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Fixed Pins or Movable Pin


Hunters have had this question for over twenty years ever since the first adjustable sights hit the market. The debate continues, and to be quite honest, there probably is no ‘right’ answer to this question.

Let’s delve into the pro’s and con’s of each and perhaps help you decide for yourself which is best for you.

Fixed pins offer a sure fire method of holding onto a target and getting shot off. There are many different types and any number of pins you can have on your setup. From two to seven pins. A few sights allow room for one more pin, but most of the big ones will only hold seven pins. When shooting fixed pins, you must sight each pin in for accuracy at exact yardages. Meaning that your 20 yard pin is dead on at 20 yards. And your 30 yard pin is dead on at 30 yards, etc. all the way to your last pin. Many of today’s hunters who use fixed pins will have pins from 20-60 yards or beyond. My personal hunting set up has six pins from 20-70 yards. If there were room for more pins I would definitely add them.

Sight pins come in different colors and it is advisable that you alternate the colors on your sight to prevent confusion when in the heat of battle.  Also if not properly labeled, it can be difficult to determine which sight pin when using it. Here is where a bit of practice can go a long way in developing habits to get used to your bow.

Adjustable or movable pins offer a lot of adaptability and flexibility on the go. The advantage of shooting a movable pin is that you can range the target and precisely align your pin to the exact yardage. The precision is a great advantage to the movable sight. I mean how many times does the deer stop at exactly 30 yards so your pin lines up exactly? Uh, never. With the movable pin, you can dial up the number and hold exactly where you want the arrow to hit.

As more and more hunters are incorporating the use of range finders in their arsenal. The moveable sight is more practical. Under most situations we have enough time to make the adjustment and still have time to draw and shoot. Many hunters will leave their sight pin set at 30 yards, or somewhere near the middle of the distance they are hunting and then just a quick adjustment is all that is needed. The moveable sight pin sight is a great tool for those who are willing to use it.

A hybrid of these is also popular. G5 Outdoors makes one of the more popular that has three fixed pins and one floating pin that can be quickly adjusted for longer range shots.

Some examples of personal sight arrangements. Chad Simpson of Hendersonville, NC has fixed pins on his bow that range from 20-70 yards in ten yard increments. “I like the system because when hunting out west or more open terrain, I like having the longer range pins.” But he adds that he is almost always “shooting the gap”. That means that he is almost always shooting the gap between pins because of the infrequency with which deer, elk and hogs present themselves in exact yardages. “I never get to hold a pin dead center and take a good shot. The deer are always just a few yards too far or too close for a shot.

Whereas the multi-pin set up has pins established and forces hunters to shoot the gap almost all of the time. The single pin allows hunters to close the gap and provides less opportunity for an error in judging yardages and making mistakes. The disadvantage of the single pin is the time it takes to set the pin at the correct distance. Hunters who get used to this setup will say that the time it takes is minimal and you get used to it pretty quickly. The time it takes to use your range finder, determine the yardage, set your sights and draw to shoot is minimal compared to the confidence you have of knowing you are on the exact yardage.

Whichever you choose, practice makes one confident and the more you practice using your set up the more confident you will be when you go to the woods.