How to Aim a Compound Bow without Sights

A compound bow uses pulleys to propel an arrow toward a target at a faster speed than traditional bows. However, hitting the target with a compound bow requires aiming accurately. That’s where peep sights come in handy to save the situation. Peep sights make it easier to aim at a target and increase the chances of hitting the target. A peep sight works best when used alongside a bow sight.

However, if you want to become a professional hunter or archer, you should learn how to aim a compound bow without sights. But why is that so? Well, peep sights come with some shortcomings. For instance, some sights tend to twist and move their position on the string, thereby making it challenging to see through the sight at full draw. Also, the hole on the peep sight can get blocked by dirt or raindrops when hunting in a bush or shooting in the rain. Besides, peep sights are often challenging to view in poorly lit conditions, such as in the late evening or early in the morning.

Fortunately, shooting without sights eliminates the shortcomings that come with peep sights. By learning how to aim and shoot without a sight, you’ll improve your aiming and shooting accuracy and consistency. But how is this possible? Read on through this article to find out.

Shooting a Bow without a Peep Sight

The idea of shooting without sights is linked to traditional archery, which involves shooting methods such as instinctive shooting, indirect instinctive shooting, gap shooting archery, and string walking. These methods require a lot of practice to perfect shooting without peep sights. If you can shoot arrows and hit the target without using any sight, you’ll feel more proud of yourself. In fact, instinctive archery is the best way for starters to learn how to aim and shoot a compound bow. Let’s discuss how to aim with these methods.

1. Instinctive Shooting

Instinctive shooting, also known as instinctive archery, is the most basic traditional archery method that doesn’t require sights. However, it’s the most challenging method to master. Thus, it requires a lot of dedication, time, and practice.

With this method, you aim and shoot by trusting your instincts. Rather than aiming directly at your target, you focus on the spot you prefer the arrow to land. It’s more about your shooting skills, gut feeling, and luck. Thus, it’s a pure form of archery shooting. It builds patience such that you can stand higher chances of hitting a target successfully.

Steps for practicing instinctive shooting:

Step 1- Start with assuming your stance, which refers to your shooting position.

Step 2- Don’t aim at your target. Instead, focus on the point you want the arrow to land.

Step 3- Raise your compound bow.

Step 4- Draw your bow.

Step 5- Shoot your arrow.

Step 6- Repeat until you perfect hitting the exact point you want the arrow to land.

2. Indirect Instinctive Shooting

Indirect instinctive shooting is also known as split-vision shooting. It’s a fun method of shooting a bow without a peep sight. It requires a lot of effort and dedication to make consistent and accurate shots. Learning this technique also requires patience before gaining muscle memory. Once you perfect, you can shoot at longer distances without using a peep sight.

Steps for practicing indirect instinctive shooting:

Step 1- Assume your stance.

Step 2- Draw your bow fully.

Step 3- Focus on the entire length of the arrow and not only the tip. One eye should be on the edge of your vision. Maintain an imaginary target slightly above the desired marking or bulls-eye.

Step 4- Adjust the direction of the arrow within the edge of your vision without any distraction.

Step 5- While holding your focus on an imaginary target, make sure the tip of the arrow is aimed to hit the imaginary target and release the shot.

Step 6- Adjust the aiming target either lower or higher to improve your accuracy.

3. Gap Shooting

Gap shooting is a form of instinctive shooting. With gap shooting, you close one eye and line up the arrow instinctively. Gap shooting involves conscious aiming whereas instinctive shooting means you see and shoot. In other words, you see a target and shoot it.

Gap shooting archery is among the most popular traditional archery techniques for hunters. It also works perfectly for competition shooting. The technique requires an archer to find the arch of the bow’s trajectory. You’ll need to compensate for the arch when aiming. In this case, the arrow is shot with the intended arch rather than being fired in a straight direction.

In this technique, the distance covered by the arrow depends on the bow setup, draw strength, arrow fletching, and arrow weight. Longer and heavier arrows are best for this technique since they allow for a longer range by reducing the gap.

Steps for practicing gap shooting archery:

Step 1- Start at 10 yards away from the target. This is the most accurate distance away from a target on average.

Step 2- Find the bulls-eye and aim the tip of the arrow to the bulls-eye.

Step 3- Start with shooting 3 arrows. Aim at one particular point on the target for all the 3 arrows.

Step 4- Record the results for each shooting round. That way, you’ll have determined your first gap.

Step 5- Repeat the shooting process from step 1, but this time, shoot from 15 or 20 yards. You can also practice with any other desirable shooting range. Just ensure you maintain how low or high you’re aiming the arrow from the center of the bulls-eye.

Step 6- Make any necessary adjustments to the fall of the arrow by either aiming lower or higher.

4. String Walking

With this method of shooting without sights, you use the tip of the arrow to aim at a target. This means that the tip of your arrow will work as your sight. You do this by holding the bowstring at different locations.

The position you hold alters the way you see your target. Adjusting the location at which you hold the bowstring changes the arrow’s flight. By holding the string closer to the nock, your arrow will be released higher. On the other hand, holding the bowstring farther downward will release the arrow lower.

You can use etched markings for consistency and higher accuracy when making consecutive shots. Upon finding a sweet spot, you’ll find it easier to make more accurate shots over longer distances.

Steps for practicing string walking:

Step 1- Assume your stance.

Step 2- For a start, place your fingers relatively far down the nock. A perfect starting point would be a spacing of 3 fingers.

Step 3- Aim the bulls-eye using the tip of the arrow at full draw.

Step 4- Take note of the arrow’s slope. Shoot the arrow and gauge your accuracy.

Step 5- Adjust the distance below the knock either longer or shorter depending on where the arrow hits.

Step 6- Take note of the space between your anchor points upon attaining consistency in your shots at a particular distance away from the target.


Regardless of the traditional archery technique you prefer, you need a lot of practice and coordination between your mind, hands, and eyes. By repeating the steps with different targets from different distances and under different conditions, you’ll eventually perfect to make consistent and accurate shots without sights. You can try out all these traditional archery methods until you find the best one to practice fully. Ultimately, the best method on how to aim a compound bow without sights is the method you feel most comfortable with.

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