Buying Equipment

Take a bow … Great Britain's Alison Williamson competes in the Olympics 2012 archery at Lord's.

Archery is a relatively inexpensive sport to take part in. However the main costs can be in purchasing your kit. Fortunately these days a lot of second hand kit can be purchased on line. But it is advisable to have such equipment checked before use. It should be noted that certain items have to be the correct size and weight for the archer. Bow handles are ‘handed’. Most adult recurve bows come in three sizes (66 inch, 68 inch and 70 inch). Most adult men use 68 inch handles.

The club provides all the basic kit you need for the induction training course. But following the completion of your basic 6 lessons, you will need to consider purchasing your own equipment.

The selection of your bow and arrows is the priority. As an adult beginner you might have started with a 20 lb bow weight, perhaps advancing to 24 lbs by the end of the course. This will generally be too light for accurate outdoor shooting and an assessment would be needed to determine the optimum bow weight at this stage of your development. Note: a junior will be started with a much lighter bow. The bow weight is the force required to draw the bow string to a 28 inch length.

New archers tend to start with a wooden take-down training bow. and aluminium arrows. A take-down recurve bow is the typical bow used in the club. This comprises a riser or handle and a matched pair of limbs which connect to it.

Training bows come in a range of lengths (62-78 inches) and draw weights (16-34 lb) at 28 inches draw. The draw length and weight determines the length of arrow required. This in turn depends on the physique, strength and technique of the archer.  In turn, the spine (or stiffness) of the arrow depends on the the weight and draw length. It is usual for an archers draw length and weight to increase with experience.

It is important not to be ‘over-bowed’ i.e. to buy limbs with too heavy a weight, as you will struggle to draw the bow and this will ruin your form. A typical adult male might draw 36-38 lbs, (but maybe only 30-32 lbs at the outset).

  • In buying kit It is important to allow for your development. Usually an archer’s draw length increases with experience so that they draw more arrow length through the bow. So it is best to buy arrows that are a little longer then the ideal so that you don’t have to replace them once you develop.
  • In short you need expert advice in determining these characteristics before you buy these items. Club members may advise but it is best to consult a reputable archery shop. At the shop you would get the opportunity to try different setups and they may also tune the bow for you.
  • Refer to our ‘useful websites’ page for some archery shops.
  • Once you have bought your kit it will need to be set up to meet your shooting profile – and then tuned. If you buy new kit then the shop should help you with this. Otherwise refer to the Easton tuning guide.
  • When initially selecting limbs it is important to remember that you may be shooting 9-12 dozen arrows in a round so you need to be confident of consistently repeating the same draw many times.
  • As you progress you may need to upgrade you kit to achieve higher poundage and longer draw length.  Higher rated limbs may require stiffer arrows, so that a change of one may require a change of the other.

Beginners’ Equipment

[During Beginners’ courses, all equipment basic is provided by the club.]

You don’t need to have everything on day one, but the following will get you started. However, it is advisable that equipment is not purchased until the end of the course so that when purchasing the supplier will have a bench mark to start with.

Also note that some archery kit is ‘handed’. Your handedness will depend on whether you are right handed /right eye dominant or vice-versa. A right handed archer holds the riser in his left hand and draws the string with his right hand.

  • Bow  (riser (handed) and limbs)- Wooden Take Down bows are good to start on but there are some good inexpensive metal handled bows on the market.
  • Bow Sight (handed) -also a scope if you shoot a compound bow. Compound bow sights are different to recurve ones.
  • Arrow Rest (handed)- A basic one will do to start with.
  • Arm Bracer -to protect your arm from the bowstring.
  • Bow Stringer – (for recurve bows) This will make putting the string on the bow much easier and will prevent damage to the bow.
  • Arrows – Start with a basic set of aluminium arrows. At this stage buy them for durability. You should purchase spare fletchings and piles.
  • Quiver (handed)- Any type will do providing it holds 6 arrows. You may want one with pockets to hold bits and pieces.
  • Tab (handed) – If you can afford to get a platform tab [i.e. one with a hard platform above the fingers] you will generally benefit from the more consistent anchor point it will give you.
  • Bow stand- a basic one will do
  • Bow Stringer
  • A release aid if you shoot a compound bow.
  • An Arrow puller
  • An Archery case or bag to hold your kit.

Some Useful websites of Archery shops: