There are two main forms of aiming in archery: using a mechanical or fixed sight or bare bow. Bare bow aiming methods include Gap, Split Vision, Point of Aim, String Walking, Face Walking and Instinctive Aiming.
Mechanical sights can be affixed to the bow to aid in aiming. They can be as simple as a pin or optical with magnification. They usually also have a peep sight built into the string which aids in a consistent anchor point. Modern compound bows automatically limit the draw length which gives a consistent arrow velocity while traditional bows allow great variation in draw length. Mechanical methods to make a traditional bow's draw length consistent are sometimes used. Instinctive archers use a sight picture which includes the target, the bow, the hand, the arrow shaft and the arrow tip, as seen at the same time by the archer. With a fixed "anchor point" and a fully extended bow arm, successive shots taken with the sight picture in the same position will fall on the same point. This allows the archer to adjust aim with successive shots in order to achieve accuracy. Modern archery equipment usually includes sights. Instinctive aiming is used by many archers who use traditional bows. The two most common forms of a non-mechanical release are split-finger and three under. Split-finger aiming requires the archer to place the index finger above the nocked arrow, while the middle and ring fingers are both placed below. Three-under aiming places the index, middle, and ring fingers under the nocked arrow. This technique allows the archer to better look down the arrow since the back of the arrow is closer to the dominant eye, and is commonly called "gun barreling".
When using short bows or shooting from horseback it is difficult to use the sight picture. The archer may look at the target but without including the weapon in the field of accurate view. Aiming involves a similar sort of hand/eye coordination which includes proprioception and motor/muscle memory between the mind/body connection that is used when throwing a baseball or shooting a basketball. With sufficient practice, such archers can normally achieve good practical accuracy for hunting or for war. Aiming without a sight picture may allow more rapid shooting.
Currently Instinctive shooting is a term used to describe a style of shooting that includes the bare bow aiming method that relies heavily upon the subconscious mind, proprioception and motor/muscle memory to make aiming adjustments while years ago the term was used to generalize and/or categorize those archers who did not use a mechanical or fixed sight.
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