Buying a bow is all about fit and feel. Shooting your bow should feel natural, like an extension of your body. Two important aspects to determining proper bow fit are your dominant eye – which eye you use to aim – and your draw length, which is how far back you pull the bow.
Just like you have a dominant hand, you also have a dominant eye. To find out which eye is dominant, choose an object in the distance on which to focus. With both eyes open, point at the object. Next, close one eye, then switch and close the other one. You’ll notice your finger stays on the object with one eye open and moves with the other eye open. Your dominant eye is the one that was open when your finger stayed put.
For most people, their dominant eye is on the same side as their dominant hand. However, exceptions exist. If you find that your dominant eye is on the opposite side of your dominant hand, you’ll need to make adjustments when shooting a bow.
For example, archers who are right-handed and left-eye dominant have two options: They could shoot a left-handed bow, or they could wear an eye patch over their left eye, which allows the right eye to aim the bow. While it’s debatable which solution is best, try both at the archery shop to see which you prefer.
Draw length is a measurement of how far you pull back your bow. You can approximate your draw length by taking your wingspan and dividing it by 2 1/2. This will give you a starting point to fine-tune the draw length that works best for you. The archery shop’s staff can then adjust the bow’s draw length until it’s comfortable and you have proper form. On bows, draw length is measured from the apex of the string to the deepest part of the bow’s grip, plus 1 ¾ inches.
After you determine eye dominance and draw length, the rest of the bow-buying process is a lot of fun. You’ll get to shoot several 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. First experience with the sport? Remember to register for archery lessons at your local shop and have some fun learning all about archery!