Buying your first bow and arrows
If you’re about to buy your first bow and arrows you should consider a few things.
1. Start with a low draw weight bow
Archery is a very unique way of using your muscles. Nothing will have prepared you for this, unless you’re a regular rower. So your muscles and more importantly tendons need to be trained to cope with the stress of pulling and holding back the string. If your bow is too strong bad posture may set in permanently: things like not having a definitive anchor point in your face, head tilted too far backwards or forwards, back leaning backwards, bad release etc. It also increases the risk of injuring your shoulder. Your muscles will build up faster than your tendons, so keep practicing good form with this bow for a month longer than you think you need to before you go up in draw weight.
All adults will be comfortable with 20# and most will be with 25# – our Red Ranger longbow and Beginner Black Hunter are available in those draw weights. If you’re fit and regular work out than 30# should still be fine.
The official DOC Hunting draw weight is now only 35# – they too realised that precision beats power (more info here)
But I want to hunt straight away and need 50#!
We see about 50 to 100 newbies at our range every months and noticed that many people overestimate their archery strength. Learning good form with a 25# to 30# bow first will teach your mind and body what is required to make a good shot and with good, regular training you should be able to get up to 40#/45# within 6 to 9 months time . This will allow you to do a powerful shot with great accuracy and leads to a kill you can be proud off.
While this is an unpopular opinion nowadays we firmly believe that training, doing the hard yards and building up strength is vital for success. Don’t forget that a 35# bow drawn out fully to your anchor point is faster and has more impact than a 50# bow drawn only half way.
2. Find out if you need a Right or Left Hand Bow
Find out which one is your dominant eye. This will determine if you will be a right or left hand shooter and if you need a Right or Left Hand Bow (this is counterintuitive, so read on before you order!).
Right Hand Bow: A right hand archer holds the bow in the left hand (bow arm) and pulls the string with the right hand (draw hand). The arrow will therefore be lined up under the right eye so they can look along the arrow towards the target. The arrow passes the bow handle on the left for right hand bows.
Left Hand Bow: A left hand archer holds the bow in the right hand (bow arm) and pulls the string with the left hand (draw hand). The arrow will therefore be lined up under the left eye so they can look along the arrow towards the target. The arrow passes the bow handle on the right for left hand bows.
This video explains how to work out which of your eyes is dominant:
Most people when they are right handed are also right eye dominant and vice versa. However a few people are what is called cross-dominant. It is extremely advisable to practice archery according to your eye dominance. So if you’re right handed, but left eye dominant, then you should shoot a left hand bow.
I have seen first hand what the difference is when I trained with a good female archer who was cross-dominant but didn’t know about it. Her scores in tournaments were always good, but when we started training with a left hand bow and after she got used to it her scores were off the chart. She shot a simple primitive wooden bow, but her scores made other women in the Recurve class jealous.
3. Check that your draw length works with the bow you would like
Your draw length is the information of how far you pull the string back. The draw length is used to work out your minimum required arrow length and provides information on the draw weight of your bow.
Generally the draw length is expressed in INCH and written down with quote marks e.g. 28″ means 28 Inch.
For your first set you just need to make sure that the bow has a maximum draw length at or above your estimated draw length and that your arrows are at least as long as your draw length.
Check out our article to calculate your draw length: CLICK HERE
4. Get a Bow Stringer
A bow stringer is a useful tool to string your bow and protecting your bow limbs from becoming permanently twisted or damaged. It’s worth the investment and in our opinion totally required for bows with strong recurves like the Black Hunter Recurve. Our Bow Stringers are strong and affordable. Nearly every archery store on this planet (ours included) will void your bow warranty if no bowstringer was used. Click here to learn how to use a bowstringer.
5. Invest in a Shooting Glove or Tab
Bow strings are narrow and put a lot of force on your fingers. This can cause pain and may lead to permanent nerve damage. Strings also don’t run that well of finger skin as they do from cured leather, textile or fur, so you’ll shoot better with the right gear.
Buy a good glove – I still use my second glove, it’s now 14 years old. It’s worth the investment! It should fit like a second skin. I like to buy mine one number too small. We got a great rang available that we all tested thoroughly.
6. Get help with your Arrows
Every stick makes a bow, but an arrow is hard work. The arrow needs to fit the bow and you. And it’s a complex system. Even the most basic arrow shaft information, the spine, comes in various ways depending if it’s a wooden, carbon or aluminium shaft. Carbon arrows need also to be splined and they are difficult to lengthen at home. The weight of the arrow tip has as much influence on arrow flight as the type and lengths of feathers. And the length of the arrow has big influence on the dynamic spine. Ask someone to check your nocking point too. If your heads spins by now, just follow my advice and get help – ideally from us!
Oh, and don’t buy an arrow set of Alibaba until you really know what you’re doing AND you can check you got what you ordered at home.
7. Get an Armguard
An armguard is not just to protect you from stringslap ( a hit of the string on the forearm, common on longbows). It can also protect you from serious injuries when anything goes wrong with your arrow, arrow nock or string.
Buy a Complete Set from us
To make your life easy we have created a few sets that have all the above required items and with arrows that are matched to the bows. Click Here for our Bow And Arrow Sets