Are you trying to figure out the pros and cons of single pin vs multi pin sights before upgrading your bow setup?

In this article, we’ll show you each of their positives and negatives, before telling you which of them is better.

Ready? Let's jump right in...

1. Single Pin Sight:

HHA - Tetra MAX XL5510 - w/.010-1 pin

Via Amazon.com

A single pin sight, as the name implies, has only one aiming point; staying vertically or horizontally at the housing center for different distances.

Example:

HHA Tetra RYZ is one of the best single pin sights for target shooters, new archers and bowhunters who want consistent aiming.

Advantages:

Open sight picture

Open sight picture

The single pin sight provides a broad and clear view without clutter issues.

It means that you’ll never worry about other pins blocking your target and affecting your accuracy.

Faster target acquisition

more confusion

1 pin vs multi pin sight picture

Using a single pin, you only focus on one point. Without any other parts adding extra confusion, this enables faster target acquisition.

Unlike a multi-pins sight that has several pins for various distances, you don’t need to remember the distance and position for each pin.

Overall, less confusion leads to less mistakes and less missed shots.

Easy to adjust to exact yardage

Easy to adjust to exact yardage

You can easily alter the exact yardage by adjusting the slider track for different distances.

There’s no pin gap (the aiming space between 2 pins) in your sight.

The result: Less guesswork once set up.

For example:

You’re able to set your yardage PRECISELY to 15, 19 or 25 yards, and that’s it.

It’s super easy and you’ll never worry about being locked into a pin gap such as 30 - 42 yards.

Nice for short ranging

The one pin sight works amazingly at a short range (sub-30 yards).

So if you rarely aim beyond 20 yards, such as on a treestand in the thick stuff, it would be a good fit for you.

Did you know?

Over 55% archers on the Archerytalk forum preferred using a single pin sight due to the simplicity and clear sight picture.

It is also preferred in target archery because you have more time for precise aim adjustment at the known distances.

So what’s on the other side of the coin?

Disadvantages:

You have to re-adjust the sight for different ranges.

Let's say you’re hunting a whitetail and have set your yardage at 17 yards, but the buck moves around 23 yards.

You need to get your sight down and adjust to 23 yards before aiming again, which is more time consuming and can risk the buck moving off, or being forced to rush your shot.

Adds movement

The single pin sight needs to constantly adjust for different yardages, which adds extra movement.

The tricky thing:

The more movement you make in the field, the greater the chances of deer becoming spooked.
Not ideal for slow bows with heavy arrows.

add movements

Via pressherald.com

If you’re shooting a slow bow and heavy arrows (250 fps for instance), the single pin sight might be difficult to shoot out to 40 yards.

This is due to having only 1 point as a reference.

Less brightness

The problem is that there’s only one small pin on a single pin sight.

As a result:

It transmits less light than the average multi-pin which makes it more difficult to see the aiming point at dawn and dust.

It can be even worse if you have aging eyes, or vision limitations.

2. Multi-Pin Sight:

CBE Engage Hybrid 3 Pin

Via Amazon.com

Multi-pin sights feature several pins that are set at different yardages.

Some popular types of these sights on the market include those with 3, 5, or even 7 pins.

For example:

Using CBE Tactic Hybrid 3-Pin Bow Sight, you can precisely sight in at 20, 25, 29 yards without needing to lock in just one yardage (unlike the single pin sights).

It is ideal for experienced hunters who need to be able to make quick decisions in the field, without making any additional movement.

Advantages:

Draw-Range-Shoot

The beauty of multi-pin sight is that you don’t need to re-adjust your yardage for every shot.

Once set up, what you need to do is: draw, range and shoot.

No extra work required.

Draw-Range-Shoot

Less movement

Say you’re hunting turkey, if you pre-set your 5 pins from 20 - 60 yards and the gobbler bounces out of 25 yards, you just need to pick the pin that is set the closest.

That’s it.

Less moving parts. Less chance of spooking deer. More opportunity to get a shot away.

Longer range

If you’re hunting over 30 - 60 yards in the timber, field edge or open country, the multi-pin sight makes it easier to adapt on the fly, by having your sights pre-set to consider the longer ranges.

Besides that, for shorter range shooting, treestand hunters undoubtedly favor 3-pin sights, whilst Western bowhunters prefer 5 pins.

Work well with slow bows

spot and stalking

Multi pin sights work well in spot and stalk or still hunting situations, where you may be using a slow-shooting bow out to 20 - 60 yards.

The slow speed bow enables you to smoothly hold aim just above or below one of your several yardage reference points.

But is it all just peaches and cream? Nope.

Disadvantages:

More confusion

The more pins, the more confusion when trying to aim.

Bear in mind: You have to remember what each pin’s set distance is.

If not, you may select the wrong one. This is even more likely to happen during the stress and adrenaline of hunting situations.

More confusion 2

More clutter

The additional pins are more likely to block or hinder your sight picture, making the view of the target less clear.

Distinguishing between the pins, especially with a changing target distance, can be tricky for people without perfect eyesight, especially on the 3rd and 4th pins.

Guesstimation

Multi-pin sights deal with pin-gapping issues; which is when you aim in the space between 2 pins in order to hit your target.

In other words, you’re making a guesstimation.

For example:

Your buck unexpectedly appears and roams around in between the 20 to 30 yard range.

Unlike the single-pin adjustable sight, which can be adjusted to different yardage intervals, the multi-pin sight is often pre-set at intervals of 10.

In this case, with a multi-pin sight set to 20, 30 and 40 yards, a target ranged at 25 yards requires you to aim the deer’s vitals through the space between the 20 and 30 yard pins.

Pros & Cons: Single Pin Vs Multi Pin Sights

Types

Pros

Cons

Single pin sight

  • Open sight picture
  • Exact yardage accuracy
  • Fast target acquisition
  • Ease of use
  • Nice for short ranging
  • Have to adjust sight for each shot
  • Adds to movement
  • Slower range to shot time
  • Not as effective with slow-shooting bows
  • Pins are less bright

Multi pin sight

  • Versatile
  • Less movement
  • Great for long range
  • Works well with slower speed bows
  • Brighter pins
  • More confusing for aiming
  • More sight picture clutter
  • In-exact yardage

So What’s Different?

Single-pin sights are like a hunting daypack: versatile, simple and minimal load.

Multi-pin sight is like a backcountry pack: heavily loaded with all the extras.

Which One Is Better?

In my opinion, they have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Single pin usage

Single pin is better for short and known distances, such as sub-30 yards, in places where the deer will pass at a consistent yardage, like a game trail in front of a tree stand.

They are also more beginner-friendly.

Multi-pin sight usage

A multi-pin sight is more efficient for shooting at longer ranges (20 to 60 yards), and in situations where you lack the time to set your bow down and readjust your yardage.

This is best for hunters with the proficiency to be opportunistic with their shooting.

There's more:

If you’re finding a good bow sight, check out:

Your turn: Single pin vs multi pin sights… which type do you prefer?

Let us know below!

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic.

I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.

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