A Better Way To Aim
By: Bill Winke
Every bowhunter has one anchor point that feels better than any other. Suppose your anchor point feels best when you center your 30-yard pin. When you switch to your 20-yard pin you have to raise your hand on your face slightly to again center the pin in the peep. Now go back to 40 yards and center that pin. Your anchor point will have to go down along your face. The slower your arrow the greater your pin gap and the more you will have to move your anchor point up and down to keep the various pins centered. The affects are also magnified for archers who set long-range pins for western hunting. Unless you practice a lot at every distance, you are likely to feel uncomfortable changing your anchor point. There is another way to aim that lets you keep the same anchor point for every shot.

BENEFITS OF A ROUND PIN GUARD

Never change your anchor point:
Every year more sight companies are putting round pin guards on their sights. Of course, a circle is a very sturdy geometry making these guards crushproof, but there is another reason to consider one of these sights. Because the pin guard is round, you can easily center it in your peep sight for every shot and forget about centering the individual pins.  To shoot near or far, all you have to do is lower or raise the bow until the proper pin is on the spot; your anchor point remains the same (presumably in its most comfortable position). Because you are still centering something (the pin guard), you don’t give up any precision or accuracy in the process.

The ability to use a larger peep:
I missed a chip shot at a horse of a buck six years ago simply because I couldn't see my pins well enough through the peep even though it was still legal shooting time. Since then I've switched to brighter pins, but even when combined with a peep sight that’s 3/16 inch in diameter I still had trouble right at the beginning and end of legal shooting time. The pins were clearly visible when I looked around the peep but everything turned gloomy when I looked through it. I considered opening my peep up even further but the pins seemed to swim in such a wide expanse. It seemed as if there was no good solution. Granted, a small minority (20% maybe) of my shots at game have come during the first and last half-hour of legal shooting time, but among those have been a couple of the biggest bucks I’ve ever shot. It makes sense to prepare just as well for these shots as for those that occur in full light.  While a super large diameter peep improves low light visibility, it has the potential to reduce accuracy. This tradeoff can be avoided if you center a round pin guard instead of the pin itself where a grossly oversized peep sight is not only acceptable but is actually required. Being large, such peeps permit super light transmission and increase your field of view, but because you are centering the pin guard tightly inside its borders, you give up nothing in accuracy. The size of the peep you need depends on the size of the pin guard, the distance between your eye and the peep at full draw and the distance between the sight and your bow. In typical cases, you are going to need a peep with a hole that’s roughly ¼ inch in diameter. Several companies make peeps this large: Game Tracker’s Magnum True Vision Peep, Fine Line’s Sta-Brite Peep, Golden Key Futura Total View Line-O-Peep and several models from Pro Hunter.

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Making the change:
If you’ve spent years mastering the art of centering each pin in your peep before releasing the string it will take more than a few days to retrain your instinct to begin centering the pin guard instead. I suggest that if you like the idea, you should begin practicing in this style right now while you still have a few months before the hunting season. If you head into the season still having to consciously remind yourself to center the guard instead of the pin you are setting yourself up for a miss. You had better change back to centering the pin immediately. Under the pressure of a shot at game you will fall back on your instincts, and if your subconscious is most familiar with a method of aiming that is different from the one you used to sight-in your bow you are dead in the water. 

Finding the sights:
I’ve tested sights from both Hoyt and Spot-Hogg that both have pin guards of the proper size for this style of shooting. There are also many others that have the potential to comply. Toxonics, Copper John, Archer’s Choice, Scout Mountain, HHA, Impact Archery and Trophy Ridge all make such sights. Before buying one you should test it on your bow to see if it is going to be possible to find a peep sight large enough to work. You should also consider round scope style sights that feature more than one pin such as those offered by Tru-Glo, Pro Hunter, HTM and Specialty Archery Products. In general, these are smaller in diameter so they don’t offer as much field of view even when coupled with a large peep.

CONCLUSION
Centering a round pin guard inside your peep offers definite advantages. You’ll see your target better under low light conditions and you’ll feel more confident settling into the same anchor point for every shot. Once you get used to this style of shooting you’ll never go back to centering the pin again.


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