How to Aim a Compound Bow Without Sights (Tips & Methods)

Going to the shooting range when I was first getting into archery was a passion for me but after a while, I found myself really reliant on my sight, traditional archery without sight has been around for millennia and I highly recommend it if you really want to take your skills to the next level. You will improve in all areas including hunting and dynamic shooting. Aiming a compound bow without sight is challenging, but it is possible to learn this skill through commitment and consistent practice. Most skilled archers can take great shots without the need of sight, and it pays off in the long run.

So, if you want to be an elite archer, you should be able to shoot a compound bow without using sight. Below will go through some of my favorite steps and tips.

Learn the Basics

Regardless of which way of shooting you choose, you must do a few things to guarantee you have a handle on the basics before you begin. Practicing a healthy habit is considerably easier than correcting and replacing a bad one.

Therefore pay attention to this part, especially if you are new at archery.

If there are only minor differences in how you shoot relative to what’s shown here, there may not be much to be concerned about. Simply keep an open mind and investigate various practice techniques; you could find that it will pay off nicely. Let’s get started.

The Proper Stance

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To begin, you have definitely heard it before, but in archery, your stance is critical. Make a 90-degree angle with the target. Make sure that the target is parallel to the outside edge of your non-dominant foot.

Regarding right-handed archers, you should keep your target parallel to the outside edge of your left foot. It is crucial that you stare at the target sideways. You can adjust how far sideways you’re aiming as you get better and more comfortable, but for now, stick with the side-facing target method.

Keep in mind that your feet should be at least shoulder-width apart when standing.

Your Shooting Method

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Every expert archer has their own kind of shooting method, and one way to enhance your skills is to develop your own as well and stay consistent with it. The correct shooting method refers to your proper posture, nocking an arrow, bringing the bow to your anchor point, staring at the exact location on the target you’re shooting, releasing the arrow, and ultimately, following through with the shot.

It’s critical to create a shot sequence that is consistent every time. Before you perform each shot, you must do the same things in the same precise order. This is crucial because it trains your mind to perform a sequence repeatedly, making it natural and easy to execute with every shot and the development of muscle memory. (1)

Must-Know Methods

We’ll look at four crucial tactics for aiming your compound bow without sight, and I will be breaking it all down in the sections below. Even if they have certain similarities, they also have some significant modifications.

Gap Shooting

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( Video | Clay Hayes )

Without the need for sight, this is the most common technique of aiming a compound bow. It would be best to shoot a compound bow at a point on an imaginary vertical line that strikes through the center of your objective. If your target is 10 yards away, aim the arrow directly below the bull’s eye. You may aim at any location far above the bull’s eye if you’re 50 yards away. In all other cases, you should aim for the center of your objective.

The weight and length of your arrow, as well as the sort of fletching you choose, are all critical considerations. Generally, you must guarantee that your shot cycle is optimal and consistent. In practice, this implies that you must maintain a precise posture and shoot your arrows correctly on each shot. Every time you shoot an arrow, you must precisely do what we stated at the beginning of this guide.

Always remember to aim towards the bull’s eye when shooting an arrow. Fire a few more arrows while aiming at the middle of your target after you observe where the shot falls. If all of your shots come up just short of hitting the bull’s eye, you’ll need to raise your aim. Always continue to practice until you can strike the center with ease. You will master gap shooting after you’ve achieved that regimen.

String Walking

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Constantly point your arrow at the middle of your target while using this strategy. Regardless of how far away you are from the target, you must move your hands up or down the string. At the same time, you must guarantee that the anchor point is consistent throughout each shot. The lower your hand, the closer you are to your target.

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You should move your fingers along the string depending on how far away you are from the target in this manner. Your sight image will be the same whether you’re firing from 15 yards or 30 yards. You’ll just make minor motions on the string. So, at closer ranges, walk your fingers down the string a little bit. When shooting from a long distance, though, walk your fingers up slightly.

Even though gap shooting is the most popular method for aiming without a sight, many archers prefer string walking.

Face Walking

Face walking is a quick and easy method to aim a compound bow without using sight. It is as simple as ensuring that your draw hand doesn’t travel along the string. Instead, you should move the anchor point up or down your face.

The location on the string where you grab it is the same. However, each time you shoot, you should modify your anchor point. Although this strategy is highly successful, many professional contests prohibit this kind of method.     

Instinctive Archery

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The most traditional archery method of these four methods is instinctive shooting. You don’t gaze at the objective at all in this manner. You must concentrate on the precise location where your arrow will land. Then it’s time to lift the bow, draw it, and fire the arrow.

Shooting a compound bow with plenty of regular practice, and by lots, trains your muscle memory. This archery method takes far more practice than gap shooting; being truly competent at this entirely instinctual shooting style might take years.

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.

Bow Sights vs Instinctive Shooting?

Bow sights and instinctive aiming are the two basic strategies for aiming bows. But which one should you go with?

Below, I’ll go through the details of bow sight and instinctive shooting to help you make your own decision.

Bow Sights

When you already know the distance to the target, bow sights function well. You can calculate the distance to the area where you expect the animal to appear when hunting from a tree stand or blind. Then it’s just a matter of staring through and aligning the sight pin on the target. 

Bow sights may not operate well in hunting circumstances where knowing the exact distance to the target is difficult. It’s vital to practice gauging distances when using bow sights.

Instinctive Shooting

The bow sight method is less adaptable than instinctive aiming. Simply open both eyes and glance at the chosen target before releasing. You modify your aim for various distances based on instinct, which you will gain over time. Instinctive aiming may take longer to master than bow sighting, but it removes a lot of the guesswork from shooting in particular hunting situations.

If you prefer to shoot with sight, you may want to check the guide on how to use compound bow sights. Until our next learning guide!

(1) muscle memory –
(2) 45-degree –

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About Andy Ryan

How to Aim a Compound Bow Without Sights (Tips & Methods) 7Certifications: Sc. Kin. - Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology
Education: University of Denver
Lives In: Denver

My name is Andy and I am the author and creator of Archery Power, I have been in the archery industry for many years and it’s my true love and passion. I am an instructor and maintain a Certification. It all started as a kid where me and my dad used to go hunting with a crossbow, since that time I have been obsessed with the sport.