Good Bows for Beginners' Archery

Selecting a good bow for the beginning archer is a decision that involves several important factors. It is tempting to allow cost and aesthetic appeal to sway the decision. However, having a successful introduction to the world of archery depends much more on finding the bow that best fits the budding archer. Aspects such as bow style, handedness, bow length, draw weight and draw length should be the first considerations when setting out to buy that first bow.

  1. Bow Styles

    • Bows are available in three basic styles: traditional, recurve and compound. While aesthetics may play into this portion of the decision-making process, so does an archer's reason for getting involved in archery. If bow hunting is the ultimate goal, then a compound bow is the most logical choice. If Olympic gold is the aim, then a recurve bow is a must because it is the only choice allowed in Olympic competition. For young children a traditional bow is a great, and inexpensive, starting point.

    Right or Left Handed

    • A proper understanding of handedness, as it pertains to archery, will prevent buying a completely inappropriate bow. If you hold the bow in your left hand and draw it with your right, then you are a right-handed archer. If you hold it in your right hand and draw it with your left, then you are a left-handed archer.

    Bow Length

    • Choosing the correct bow length is dependent on the archer's height. For those shorter than 5 feet, 6 inches, a 64-inch bow is appropriate. Between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 10 inches, choose a 66-inch bow. For those between 5 feet, 10 inches and 6 feet, 2 inches, a 66-inch bow is correct. For those over 6 feet, 2 inches, a 70-inch bow is in order.

    Draw Weight

    • Draw weight is a hard quality to quantify. It really depends on the individual. It is best to try several bows, in a variety of ranges, to find the best choice. As a rule of thumb, do not choose a draw weight that requires you to strain in order to maintain the draw. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and choose the lighter draw weight.

    Draw Length

    • To determine the correct draw length, hold a measuring tape in the bow hand and draw the tape to the corner of the mouth with the other hand. This measurement is the appropriate draw length. Take this measurement several times to find the average draw.


    • Budget considerations are always going to be a part of the decision-making process. However, when choosing a good starter bow, do not compromise the correct fit to save money. Conversely, there is no need to spend more than necessary just because you had more money allocated. As your interest in archery grows there will be many opportunities to spend that extra cash on accessories and bow maintenance.

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