By Brett Hoffman
September 7, 2021
Walking into an archery shop and asking “What sight should I put on my bow?” will probably get you the same result as asking who the best bow manufacturer is would. A whole plethora of different opinions and answers. But in all honesty, the answer to that first question really depends on the type of hunter you are, and what suits your style best. I am going to break down the pros and cons of both single and multi-pin sights.
The single-pin sight features exactly that. There is only one pin in the housing, and your sight is a slider that you set to specific yardages. Unlike a multi-pin, this style of sight requires some sort of yardage tape, or you can write marks for each of your distances as you find them. A lot of sights will come with pre-printed sight tapes according to arrow speeds. The best way to find the correct printed sight tape is to find your 20 yard mark, and then find your 60 yard mark. Once you have those, select the sight tape that has the 20 and 60 yard marks the same distance apart, and you should be in pretty good shape. I still suggest shooting at other distances after you install your tape to make sure it is accurate at all marks just in case.
There are several pros to shooting a one-pin sight. Arguably the biggest one is that you are able to aim at your target with minimal clutter. Whenever you are aiming, there is only one pin to focus on, and you don’t have to worry about what some archers explain as “pin blur”. So if your eyes tend to blur multiple pins together, then the one-pin may be the choice for you. Another benefit to having a single pin is that you don’t have to “pin gap”, or in other words aim between pins. With a sight that has several pins, if a deer is at an in between distance like 35 yards, you would aim between your 30 and 40 yard pins. With a single pin, you would simply set your sight to 35 yards and aim dead on.
Along with the pros, there are some cons to shooting a one-pin. The first one that comes to mind for me is the situation where you set your sight, come to full draw, and the deer runs out another 10 to 20 yards. If you aren’t able to let down to readjust your sight, you are left with having to know the hold-over at that unknown distance if you want to stand a chance at executing that shot. Another con that I have personally had the most issue with in the past is the sight tapes. Although most sight manufacturers are able to print off tapes for nearly every setup, I have had a few that I just could not get to work exactly like I needed. Along with that, if you go on a hunt somewhere and elevation comes into play, or something changes on your setup, you might be in trouble. If your arrow speed changes for whatever reason, and that sight tape no longer works, you have to peel off your existing tape to put on a different one. And that’s IF you even have one with you that works! Moments like this do happen, and can be extremely frustrating when they do.
For most manufacturers, multi-pin sights are offered with anywhere from 2 to 7 pins. The colors of the pins are usually mixed so that you don’t lose track of what pin you are aiming with. Having these multiple pins gives you the ability to aim at a wide variety of distances at full-draw without having to let down. To sight in a multi-pin, you can adjust the height of your pins with an allen screw on the side of your housing. Once you find your marks, you are able to have an aiming point for whatever distances you choose to set them at.
Probably the biggest pro to a multi-pin is the ability to see all of the aiming points without having to let your bow back down. So, if the deer does run out another 10 yards, you can just aim with your next pin down and never leave the peep. This is extremely helpful for when you’re hunting something that’s likely to be on the move, like a rutting whitetail or elk.
The con to having several pins is that many hunters’ eyes tend to blur the pins together, especially in low light conditions. Along with that, you may find that as you add more pins to a sight, the more cluttered things become. When this happens, a lot of hunters will find themselves having trouble focusing on aiming because there is too much going on in their sight. I would definitely recommend having at least one different colored pin so that you are not only able to break up the colors, but have a reference for which pin you are looking at. For example, if you have a 3 pin sight, I would recommend having a red pin for your 30 yard mark. This allows you to know that the top green pin is 20, and the green pin on bottom is 40. Making these little adjustments will give you a bit more peace of mind at full draw when it’s all on the line.
Much like with anything else in the hunting industry, there are going to be die-hards for every option. The most important thing to remember when choosing your hunting sight is that there is no right or wrong answer. There are several different options for every style of hunter. Find what fits you most optimally, and get out there and hunt.