How to Adjust a Bow Sight

What’s the difference between accuracy and precision? Accuracy is hitting where you aim. Precision is hitting the same spot every time. Archery requires both.

To achieve precision, you need good form and equipment. Accuracy is easier. You simply move your sight until the arrows hit where you aim.

When you buy your bow, the archery shop’s pros will help adjust your sight. Still, it’s a skill you must master because you’ll need to make fine sighting adjustments, and you’ll likely want to shoot longer distances once you’re outside. It’s also good to know how to do basic work on your equipment.

Most sights need an Allen wrench so you can loosen the screws to make adjustments. You’ll also use Allen wrenches for your bow and most other accessories. Pick up a set the next time you visit the archery store, and ask its experts for specifics on how to use and adjust your sight.

Shoot a grouping of three arrows at close range to start the adjustment process. Photo Credit: ATA

To start the adjustment process, stand close to the target so you can easily shoot three arrows into a “group.” A group is a cluster of arrows that strike close to each other in the target.

Why three arrows? By adjusting your sights for the three-arrow average, you reduce the effects of human error. If you can shoot three arrows into a tight group, you’ve mastered the hardest part of precision. Next, adjust your sight to achieve accuracy.

Your first adjustments shift the horizontal plane. If your arrows group to the left, move your sight to the left. If your arrows hit to the right, move your sight to the right. To remember which way to move your sight, imagine adjusting it until it covers your group. Make small adjustments until you get a feel for how far to move the sight.

*Tip: Close distances require greater adjustments to see results. Farther distances need smaller adjustments to see results.

Next, make your vertical adjustments. If you use a sight with multiple pins, set the top pin for the closest distance you’ll shoot, and the bottom pin for the farthest. If you use a single-pin sight, you’ll adjust your settings to the markings on your sight tape.

As with your horizontal adjustments, chase the arrows with your sight. If your arrows hit high, move your sight up. If your arrows hit low, move your sight down. It’s that easy! To shoot farther distances, keep moving away from the target and shoot groups and adjust your pins in 10-yard increments. Stop when you run out of pins or your groups become inconsistent.

Sighting in your bow takes some “guess and check.” Don’t get discouraged if you make the wrong adjustment, or struggle to perfectly align the sight. Just keep making small adjustments and focus on making good shots.

If you need help dialing in, contact an archery instructor or visit an archery shop. Find a nearby store here.


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