Every hunter knows that finding the right bow peep sight can feel like a scientific calculation. Check out the ultimate guide for finding the best bow peep sight size for your hunting needs.
A creek babbles quietly in the background as the sun lays lazily low, just barely peeking above the far-off horizon. There’s buck at the crossing. You’re in a perfect position. You’ve practiced your form for weeks early in the season. You’re confident your pins are correctly sighted. You flex, bringing your bow into a full draw back. Your peep naturally finds your eye. But wait – where did the buck go? You’re squinting like crazy, but the world around you is dark and blurry. You relax the bow to readjust, but by the time you look back up, just like the wind, he’s gone.
Don’t let this all too common tale happen to you! Whether you’re out in the plains or the prairie, no one wants to be slowed down by their peep sight. Even with your pin sight in its exact place and the perfect form, a peep sight of the incorrect size or placement will obscure your view and cause erratic groupings. Don’t forget you still have to consider sunlight conditions, axel to axel, and brace height. Running through these calculations is a complication hunters understand all too well.
This guide will ease you into the world of peep sights and make selecting the right sight size easier. The fun part about buying peep sights is they’re relatively inexpensive, and each manufacturer brings its unique touches to improve your accuracy in target acquisition. So fear not the peep sight and dig in!
What Is A Peep Sight?
Peep sights are the rear sight that you serve to the strings of a compound bow. A well-placed peep sight will ensure that your eye, pin sight, and target are in alignment before taking your shot. There are peep-less compound bows on the market, but a lot of these bows are more complex and cumbersome for most novice archers. A peep sight is the most reliable and flexible tool for accurate sighting.
When it comes to peep sights, size plays a massive role in the performance and achieving your results. However, the variety of peep sight sizes on the market is part of what makes peep sight shopping feel overwhelming for some hunters. Like the objective lens on your glassing scope or rangefinder, the size of your peep sight is going to impact aperture, the field of view, and, ultimately, your precision.
The most common peep sights you’ll see as you shop around are ⅛”, 3/16″, and ¼.” Most experts agree that 3/16″ provides the most utility for a broad range of hunters. However, you might find a smaller or larger peep sight is best for your type of hunting
Small, but Mighty
A smaller peep sight can still pack a powerful punch. The advantage of a small peep size is the dead-on accuracy you can achieve when sighting your targets. The smaller ring will limit your field of view, but in return, it will increase your depth of field. Depth of field in photography describes the relationship between the closest and farthest object in a slice of a view that is still sharp. To translate this for hunters, it is the ability to focus your eye on a small, specific image so that the image is clear. Since your eye does not have the distractions of a broader field of view, it can hyper-focus on your target. The increased depth of field is caused in part by the smaller aperture of a smaller peep sight. Since the diameter of the peep sight is smaller, it will transmit less light.
While smaller peep sights are excellent for aiming, you should also consider your hunting habits and bow construction. The smaller aperture of a small peep sight means that this sight is best for hunting during the day or with ideal lighting conditions. You need the extra sunlight since this size provides less light transmission. You’ll run into a headache using a small peep sight at dawn or dusk, especially if you have poor eyesight. You’ll also want to consider your sighting preferences. Some hunters prefer to sight the pin housing while other hunters hone in on single pins as they shoot. A smaller peep sight will lend itself to sighting on individual pins. Lastly, a small peep size will fare better on a bow with a longer axel to axel measurement. This is because you’ll want a smaller peep closer to your face so that you can sight your pins and target adequately. Axel to axel (ATA) measurements refer to the distance between the top and bottom axel on your bow. Generally, a bow with a longer ATA will mean a shorter draw length. A longer ATA and shorter draw length mean the pin will fall closer to your face and can support the smaller size while still providing an incredible shot.
Bigger for Better Lighting
You can think of bigger peep sight as having the opposite advantages of a smaller peep. Larger peep sights are best for low-lighting conditions, such as hunting at dawn or dusk. Again, this is due to the peep’s diameter creating a larger aperture and allowing better light transmission. You’ll also find a bigger peep sight handy on an overcast day or in inclement weather. A large peep size similarly helps with shooting big game because it provides a larger field of view. When a buck is in on the move, a larger peep size gives you the advantage of trailing their movements with flexibility and ease. If you prefer sighting the housing of your pin bow sight, rather than individual pins, a larger peep sight will also be a benefit.
Those who follow trends in archery and bow design will also recognize that more and more compound bows have a shorter axle length. As previously mentioned, a shorter ATA will increase your string angle. As your string angle increases, your peep is going to sit further away from your eyes. As a result, larger peep sights may become more common to keep up with this trend in bow construction.
