Selecting your first set of arrows for your recurve bow can be confusing, given all the components and fletching on the market. Even so, most such items are meant for compound bows, and won’t work for most recurve archers.
The first step is selecting a type of arrow to shoot, which means knowing whether you’ll mostly shoot indoors or outdoors. If indoors, you can choose heavier, more durable arrows such as an aluminum shaft or a fatter carbon shaft. You won’t be shooting long distances, so the arrow’s heavier weight won’t be a big factor.
If you’ll shoot primarily outdoors, skinny carbon arrows best suit your needs. These arrows’ small profile and light weight make them a better choice for long-range accuracy. If you plan to shoot indoors and outdoors, you might want an intermediate-sized arrow. Or you can follow the lead of many professional recurve archers by shooting your outdoor arrows at indoor events.
The next components to consider are the points and nock system. The most common points you’ll see on recurve arrows are glue-in one-piece models. That’s because screw-in points vary too much, and if one gets slightly unscrewed while shooting, archers can struggle getting that arrow through the clicker because of its increased length.
A good nock system protects arrows from the back and reduces Robin Hoods when archers are grouping tightly. Most thick arrows have an aluminum collar on the back where the nock installs, and that collar helps protect the arrow’s back. Small-diameter arrows have an aluminum pin system on the back, and their nocks press-fit over the pin, which deflects incoming arrows from the rear.
Choosing a plastic nock to shoot is mostly personal preference, given how it fits on your string, and (not surprisingly) which colors are available.
Fletching is the final consideration for building recurve arrows, and it’s simple. Indoor shooters generally prefer bigger, higher-profile fletching so the arrow can quickly correct itself upon release. These fletchings can be made from feathers, plastic, or oversized spin-vanes. Bigger fletchings aren’t helpful outdoors because they shed speed so quickly. Archers want outdoor arrows to maintain speed as long as they can after their release.
That’s why smaller fletching is more popular outdoors, where arrows must maintain downrange speed. Some popular outdoor fletchings are the small-profile plastic fletch; and spin vanes, such as Spin Wings, Spydervanes, and Gas Pro.
Building your ideal arrow gets easier with experience, and through trial and error. Archers enjoy experimenting with different setups, including unconventional arrow setups. Check your arrows periodically for straightness, and constantly monitor the condition of your nocks and fletchings. A key to shooting success is good arrows for your desired shooting style. And practice, of course.