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Single Pin vs. Multi-pin Bow Sight: What’s Better For Your Needs?

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single vs multi pin bow sight

When you’re new to bow hunting, one of the first questions that you’re going to have to answer is how many pins you want on your bow sight. But you might not know how to answer that question.

That’s why we created this comprehensive guide to walk you through everything that you need to know to about single pin vs multi pin bow sights. From what you use them for to how many you need, we have you covered.

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Overview of Single Pin Bow Sights

Single pin bow sights might look easier to use than their fixed pin counterparts, but they’re far more complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. But once you’ve mastered them, you’ll find out why so many people prefer single bow sights. We break down everything that you need to know.

bow sight
Image Credit: IspasI, Shutterstock

How a Single Pin Bow Sight Works

Unlike a rifle scope that you adjust to a single distance than change magnification to hit different targets, bow sights are a bit more straightforward. Single pin bow sights have you sight in a target at a specific distance, and there is a slider that you adjust to hit targets at different distances.

Single pin bow sights take all the guesswork out of shooting, all you need to do is set the distance, line up the pin, and take your shot.

When You Want a Single Pin Bow Sight

Moveable slider single pin bow sights allow you to adjust your pin to different distances by sliding the pin. There are plenty of times when you would want this, and if you know what you’re doing, you can set the yardage quickly. Once you can do this, there are few disadvantages to a single pin bow sight. That’s because you don’t have to worry about having a target at the perfect distance or making guesses between pins.

Beyond that, they clear up your field of view by removing a bunch of pins that get in your way. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about accidentally using the wrong pin when you’re making your shot. Using a single pin bow sight takes most of the guesswork out of the process.

However, they take a little longer to set up, so you’ll need to spend more time practicing before heading out.


  • Fewer obstructions in your field of view
  • Set up exact yardages
  • Never use the wrong pin
  • More expensive option
  • It takes a little longer to set up each shot

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Overview of Multi-pin Bow Sights

Multi-pin bow sights might seem a little more complicated than a single pin option, but if you know what you’re looking at, then it’s easy to understand. In fact, despite their complicated appearance, they’re actually simpler to use. We break down everything that you need to know.

close up multi pin bow sight
Image Credit: Germain McDaniel, Shutterstock

How a Multi-pin Bow Sight Works

Multi-pin bow sights work off the same principle as a single pin bow sight. But instead of sighting in a single pin and adjusting when you identify your target, you sight in multiple pins to varying distances before you head out.

When you identify your target, you determine how far away it is, and then you use the appropriate pin to make your shot. So, if you have a three-pin bow sight, you can set the pins to 20 yards, 30 yards, and 40 yards. When you determine how far away the target is, you line up the appropriate pin and take your shot.

Of course, if your target is at 35 yards, you’ll need to line up the target halfway between two pins. This is the biggest drawback to multi-pin bow sights.

When You Want a Multi-pin Bow Sight

While there are significant drawbacks to a multi-pin bow sight, they’re still incredibly popular for various reasons. First, they’re typically far more affordable. Second, they’re easier to use. You don’t have to worry about setting up each shot individually. Instead, once you’ve sighted everything in, you can head out, and you don’t need to worry about anything but taking your shots.


  • You can sight in multiple distances
  • Highly customizable
  • More affordable
  • Shorter setup time for each shot
  • More pins obstruct your field of view
  • You can’t adjust to every distance, so guesswork is inevitable

The Cost Factor

While single pin bow sights might be a little more expensive, when you take your time and learn how to use them, they can be the difference between making your shot and heading home empty-handed. Of course, if you can’t afford it, none of that matters, and the good news is that there are plenty of top-notch multi-pin bow sights out there.

In fact, some people even prefer the multi-pin options because you can line up and take your shot faster than you can with a single-pin setup.

man using a bow with sight
Image Credit: REDAV, Shutterstock

Deciding How Many Pins You Need

If you do decide that you want a multi-pin bow sight, you still need to make a few more decisions. There are many multi-pin setups, so you’ll need to decide how many pins you want.

The two most common options are three-pin bow sights and five-pin bow sights. Five-pin bow sights tend to be a little more expensive than three-pin bow sights, and the extra pins can obstruct your view.

Simply put, the more pins you add, the higher the price. But sometimes, this is well worth it, and it can be the difference between you hitting your target and you heading back empty-handed.

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In Conclusion

When you’re picking out the perfect bow sight, it all starts with the pins. These are what you’re going to be using to make every shot, so you need to be comfortable and happy with what you have.

That’s why it’s important to take your time and figure out what you want before making any purchases. The last thing you want is to buy a sight, only to find out that it’s not what you want after the fact.

Hopefully, this guide helped you learn everything you wanted to know. Now, you can pick out your next bow sight with confidence!

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.