Now that you have more information on the terminology, measurements, and the pros and cons of different peep sight sizes, check out these sight options for next-level archery.
Quick Sight Elite
The Quick Sight Elite calls itself a revolutionary peep sight – and I’m here to confirm it. This peep sight works well for beginners, but even pros enjoy the easy to use design. This peep sight stands out because it is so accessible and offers maximum flexibility for real-time adjustments in the field.
The best feature of this sight is that it’s easy to install without serving or breaking out your toolkit. Since it’s so easy to install, you can quickly switch this sight between bows during practice and can adjust for greater precision. What’s incredible though, is that this sight installs in seconds but is completely locked and secured once in place so that you don’t have to readjust in between shots. This sight saves significant time when hunting and is reliable from your first shot to the last.
This sight also has a unique oval shape. Reviewers praise the oval shape because of the perfect circle it creates when you’re at full draw. The tubing on this sight is durable for long-lasting use. Of course, they are made in the USA.
- Quick to attach and move for in-the-moment adjustments
- Locks in place to minimize adjustments between shots
- Unique oval shape
- Does not specify exact peep size or optimal ATA
IronBuddy Compound Bow Peep Sights
The IronBuddy Compound Bow Peep Sights are every hunter’s buddy. For just $13.87, you’ll get a peep sight with three inner-core pieces, 1/16″, 3/32″, and ⅛.” This product gives you a pragmatic range of smaller bow peep sights. I would recommend this set for hunters looking for a more precise aim and operating in well-lit conditions.
The IronBuddy is a tubeless design so that it will be a free-floating peep. You might read on some blogs that tubeless sights can be a nightmare with twisting strings and rotating sights. However, modern advances in bowstring quality and technology have boosted the popularity of the tubeless sight and circumvented around these antiquated challenges. The benefits of going tubeless are even less weight on your strings and no chance of the tubing obscuring your view or decreasing aperture. To install a tubeless sight, you’ll either use a bow press or take it into your local shop so that the bowstrings are correctly separated, and the sights are served to the string successfully. The outer peep sight is ridged for hassle-free serving.
This peep sight is also meant to sit at a 37-degree string angle. Check out your brace height, ATA, and draw length to determine if this is the right peep. Brace height is the distance between your bowstring and the deepest part of the grip when it’s in a resting position. For example, if you have a short brace height and draw length, you’ll likely want a peep sight that sits at a 37-degree string angle.
The IronBuddy peep sight inner cores are easily threaded in and out of the outer peep sight piece. The aluminum alloy build makes this peep sight lightweight yet durable. This peep sight is sure to be long-lasting.
- The tubeless design makes for lighter weight on strings
- Aluminum alloy coating increases durability
- Inner pieces in a variety of sizes easily thread into main peep ( 1/16", 3/32", and ⅛")
- May require additional help to serve on bowstrings
- Not easily adjusted in the field
Radical Archery Designs Maxim 38
Radical Archery Designs’ Maxim 38 peep sight lives up to its name by being radical. This peep sight is specifically designed to sit at a 38-degree string angle. The 38-degree angle is one you don’t see as often on the market, with the most common being 37-degree and 45-degree. This sight is built especially for shorter bows even with longer draws. RAD recommends this peep sight for bows as short as 30″ ATA. For hunters that match this profile, the RAD Maxim is going to improve your speed and accuracy in taking the perfect shot.
The aperture on this peep is 3/16″, which is a mid-size sight. The RAD Maxim is a tubed design but separates the tubing from the aperture by 10 degrees so that archers have a clear, unobstructed view with maximum light-gathering capacity. This sight thrives no matter what mother nature throws your way due to the protective hood that shields your peep from excessive sunshine and rain. The sight is also made from UV resistant, and a hybrid, high-impact polymer to prevent wear and tear after hundreds of shots.
- UV resistant, high-impact polymer coating to prevent wear and tear
- Protective hood to shield views from excessive sunlight and rain
- Superior sighting for shorter bows with long draws
- Tube design and sunshade can add weight
Finding Your Size
Frustrated archers will rush to their local shop or the internet looking for solutions to correct torqueing, erratic groupings, and hazy views. Often, these issues boil down to just a ⅛” issue. Something as small as an incorrect peep size for a hunter’s specific purpose can wreck the most strategic of plans. While finding the best peep sight size can take a bit of trial and error, zeroing in on your preferred size will help you in your hunt. Luckily, these peep sights offer a variety of sizes for incredible prices so that you can experiment and find your personal preference. This process also makes you more in-tune with your bow system as you learn more about ATA, brace height, and string quality. It is worth investing time and research so that you limit headaches and missed shots due to improper sighting.