How to sight in a compound bow

How to Sight in a Compound Bow (Single And Multipin Steps)

Let me identify the problem for you. You have adjusted the sight and shot with the top pin on the target at 20 yards, you hit the bullseye. Then you move to 30, but the shot goes up, down, or left, right? You might be thinking what is going wrong? It’s the sight pins. You must adjust them as well.

Sighting in a bow requires the sight pins to be correctly positioned at your target. I will provide you with steps for both the multipin and single-pin sights.

It is a time-consuming task but it is very rewarding. You should do it on your own to gain experience and learn the process. This would boost your confidence and accuracy in the shot. Just try it in your backyard.


Before you begin the sighting process, ensure you have the following prerequisites in place:

Properly Tuned Bow: Make sure your compound bow is appropriately tuned, including the nocking point, arrow rest, and cam timing. A well-tuned bow lays the foundation for accurate shooting.

Quality Sight: Invest in a high-quality sight that suits your shooting style and needs. Whether it’s a multipin sight or a single pin sight, having the right sight is essential for precise aiming. Install your sight properly.

Preparing For Sighting

Check the adjustment of the sight and peep sight.

Adjust the Sight

Adjust the Peep Sight

The peep sight is a small device on your bowstring that helps you aim. To adjust, draw your bow and align the peep sight with your sight pins. If it’s not aligned, slide it up or down the bowstring until it is. It’s OK if you are not using it.

How To Sight A Multipin Sight

With a multipin sight, you’ll have several aiming references for different distances, typically three, five, or seven sight pins. For this guide, let’s assume we’re using a five-pin sight with the following arrangement: 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards.

1: Start at 20 Yards

To begin, let’s start close. Position yourself at 20 yards from the target. Use a sack target or the traditional one. What you can do is place 2 tapes on the target, one horizontal and the other vertical. Use the joint as the bullseye.

2: Shoot and Observe

Nock an arrow, draw your bow, and aim using your top pin (peep sight – sight – top pin – target). Take a shot and observe where the arrow hits the target in relation to the bull’s eye.

3: Adjust the Top Pin

Based on where the arrow impacts the target, make the necessary adjustments to your top pin. There are 4 small screws on the side of the sight. Losen them and adjust the pins. If the arrow hits above the bull’s eye, move the pin down. If it hits below, move the pin-up. Remember, we always move the pin in the direction our arrows are hitting.

pins adjusting knobs for multipin sight.

4: Check for Vertical Room

Ensure there is enough vertical room within your scope to accommodate all the pins. Your first pin should be positioned near the top of the scope, leaving enough space for the other pins set at 30-yard and above.

If you are having to move the 1st pin too down, that it is causing misalignment of the pins, then you should adjust the windage and elevation of the entire sight housing. As a general rule, you can say that the top pin should be in the above one-third of the sight.

If it falls below this, then you have to again dial the windage and height settings.

5: Fine-tune the 20-Yard Pin

With your 20-yard pin set, lock the scope in position. Now, move back to say 25 yards and shoot at the bull’s eye, using your 20-yard pin as the aiming reference. Check to see if there is no major discrepancy in the accuracy. If you find any then retry from step 1.

6: Set the 30-yard And Other Pins

Now move on to the second pin, which is the 30-yard pin. Have some shots and then do the same as for the 20-yard pin. Adjust and verify at 35 yards. Then go on to the third and fourth pins and adjust their heights in the same way.

7: Verify Windage Alignment

After you adjust your 20-yard pin’s vertical and horizontal alignment, you would only need to adjust the heights of the other 30, 40, and 50-yard pin. The pin windage is already set because of the 20-yard pin. All the other pins will lie in a straight line under that pin.

How to sight in a compound bow in a multipin sight.

How To Sight A Single Pin Sight

Sighting a single-pin sight is crucial for accurate shooting in archery. The single sight pin is a bit different because you can adjust it for just one distance at once. If you want to use it for different distances you need a sight tape. Most new single pins come with multiple sight tapes from the manufacturer.

Using sight tape for single pin sighting

Sighting in a single-pin bow sight using a sight tape can be a bit technical, but I’ll break it down step by step for you:

  1. Initial Pin Placement: Begin by setting up your single-pin sight. Sight in the pin at 20 yards. Take 3 shots and analyze where the arrows end up. Adjust the housing as before. If your arrows are hitting above the target dial up the elevation. Similarly, if they are moving to the right, move the sight pin to the right. Adjust the housing so that the pin lines up perfectly with your target at this distance. 
  2. Mark the Tape: Once you’ve aligned the pin at 20 yards, mark the sight tape at this position. This is your starting point.
  3. Distance Shooting: Move back to 30, 40, 50, and even 60 yards. At each distance, adjust the sight housing to ensure the pin lines up accurately with your target. Take your time to get precise shots.
  4. Recording Data: After each successful shot at different distances, record the distance and mark it on your sight tape. This will help you build an accurate sight tape.
  5. Building the Sight Tape: Create a custom sight tape based on the data you’ve collected. Some archers prefer to use pre-made tapes, while others create their own. There are also apps and online calculators available for this purpose.
  6. Attach the Sight Tape: Carefully attach the customized sight tape to your sight’s adjustment dial, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure it’s securely in place.
  7. Fine-Tuning: Double-check your sight settings by shooting at various distances to ensure your customized tape is accurate. Make minor adjustments as needed.
  8. Practice: Practice regularly with your newly sighted-in single-pin sight to build consistency and confidence.

What Is The Bow Sight Aiming Method?

Here is how to aim in a bow sight.

  1. Draw the bow and anchor.
  2. Your peep sight will naturally align with your eye and the front sight.
  3. Close one eye and look through the peep with your dominant eye.
  4. Looking through the peep sight you can see the sight pins, first focus on the sight pin corresponding with your distance in case of a multi-pin sight.
  5. Bring the pin on the target and let it float. Shoot when you are ready.
  6. After a lot of practice, you will develop the muscle memory that you would focus directly on the target without focusing on the pin movement and floating.

Learn more about aiming with and without sights.


What distance should you sight in a compound bow?

If you are a complete beginner start at 10 yards so you don’t miss the target, but if you have taken some shots then you should sight at a 20-yard distance to start adjusting your sight pins or sight housing.

What is the basic rule for sight adjustment?

The basic rule for sight adjustment is to always follow the arrow. If your arrows go up, move the sight up. If the arrow goes down, move the sight down. If the arrow goes left, dial the windage left. If the arrow goes right, dial the windage right.


Sighting in a compound bow may seem complex, but with patience and practice, it becomes second nature. Remember, the key to successful archery is consistency, so practice regularly and make small adjustments. 

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