What distance should i set my pin sights for 3D archery?

A good pin sight can make or break your bow setup. Today, there are many different types of sights, which can make it difficult to find a sight that’s perfect for you. After having done some research, I’ve found that it’s actually very straightforward.

For 3D archery, the top pin (which is the closest distance) should be at 20 yards. From there you simply add 10 yards for each pin. A three pin sight should have pins on 20, 30, and 40 yards. A five pin sight will additionally cover 50 and 60 yards. This is a good starting point.

Depending on the arrow trajectory, you can also be fine with having the top pin at 25 yards.

If you have 3 pins and feel like 40 yards is not enough, you can try the 20/35/50 setup. I’d only try this after you’ve first given the 30/40/50 setup an honest shot.

Why I don’t recommend a 10-yard pin sight

Simple. A target will rarely (never?) be only 10 yards away. This is true for both indoor and outdoor shooting. Also,  the arrow will have a straight trajectory. You can use the 20-yard pin for shorter distances.

How many pins are optimal?

It comes down to personal preference, but 3-5 pins are best for most archers. Most people start with single pins or 3 pins, and many professionals use 3 pins.

Considering yardage for 3D outdoor shooting, plus and the power of compound bows, you don’t need more than 5 pins. With more pins, you’ll very likely feel like it clutters your view.

When to consider a single-pin sight

The advantages with single-pin sights are that you can’t accidentally use the wrong pin. You’ll also get a more clear vision. This can be good at indoor 3D shooting because of the shorter yardage. Since the targets are static, you don’t have to worry about the target changing position during the draw. Some people feel like it gives them greater focus and fewer distractions.

Pin sight colors

The pins should be either green, red or yellow. This is because you’ll see the pin more clearly with these colors when the lighting conditions aren’t ideal. You can alternate between the colors, so the closest pin is green, the second pin is red, and the final pin is green. Avoid blue pins unless you’ll be playing indoors with perfect lighting. Blue pins are less visible.


IBO and ASA have no rule about how many pins you can have on your sight. However, you’re not allowed to adjust the pin sights during the tournament. This applies to dial sights as well.