How To Aim A Compound Bow Without A Sight

Aim A Compound Bow Without A Sight

Archery is becoming increasingly more popular, and many people are getting into this wonderful outdoor activity. At the same time, being a good archer is one of the most rewarding experiences that a person can have.

There are two types of archers — traditional and modern archers. Some experts use different classifications, but this is the one that we will stick to in this guide.

Now, what is the difference between a traditional and modern archer? Well, the main difference lies in the shooting techniques. Modern archers use plenty of different accessories to make their shooting more accurate. At the same time, they are shooting with their sight. On the other hand, traditional archers don’t use any additional equipment, they don’t have stabilizers, and they are aiming without a sight.

While both methods take some time to master, aiming without a sight is very difficult. This method is also called “instinctive archery,” and it cannot be done by everyone. As the name implies, you need to know what you are doing, and you need the right experience.

But no matter how difficult it may be, knowing how to aim a compound bow without a sight is a very useful skill to have, and it’s something you need to practice.

There are no rules that are set in stone here, and many things rely on your natural instinct.

However, some tips can certainly be helpful, and in this article, we will try to teach you how to aim a compound bow without a sight. If you follow these instructions carefully and if you put in enough effort, success is pretty much guaranteed.

Let’s get started!

How Should I Aim my Compound Bow Properly in the First Place?

Before we start talking about how you can aim your compound bow without a sight, we need to ensure that you know how to aim your bow properly in the first place. It’s surprising how many archers don’t have this knowledge, and obviously, everything becomes much harder in such circumstances.

Relaxed Bow Practice

These are the crucial steps that you need to follow to ensure that you are using your compound bow in the right way:

●    The first thing you need to do is relax

You can’t aim your compound bow properly if you don’t relax. Warm up before every session and stretch every part of your body. Don’t proceed to the next step until you are 100% tension-free.

●    Make sure you have a proper shooting stance

Always stand with your feet shoulder width apart at a 90º angle to your target. Step a few centimeters forward with your lead foot and balance the weight equally between your feet. Don’t lean in any direction while doing so! If it doesn’t work at once, keep practicing, and eventually, you will learn how to adopt a proper shooting stance.

●    You need to hold your bow properly

Grab the handle and make sure that the pressure lies on the lower sections of your thumb. Ensure that your fingers and your palm are relaxed and rotate your hand, but don’t push it against the bow. Once you learn how to maintain a proper position, the shooting itself will become as easy as pie. At the same time, you won’t be able to accidentally twist the bow while you’re trying to hit the target.

●    Always ensure that your bow is next to the anchor points

Put the arrow into your bowstring and pull it back while keeping your wrist straight (but relaxed). As you pull the string, look at the anchor points and try to keep your bow next to them. The better you do this, the easier you will hit your target. You can use three different anchor points — the point where your hand touches the face, the point where the string touches the nose, and the point where a “kisser button” on the string touches your mouth. All three of them are equally viable, so all you need to do is choose one that you will focus on.

If you want to consistently hit your target, you need a consistent anchor point. Read this article to find the best anchor point for you.

Aiming Without a Sight — Tips and Methods

Now that you know how to aim your compound bow properly, let’s get on to the real deal — aiming without a sight. We should (once again) point out that this method is very tricky, and it requires a lot of practice. If you don’t have enough experience, you might give up right at the start. But with enough patience and dedication, you will learn how to aim without a sight like a true professional archer. Moreover, having this skill will certainly be very valuable in the long run.

For starters, here are some crucial tips that you need to keep in mind:

The Basic Tips

  1. The first thing you need to do is ensure that you’ve mastered the basics of using the compound bow. We’ve already explained the key steps above, but you need to ensure that you are familiar with these concepts before you proceed forward. It will take some time for you to learn new skills, but once you do, you will truly be proud of yourself!
  2. Always test your equipment before you do anything. Put every item in the equipment inventory and ensure that the components are properly in place. If you notice any issues, you need to resolve them.
  3. Pay attention to your arrow and the bowstring alignment. Make sure that these components function properly as well.
  4. Stand upright with your body and make sure that your feet are perpendicular to each other.
  5. Ensure that your targets are safe to shoot arrows in. Many accidents happen because people often overlook the actual risks, so they end up shooting improper targets. Don’t do that!
  6. Ideally, you should make your own targets.

