By Tracy Breen
-- Over the years, peep sights have become standard equipment on nearly every bow. Using a peep sight increases accuracy and consistency shot after shot, which is why professional archers use them. Most professional archers use sights which are extremely small in diameter. The smaller the hole, the more accurate the archer will be.
Photo: Compound Bow Rifle Sight from Peep Eliminator
The problem with peep sights is they can be hard to see through in low light conditions. We see this most often while hunting just before dark or as the sun comes up. In both cases, if you see a big buck that presents you with a shot opportunity, you are forced to squint and pray you can see your pin well enough to take the shot. Peep sights cause a few other problems. When bow strings stretch, peep sights can move, causing big problems if you don't notice it right away. If you use a peep sight with rubber tubing, it can come off at extremely inconvenient times, like while you are hunting.
If your eyesight isn't the best, seeing through a peep sight can be difficult. Many hunters take their glasses off when hunting and cannot see well enough through their peep to shoot consistently. If you wear glasses, have bad eyesight, or are sick and tired of using a peep sight, there are alternatives. Several companies manufacture bow sights that are designed to be used without a peep sight. Although I was a bit skeptical of using these sights, once I tried a few of them out I realized the advantages they offer. All of the sights I tried out that were designed to be shot without a peep sight performed flawlessly in lowlight conditions, which is another great reason to try one.
Kingsway Archery is a relatively new sight company that makes a sight called the Double Triad. This sight is one of a kind. When developing the sight, Kirt Walbrink wanted to make a sight that could replace the peep sight. The Double Triad has two back pins and a front pin. You aim the sight much like a rifle - aligning the front pin up between the two back pins. When all three pins are lined up perfectly, simply aim and shoot.
Photo: Double Triad from Kingsway Archery
The tolerances on the sight are extremely tight. According to Walbrink, as shooters line up the back pins with the front pin, there is only .004-.006 of an inch of space on either side of the front pin. This forces the shooter to line the pins up perfectly each time. One of the biggest benefits of a peep sight is if you torque your bow when aiming, you won't be able to see your pin, alerting you that something is wrong. The tight tolerances on the Double Triad also help eliminate the problem.
Another key feature of the Double Triad is the unique lighting system. The pins are illuminated by an internal light built into the body of the sight that brightens or dims as it gets darker or lighter outside. The light is hooked up to a circuit board that adjusts to the amount of light outside every seven seconds. As the sun goes down, the pins on the sight get brighter. If you are hunting in the morning, the pins become dimmer as the sun comes up. Thanks to the circuit board, the pins are never too bright or too dim. If you accidentally leave the light on after hunting, it eventually shuts itself off. You've got to love technology! The Double Triad also has an adjustable arm that allows you to adjust your yardage, even at full draw.
Another popular rear-sighting system that eliminates the need for a peep sight is the Hind Sight. The Hind Sight is a rear alignment system that can be used in conjunction with almost any sight on the market. Simply attach the Hind Sight bracket to your bow, allowing you to use whatever front sight you prefer. Next, using the Hind Sight, line up your pin in the center of the ring. There are four guides on the ring that force you to place the pin in the center of the ring each time you aim.
Photo: EQ II from Hind Sight
One of the nicest Hind Sight models is the EQ 2. This model connects directly to the cable guard on your bow and has a quick release. At the moment of truth, you can release the sight from its locked position and move it up or down, so you can shoot accurately at various yardages instead of guessing. Move the hindsight so it aligns with the pin you want to aim with, lock it down and shoot. If you have three pins on your sight, you can move the Hind Sight so it aligns perfectly with each pin. You can pre-mark different yardages on the glow-in-the-dark tape that is included with the sight.
The Compound Bow Rifle Sight has been around for a long time. Many bowhunters swear by its effectiveness. This sight is also a rear bracketing system. It can be purchased alone or with a Cooper John or TRUGLO sight. The bracket is relatively inexpensive and is a great alternative to using a peep sight. This sight has a groove you use to aim similar to iron sights on a rifle. To aim, settle your pin in the bottom of the groove. On each side of the groove, there is a TRUGLO fiber optic dot that will help you line up the pin. This sight can be purchased with an optional light that makes seeing the dots and aiming in low light conditions very easy.
Recently, I noticed that more and more bowhunters are putting battery-operated red dot scopes on their bows. The scopes have an internal red dot that is very bright so they work great in low light conditions. The red dot moves with every wiggle of the bow. Many bowhunters tell me that the red dot makes them focus and hold the bow steadier than they did with a conventional sight.
Claude Pollington, owner of Oneida Eagle Bows, manufactures a red dot bow sight called the Pollington Red Dot. Unlike red dot scopes that are designed for shotguns and rifles, the Pollington Sight is designed for bowhunting. The small beam of light (the red dot) reflects from the sight to the shooter. According to Claude Pollington, this eliminates the need for a peep sight. In fact, most archers who use this unique sight shoot with both eyes open. This allows the shooter to focus attention on aiming instead of looking through a peep sight.
Photo: Pollington Red Dot from Oneida Eagle Bows
The dots' brightness can be adjusted to be extremely dim or very bright. The objective lens diameter is 27mm and the sight is 5.55 inches long. The sight also comes with lens extension tubes and can be purchased with rings that make mounting it on any brand of bow quick and easy. In researching this article, I talked to a few older bowhunters who have poor vision. They swear that the bright dot in the sight has increased their accuracy, and more importantly, allowed them to get rid of their peep sight.
Peep sights will always have their place in the archery world. A bow equipped with a peep sight in the right hands can be extremely deadly, even at great distances. I've seen professional archers group arrows inside a pie plate at 100 yards. However, most bowhunters are only looking to be accurate out to 40 yards in low light conditions when monster bucks are most likely to show themselves.
If you fall into the second category, you may want to consider getting rid of your peep sight and picking up one of the sights listed above. You may not win an archery tournament but you could increase the amount of meat in the freezer or mounts on the wall.