After shooting for a while, many archers want to know what equipment they should upgrade in order to improve their scores. It also goes without saying that seeing your favorite archer with a new piece of tech or upgraded equipment will make you want to go out and see what that’s all about. But what upgrades can actually improve your score and the way your bow feels when you shoot it? Let’s dig in.
The first upgrade you should consider, especially if you’re really enjoying shooting outdoors, is a set of arrows that are made for long-range accuracy. There are several different brands with many options to choose from. In general, these arrows are a smaller-diameter shaft and lightweight, made of carbon or layered carbon and aluminum. This upgrade can help you gain points when shooting outdoors due to their construction and ability to cut through the wind better than a bigger-diameter arrow shaft.
Upgrading your stabilizers can be a tedious task, but it’s ultimately rewarding once you find what you like. Stabilizers are meant to help in the aiming process, but more importantly, they help with the absorption of shock once the arrow is released. The vibration of the bow should be primarily dissipated by the stabilizers; a bow that is not well damped after the shot can lead to joint and muscle pain in the bow arm after prolonged shooting. Upgrading your stabilizers to carbon or a better modulus of carbon can help cut down the vibration felt while shooting. You may also want to consider investing in shock absorbers that help dissipate vibrations more effectively. These come in the form of rubber that is screwed into the stabilizer bar between the bar and the weights. This will help in making your bow feel better, but it can lead to better scores, too, because of the relaxed state your body will be in.
Investing in a high-quality sight and sight ring/scope will give you peace of mind that you won’t have to buy a new one for a very long time. Higher-end sights are made with material that will withstand the immense vibrations of the bow, as well as the outdoor elements that archers must compete in. Archers can also take apart these sights in order to clean and service them, and individual parts can be ordered should a replacement be needed. Having a high-end sight can improve your score because it will not vibrate as much; vibration leads to parts moving, and having a sight aperture that moves is not a good thing in archery. High-end sight pins and scopes generally have more adjustability, and archers can tweak the sight picture to their preferences — potentially gaining more points because of it.
Also, a high-quality lens for a compound scope will last years, and the archer will be able to use it for more than just target archery; 3D and field archery often require a different magnification than target archery, and having multiple high-quality lenses for each discipline will help the archer shoot their best.
Tabs and Release Aids
Updating your finger tab or release aid can make a world of difference. For archers using a finger tab, the leather can get worn over the hundreds of thousands of shots you put through it, and a new leather and suede backing can make shooting more comfortable. The worn-out leather will also be thinner than a new set, so updating your leather might help with those pesky calluses on your string finger.
For many compound archers, a new release aid will most likely run smoother, and companies are constantly thinking about how to improve the performance of their release aids. Upgrading yours might help you make shots that you just couldn’t with your old release.
Both recurve and compound archers can invest in arrow rests. Recurve archers can invest in a metal arrow rest that uses a magnet to control the wire that the arrow sits on. These rests can last years and even decades if the archer knows how to properly take care of them. They can also be adjusted for indoor and outdoor arrows, so only one arrow rest needs to be purchased. Compound archers can invest in an arrow rest that has microadjustability and options to use launcher blades for both indoor and outdoor arrows. The microadjustability will aid in the tuning of the arrow flight, and this will lead to higher scores for the archer.
A New Bow
Although the saying that “a bow is only as good as the archer behind it” is very true, bow manufacturers are constantly trying to figure out how to make their bows more forgiving and easier to shoot. A new bow might help you shoot better. New technology and new materials are being incorporated in order to make bows more consistent and forgiving than their predecessors, which is what draws archers to always want the latest equipment.
No matter what equipment you settle on, practice is the key to success in archery. Just remember that your equipment will often outshoot you, so it’s up to you to live up to the quality you hold in your hands.