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Single Pin vs Multi Pin Bow Sight: What to Choose?

Single Pin vs Multi Pin Bow Sight
Written by Erik Himmel

Is the single or multi-pin bow sight better? There is no wrong or right answer to that question. It will be determined on which one works better for you when hunting.

There are pros and cons for both and many differences which we will discuss.

What Is a Single-Pin Bow Sight?

single-pin bow sight

One pin is used to aim the sight, which is adjusted by moving it up and down according to your range. Sight tapes are required since they guide your sight movement by plotting yardage marks.

You have to match the sight tape speed to your arrow speed for accurate distance marking.

What Is a Multi-Pin Bow Sight?

multi-pin bow sight

A multi-pin sight has several pins – a minimum of 3 but can range up to 7.  There is a specific distance for each pin. Pins are usually set 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, 50 yards, and 60 yards apart in a five-pin sight.

Advantages of a single pin bow sight

A casing that is uncluttered

The lack of clutter on the sights pins is another advantage of single pin sights. They have a simple, clean pin adjustment system.

Multiple pins can be a problem for archers that have vision problems since they obscure more of their target.

Clutter adds to the confusion and one pin can be mistaken for another.


Adjustable pins make an archer’s shot more precise because of the increased accuracy.

With the pin fine-tuned to a predetermined point, or somewhere in between, on your sight tape, you can always place the target just behind the pin.

Sights with single pins are a popular choice for target shooting competitions.

Easy setup

Setting up an adjustable pin is much easier, as you only require sighting at 20 and 60 yards, select an appropriate sight tape, and you are good to go for all other ranges.

When you are out of peak condition, this is helpful and allows you to readjust more easily at two distances rather than for each pin.

Distance accuracy

Regarding accuracy, archers are able to maintain that accuracy for much longer distances when using single pin sights. The distance from the shooter increases the pin gap.

Disadvantages of a single pin bow sight

Hard quiver mounting

Single pin sights usually have a large adjustment knob that makes attaching a quiver difficult. If you hunt with a bow-mounted quiver, be cautious of how the sights can interfere.

Once you have your quiver mounted, adjusting your sight may prove difficult.

Extra movement

If you’re going to shoot a target, you can rely on single-pin sights. When bowhunting, the adjustable pin is often avoided due to the additional movement the prey is likely to sense.

Requires adjustment

The pin’s adjustable feature can prove problematic when used in certain situations. Suppose you’re fully drawn back, your sight is set at 40 yards, and the buck moves.

The sight is now inaccurate and you should lower the bow to correct it, which may scare off the buck.

Advantages of a multi-pin bow sight

Ease of use

Multiple pin sights are not adjustable, and this can be a disadvantage, or it can also be a plus. The bow cannot be lowered and adjusted more accurately at full draw.

When at full draw, you can adjust the distance with your bow’s easy, little motion.

Variety of use

Multiple pins are also possible by practicing several different ways of using fixed pin sights. Tools can be used to move the pins, or pins can be added or removed.

Shooting the gap with three pins leaves a lot to be desired in terms of gap compensation but can still be quite useful.

Gang adjustment

Several pin sights come with a gang adjustment tool that is very useful. Making a single adjustment and the pins will be re-set is convenient when readjusting the sight.

It takes some time to set up the sight initially but adjusting it according to the weather or shooter is easy.

Zero pin gap tech

Using zero pin gap technology, archers have the ability to reduce pin spacing and shut the gap between each pin distance. It becomes easier to set seven pins, and more accurate with fewer gaps.

Disadvantages of a multi-pin bow sight

Cluttered sight

There is now more clutter inside the casing that can bock the target. Vision is taken away when more pins are added. For those with vision problems, it gets even harder to choose the right pin.

Pin confusion

Multiple pins means more things in sight. Up to seven different pins of different colors must be distinguished by the archer, and sharp memory is crucial to distinguish between each one’s distance.

Archers can confuse a 30-yard pin with a 40 and come up too short and lose the buck.

