. Keep the bow straight and horizontal to the ground.

5. Drawing the Bowstring

Use your dominant hand to draw the bowstring smoothly and steadily, using your back muscles to avoid strain on your arms. A controlled and consistent draw is essential for accurate shooting, as it sets the stage for a stable release. Draw the bow string until you reach the let off.

6. Achieving a Consistent Anchor Point:

An anchor point is where your hand and release aid touch the same spot on your face during every shot. Establishing a consistent anchor point creates a repeatable shooting form and enhances your overall accuracy.

Use your dominant hand to draw the bowstring towards your face. Bring the string close to your mouth. As you bring the string to your face look for anchor points, these can be jaw, cheek, neck or just at the end of the lip depends on the draw weight and release type.

I prefer a specific anchor point, in which your corner of the jaw is between your knuckles and the bowstring lightly touches the tip of your nose and crosses the edge of your mouth. Also the peep sight should be aligned with your eye.

Man anchoring the compound bow

For consistent shooting pick a natural anchor point that is easy to locate on your face.

Now it’s time to aim the bow; this can be done both with and without sights.

How to Aim a Compound Bow With Sights:

Using a sight to aim is the best practice for consistent accuracy. You can use a single pin sight or a multipin sight, the process is the same.

archer holding a compound bow with sights

Aligning Your Sight Pin and Bubble Level:

Adjust your sight pin to align it with the target. Fine-tune the pin to correspond to the distance you’re shooting. Additionally, utilize a bubble level to ensure that your bow is level, eliminating any horizontal torque that might affect your shot.

Using the Peep Sight and Forward Sight:

Attach a peep sight to your bowstring, and align it with your dominant eye. The peep sight acts as a rear sight, while the forward sight, also known as the sight pin, is the front sight. Proper alignment of these sights is crucial for precision aiming. Here are the steps:

  • Mounting the Peep Sight: Ensure the peep sight is properly mounted on the bow string of bow. It should be centered and aligned with the sight line of the front sight or reticle. You should be able to properly look at the front sight from the peep sight in the anchor position.
  • Choosing the eye position: You can choose between closing one eye and opening both eyes. Select one which is comfortable for you and helps you in consistent shooting. Use your dominant eye only if it matches the side of your dominant hand but the choice is yours, experiment and find the best one for you.
  • Achieving the Correct Eye Relief: Position your eye at the correct distance from the peep sight to achieve optimal focus. This distance is known as “eye relief.” The appropriate eye relief varies depending on the type of peep sight and the individual shooter.
  • Focus on the Front Sight: When looking through the peep sight, focus your eye on the front sight. The rear peep sight should appear blurry while maintaining clear focus on the front sight. This is known as the “sight picture.”
  • Aligning the Sight Picture: Center the front sight within the peep sight aperture. The front sight should be perfectly aligned with the top of the peep sight circle, forming a straight line.
  • Target Alignment: While maintaining the sight picture, align the target with the front sight. The target should be positioned at the right pin of the front sight and centered within it.
  • Trigger Control and Shot Execution: Once the peep sight, front sight, and target are aligned, gently squeeze the trigger to avoid jerking the shot. Maintain focus on the front sight throughout the process.
  • Follow-Through: After the shot is fired, maintain the sight picture and follow through with the shot. This helps evaluate the shot and make necessary adjustments for the next shot.
POV for aiming a compound bow to understand better.

Transitioning to a Steady Hold for Aiming:

Once your sight is aligned, transition to a steady hold by focusing on the target, not the sight. Trust your muscle memory and maintain a relaxed grip on the bow. When you will be used to focusing on the target you will naturally align the sight pin with it. Your aim will improve as you learn to aim without consciously thinking about the sight.

Float Panic:

When you are holding your eye on the target, the pin might float around the target. What beginners do is that they shoot the arrow as soon as the pin is at the center of the target. This leads to inconsistent shooting. You need to trust the float and let the pin float around the target until you are relaxed and have nothing in your mind. Shoot when you are relaxed. This will require some practice to gain complete control.

How to Aim a Compound Bow Without Sights:

No sight? no problem you can still aim a compound bow to get accuracy. Lets explore some methods.

Gap Shooting Method of Aiming Without Sight:

Using the Arrow Tip as the Sight Picture: Aim by aligning the tip of the arrow with the target. This method requires practice to develop a feel for the gap between the arrow tip and the target at various distances.

Utilizing the First Shot as a Reference: Take the first shot at a known distance and use it as a reference point for aiming at different distances. Observe where the arrow lands in relation to the target, and adjust your aim accordingly. For example you hit the target but the arrow was 2 inches below and to the right because of external factors or any error. Take your next shot aiming 2 inches above and to the left.

Finding the Gap for Different Distances: By shooting at various distances and comparing the arrow’s impact points, you can determine the gap between the arrow tip and the target for precise aiming.

