Have you heard terms like draw length, draw weight and feet per second, but have no idea what they mean? These are common archery terms to get familiar with.

Have you heard terms like draw length, draw weight and feet per second, but have no idea what they mean? These are common archery terms to get familiar with.

Right or Left handed?

You are right handed if you hold the bow in your left hand and pull the string with your right. Once you have established if you are right or left handed this will then apply to all accessories, including tabs, quivers and chestguards.
Draw Length

Draw Length

Draw length is measured in inches, and it’s a measurement of how far you pull back the bow. Your draw length is archery’s version of your clothing size. Just as clothes get tailored to fit you, the bow you choose must fit your draw length.

Measuring your wingspan is an accurate way to begin finding your draw length.

Unlike a compound, recurve and longbows don't have set draw lengths. However your wingspan is still a valuable guide to what your draw length should be and can be used to select the correct length of bow (longer draw length = longer bow).

Compound bow archers have a slightly easier life as most of today's bow are highly adjustable and certainly once you know your wingspan buying a bow that is adjustable +/- 1" of that should be all you will ever need. *

When you have a proper draw length, you shoot better and feel more comfortable at full draw.

* Difference when measuring for a youth vs adult ...

Within reason an adults draw length will be fairly stable, but when following the above with a growing youth archer, it is important to realise they will unlikely be using the same draw weight and even arrow length, six to twelve months from starting out.

As recurve bows are less adjustable, this potentially means changing limbs as a minimum and although you could buy extra long arrows, keep in mind performance will suffer.

Realistically it is best to base your budget according to how quick you think they will grow along with how much they are likley to practice.

More shooting = quicker advancements and the need for new equipment.

We strongly advise not to rush this process, as a rule, beginners equipment is reasonably priced.

Buying more advanced equipment before an archer is ready can have a reverse effect on progression, saving nothing long term.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is the amount of force needed to pull a bow, and it’s measured in pounds.

Recurves and longbows have incrementally heavier draw weights the farther they’re pulled. The standard for determining their draw weight is taken at 28 inches of draw length. The draw weight is marked on the bow’s lower limb with the pound sign (#),such as 34# @ 28”. That translates to 34 lbs. of draw weight at a 28-inch draw length.

Here’s an example to help understand how draw weight varies with draw length.

Staying with a 34 lbs. @ 28" recurve bow - if the archer has a 26" draw this will reduce draw weight by approx. 2 lbs. per inch.

So an archer with a 26" draw in this example will be holding closer to 30 lbs on their fingers.

Compound bows, however, have set draw weights. A compound with a 50 lbs. draw weight at 28 inches will remain at 50 lbs. if it’s adjusted to a 26-inch draw length. Compound bows typically have about a 10 lbs. adjustment range, but some adjust over a huge range in draw weight and draw length.
Arrow Length

Arrow Length

You must know this measurement with certainty when buying arrows and NEVER buy arrows shorter than your draw length.

When starting out we always advise adding at least 1 to 2" arrow length above your draw length.

An arrow’s length is measured from the nock’s deepest part (nock groove) to the end of the shafts, not including point or insert.

Getting into Archery

When you first talk of archery most people think of longbows and Robin Hood. In fact, today archery is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, capturing the imagination of thousands of archers and many more at 'have a go' events run at activity centres, holiday parks, game fairs etc. it is a sport for all, providing opportunities whatever age and ability.

A very inclusive and social sport, archery attracts seniors, juniors, young and old as well as able and disabled all shooting and competing together. You may even come across a whole family shooting at a club or at the same tournament as a large number of parents, children and often grandchildren are members of the same club.

Today archery comes in many different styles, so one of the first things we recomend is to locate a local club.

Archery GB is the largest govening body within the UK, their web site if full of information and also includes an online club finder online - Club Finder

Another main contact to have is the NFAS

The NFAS exists to foster and promote Field Archery as a sport. All their courses are unmarked (i.e. unknown distances), usually situated in woodland, with targets predominantly 3D or paper animal faces, think of it like archery golf, archers walk around a planned coarse, shooting from specific points, at targets placed at unknown distances.

Main Governing bodies

Target Archery

Archery GB

Field Archery - Archery GB & EFAA both offer marked distance woodland shooting

EFAA - English Field Archery Association

Archery GB

NFAS - unmarked woodland shooting - NFAS

With crossbow shooting, we first suggest the NFAS, but there is also a small target crossbow group within the UK, the NCFand if target crossbow is more interesting to you, the best resourse for information will be the IAU - International Crossbow Shooting Union