How to Aim a Recurve Bow With & Without Sights?

Both traditional archery and modern archery style are very endearing to me. They have their charms, and you look cool either way. I have done traditional archery since the start but soon have come to love using sights as well.

It is a different feeling. While there is still instinct running in me using sights, when I can control my instinctive nature and aim using the sight, I feel very accomplished.

This is not to say you should learn both, but speaking from experience, if you want to try out how to aim a recurve bow using the other style, then it is totally worth trying even once, in my opinion. It can take a while to get the desired results, but it is worth it.

And with that, whether you want to learn one way or understand both, here is how you can aim your recurve bow using both with and without sights.

Aiming a Recurve Bow With and Without Sights


Before I get started on how you can aim with and without sights, let us get on the topic of what they mean and if one is better than the other.

Many people consider aiming with a sight to be easier and that it requires less skill as an archer. While there is some truth to it, in the end, your form and shooting the arrow make all the difference in the result.

Similarly, aiming without sight is a skill that goes further back time and takes more time to perfect. If you are interested in learning the sport traditionally, you need to learn to aim without using any extra accessories or equipment.

So at the end of the day, while one might take more practice and effort, both techniques are part of archery, and one isn’t considered better than the other. It is entirely up to the archer and their preference.

How to Aim a Recurve Bow With a Sight?


Shooting or aiming a recurve bow with sights is also known as the Olympic style since archers in competitions typically use it.

As for the sight, it is a bow accessory that you attach to your bow for you to aim accurately at the target. The accessory has a horizontal rod and a vertical rod intersecting one another. Both the rods have screws on one end, which you can twist to adjust the height.

There is a hollow tip on the side of the accessory that is the main part of the mechanism for aiming. The tip is usually either a circle or a square. Now on to how you can learn to aim using the sight:

1. Use the Mediterranean Draw

The Olympic style or aiming with a sight uses the Mediterranean draw for, well, drawing the bow. If you are not familiar with the term, it is also known as the split-finger technique.

This technique involves holding the arrow near the nocking point while drawing using three of your fingers. Place the index finger on top of the arrow and your middle finger and ring finger under.

2. Anchoring

Once you have drawn your bow, it is time to anchor it. Anchoring or anchor point is the place you are to rest the arrow while aiming and before releasing it.

For using a sight, the anchoring point is under your jaw.

To be more specific, after drawing, place your thumb under your jaw, which in turn should also rest the arrow under your jawline. Following that, the bowstring should touch the tip of your nose and the side of your lip.

If you are doing it right, this position should not strain your arms and should also be stable enough for you to aim properly before shooting.

3. Aim Using the Sight

Finally, you are there to aim at your target using the sight. Assuming the sight accessory is already attached to your bow, while you are drawing, look through the hollow tip as a means to aim at your target.

If you think the height is too high or low, use the screws to adjust it to your liking. Once you think the aim is set, get into your form, draw the bow, look through the hollow tip to fix your aim, and release. You now know how to aim with a recurve bow using sights.

How to Aim a Recurve Bow Without Sight?


Aiming a recurve bow without sights is also called the barebow style or more known as instinctive archery. It uses no sights or other accessories, just only your bow and arrow.

As a result, your aim entirely depends on your skills. With your perfected shooting and aiming form, archers with this style use their pure instinct to hit the target.

If it sounds difficult and cool to you, then you are correct. It requires a lot of practice, but once you get the hang of it, the feeling of aiming a target accurately without the help of any aid is really cool. Let me guide you through the process:

1. The Stance

If you know the basics of archery, then you should know how important it is to have a proper stance.

Typically, archers with instinctive style stand straight with their one foot perpendicular to the target and the other facing it, or in other words, stand at a 90 degree to the target with the same feet position.

Along with that, your feet should also be apart at shoulder length distance.

2. Draw and Anchoring

There is a specific way instinctive archers draw their bow, just like archers who use the Olympic style I mentioned before. Unlike the split-finger technique, you have to hold the arrow underneath using your index, middle, and ring finger.

As you are nocking the arrow, your anchor point should be near your mouth. Yes, that is right. You need to place, preferably, either your index finger or thumb near the side of your mouth. Doing so, the bowstring should touch the side of your jaw a little bit.

4. Gripping the Bow

Don’t grip the bow tightly. You want all the energy on your arrow as you draw, so if you are gripping the bow tightly as you are pulling the arrow with the string, it can ruin the shot. It can be a bit difficult to balance the strength of your arms at first, but practice makes perfect.

Following that, hold the bow in a way that it touches the padded area under your thumb and not in a gripping manner. Holding it this way is not only the correct form but also makes it easier to align your arms with the arrow.  

5. Shooting Form and Sequence

The key to learning how to aim a recurve bow accurately without sight is a practiced sequence of consistent steps no matter what.

From following your stance to your arm position while drawing the bow to the anchor point, nocking it, locking your target — everything should be consistent and come to you naturally.

To reach this stage, all you need to do is practice. After learning the form and movement you are most comfortable with, you need to repeat the same positions every time you aim at a target until it becomes natural.

Final Words


I hope this helped you understand how to aim a recurve bow with and without sights. If you have made up your mind on any of the styles, remember that it will get easier with time and practice.

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