Gap shooting

Additional pin sights complicate gap shooting. A deer is unlikely to stand at precisely 40 yards to get shot.

Assuming the shot was 43 yards away, it is necessary to place the target between pins instead of changing to the right distance with the adjustable sight.

Differences Between the Single Pin and Multi-Pin Bow Sights

Stealth shots differences

Single pin

There is more movement required for a single pin sight than a fixed pin sight – that’s how they are designed. In the field, being deliberate can have a profound effect on the minimal movement achievable.

Multi pin

The purpose of multi-pin sights is to promote minimal movement.

Making quick decisions at close range

Single pins

Pins with one hole enable extreme accuracy and make yardages easier.

Multi pins

A Multi-pin sights are ideal for close encounters or approaching game that can be gapped or used without having to adjust.

Moving targets

Single pin

When it comes to precise yardage adjustments, single pins have the upper hand, but they have to be adjusted each time the target moves.

Multi pins

Multi-pins also have an advantage in that they either already have pins set for the distance you need or it’s not beyond your pin gapping capabilities.

Similarities Between the Single Pin and Multi-Pin Bow Sights

Fiber optics

Although all fiber optic sight pins today gather light, the amount gathered is dependent on how much material has been exposed.

For maximum brightness, the sight can be fitted with optional lighting systems.


There are also different mounting brackets available for hunting sights. Some sights attach straight to the bow via a small bracket, while others have long mounting bars.

Bubble levels

A bubble level is usually included with. With it, you can make sure that the bow is held straight up and down.

Arrows from a compound bow that are slanted one way or the other will incline in that path, in contrast to recurve bows.

What Is a Hybrid Bow Sight?

hybrid bow sight

A  hybrid sight is a sight that performs more than one function. Take the best parts of popular sights and combine them into one, and the result is a hybrid.

Single Pin vs Multi Pin Bow Sight: Which One Should You Get?

Single Pin vs Multi Pin Bow Sight Which One Should You Get

If you want to shoot accurately

Single pin

The best option for accuracy is a single pin adjustable sight. It is for this reason that competitive archers use them. They don’t gap shoot, and their accuracy is maintained at a distance.

Multi pin

If your priority is accuracy, then only select a single pin sight and leave the multiple pin sights at home.

If you are just beginning

Single pin

With single pin sights, you will have a harder time adapting to your skill level. These are not recommended.

Multi pin

We recommend using multiple pin sights at first. It has a very straightforward system that you can easily adjust as you gain skills, and your shooting improves.

If you will be bow hunting

Single pin

Fly yardages cannot be adjusted with single pins if bucks move quickly.

Multi pin

Several pin fixed sight systems are still used by most hunters. The added movement needed to correct the sight is not worth the possibility of missing the target.

If you shoot competitively

Single pin

Sights with single pins were developed primarily to improve accuracy. Competitive shooting tends to demand the highest degree of accuracy and precision.

Multi pin

Multi pin are more complex to be used for competitive shooting and they are not as accurate.

If you will be bowhunting from a tree stand

Single pin

Calculating the distance to the target from above is a difficult task. Single pin pendulum sights were created to eliminate all the complications and make calculating distances virtually unnecessary.

Multi pin

This is not the top option for bowhunting from trees as there is no pendulum pin sights developed so it comes with more difficulty.

When should you use both?

Single pin

Bowhunters tend to be partial to single pins, especially those who are easily flustered. We can do funny things when faced with a big buck or bugling elk, and one of them is going blank.

This is why hunters usually choose single pins for hunting situations. One pin needs to be placed in the right place.

Multi pin

Bowhunters either love or hate the multi-pin sight. A multi pin allows you to see several distances without having to move.

This allows you to range multiple objects and reach full draw once the animal is in close range while minimizing movement. When an animal changes direction suddenly, you will not need to reset your sight.

About the author

Erik Himmel

A Part-Time Firearm Instructor

Hi, this is Erik. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 15+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed. My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

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