String Walking Method To Aim Without Sight:

Placing Your Finger Optimally: Adjust the position of your fingers on the bowstring to shoot at different distances effectively. Lower your anchor point for longer distances and raise it for shorter distances. This means that draw the bow with fingers down below on the bow string to shoot lower and raise your fingers on the bow string to shoot high.

Using a Measuring Device for Distance: Employ a measuring device, such as a rangefinder, to determine the distance accurately. This allows you to adjust your finger placement accordingly.

Adjusting Finger Placement for Varying Distances: Experiment with different finger placements to achieve accurate shots at different distances. Over time, you’ll develop a sense of finger placement that works best for you. Remember to keep your anchor point the same.

When to Use a Compound Bow With Sight and Without Sight:

Both the methods have their own advantages, so you can use them interchangeably in different conditions.

Advantages of Using a Sight:

  1. Consistency: Sights enable replicable aiming, ensuring consistent shot placement.
  2. Precision (Target Archery): Crucial for target archery, sights allow precise targeting.
  3. Long-Distance Shooting: Sights compensate for distance and drop, aiding long-range accuracy.

Benefits of Aiming Without a Sight:

  1. Instinctive Skills: No sights develop instinctive aiming abilities over time.
  2. Speed: Sight-less shooting is quicker, beneficial for moving targets or hunting.
  3. Adaptability: No sights mean less reliance on equipment, handy in diverse situations.
  4. Tradition Connection: Sight-less shooting aligns with traditional archery, connecting to history.

Aiming tips and Techniques for Compound Bows:

Use a consistent release aid or finger-shooting technique.
Whether you use a release aid or prefer finger shooting, maintaining a consistent technique is crucial for accuracy. Inconsistency in form will lead to inconsistent shots, so find what works best for you and stick to it.

Find and establish your anchor point.
Discover the spot on your face where you comfortably place your hand or release aid, and use it consistently as your anchor point. Practice with this point until it becomes second nature, ensuring stability in your shooting form.

Maintain a perpendicular bow arm.
During full draw, keep your bow arm perpendicular to the ground. This alignment will promote consistent form and contribute to improved accuracy.

Understanding the Proper Sight Picture. Focus intently on the target while aligning it with the sight pin. Develop the ability to visualize the sight picture and make precise adjustments to hit the target accurately.

Focusing Intently on the Target.
Keeping your eyes fixed on the target while aiming allows your subconscious to guide the shot. This enhances your shooting accuracy and promotes smoother releases.

Trusting the Float and Relaxing the Hold.
As you aim, allow the sight pin to “float” on the target, and trust your aiming process. Maintain a relaxed grip on the bow during the shot to prevent unnecessary tension and disturbances.

Regular practice is essential.
Consistent practice is the only way to enhance your skills. The more you shoot, the more comfortable you’ll become with your bow, ultimately leading to better accuracy.

Follow through with your shot.
Don’t stop your motion after releasing the arrow; maintain your form until the arrow reaches the target. This follow-through ensures consistent accuracy and performance.

Use high-quality arrows.
Invest in well-made arrows that suit your bow and shooting style. A reliable arrow is essential for consistent and precise shots.

Checking and Adjusting Bow Sight Settings:

Before you start firing make sure to check your bow settings. Align the sight pin and bowstring and level the sight. Properly center the sight pin and adjust elevation and windage. Check if the sight is properly installed. Test different settings to find out which works the best for you.


Q1: What stance should I adopt while aiming with a compound bow?

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and face the target directly. This stance provides stability and balance, which are crucial for accurate shooting.

Q2: How do I grip the bow correctly for better accuracy?

Use your non-dominant hand to grasp the bow beneath the grip. With your dominant hand, reach for the bowstring and hook your fingers around it. A proper grip allows for better control and consistency in your shots.

Q3. What’s the significance of the anchor point in aiming?

The anchor point is a consistent spot on your face where you place your hand or release aid during full draw. Finding the right anchor point and practicing with it helps stabilize your shots and improves accuracy.

Q4. How can I avoid jerky movements when releasing the string?

Focus on a smooth and controlled release, ensuring there are no sudden jerks. Practice drawing and releasing the string at a steady pace to develop a consistent and fluid motion.

Q5. How do I know if I have the correct sight alignment?

At full draw, check if your sight pin and bowstring are in a straight line. A properly aligned sight will improve your chances of hitting the target accurately.

Q6. Is it necessary to follow through after releasing the arrow?

Yes, following through is crucial for maintaining accuracy. Hold your form until the arrow reaches the target. A proper follow-through ensures your shot stays on course.


Aiming a compound bow is a skill that requires practice, patience, and a solid understanding of the various aiming techniques available. Now that you have mastered the skill of aiming, next step is to become proficient in shooting the bow.

Remember to establish the right stance, maintain a consistent anchor point, and develop trust in your aiming process. A good compound bow also helps in anchor points and stance which is important for proper aiming. Check out our in depth guide to choose the bow for you. With the help of regular practice, you’ll become a more proficient archer, hitting your targets with accuracy and confidence.

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