How to Aim a Compound Bow Without Sights

By Andy Ryan


Updated at

Hey there! So, you’ve got a compound bow but no sight? No problem at all. Aiming without a sight can seem challenging, but with the right know-how, it’s totally doable and even fun. This article will guide you through the basics, offer some extra tips, and introduce techniques like gap shooting and instinctive shooting. We’ll also touch on some other factors not to be overlooked. So, let’s dive in, shall we?

The first step in aiming a compound bow without a sight is to find your dominant eye. This is the eye that your brain prefers to use for visual input. To find your dominant eye, extend your arms and form a triangle with your hands. Focus on an object in the distance and bring your hands back to your face. The eye that lines up with the object is your dominant eye. Once you have identified your dominant eye, you can begin to aim your bow using the techniques outlined in this article.

Getting Started: Proper Compound Bow Aiming

If you’re looking to aim a compound bow without a sight, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some sub-sections to help you get started:

First off, just relax

Before you start aiming, it’s important to relax your body. Take a deep breath and let your shoulders drop. This will help you avoid any unnecessary tension in your muscles, which can negatively impact your aim.

Keep your shooting stance right

Your shooting stance is crucial when it comes to aiming a compound bow. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your weight evenly distributed. Make sure you’re facing your target directly and that your body is perpendicular to it.

Grasp your bow the right way

When you’re holding your bow, make sure you’re gripping it firmly but not too tightly. Your fingers should be wrapped around the bow grip, with your thumb resting on the opposite side of the grip. This will help you maintain control of the bow while you’re aiming.

Your bow should always be close to the anchor points

The anchor points on your face are where you’ll draw the bowstring to each time you shoot. Make sure your bow is always close to these anchor points. This will help you maintain consistency in your aim.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to properly aiming your compound bow without a sight.

Sighting Without a Sight — Tricks and Techniques

Now that you know how to aim your compound bow properly, let’s get on to the real deal — aiming without a sight. We should (once again) point out that this method is very tricky, and it requires a lot of practice. If you don’t have enough experience, you might give up right at the start. But with enough patience and dedication, you will learn how to aim without a sight like a true professional archer. Moreover, having this skill will certainly be very valuable in the long run.

For starters, here are some crucial tips that you need to keep in mind:

The Basic Must-Knows

  • Master the Basics: You’ve got to get a handle on the fundamentals of operating the compound bow. We’ve outlined the crucial steps earlier, but make sure you’re really comfortable with these ideas before moving ahead. Learning new skills might take a bit, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be pretty proud of yourself!

  • Check Your Gear: Always make sure to give your equipment a once-over before you begin. Take a look at every single piece and check that everything is as it should be. Spot an issue? Don’t delay, get it sorted.

  • Align the Arrow and Bowstring: Pay special attention to your arrow and the bowstring. They need to be perfectly aligned and working correctly.

  • Mind Your Stance: Stand tall with your feet set perpendicular to each other.

  • Safe Targets Only: Make sure you’re shooting at targets that are safe. Many accidents happen when folks shoot at the wrong targets – don’t let that be you!

The Methods

When it comes to aiming a compound bow without a sight, there are three main methods you can use. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to try them all and see which one works best for you.

Gap Shooting

Gap shooting is a method that can be used to aim a compound bow without a sight. This technique involves using the bowstring and the arrow as reference points to determine the distance between the bow and the target.

To gap shoot, you need to first determine the distance between you and the target. Then, you need to establish a reference point on the bowstring. This can be achieved by placing a small piece of tape or a marker on the bowstring at a predetermined distance, such as 20 yards or 30 yards.

Next, you need to establish a reference point on the arrow. This can be done by attaching a small piece of tape or a marker to the arrow shaft at a predetermined distance, such as 20 yards or 30 yards.

Once you have established these reference points, you can use them to determine the gap between the bow and the target. For example, if the target is 40 yards away and your reference point on the bowstring is set for 20 yards, you would need to aim the arrow above the target by the same distance as the gap between your reference points.

It is important to note that gap shooting requires practice and experimentation to determine the correct gap for each distance. Additionally, environmental factors such as wind and lighting can affect the accuracy of this method.

Overall, gap shooting can be an effective technique for aiming a compound bow without a sight, but it requires patience and practice to master.

String Walking

String walking is a technique used by archers to aim their compound bow without a sight. It involves changing the position of your anchor point on the string to adjust the arrow’s trajectory. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by nocking an arrow and drawing the bowstring back to your anchor point.
  2. Look down the arrow and note where it is pointing.
  3. If the arrow is not pointing where you want it to, move your anchor point up or down the string.
  4. Shoot another arrow and adjust your anchor point until the arrow hits the target where you want it to.

It’s important to note that string walking can affect the bow’s draw weight, so you may need to adjust your bow’s poundage accordingly. Additionally, string walking can be less accurate than using a sight, so it’s important to practice and become comfortable with this technique before using it in a hunting or competition setting.

