October 28, 2010
Question: As a competitive rifle shooter, I learned to focus on the top edge of the front sight tip (through iron sights) rather than the target. I am relatively new to bowhunting, and wonder whether I should focus on the target or the pin? -- Mathew Seber, Covington, Ga.
Answer: The one thing to realize is that when aiming through a peep sight, you have to deal with diffraction. Diffraction will affect your depth of field. With a shallow depth of field, from a large-peep sight opening, either the sight pin will appear blurry or the target will, depending on which one you focus on. With a small peep diameter, you have greater depth of field (both the pin and target will be more nearly in focus), but you will experience poorer visibility in low light.
Personally, I prefer the larger peep and the shallow depth of field. I want to see well under all conditions. To deal with the focus issue, I focus on the target and let the pin blur. I can still see the pin easily, because I am using bright fiber optics. Some bowhunters do better focusing on the pin and letting the target blur. I guess there is no right or wrong answer. You will need to experiment on this one yourself to determine the most accurate method for you.
From my point of view, focusing on the target turns down the gain on the feedback loop between my eye and my hand. The target isn't moving, so automatically my mind drops back a gear or two and aiming tends to get steadier. If I focus on the pin, I notice every twitch and I am constantly trying to adjust the pin location. That is a feedback loop with a high gain and it can make for some unstable shooting at times.
As I said earlier, as long as you are aware of the fact that you have a choice to make and take the time to sort it out, you will easily determine which method works best for you.