Peep Sights: Everything You Need To Know

by | Jan 22, 2023

If you’ve ever struggled to consistently hit your anchor point in archery, then a peep sight might just be for you.

Peep sights are small, circular aiming devices that are installed into your string and function just like a rear sight to align the eye with the front sight housing for more accuracy and better groupings.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about peep sights, from choosing the right sight for you to tying one onto your bowstring, plus everything else in between.

What Is A Peep Sight?

If you’re familiar with rifle shooting, you’ll know about the rear sight on the barrel of old-school rifles. Those two iron rails, often with a hole that you would look through to line up with the front post are just the same concept as peep sights in archery.

Peep Sights

Fitted into the string, the peep sight is a small, circular aperture that, when at full draw aligns with the eye. When looked through, the archer aligns the sight with the sight housing and the target to provide that next level of accuracy and consistency.

Peep sights come in both tubed and tubeless varieties.

How To Properly Use Peep Sights

The basic principle of using a peep is to get the correct alignment between the peep, the front sight, and the target.

Before you get started, make sure that you have the pin sights adjusted to the right distances. The top pin of your peep is usually set at 20 yards, with the rest at 10-yard increments.

1. Align The Front Sight With The Peep Sight

Look through your peep sight with your dominant eye.

On the front sight housing of the bow, you will see either a green, white or yellow circle. When looking through your peep sight it will appear as though you’re looking through a tunnel.

You need to perfectly eclipse the coloured housing with your peep sight tunnel in order for it to be correctly aligned.

2. Align Both Front and Rear Sights with the Target

Once you have the peep aligned with the front sight housing, you need to make sure that they are now both aligned with the target.

As the distances of your shot increase, you’ll need to adjust which pin you’re sighting through.

3. Release When Relaxed

Try not to focus on keeping your peep sight pin completely stable. Instead, allow it to float and move around the target. Release only when you feel completely relaxed.

Do You Need A Peep Sight On A Bow?

You don’t need a peep on a bow, but what it gives you is another reference point to help you aim with consistency.

One of the keys to accuracy with a bow and arrow is consistency. You need to be able to look through your sight the same way each and every time.

Without a peep sight, your head can be out of alignment by the smallest of margins and you won’t be aware of it because all your doing is looking through the scope. But that kind of inconsistency can affect accuracy.

Peep sights take out a lot of the guesswork. It’s a way to know that you’re aiming the exact same way each and every time.

If you’re interested in learning how to aim in traditional archery, you might like to read this article.

How To Select The Right Peep Sight Size?

When selecting a peep size you’ll need to remember that you need to have perfect alignment from your eye to the peep, and then to the sight housing.

You also need to consider the distances that you’re shooting and the levels of light if you shoot outdoors.

If you’re hunting, then you’ll have fewer options than for target shooting. This is largely down to the amount of light available.

Target peeps can be bought with their own housing that can accommodate different apertures for different indoor lighting levels.

Each sight housing will have a coloured circle on the side facing the archer. When you look through your peep sight, you need to be able to completely eclipse the coloured circle on the sight housing with the outer edge of the peep sight.

You can easily tell if you’ve selected the wrong size peep because you won’t be able to get the two circles to align.

You can see in the image below how you should have your peep aligned with your sight housing.

Correct Peep Sight Size

Too Big

If you select a peep that is too large you will see a large ring of daylight between your sight housing and the edge of your peep circle. You will also find that as you try to align your sights, one edge of your housing will likely be obscured, but you won’t be able to match the two circles exactly.

Too Small

If your peep is too small, then your peep will appear within the sight housing with a circle of daylight around the outer edge.

Again, you won’t be able to get the correct alignment because your peep circle will never eclipse the outer edge of the housing, making it difficult to know whether you’re exactly on target.

Correct Alignment

When you look through your peep sight, you should see that the peep has perfectly eclipsed the sight housing. That coloured circle should ideally be completely covered.

If you move slightly off-centre, you should see that part of the circle has been cut off by the edge of the peep, giving you instant feedback on your alignment.

If you’re a hunter and you’re out in all different levels of light, the smaller your peep, the less light will be allowed in, making it virtually impossible to see through.

Common Peep Sizes

Choosing the right peep size comes down to your actual set-up and the level of light that you usually shoot in.

Because bow hunters tend to go out in mostly lower levels of light, larger peeps are often preferred. Smaller peeps can darken the sight picture, particularly in archers with sight difficulties.

Larger sized peeps include: 3/16″, 7/32″, 1/4″, and 5/16″

For indoor target shooters, it’s recommended that you use smaller peep sights that allow you to dial in with more pinpoint accuracy. Lighting is usually not an issue and smaller peep sizes offer a narrow aiming window.

