Choosing the right bow is not that straight forward, there are many models, lengths and draw weights. On this page we give you a couple pointers to guide you through the process.
On this page we assume that you are a beginning archer, so keep that in mind when you read these tips. This doesn’t mean that the page is useless for advanced shooters, there is some useful information on here.
Picking a bow is a very personal thing, which is why we advise to visit our physical store for a truly fitting advice.
When choosing a bow, three things are of great importance:
1) Left- or Righthand bow?
2) What is your draw length?
3) Which draw weight fits you?
1. Left- or Righthanded bow?
People used to base their decision on which eye is dominant to choose your handedness. Nowadays it’s common to look at actual ‘handedness’ in terms of writing for example (The hand that feels most natural to use). We prefer the latter as a guideline.
How do you find out which of your eyes is the dominant one?
Finding out which eye is dominant is quite simple. Make a small hole between your two hands and look through the hole with both eyes open. Point at a still object. Close your left eye, can you still see the object? This means your right eye is dominant. If all is correct, the object will disappear if you close your right one in stead with your hands in the same position.
2. What is your draw length?
Draw length is the term for how far you pull back your bow. Obviously, this is a very personal thing. It’s important to know your draw length, since it plays a role in picking the length of your future bow.
How do you check your draw length?
There are multiple ways of checking what your draw length is or should be. We will show you two commonly used methods.
Method 1 – Calculated draw length
With this method you will determine your draw length by measuring your armspan and dividing it by 2,5. It’s easiest to do this with two people. Stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed, and spread your arms out wide. Don’t overstretch your arms but don’t bend your elbows either. Now have the other person measure from your one tip of your middle finger to the other. This will give you a pretty accurate indication of what the draw length should be, although there are some cases where it’s not 100 percent correct.
Since nearly everything in archery is indicated in inches, you will have to divide your centimeters by 2,54 to get the draw length in inches.
Method 2 – Measure your actual draw length
This second method is simply measuring your draw length by pulling back the bow and holding a measuring tape next to the arrow. In our store we always measure the customers’ draw length using a draw length indicator by Easton. This is practically an arrow with the inches printed on there so that it’s easy to see what the draw length is.
This method gives you the most reliable reading, but proper technique is a must. If you are still working on your technique this method might give you an incorrect result and your drawlength might get shorter or longer as time passes.
Draw Length and Bow Length
Now that you know what your draw length is, you can see which bows will fit you. Below you will find some more information in terms of draw length in relation to bow length.
Bow that’s too long
Shooting a bow that’s too long for your drawlength can mean that you don’t put enough energy into the limbs of the bow to fire the arrow with sufficient speed. Every bow has a different force curve and ideal peak draw length. For most bows, the draw weight is measured with the bow pulled back 28 inches. How the actual build-up in poundage is differs between bows, and will typically feel different for a short bow than a longer example. A bow with recurve limbs will also feel different than longbow limbs.
Hunting Recurve and Hybrid bows
48-56 inch until approx 28 inch
58 inch until approx 29,5 inch
60 inch 26,5 – 29,5 inch
62 inch 28 – 30,5 inch
64-66 inch Longer than 28 inch
Tot 60 inch – Maximum 28 inch
62-64 inch – 27 – 30
66-68 inch – tot 31
70 inch + – longer than 30
3. Which draw weight will fit you best?
Choosing the right draw weight is very personal, it depends on factors like:
– Physical shape
– Experience with archery
– Draw Length
Choosing a bow that’s too heavy for you often means you will not be able to learn proper technique, which in turn makes you more injury prone. We advise beginning archers to start with a relatively light bow. If you start shooting more actively and on the regular, your strength will increase and you can often pick a heavier bow. Never be ashamed of starting off light, most of us did!
Men: 25-35 lbs
Women: 20-30 lbs
Youth 10-12 y/o – 10-15 lbs
Youth 12-16 y/o – 15-25 lbs
Youth 16+ y/o – 15+ lbs
Again, to be able to pick a poundage that will certainly fit you, we advise trying a bow first or coming by our store for a fitting advice. This prevents you from picking a bow that’s either too heavy or too light.