This is an in-depth guide on archery peep sights.
In this guide, we’ll explain:
- What a peep sight is.
- How to set it properly.
- How to choose the right peep sight for you.
And, much more. So let’s dig into it:
What is a Peep Sight on a Bow?
Peep sight is a small round hole on the string which ensures your eyes, your pins and target are all aligned, to be able to make an accurate shot.
It provides a consistent anchor point and helps to tighten your arrow groupings.
How Do Peep Sights Work?
A peep sight works similar to a rifle sight: lining up the front and rear sights so that you can focus on a target with consistency.
It helps to make your accuracy pinpoint.
What are the Pros and Cons?
Peep sights increase your accuracy by narrowing down the sight picture.
It means you have less visual distraction.
As it focuses only on the point you need to aim, resulting in less confusion when attempting a shot at an elk or deer.
It also helps to reduce deficiencies in your form by ensuring consistent anchor points for every shot.
Let me explain:
As an archer, without any additional tools, it's hard to ensure a good anchor point, shot by shot.
A peep sight paired with a kisser button can cure this issue, minimizing your mistakes and inconsistencies.
Well, using a peep sight adds one more step into your draw cycle.
Since the peep sight reduces the light gathered by your eyes.
Shooting in dim light conditions can be a bit of a challenge.
On top of that, you’re DEPENDENT on the peep sight.
If you sighted in with a peep sight and something happens to your peep, such as a loosening of the serving (the material that holds the peep in place) or general damage, it’ll become very difficult to shoot accurately.
What is a Right Peep Sight Placement?
At full draw, instead of looking for the peep, you naturally see through your peep into your bow sight.
If this is the case, it means your peep placement is correct.
What happens if you place it too high/low?
If you place it too low, you have to drop your head OR raise your aim higher to match the anchor.
The result: you end up with poor shooting posture that will affect your accuracy.
It will also limit the maximum shooting range of your bow.
Let's say your bow has capability to shoot up to 100 yards. If your peep sight is too low, you are probably able to shoot only up to 70 or 80 yards.
Conversely, if you place it too high, your grouping will be strangely off.
How To Set A Peep Sight Correctly (Step By Step):
Follow simple steps below:
- Shut your eyes and getting comfortable with your anchor
- Open your eyes
- Move the peep accordingly if the height is not right.
And that’s it.
How To Choose The Right Peep Sight:
Peep Sight Sizes:
The three most common peep sizes are: 1/8”, 3/16” and 1/4”.
Remember that the smaller the peep, the more accurate it is, but the harder it will be to see in low light conditions.
On the contrary, the bigger peep, the more clarity and less accuracy you get.
So which one is suitable for you?
Well it depends on your purpose:
- If you’re a target archer, pick a 1/8" peep size, since it’s more accurate.
- If you’re a bowhunter, pick a 1/4" size. As it’s bigger and offers clearer vision in those primetime twilight hunting conditions.
- Personally, I prefer the 3/16” peep as I find it to be the most versatile.
Peep Styles (Tube Vs Tubeless Peep Sight):
In general there are two most popular peep types:
- Tube peeps
- Tubeless peeps (free float)
The tube peep contains a rubber hose attached to the lower string. It always keeps the peep open to your face at full draw.
- The tube peep is beginner friendly. Since installing a tube peep is quite easy, without the need of a bow press.
- You only need to focus on your form, instead of twisting the bow.
- It lines itself up every time.
- It makes a louder noise when released, which adds to the risk of spooking the deer.
- Having used a tube peep before, I realized it slows the string speed a little bit (around 10 fps).
- The more things added to your bow, the more chance it might break, and potentially rebound back at you, especially when it’s worn out.
However it’s so cheap to replace the whole string set, if you wish to swap it out every few months to minimize the risk of breakage, it’s not a problem.
A tubeless peep doesn’t feature a connector (rubber hose). It's a free floating peep tied directly to the string instead.
They are better for more experienced archers OR for those who frequently visit a local bow shop (because installing a tubeless requires a bow press).
- No reduction in bow speed.
- Less things to break which means additional insurance for your eyes.
- If you have a high quality string with minimal stretch, you won’t have to worry about rotation issues.
- Over time, a low quality string stretches. It causes the peep to spin in an uncontrolled manner at full draw. My advice: get a high quality string.
- It costs more than a tube peep. But I’d better spend $100 to replace a whole string set every season to reduce the risk of a potential eye injury.
- Installing tubeless peep needs a bow press.
- If you don’t set things right, it won’t turn towards you upon full draw.
There are 2 typical methods to align your peep:
- Center your peep sight to the front sight housing
- Or center it to the front pin.
I prefer centering to sight housing, since it’s easier.
So how to pair your peep and front sight housing?
- If you use a 3/16” peep or smaller, pick sight housing under 1 3/4" diameter.
- If you use a 1/4" peep, go with a 2” sight housing.
The shorter axle-to-axle length (the distance between 2 compound bow cams), the further away you have to draw your bow from your face.
It means the string angle is steeper and you need a bigger peep sight to see clearly.
Conversely, the longer the axle-to-axle, the smaller the peep you need.
If you draw a bow with 27” axle to axle, you’ll need a smaller peep sight than with a 31” bow.
Wait... how to match axle-to-axle length to peep size?
Don’t worry, we have a few charts for you:
Peep Sight Vs No Peep
How To Shoot A Bow Without A Peep Sight?
Well if you love the simplicity of the self-anchoring, would like to avoid relying upon a turning peep, and are able to shoot in low light conditions, as an alternative you could check out the no-peep system.
It is the 2 anchor points system including: a kisser and a Bowmar nose anchor.
Basically it lines up your string and pin.
Or you can remove your peep and aim at the black dot (Retina lock technology), on the IQ bow sight.
How to Keep the Peep Sight from Twisting:
Well if you’re using a no-tube peep, it might rotate off you after a period of time.
Here are 2 ways to line it up:
1. Easy way: D-loop twist
Just lose the top and bottom of the D-loop and twist it accordingly to your peep.
This method works on the field where you need a quick and temporary fix.
It’s pretty helpful when your low quality string starts to stretch.
But be mindful that after a dozen shots, it’ll likely start twisting again.
2. Harder way: Bow press twist
- Pop your string off using a bow press
- Do a half /full twist to line up to your peep for both string heads
- Shoot one or two dozen shots to settle it down
This video will guide you through the process:
Do you need a peep sight on your bow?
No, a peep sight is not a must. You can use a solid anchor point without using peep sight.
But, many professionals recommend a peep sight to get a more consistent anchor point and clearer shot alignment.
Can you install a peep sight without a bow press?
Yes, you can use a bow string splitter to add/remove a peep sight without a bow press.
But you must carefully split it to avoid cuts and damage to the string.
I highly recommend spending a few bucks to have the bow shop set it up.
Or, you can get a cheap bow press which isn’t much more expensive than a good string.
So, hopefully this ultimate guide on peep sights has been helpful for you.
Your turn: Do you prefer a peep, or no peep sight? Let us know below!
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