Some Additional Tips

  1. Always use the same wrist movement when you aim your bow. As soon as you find your ideal position, don’t change it. At some point, though, you’ll have to fine-tune your skills every time you let go of your bowstring. However, keep your focus steady and you will quickly see the results of your work.
  2. “Practice makes perfect” — that’s what people say and they are right. The key thing here is to practice as much as possible. You won’t know how to do everything properly even if you’ve seen every available tip on the Internet. But with enough patience and dedication, you will become a pro in no time.
  3. If you know a professional archer in person, try to ask them for advice. If they have plenty of experience, chances are they know how to aim a bow without sight as well.
  4. Don’t do any archery if you are stressed out. Only do it when your mind is clear and when you can fully focus on it.

Now let’s take a look at the actual methods.

The Methods

How exactly should I aim my compound bow without a sight? What steps do I need to follow?

The answers to these two questions vary depending on the method involved. In the lines below, we will take a look at three crucial strategies that you can use to aim your compound bow without a sight. While they share some similarities, they have some notable differences as well.

Gap Shooting

This is the most popular method of aiming a compound bow without a sight. You need to aim the arrow at a spot on an imaginary vertical line running right through the center of your target. If you’re 10 yards away from your target, you need to aim the arrow at a spot right below the bull’s eye. If you’re 50 yards away, you can aim at any spot above the bull’s eye. In any other scenario, you need to aim right at the center of your target.

But how much would you need to adjust your bow? That depends on both the distance and the poundage of the bow itself.  The weight and the length of your arrow, as well as the fletching type of your choice, are also very important factors to consider. Overall, you need to ensure that you have an optimal repeatable shot cycle. In practice, that means that you need to keep a proper stance, and you need to shoot your arrows properly on every shot. Basically, you need to do exactly what we’ve described at the beginning of this guide every time you fire an arrow.

Remember, you should always aim at the bull’s eye before you shoot an arrow. After you see where the shot lands, fire a couple more arrows while aiming at the center of your target.  In case all of these shots end slightly below the bull’s eye, you have to aim higher. Keep practicing until you can effortlessly hit the center. Once you achieve that, you have mastered gap shooting!

String Walking

In this method, you should always aim your arrow at the center of your target. You also have to move your hands up or down the string depending on how far away you are from the target. At the same time, you need to ensure that the anchor point remains the same for every shot.

The closer you are to your target, the lower the hand needs to be.


Although gap shooting is the most popular method for aiming without a sight, many archers prefer string walking. The biggest downside is that, after a certain distance, you can’t use this method anymore.

Face Walking

Face walking is a very simple method of aiming a compound bow without a sight. The only thing you need to do is ensure that your draw hand doesn’t move alongside the string. Instead of that, the anchor point needs to move up or down your face.

This method is extremely effective, but unfortunately, it’s illegal in many professional competitions.

Instinctive Shooting

We’ve already mentioned this method before, but we will look into it a bit closer now.

In this method, you don’t aim at the target at all. You need to focus on the exact point where your arrow is going to land. After that, you need to raise the bow, draw it, and shoot the arrow.

If you’ve ever played golf before, you will notice that the patterns are quite similar. You need to focus on your target all the time, and eventually, the brain will adjust your body accordingly.

Instinctive shooting is the most traditional one out of these four, and it’s been used ever since medieval times. But, we should also add that it’s the hardest method to master so, you really need plenty of practice and dedication with this one.

What method should I stick with?

You are free to try and practice each of these four methods. In any case, practice doesn’t hurt at all! After some time, you will easily find your favorite one.

Things You Should Also Have in Mind

  • You should always look at the target, not your arrow.
  • You need to focus on a small point on your target rather than a big one. Always make sure that your arrows hit the point you are focusing on.
  • Be wary of everything behind your target and always use a safe backdrop.


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