A gun has a rear sight, a bow has a peep sight. You don't have to use one, in fact in many competitions you aren't allowed to use one. Would you fire a gun without aligning the rear and front sight first? I doubt it. The same principle applies to a bow. If it fits with the rules of your discipline you'll be more accurate using a good peep sight.
Lets take a look at some of the top picks on the market at the moment.
Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices.
So what is a peep sight for then anyway? There's a very good explanation of the principle of alignment markers here in this Wikipedia article on iron sights. However to explain relatively simply, when you look at anchoring technique in archery the more points of reference you have in your anchor the more consistent it will be. The same applies to sights. If you were to only align the fore-sight and the target on a bow the rear of the bow, the drawn string, may not be aligned. It could be slightly high or slightly low. Unless you have that excellent technique we're all after, from your perspective you aren't going to know about that misalignment.
A peep sight is a small aperture inserted into the bowstring that you can look through when at full draw that allows you to align the string, the fore-sight AND and target.
This will make you consistently more accurate.
You look through the peep sight. The smaller the diameter of the aperture the finer the adjustment you will need to align things and the more accurate you're going to be. You'll find target shooters using smaller diameter peep sights than hunters. A smaller aperture allows less light through. A hunter wanting to shoot in low light conditions will need a larger aperture to let in more light. He will most likely be fine to sacrifice a little accuracy for that extra light as his target area will be bigger.
Some modern peep sights come with interchangeable apertures allow you to fit and align one peep and then just swap out the inserts to make the aperture as small or as large as you want.
If you're going to be shooting in low light, at dusk peep sights are available with glowing or illuminated apertures that allow you to easily locate the hole you need to look through. These can be more of a gimmick than a useful addition to your setup.
You'll also find that when you're shooting indoors under lights or outdoors in the sunshine you want a peep that has a non reflective coating so you don't get any extra glare to distract you from your shot.
Some peep sights come with rubber tubing attached. These are normally for compound bows and the tubing attaches to the bow cables. When the bow is drawn the tubing pulls on the peep sight and spins it to the correct angle for the angle of the string. This type of peep sight isn't as popular today as it once was. Many people find the tubing to be inconvenient. It can snap. It can snag and it adds another layer of complexity that a modern bow and self aligning peep sight just doesn't need.
She lost her sheep didn't she, and she didn't know where to find them. Poor girl.
This is a tried and trusted popular choice. Whilst the G5 is a fixed aperture you can get them in 1/4" and 3/16" diameter sizes and a range of colors such as black, red, blue, pink and green etc. Something to match any setup.
This peep is tubeless, made from high grade 7000 aluminium and has radial grooves in the side that allow the bowstring itself to rotate the peep as you draw. It also has a non-reflective coating so you won't be bothered by un-necessary glare from sun or other lights.
The interior of this is convex, so no matter the exact angle you're looking through it at the site image will always be round to allow you to match with your fore-sight aperture.
TruGlo machine these peeps from aluminium in order to keep them light and strong and offer them in 2 color options (black or blue).
They come in a range of apertures 1/4", 1/8" and 3/16" to suit any preference. It's a tubeless peep.
The manufacturer website states that these are specifically designed with string grooves to support shorter axle-to-axle bows. Unfortunately they don't specify exactly what A2A and how short. Nevertheless it's an inexpensive peep that will do the job.
Why bother buying and installing several peeps for different situations when you can have 1 that covers them all?
The TruGlo versa is a lightweight aluminium peep sight that is precision machined and without any insert has a 1/4" diameter aperture size.
The great thing about this one is that included in the package you also get 1/8" and 3/16" inserts. You can use these inserts to easily change the diameter and color of the aperture without having to re-install the peep.
If you're shooting or hunting in low light you always have the issue of being able to quickly locate the aperture you need to look through in order to aim. The Dusk Vision has glowing dots surrounding that aperture that are designed to make locating that 1/8" diameter aperture easy.
The problem with these, if you're picky, is the plastic construction. That isn't going to be as durable or as strong as an aluminium peep. It's also going to be prone (depending on manufacturing quality) to having sharp or rough edges which may cut into your string.
Hi there! I'm Dave, the founder of targetcrazy.com. I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. I created this site to share my knowledge with you and help you make more informed choices! Please let me know what you think of my work, comment, like, rant, speak up!