Last updated on January 6th, 2023
Getting old sucks. I could fill this article with all the reasons why, but for now let’s focus on what it does to your eyes, and how that can impact us as bowhunters.
When I turned 42 several years back, it was almost like someone flipped a switch and suddenly I couldn’t see anything within 12 inches of my face. And with each passing year, that distance increased until I needed one pair of glasses for reading and using my phone, and a whole other set for using my computer. Did I mention getting old sucks?
It really hit home, though, when I started having issues seeing the pin clearly on my HHA bow sight. In some cases, I was actually seeing two pins, with one stacked just on top of the other. It was frustrating and cost me consistency in my shooting. I was so frustrated that I began to consider hanging the bow up altogether and going to a crossbow with a scope.
Then I discovered a verifier peep, and everything changed.
What is a Verifier Peep?
A verifier peep is a peep sight manufactured by Specialty Archery with a small lens built in that acts similar to reading glasses to clear up the pin or pins on the bow’s sights. Like reading glasses, verifier peeps come in a series of “strengths” for various levels of visual impairment. They also come in three different diameters: 1/8”, 1/4”, and 5/16”.
I often see hunters confuse verifiers with clarifiers, but they are actually two very different pieces of archery equipment. While verifiers clear up objects close to the peep sight, like your sight pins, clarifiers are used with sight lenses to clear up the target.
Who Needs a Verifier Peep?
Verifier peeps are primarily for archers who need reading glasses to see things up close. Unfortunately, that covers most hunters my age or older due to a common condition called presbyopia.
Presbyopia is a common age-related condition that causes a decline in the ability of the eyes to focus on objects that are close up. It typically begins to affect people in their mid-40s and continues to worsen until around age 65. Unfortunately, it’s a natural part of the aging process, and something we older guys have to learn to live with.
Choosing the Right Verifier Strength
Verifier peep sights are offered in six strengths, from #4 to #9. The lower the number, the weaker the strength. The best way to determine which verifier will work best for you is to visit an archery pro shop with a Specialty Archery verifier test kit where you can try the various strengths to see which works best with your eyes.
If that’s not an option, you can use the table below to pick out the right verifier based on the strength of reading glasses you use. This is not an exact science, so you still may end up needing to buy a couple different strengths to get the one that is best for you. As you’ll notice below, not only are the verifiers numbered, but they are also color-coded for easy identification.
|Verifier #/Color||Reading Glasses Strength|
|#4 Silver||1.0 readers or weaker|
|#5 Purple||1.25 readers|
|#6 Pink||1.25 to 1.75 readers|
|#7 Blue||2.0 readers|
|#8 White||2.0 to 2.5 readers|
|#9 Orange||2.5 readers or higher|
Not only will you need to choose the right strength for your eyes, but you’ll also need to choose the correct diameter. That can be a delicate balancing act. You want one large enough to let in enough light to be able to see your pins right up until the end of legal shooting light. However, the larger opening can actually reduce your vision’s depth of field, so while your pins may be clear, the target may end up blurry. If that’s the case, you will either need to try a weaker verifier or a smaller diameter peep.
Pros/Cons of a Verifier Peep
Discovering verifiers was a true game-changer for me. It enabled me to continue bowhunting with my compound bow, and eliminated a lot of frustration. But I do need to point out that while it may sound like verifiers are a miracle cure for anyone with issues seeing their sight pins clearly, they do come with their downsides.
First — as I mentioned above — while a verifier may clear up the pins on your bow’s sight, it may also result in a blurry target. Which leaves you with the decision of which is better – having clear pins or a clear target? You may be able to adjust which strength you’re using to get the best balance of clear pins and a clear target, but you may still end up sacrificing some clarity of one for the other.
The second challenge of using a verifier is that it can get dirty or fog up, creating issues when you’re drawing back on a deer or other game animal. As a result, I would recommend anyone using a verifier carry a Q-tip in their pack to clean the verifier should it get dirty or fog up. They also make small, rubber covers that go over your peep sight to keep out dirt and debris. However, that’s one more thing you have to remember to remove before drawing back on a deer. I prefer just to leave mine open when I hunt.
|Clears up sight pins||Can result in blurry target|
|Have to keep the lens clean|
|They are a little pricey|
If your sight pins are starting to get a little blurry, or you begin seeing more pins than you should, it may be time to consider a verifier peep sight from Specialty Archery. It’s restored my passion for bowhunting, and my very well do the same for you.