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What Do Stabilizers Do?

Stabilizers come in many sizes and configurations, but all serve the same purpose. They reduce vibration when the archer releases an arrow, and stabilize the bow by increasing its inertia. Without stabilizers, bows can feel unstablewhile archers aim, potentially making it difficult to hold their bow stationary. They can also feel significant bow vibrations after it launches the arrow.


Stabilizers help to absorb some of the shock of the arrow leaving the bow. Photo credit: World Archery

Modern target and hunting bows efficiently propel arrows with lots of force. In fact, an arrow’s acceleration is hundreds of times greater than that of gravity’s, which is 9.8 m/s2. (In layman’s terms, gravity increases an objects speed by 9.8 metersper second every second.) With that much force pushing the arrow, and the bow not being a perfect mechanical system—it doesn’t transfer 100% of its stored energy—the wasted energy releases through sounds and vibrations.

The bow’s vibration will usually be a high-frequency force, which can potentially hurt the archer and extreme cases of repeated vibrations going through the wrist and elbow can cause tendinitis, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel. Archery’s repetitive motions and extensive vibrations from shooting bows increase the chances of causing physical issues. Therefore, good stabilizers absorb shock and potentially extend archers’ shooting careers.

With stabilizers protruding from the bow, and flexible shock absorbers (such as Doinker A-Bombs) attached to the bow, vibrations dissipate much faster. The result is more pleasant shooting, and less chance of pain in the archer’s bow arm.


Because the bow will be more balanced, it will be easier to hold the bow in place with a stabilizer. Photo credit: World Archery

Adding stabilizers to your bow also smooths the aiming process by increasing the bow’s inertia which can equate to less motion. Inertia refers to an object’s tendency to either remain at rest or keep moving. In this case, increasing the bow’s mass slows the movement in the archer’s bow arm while aiming and this increases the archer’s ability to aim more steadily at the target’s center. It’s possible, however, to add too much mass weight to a bow, which causes quicker fatigue and poorer results. More mass does not guarantee higher scores.

Archers can experiment with weight distribution to see if they like their setup to be neutral or more front-heavy.

It’s easy to get caught up in what other archers do with their stabilizer setups. Copying top archers’ stabilizer configuration is common, but archers should experiment with different setups to learn what works best for them.

Every archer is different, and stabilizer setups can vary depending on whether you have a static or dynamic shot. Stabilizers and their weights are easily customized, which makes for endless opportunities to explore your options. Try as many combinations as you wish, but remember one thing: Shot execution, not stabilizers, makes arrows hit the middle.



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Learn the basics here, from the different styles of archery to how to choose the bow that’s right for you.


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