Compound bow peep sights are crucial to your archery in archery. Are you using the right peep sight?

Chances are you don’t think much about compound bow peep sights a whole lot. (I don’t either.) But compound bow peep sights are vital part of your shooting accuracy. As is the case with just about every piece of archery equipment, it’s not a “one size fits all” thing. Below I’ll cover the different types of compound bow peep sights and why using the correct peep sight will help you be a better archer.

What Compound Bow Peep Sight Do I Need?

Compound bow peep sights are inserted into the bowstring. It is important that the peep sight is correctly positioned for you. When you are anchored at full draw, you should easily be able to look through the peep in your anchored position. When anchored, you want a clear window to the front sight.

If you have to move your head to look through it or feel like you have to look up or down, the peep sight is not correctly positioned. This is something your local archery shop can assist with. Once it is correctly positioned all your sight adjustments are made with the front sight.

When it comes to installing compound bow peep sights on your own, it’s worth your time to have a qualified archer watch you shoot and make sure you are set up correctly. Several years ago I purchased a new bow and set it up for my draw length.

Everything felt ok when I was shooting, but my groups were not tight. I must have adjusted the sight and rest a thousand times, but something was off. Finally, out of frustration, I took it to my archery shop. He watched me shoot one arrow and said the peep was off. He adjusted it about a quarter of an inch, and all of the sudden, tight groups.

When compound bow peep sights are off even a little, you are forced to compensate with your eye, head, or posture. This messes with your alignment and form which messes up your accuracy. It’s best to have your bow set up by your archery shop especially when you are new to archery.

Once your bow is set up with the correct draw length, you should be able to hold at your anchor point. Your anchor point will give you a precise point on the bowstring to install your peep sight. A bow press is used to install the peep since it is inserted into the middle of the bowstring strands. Typically, serving is wrapped above and below the sight to keep it from moving.

Compound Bow Peep Sights


Compound bow peep sights are made various metals like carbon and aluminum because they are lightweight. Many are also constructed of plastic. Most of the metal sights and a some of the thicker plastic peep sights have a circular aperture with either a 37 or 45-degree groove angle on the outer side of the ring. The grooves are lined up when it is placed in the middle of the strands in the bowstring. These angled grooves ensure that the peep sight will be in position when the bowstring in the drawn position.



Peep Alignment

Even with grooves, correct alignment can be a concern with these sights. The bowstring is twisted and under a lot of tension. To put the peep sight into the bowstring, the limbs are put in a bow press to take the tension off the string. The string can then be untwisted slightly and opened in the middle. The sight is then seated in the middle of the string and held in place by the grooves on the outside of the sight.

The difficulty is the strong tension on both sides of the peep sight and the twisted string. It reminds me of pressing hard on the edges of a quarter between your thumb and middle finger. It wants to flip over. If the peep sight has good, deep grooves, it can withstand the tension of the strings on the sides. Sights that don’t have deep grooves can slip out of the bowstring and become misaligned.

Can I use alignment tube with my peep sight?

New archers have asked if they can use the alignment tube on their compound bow peep sight. The quick answer is that if it’s a metal peep sight, no. If it’s a plastic peep sight, maybe. The plastic sights that use alignment tubing are made with a peep aligner attached to the sight. Some have an optional peep aligner that can be attached, but this is a part of a kit.

The reason some sights use tubing and some don’t is because there are two different designs. The plastic sights that use the alignment tubing have straight grooves on the outside with the aperture made at an angle. The other design, used by all the metal and some plastic sights, are straight apertures, with angled grooves on the outside. The angled grooves make this types of sight “self-aligning.”

To achieve correct alignment with the straight grooved sight, they are made with a peep aligner which is just a small plastic tip that sticks out. The plastic tip fits inside rubber or silicone aligner tubing. The tubing is then tied around the bus cable. When you draw the bow, it stretches the aligner tubing which pulls on the aligner tip and correctly aligns the sight.

What size peep sight do I need?

There are different sizes of peep sights available typically ranging from 1/32 to 1/4 inch aperture. The smaller sized apertures are used for target archery, and the larger sizes are used for bowhunting. Looking at the chart below will give you an idea of the different sizes and the categories they are used for. 3/32 is one of the most used sizes, and it falls in the middle of the size range.

Determining Correct Sight Size

You might be curious why there are different size peeps in the first place and what determines what size you will need.One of the first factors is your sight picture. You want your view through the peep sight to barely capture the outside ring of the front sight you are using. The reason for this is the sharpness of the picture. If you are familiar with camera apertures, you may already understand some of these principles.

You need light to see your front sight through the peep. It may seem like the more light you have, the better, but too much light floods your sight window and reduces the sharpness. If your peep sight is too large and you can see beyond the housing of your front sight, too much light is being let in, and it makes it harder to get a clear view.

Smaller peeps are used for target shooting because the front sights for target shooting are smaller. They are a single pin or aperture sights. This means that you can utilize the sharpness of a small peep sight and still get a good view of the front sight.

The front sights used for bowhunting are often larger, multi pin sights. Because of this, compound bow peep sights used need be able to view all of the pins. Another factor in bowhunting is available light. The prime times for bow hunting are at dawn and dusk. Bowhunting is also rarely done out in the open sunlight. Most bowhunting takes place in wooded areas, blinds and tree stands. All this means that bowhunting is often done in low light situations. Thus, a larger aperture is what is needed.

Peep Sight Options

If you only want to participate in one type of archery, you may have a good idea of what size peep sight you need. Of course, depending on the sight manufacture, you may be able to choose between eight different sizes with two or three being close in size. So how do you choose? In this case, it comes down to the front sight you are using. Front sights come in many different sizes which is why many peep sight manufactures offer the different sizes as well. Your local archery shop can likely help you in getting your peep sight sized correctly.

Another option available is the use a peep sight kit. Hamskea and Specialty Archery are two manufacturers that sell a peep housing that comes with changeable apertures. These are nice for a lot of reasons. One that it’s much easier to find the exact size aperture you need for your front sight. You are also able to switch the apertures, depending on the lighting conditions.

Peep Sight Angles

When you are looking at different compound bow peep sights, you may be given a choice between a 37-degree peep sight and a 45-degree peep sight. The one you need is based on the axle to axle length of your bow as well as your brace height. If you know your measurements, you can check out the chart below to figure out your correct peep sight angle.

peep alignment chart



Other Options

A few other options concerning compound bow peep sights. Specialty Archery is a company that makes highly customization peep sights. Even if you don’t use a complete aperture kit, there are several options available.

Because they use a peep sight housing, which you screw the aperture into, you are also able to use additional lenses. One is clarifier lens. This lens is made to be used in conjunction with front sights that have a lens. Front sights that have a lens can pick up light glare, so the clarifier lens works to eliminate those and provide a clearer picture.

They also have a verifier lens. This is made for front sights with no lens. It does not help you see your target better but provides clarity to your front sight pins. They compare this lens to reading glasses as it helps you see things up close. So if you are farsighted or have some trouble seeing things up close, this might be a good option for you.


Author: Kasey Jones

Published: March 20, 2018

Category: Compound Bow Set up