Tube vs tubeless peep sight – what is better?

If you need to buy a peep sight, you must decide whether you want a peep sight with or without a tube. Most archers have a firm opinion on this matter and think that one is superior. In this article, I will give an unbiased overview of both options. If you don’t have time to read the entire article, read at least my short answer below:

A tubeless peep sight is recommended for experienced archers who can work on their bow or frequently visit an archery shop. A peep sight with a tube is recommended for new archers who don’t want to bother with peep rotation issues and are looking for the easiest solution.

I will explain in more detail why I recommend a peep sight with a tube to new archers in more detail by discussing the advantages of this option. Next, I will discuss the reasons why most experienced archers shoot tubeless. At the end of this article, I will summarize and give some additional recommendations.

The advantages of peep sight with a tube

Let’s first discuss some advantages of using a peep sight with a tube!

Peep sight rotation is never an issue

Peep sight rotation is probably one of the most annoying issues within compound archery. When this happens, the peep sight is not correctly aligned which means that you can’t look through it. With a peep sight with a tube, you won’t experience this issue. Because the tubing aligns the peep sight automatically.

If your peep sight isn’t correctly aligned, you can’t aim!

Whenever an archery technician adds a peep sight they always align it. But since the string stretches a little, it will slowly get out of alignment. Therefore, archers that shoot tubeless must manually turn their peep sight into alignment. The idea is that if you do this repeatedly it should stay in alignment. This process is called ‘’training your peep sight’’.

Sadly, this doesn’t always work. After a while, the peep sight can be severely misaligned which means that it can’t be trained anymore. This means that it springs right back while you draw. In that case, the only solution is to reinstall the peep sight in the correct alignment. Peep sight tubing can even solve severe rotation issues. Therefore, you will never have to reinstall your peep sight.

Easier for beginners

Peep sight rotation issues are difficult to deal with. Since you must reinstall the peep sight you need a bow press to solve this issue. This isn’t an issue if you are an experienced archer. You probably already have a bow press or frequently visit an archery shop.

For beginners, this issue can be too much trouble. They want to focus on their technique and form and need a bow that is forgiving and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Therefore, I recommend beginners to shoot with peep sight tubing.

Most beginner compound bows also feature a lower-quality stretchy string. These strings can cause a lot of rotation issues, especially in the first few months. Therefore, most of these bows come with a tube because the manufacturers are aware of these issues.

The advantages of a tubeless peep sight

If the tube easily solves peep rotation issues, why would anyone shoot without it? Well, there are some clear reasons, why most experienced archers choose to go tubeless. Let’s discuss them one by one.

The tube will break eventually

Although the tube solves a rather annoying issue, you also get another annoying issue back. No peep sight tube will last forever and eventually, it needs to be replaced. In my experience, if you shoot with a tube, this part must be replaced most often. I must replace my tube at least every year.

Luckily replacing a tube on a peep sight is very easy and tubes aren’t that expensive. In most cases, you can even reuse the tube since it often breaks near the fitting. Read the article below, if you want more tips on how to repair and prevent peep sight tubing from breaking:

Peep sight tube broke or slips off – how to fix and prevent it

A tube is not always necessary

If your peep sight is correctly aligned, you don’t need a tube. Especially if you are using a string that has been used for one or two years, the peep sight will probably not misalign. In that case, the tubing will only make things more difficult.

Therefore, if you shoot with an aged string, you might want to consider installing a tubeless peep sight when the tubing breaks. Most stretch will already be gone. This means that, if you install the peep sight correctly, it should stay aligned.

Works in all climates

Since peep sight tubing is made of rubber it will degrade faster in extreme climates. Especially if you shoot in extreme cold, the lifespan of the tube will be severely reduced due to the low humidity. In extreme heat, the rubber will also dry out faster. Therefore, it’s recommended to store your bow indoors at room temperature if you run a tube.

For most people, this won’t be much of an issue. But if you frequently shoot below 23°F (-5°C) you may want to consider shooting without a tube. Otherwise, you might have to replace the tube every 2 or 3 months.

It changes the dynamics of the bow

Since the tube pulls on the peep sight it slightly changes the dynamics of the bow. It adds a tiny bit of draw weight above the arrow and it rotates the string. You can even see this happen if you closely look at the string near the peep sight.

In this picture, you can clearly see how the tube pulls the string forward.

For most archers, this isn’t an issue. If you are a veteran archer who shoots at high-level competitions, you might not like this. When you replace the tubing, you change these dynamics which can cause minor variances in your shot.

Although this won’t matter for 99% of archers, I promised to give all the pros and cons!

It limits your peep sight choice

Something that does matter to a lot of archers is peep sight customization. Sadly, needing a tube severely limits your choice. Because most experienced archers go tubeless most manufacturers only make high-end peep sights without tubes.

Especially if you like to experiment with different peep-size holes, clarifiers, verifiers, or sun shields you should consider a high-end peep sight. Some manufacturers have an addon that allows you to add a tube, but that makes things bulkier.

Therefore, most experienced archers put up with the potential issue of peep sight rotation. Since they don’t mind working on their bow, it’s not that big of a deal. Especially because the issue gets less prevalent when the string ages.

So, what should you choose?

Alright, let me summarize some scenarios when I recommend using a peep sight with a tube:

  • You are a beginner: when you are just getting started, you shouldn’t have to worry about peep sight rotation issues. It can be rather difficult to troubleshoot the issue, which can make your experience rather frustrating.
  • You don’t have a bow press: if you don’t have a bow press you can’t solve the peep sight rotation issues by yourself. In that case, you will have to visit an archery shop every time the peep is misaligned. Read this article, to check out my review on a convenient and affordable bow press.
  • You don’t shoot often: if you don’t shoot all that often, it’s probably better to go with a tube. If you store the bow at room temperature out of the sun, the tube will last you a long time. Therefore, going through the trouble of going tubeless is probably not worth it.

More about the peep sights

I have written a lot of articles about peep sights. If you want to deepen your archery knowledge, click on any of the articles below: 

Final words

Currently, 1 still shoot my compound bow with a tube. Simply because I haven’t changed my peep sight ever since I started. I also didn’t have a bow press and didn’t frequently visit an archery store. Therefore, shooting with a tube was the best option for a while.

I do want to switch to a tubeless peep sight because I want to test some different peep sight diameters and may add a verifier to shoot with higher magnification. Since I have bought a bow press, I can solve peep sight rotation issues myself if needed.

I hope this article was helpful. If you have any experiences or comments you would like to share, please leave them down below. If you have any questions, you can leave them down as well. I will reply as soon as possible and send you an email once I replied.

Tim van Rooijen

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by archery. First due to its historic significance but later because I like being outdoors. With this blog, I share my knowledge about Archery and how you can improve your shot. More about author…

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