Let’s get started!
If you are interested in archery or learning how to shoot a bow I suggest keeping it simple and starting with traditional style equipment. Generally, a “traditional style” bow has one string to nock an arrow that you drawback and release. That’s it. The first bows were simply bent sticks held in place by a strong cord, most likely shot by a very skilled hunter-gatherer. Bows and arrows have gone through heavy evolutionary changes for the better. A modern-style traditional bow can be made from materials such as laminated wood, epoxy, and fiberglass, or a combination of these. Even with their complexities, these new-age sticks and strings can still be considered traditional by definition. All bows have evolved from the basic “stick and string” concept. Traditional archery has the longest lineage and most to offer shooters starting with only the essentials.
Properly fitting a bow to the archer has less to do with the archer’s age than it does with the archer’s physical size. A new shooter could be a man, woman, or child so please do not think a new archer needs a “youth bow”. The beauty of a traditional bow for any beginner is a trad bow’s design and versatility when it comes to fitting the intended archer.
The bow can grow into the archer’s specifications OR the archer can grow into it!
How to determine your draw length?
For example..my arm span is 70″ divided by 2.5 = 28″ draw length and I know my comfortable draw length; where I anchor is 27″ exactly. So the “arm span draw length formula” will absolutely get you in the ballpark in reference to your body size and true draw length to begin the process of buying your first traditional bow.
***NOTE: The Archery Manufacturers Organization has created a “standard” for commercial bows and how they will be measured for retail sale. The draw length and weight on modern/commercial bows is measured at an AMO set draw length of 28″. You need to determine the draw length and draw weight for the new archer. Some youth bows/weights are measured at a draw length of 24″ because only a few inches of draw length can be safely handled beyond that length of pull beyond the manufactures recommended draw length. So please be very cautious when buying anything used, and follow suggested manufacturer guidelines whenever possible
How much draw weight?
An archer’s drawing weight for their first bow is another thing to consider. The draw weight is the measured bows’ strength at a particular draw length and I suggest starting with a bow with a low draw weight to start your journey.
Start low and gradually build up to a comfortable weight that is best suited for your needs. For target archery, the archer needs to hold their drawn bow still and be consistent throughout every aspect of the shooting cycle every time. Field archers may need slightly higher draw weights to give them an advantage of a flatter shooting bow to aid in target/range estimation. For bowhunting, you must check your local hunting regulations and meet the minimum bow hunting draw weight requirements. Do not over bow yourself. It will do not be good to miss or injure the game because you can not hit what you’re aiming at!
There are lots of bows on the market currently so I created an easy-to-use sizing chart that only requires a draw length measurement to get started. Let’s use this data to narrow your search for the best bow for both your budget and shooting needs!
There are 3 sizes of bows that will outfit most new trad bow archers. My “chart” below categorizes these three sizes as small, medium, and large-simple right!
Until the archers learn how to shoot more effectively and further understand what their specific shooting requirements become, this is a great starting point when looking for a first bow and arrow set.
The first of the three sizes would be considered “small”, or for archers under 50″ in overall height with a #15pound max draw weight at 24″ of draw length.
***NOTE: Draw length is @24″ …..not 28″ AMO standards.
Suggested “good” bows for the new archer–
The medium-sized bow would fit archers up to 60″ in height with a draw weight of #25 or more at 28″ of draw length
Suggested “good” bows for the new archer–
***NOTE: Draw length and weights will follow AMO standards for medium and large bow selections.
The large-sized bow would best fit archers up to 70″ in height with a draw weight of #35 or more at 28″ of draw length.
Suggested “good” bows for the new archer–
Another good rule of thumb when it comes to traditional bow sizes and fitting is the relationship in size between the archer’s draw length and the overall length of the bow. GENERALLY, the trad bow should be 2 times the length of the archer’s draw length/arrow length. Try to stay near these dimensional suggestions and you will not be disappointed.
EXAMPLE: If the archer’s draw length is 24″ the bow should be a few inches + or – of 48″ in overall length tip to tip.
If the archer’s draw length is 30″, the bow should be a few inches + or – of 60″ in overall length tip to tip.
***NOTE: These are guidelines to help a beginner buy their first trad bow. Like everything else, there are exceptions to my rule of bow sizes for shorter and longer bows of course but this is a good starting point for the majority. If you need an extra-small or extra-large bow, I would suggest going to a local archery pro shop and being measured by a professional.
Arrows now come in wood, fiberglass, aluminum, carbon, and many composite varieties. I have shot all 3 and for most practical applications for target, field archery, and hunting.
A carbon arrow fletched with feathers are a preferred option for the beginner archer because they’re very hard to break and more affordable than earlywood, or aluminum arrows of the past.
Feathers by design are lighter, have smooth sides, and have rough stepped open edges that catch the wind in flight creating even more “drag”. This slight drag helps steer the arrow and stabilizes an erratic flying arrow quicker than modern plastics. These properties give favor to a new archer with poor techniques and aids in steering every arrow to its mark.
For new trad bow archers, I also suggest inexpensive feather fletched carbon shafts and a matched set of course!
2-3-6 or a dozen…the only way to gauge your shooting abilities is by how consistent your shots are in comparison to your last. For this, you need a set.
Here are some inexpensive carbon arrows with feather fletchings to start out with-
Suggested “good” arrows for the new archer!
For the beginner, I suggest an adhesive-backed stick-on type plastic arrow rest. You just need something for the arrows to rest on securely so you can get arrows downrange as safely as possible. There are many upgrades and screw-on models that will fit the bill just nicely until the archer demands more consistency for accuracy’s sake.
These arrow rest options will not break the bank and work splendidly-
Suggested “good” Arrow Rests for the new archer!
The bow should have come with a factory string and if not you can simply reference the AMO link earlier in the article to determine a proper aftermarket AMO string length for your bow.
I suggest using a singular string “nock” or knocking point the crimp-on type.
You can also tie a knocking point on the bow serving with fine thread. If the thread is not waxed you can use a drop of super glue to set the thread into a solid anchor on the bowstring serving. This now will be the point at which you nock and set your arrow against and draw back the bow to then release.
I will add a few good links to show this process, it is easy and very rewarding to be able to set up and tune your bow yourself-
You can then add multiple knocking points, string “silencers” and even rubber shooting tabs to protect your fingers.
All of this can come later once you’ve started shooting your new bow and know what you need next to improve your accuracy in the sport.
This article is simply a quick start-up guide for new archers looking to get started into the sport with a few good links directing to suggested products found on amazon.
Here are more good links to move you forward in the exciting sport of archery!
LINKS BELOW: for the new archer!
Bows– SEE ABOVE LINKS FOR SMALL, MEDIUM, AND LARGE BOWS TO BUY-
Thanks for the read and if you like what you are reading here and want more check out our free private FB group called The Old World Alliance Lodge.
See you there-
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