The Bow Buying Process
You can choose from many types of bows, so it’s best to get some help at the start. If you tell an archery shop owner your budget and the type of archery you want to pursue, the staff will make several bow recommendations based on your parameters. Next, they’ll measure your draw length, which is how far you pull back the bowstring. After that quick measurement, the fun starts. You’ll get to shoot the bows and decide which one feels best.
Once you select your bow, trick it out with accessories. You’ll need a sight, arrows, quiver, arrow rest and release aid. You can even color-coordinate your accessories to make your bow stand out. Custom arrows and bowstrings further personalize your equipment.
The archery shop’s bow technician will assemble and mount your accessories, and fit the bow to you for maximum comfort and accuracy. The bow is then ready to shoot!
Sounds easy, right? But before you rush out the door, gain a little know-how to make your bow-buying process a cinch.
If you know basic archery terminology, shopping will be a breeze. It’s not necessary to become proficient in archery lingo, because store owners are great at working with beginners. But you can make educated decisions if you know more about the types of bows and basic bow parts.
Bows come in all flavors to match your taste. You can choose from compound, recurve and longbows.
A compound bow is a technological marvel that is easy to shoot. A compound bow has two pulleys, or cams, on either end of the bow. These cams give the bow a feature called let-off, which allows an archer to hold the bowstring back longer. The heavy lifting happens with the initial draw-back; after that, the effort it takes to pull the string reduces by as much as 90 percent.
When you see a bow in movies and TV, you’ll usually see a recurve or longbow. Jennifer Lawrence famously wielded a recurve bow in “The Hunger Games.” Deciding between a recurve and longbow is largely personal preference. A recurve bow has swept tips that curve away from the archer. Recurves typically shoot arrows at faster speeds than what straight-limbed longbows can deliver. Longbows lack the recurve’s curved tips, but when strung they have a graceful bend and classic design that’s steeped in history.
All the Accessories You Need to Get Started
You can’t shoot a bow without arrows. Your archery shop will help you select the arrows that are right for your bow. You also need a quiver to hold your arrows during practice. Like everything in archery you’ll have options for your quiver. You can choose the quiver color and style that matches your taste.
If you’re shooting a compound bow, you’ll need a sight to aim your bow. If you are shooting a recurve or longbow you might not use sight, and instead will aim with your arrow or shoot instinctively. However, archers that choose an Olympic recurve will use a sight.
To grip the string, use a release aid or finger tab. Compound archers use a mechanical release aid to pull back a their bow. Release aids clip onto the string and let go of the string when the archer presses a trigger. The design makes for a consistent and accurate shot.
Recurve and longbow archers use their fingers to pull the string. A finger tab or shooting glove will cover your fingers and keep them from getting sore.
An arrow rest holds your arrow and guides it in a straight path when you shoot. On a recurve and longbow, the arrow rest mounts to the bow, or your can use the shelf that is built into the bow. For a compound bow, your archery shop technicians will install an arrow rest.
Before you go to the store, research the fun ways to use your new bow. You can try target archery, 3-D archery, bowfishing, bowhunting, field archery, or just shoot for fun in the backyard. You have no shortage of archery activities to keep you busy as you start this exciting new sport. If you find one you like, let the shop know. This will help them suggest the right bow and accessories to match that discipline.
You don’t need to be an archery expert to buy a bow. The staff at an archery shop will teach you everything you need to know about archery and get you started.