Overall, string walking can be a useful technique for archers who prefer to shoot without a sight. With practice and proper adjustments, you can improve your accuracy and hit your targets consistently.

Face Walking

When aiming a compound bow without a sight, face walking is a technique that can help you aim more accurately. Face walking involves positioning your hand in a specific location on your face to create a consistent anchor point for each shot.

To face walk, follow these steps:

  1. Start by drawing the bowstring back to your anchor point, which is the spot on your face where you want to rest your hand for each shot.
  2. Once you have found your anchor point, place your hand in a comfortable position on your face that allows you to maintain a consistent anchor point for each shot.
  3. Experiment with different hand positions until you find the one that works best for you. Some people prefer to rest their hand on their cheekbone, while others prefer to place their hand against their jawline or the corner of their mouth.
  4. Once you have found your preferred hand position, practice drawing the bowstring back to your anchor point and releasing the arrow. With practice, you should be able to consistently hit your target.

It’s important to note that face walking can take some time to master. You may need to experiment with different hand positions and practice regularly to develop a consistent anchor point. However, with patience and practice, you can become a skilled archer even without a sight.

Instinctive Shooting

Instinctive shooting is a technique that requires a lot of practice and patience. It involves shooting without an aiming device, relying solely on your muscle memory and intuition. Here are some tips to help you get started with instinctive shooting:

  • Start by shooting at close range targets, about 10-15 yards away. This will help you get a feel for the bow and arrow and start building muscle memory.

  • Focus on the target and not the bow. Keep your eyes on the target and visualize the arrow hitting the bullseye.

  • Keep a consistent anchor point. This is the point where you draw the string back to before releasing the arrow. Consistency is key to building muscle memory.

  • Practice shooting from different distances and angles. This will help you develop a sense of distance and trajectory.

  • Be patient and don’t get discouraged. Instinctive shooting takes time and practice to master. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.

Remember, instinctive shooting is not for everyone. It requires a lot of practice and patience, but it can be a rewarding experience once you master it.

How to Improve Instinctive Shooting

Instinctive aiming is an adaptable method. But, how do you improve your instinctive shooting?

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to improve your instinctive shooting skills until you master the technique:

  • Start about 8-10 yards away from your target.
  • The foot (from which you grip the bow) should be at a 45-degree angle to the objective, a little behind your other foot. (2)
  • It’s crucial to nock the arrow in the same position every time you shoot.
  • Your bow’s grabbing point should be the same.
  • You should grip the string with the same section of the fingers at the same spot.
  • Using the same method, draw the string in the same anchor position. Be consistent at all times.
  • After shooting a dozen arrows, increase the distance from the target and attain a tiny arrow group.

Any distance greater than 50 yards gets challenging. This is why you’ll need to shoot a bunch of arrows to train your brain to adapt to the target’s location. It will take some time for you to become comfortable with it. However, don’t give up. Your muscle memory will soon take over. Then you’ll start hitting the target just where you want it.

Tips from Professional Archers

  1. Do not overthink it; simply practice over and over again.
  2. If you don’t get overconfident, confidence is an excellent thing to have.
  3. Begin 3 or 5 yards away from the objective. Rather than pointing, look at a small place in the bull’s eye. You’ll start hitting where you’re aiming after a lot of practice.
  4. Strive to hit a group of arrows in your target.
  5. Through months of training, you’ll be able to fire from a variety of distances and scenarios. This will help you develop your mind and shift your aiming habits. You won’t need to aim; only gaze and take the shot.
  6. Your accuracy will not improve if you don’t practice. The most crucial element is to have a consistent and accurate shot cycle, which implies that you must execute everything in precise order when shooting an arrow. Your precision will significantly increase if you are willing to repeat every step of your shooting process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you shoot a bow without a sight?

Yes, you can shoot a bow without a sight. In fact, many archers prefer to shoot without a sight, as it can help improve their accuracy and form. Shooting without a sight can also be a fun challenge for experienced archers.

How do you manually aim a bow?

To manually aim a bow, you need to use your dominant eye to line up the bowstring with your target. You can do this by extending your arm and pointing your index finger at the target while keeping both eyes open. Then, bring the bow up to your face and align the bowstring with your finger and the target.

Can you shoot a compound bow without a peep sight?

Yes, you can shoot a compound bow without a peep sight. However, a peep sight can help improve your accuracy and consistency by providing a reference point for your anchor point and sight picture. If you choose to shoot without a peep sight, you will need to rely on other techniques to ensure consistent form and accuracy.

How did medieval archers aim?

Medieval archers used a variety of techniques to aim their bows. Some archers used instinctive shooting, which involves relying on muscle memory and visual cues to shoot accurately. Others used techniques such as gap shooting, where the archer estimates the distance to the target and adjusts their aim accordingly. Still, others used sights such as the English longbow’s arrow rest or the crossbow’s sighting mechanism to aim their shots.