About the Different Types of Archery Arrows


There are many different types of archery arrows to select from when learning about archery. Each arrow type has unique features that make it useful for specific purposes. Knowing which types of arrows to use in each circumstance can make all of the difference between becoming a successful archer and becoming a frustrated one. Learning how to shoot each kind of arrow accurately will take time and patience, but the knowledge gained from practice will make the task worthwhile.


  • In early times, arrows were fashioned from various types of wood for the shaft, feathers for the fletchings, and rock or bone was used for the arrowheads. Lighter weight woods resulted in arrows that shot straighter and faster, but had a greatly reduced level of penetration. Conversely, the heavier woods resulted in arrows that were much shorter range, but also much more effective in taking down their targets.


  • Modern arrows are made from a variety of materials including wood, aluminum, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and various composite materials. The flexibility of an arrow, called its spine, is a good measure of how accurate the arrow will be. Too much spine, or stiffness, will result in a uselessly inaccurate arrow that probably won't travel very far. Not enough spine, however, can bring about the same results.

Expert Insight

  • When using a center shot bow, archers may select their arrows from a much broader spine range. This is because a center shot bow allows the arrow to pass through the exact center of the bow instead of having to bend around the handle. However, traditional bows are much more limited in their spine range because the arrow must make the initial bend around the handle in order to achieve a straight shot.


  • Wood arrows are the cheapest variety, but they also provide the least amount of consistency brought about by the inconsistent nature of the wood. Because beginning archers tend to lose and break more arrows, wood is the recommended starting material because of its cheapness.


  • Aluminum arrows can be made to a much greater level of consistency than is possible with wood. They are durable, available in a wide range of sizes, and are conveniently crafted for interchangeable arrowheads. They can be somewhat cost-prohibitive, however, and are not recommended for beginners who tend to lose arrows more frequently.


  • Fiberglass arrows provide good consistency in their construction and are adaptable in sizes and weights. Unfortunately, fiberglass is also very brittle, causing these kinds of arrows to break and crack more easily during use.


  • Composite (carbon wrapped aluminum) arrows are considered by most archers to be the most durable and efficient style available. They are higher velocity arrows with all of the benefits of aluminum and none of the weaknesses of fiberglass. These arrows are also the most expensive, so they are recommended for expert archers only.

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