If you’re about to buy your first bow 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. 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 very bad posture will become a habit: 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.
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 and pulls the string with the right 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 and pulls the string with the left 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. 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 Stringer Pro is great, strong and affordable. Nearly every archery store on this planet (ours included) will not warranty twisted limbs if no bowstringer was used.
4. Invest in a good Shooting Glove or Tab
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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
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