Smaller sized peeps include: 1/32″, 3/64″, 1/16″, 3/32″, and 1/8″

Peep Sight Clarifier

A clarifier is a lens that some archers like to install to help clear up the target image further. It works with a scope and a lens to enable the archer to pick out target details at greater distances.

Peep Sight Verifier

A peep sight verifier is a lens that screws into your aperture and helps to clear up your sight pins. Verifiers are perfect for archers who struggle with their vision in lower-light situations.

Peep Sight Pros

Using a peep sight can really help you to shrink down your sight picture and cut out external distractions.

Without the addition of a peep sight, you won’t be able to guarantee that the front sight is aligned correctly with the target.

A peep sight can act as another reference point and help you to establish a consistent anchor point each and every time.

Peep Sight Cons

There is an argument against using peep sights that comes mostly from bow hunters who prefer to hunt in low light. The use of a peep can hinder the hunter’s aim by blocking out any remaining light.

Another gripe is that once you’ve used a peep, there’s a tendency to become over-reliant on it as an aiming device, making it difficult to go back to traditional methods.

If you haven’t tied in your peep sight correctly then there is a chance that the sight could rotate in the string, knocking your alignment off-kilter.

How To Install A Peep Sight

When it comes to installing and tying in your peep sight, there are many different methods you can apply.

Check out the video below on the best methods to get your peep installed and tied in securely.

You’ll need:

  • Your preferred peep sight
  • Bow Press
  • Cigarette Lighter
  • 2ft section of serving string

How To Set Your Peep Height?

Determining the right height for your peep brings into play a number of things.

First, you need to have consistent form and technique. If you’re still figuring this out, then it will be fruitless to install a peep at this stage. Nail the consistency first, then come back to the peep later.

If you set your peep to the incorrect height, it could adversely affect the position of your head, and also your anchor point. With that in mind, your peep should be placed in the most natural position for you, in a place that doesn’t require you to go searching for the peep at full draw.

Too Low

Setting the peep too low and your release hand has to come up in order for you to see through the peep. This could also cause you to tilt your head down at an angle in order to see through the peep.

Too High

Set the peep too high, the more you have to lower your anchor point to align with the peep.

Arrow Placement

Getting the peep in the wrong place also affects your arrow placement on your face. This could affect the amount of distance you get, as well as killing off any chances of being consistently accurate.

Before you set the height of your peep, make sure that you have an anchor point that puts the arrow into a spot on your face above the chin, but below the corner of the mouth.

Doing this will give you some variation in your head position while allowing no contact with the back section of the arrow.

Posture Up

A good way to check if your peep is in the right position is to follow this simple drill.

  • Nock an arrow and come to full draw
  • Find and hold your anchor point
  • Close your eyes
  • When you’re comfortable, open your eyes
  • Check your peep location

If your peep is not exactly centred on your front sight housing, then it needs to be adjusted. If your peep is perfectly centred, then it should almost disappear at full draw, leaving only the front sight pin.

Do You Need A Bow Press To Install A Peep Sight?

Using a bow press to install or change a peep sight is a way to remove tension from the string without having to unstring your bow.

While this method is the most recommended, the main reason being you avoid any potential damage to the string fibres, there are a couple of other methods that have been used successfully.

Plastic String Separator

There is a specific tool called a string separator which you can use to insert into the string, twist it to open and separate the string and clip it to the string to hold the fibres open while you switch out the peep.

This is a great alternative if your peep dislodges while you’re out in the open.

Dowel or screwdriver

This method uses the same principle as the String separator. Wrap the sharper edges of a screwdriver or a dowel in electrical tape, and then insert the tip into the string, and then turn to separate the fibres. Not as effective as the separator, but it can get the job done all the same.

Can You Use A Peep Sight On A Recurve Bow?

Technically, yes, you can. But for effectiveness, you probably don’t need to for a couple of reasons.

With recurve archery, the focus is on the form. If you make use of a peep sight, you can easily form the habit of relying on the peep so much so that you can start to neglect other elements of your shot process.

Also in recurve, you need to recognise your consistent anchor point. If you can train yourself to do that with a peep sight, you can do it without.

Having clear contact and reference points at full draw and anchor is much more conducive to shooting recurve than adding a peep.

Related: What Is The Let Off On A Compound Bow?


There are many additions that you can make to your bow, but a peep sight is undoubtedly one of the most cost-effective items to add.

For around $10 or less you can massively improve your consistency and accuracy in a short space of time.

However, at the end of the day, it’s about finding a system that works for you. If you do decide to install a peep sight, try to make it as much a part of your anchor point routine as possible to aid in the consistency of your shot process.


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