How to Sight in a Compound Bow




Introduction: How to Sight in a Compound Bow

The instructions mentioned below will guide you step by step on how to sight in a compound bow. Effectively sighting in your bow is very important if you plan on hunting animals. As this will help you become more accurate and allow for better shot placement on animals to put them down faster. I believe if you plan on getting a license to shoot an animal you owe it to that animal to put it down as quickly and humanely as possible. Depending on your skill level and experience, sighting in a bow with a new sight can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Shooting a bow accurately is an impressive skill to have. It takes time and dedication to be very proficient with a bow, but this is also a fun hobby to have and gets you outside enjoying mother nature at its finest. The methods I am about to discuss, I have learned from trial and error. I have spent a lot time to become proficient shooting a bow and while my methods may not be the only way to sight in a bow, I have found that they are more effective and efficient than others.

Step 1: Things You Will Need.

Shown here are the few things you will need to sight in your bow. For this set of instructions it will be assumed that your bow is already in tune.

You will need:

  • arrows
  • shooting block or a target
  • allen wrench set
  • (optional) mechanical release

TIP: A mechanical release will allow you to have a more controlled and consistent release of the bowstring.

Step 2: Equipment Check

Before you begin shooting it is a good idea to check over your equipment for loose parts. This is the first of many times I will mention that being an accurate shooter starts with consistency.What I mean by this, is every shot you take should be done in the same way. If your sights or rest are loose each shot will be different and you will have a hard time getting your sights zeroed in.

To check your bow for loose parts:

1. Gently wiggle your sights

2. Gently wiggle your rest

3. Can can also check the alignment between your sights the arrow and the bowstring

If there is any play in these parts tighten up the screws with the allen wrench set.

Next look over your arrows to make sure they are not damaged in any way.
What to look for:

1. Check to see the practice point is snuggly seated into the front of the arrow

2. Check the fletchings for any nicks or cuts

TIP: Even minor discrepancies will effect arrow flight. At short distances you may not notice a difference in the flight of the arrow but at longer ranges, the longer the arrow is in the air and a little flaw will have a greater effect. As I mentioned before consistency is vital, everything needs to be the same.

Step 3: Stance

Next, lets discuss your stance. Again consistency is key, do the same thing for every shot.


1. Stand straight up comfortably with your feet perpendicular to your body

2. Hold the bow with your wrist the same way every shot

3. Bring the bow string back to the same point on your face every time (anchor point)

With practice, these 3 steps will seem like they are done all in one motion. As a beginner however, it would be wise to do a mental checklist of the steps previously mentioned.

TIP: A consistent anchor point ensures you are looking through the sights the same way every shot. Different people may have slightly different anchor points. To give you an example, my anchor point is I hook the area between my thumb and index finger behind my jaw bone and the bow string is just touching my nose. This will become subconscious with repetition.

Step 4: Sighting in at 20 Yards

Caution: Make sure you are shooting in a safe environment. Always be aware of your target and what is beyond your target.

Each pin is designated for a certain yardage. A 3 pin set up is 20, 30, and 40 yards. When you have completed steps 2 and 3, proceed to shooting arrows at the target.

1. Move the other pins down and focus on just the 20 yard pin

2. Shoot at the target when safe to do so

Step 5: Adjusting Your Sights

Initially it may take some practice but before you adjust your sights make sure your arrow groups on the target are close together. Once you find where the arrows are CONSISTENTLY going you can adjust your sights.

IMPORTANT: Whichever way you move your sight will have the opposite effect on the target.

  • Moving the sight downward will lift the bow higher causing you to shoot higher
  • Raising the sight will drop the angle the arrow is shot at causing you to shoot lower
  • Moving the sight left pushes arrows to the right
  • Moving the sight right pushes arrows to the left

TIP: Make small adjustments and shoot again.

Do this until your 20 yard pin is dialed in.

Step 6: Sighting in Cont.

TIP:Now with your 20 yard pin dialed in you will no longer have to adjust the entire sight.

Left and right adjustment should be done. The only adjustment is moving the individual pin up or down to get it zeroed at 30 yards.

30 yard sight in:

1. With a smaller wrench move the red 30 yard pin up closer to your top pin

2. When ready shoot at 30 yards

3. Adjust the PIN ONLY to get it into place

Next, repeat the last step at a 40 yard distance to sight in the yellow 40 yard pin. Remember you are moving the pin only up or down.

Step 7: CONGRATS!!!

You have now successfully sighted in your bow sight.


It very important to practice as often as you can with your bow and you will become more accurate. Your groups will become smaller as you get more consistent. There may come a time when you cannot aim at the same spot after each shot because the arrows will hit each other. Aim at different spots to prolong the life of the target as well. There is a saying in archery that goes "aim small miss small" meaning do not aim for a large area. Pick a small dot to aim at and practice doing that, you will find your accuracy getting even better.

FINAL TIP: Once you find out what works the best for you be consistent with every shot.

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is an excellent guide for sighting your bow. Very well done!

    Loads of great tips. Thanks for this!