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3 Frequently Asked Archery Equipment Questions

Question #1. What is a good beginner bow for someone who is new to archery?

Answer. Any 3-piece recurve bow is a good starter bow for someone who is just getting into archery.

I don't recommend compound bows, longbows, traditional horsebows or Olympic recurves for beginners. Compound bows require extra attention to safety and how to tune them properly. Longbow stance is more difficult than recurve and people really should learn recurve stance before learning longbow stance. Traditional horsebows and similar shortbows are great historical examples of traditional recurves, but a person would still be wise to learn recurve first before jumping into the deep end of the pool. And Olympic recurve is really unnecessary for the vast majority of shooters who are doing archery for fun. Olympic is all about using gadgets to try and get as much accuracy as you can out of the bow and like compounds you need to know how to properly tune those gadgets - and again, you really should learn to swim before jumping into the deep end of the pool.

Regarding brands, 3-piece recurve bows are all basically the same except for looks. Ragim Matrix, Samich Sage, Jandao, PSE, Hoyt, Bodnik and 50+ other brands all make basically same bow. Minor differences in colour, shape and materials.

Question #2. How should I select which kind of arrows are right for me and right for my bow?

Answer. It all comes down to the spine flexibility of the arrow. Follow the steps below to find which spine is right for your arrows.

First, determine your draw length when pulling back to your anchor spot. (If you don't know what your anchor spot is, maybe you should get archery lessons first.) You will want to get arrows approx. 1 inch longer than your draw length.

Next, determine the poundage of your bow at that draw length. eg. If your bow is a 28 lbs @ 28 inches draw, then it should be roughly 1 lb of pressure per inch. So if your draw length is 26 inches you will need to get 27 inch long arrows that are good for a bow that is 26 lbs since your draw length is a bit shorter.

Next you will Google the words "arrow selection chart" (see graphic below for an example) and consult various manufacturers charts. Use the charts to find out which type of arrow are good for someone using that draw length and that poundage. The brand name arrows and model numbers will typically have a 3 or 4 digit number on the arrow somewhere showing the range of uses it is good for.

So using our example above, someone with 27 inch arrows and pulling 26 lbs will want "600" spine arrows.

Then order the arrows online or visit a local archery shop that makes custom arrows on order, and get yourself the arrows that suit you best in the fletching that you want.

Question #3. Which are better? Tabs or finger gloves or trigger release aids or thumb rings?

Answer. Whichever feels best for you. Archers are all unique and choose what they want to. Generally speaking compound shooters use mechanical release aids, Olympic recurve shooters use tabs, and super traditional archers use carved bone/antler thumb rings... Myself I prefer good ol' finger gloves and I sometimes shoot without gloves at all - barehand shooting. It hurts the fingers more, so it is not for everyone.

Try not to get too hung up on having the perfect / most expensive equipment. Any archer worth their salt has been doing archery for years and knows it is not the equipment that makes the big difference, it is the archer's training, experience and ability to focus on the task at hand. An old archer with their bow should be like an extension of their arm. Thousands of hours of practice has taught them what to do to get the most accuracy out of the extension of themselves. Equipment won't teach you that. Get equipment that works, practice-practice-practice, and everything else will fall into place.

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