A Beginner's Guide to Choosing the Right Arrow

Archery is a sport that is centered on precision and technicality. Whether shooting paper targets or hunting large game, choosing the proper arrow involves a technical and accurate process for the archer. The proper arrows are able to improve the accuracy and success of a shot. In addition, when trying to bring out the most reliable performance from your bow, the first step is taking into serious consideration your arrow.

Understanding Your Arrow

Before discussing how to choose the arrow, it is imperative to understand the make-up of your arrow. The arrow has five main parts. These are:

The Shaft – This is a long hollow tube and it is usually made up of carbon materials or aluminum.

The Nock – This is a small piece of molded plastic and it is fitted to the rear point of the arrow. It helps the arrow to attach itself to the bow string.

The Insert – This is a small plastic or aluminum sleeve at the front of the arrow that is glued to the end of the shaft.

The Tip – This is a piece that is screwed into the insert. It is made in a range of materials.

The Fletching – The colorful parabolic shaped pieces found near the nock. They are made of soft plastic or feathers, and are usually 3 in number. They are glued to the shaft in a symmetrically spaced circular pattern.

Properties to Consider when Choosing your Arrow

When choosing a proper arrow, it is important for the arrow to be the correct length and have the right spine. The correct length has an impact on the accuracy of arrows fired. The right spine refers to the way in which the spine bends. Selecting the correct length depends several factors which are: 

·      The draw length of the bow

Measuring draw length is simple. The archer needs to stand naturally, and be relaxed, with their arms spread apart. The length of the arm span, from one middle finger to the other, with the arms out and palms facing down, should be measured. This figure should then be divided by 2.5. The final answer is the draw length (in inches) of the bow. The arrow should then be made to be one inch longer than the draw length, as the point of the arrow (the tip) is always required to be in front of the bow.

·      The type of bow being used

The recurve bows can be drawn to any length, which offers flexibility when choosing an arrow to use. However, the compound bow can only be drawn to a particular distance, and the arrows that are to be shot must be fired from the full draw position. The arrow spine and length depend on the type of bow being used. This is particularly important because should the arrow be too short, it could lead to serious injury to the archer who might shoot their own hand.

·      The pliability of the shaft

Shafts which are bendier when compared to other arrows, are ideal for lower weight bows as they have a higher deflection. Bows which are less pliable, or are heavyweight, require arrows with stiffer spines. A longer arrow will have a weaker spine, although it can be tuned by slowly cutting a ¼ inch at a time, until the flight of the arrow is perfected.

·      The arrow material being used

Arrows are made from various materials including wood, carbon, fiberglass and aluminum. Each material has different properties affecting the usability of the arrows in different ways. In addition, these materials are available in various shaft patterns. For example, carbon shaft patterns include pure black, wood grain and camouflage. These additional patterns help to add some style to the arrow.

Effects of Materials on Arrow Functions


Arrow choice is affected by the expected use of the arrow. For example, archers interested in target shooting have a need to shoot longer distances, and therefore, they need lighter arrows. In contrast, a hunter would require an arrow with a heavier weight for deeper penetration. The material being used plays a big part in how the arrow will be used, including which bows are best for certain arrow.

Wooden arrows fly more quietly than other arrows as they are solid. Arrows that are hollow in the middle of the shaft tend to be louder when shot. These arrows are also amongst the least expensive available, and embody traditional arrows. In order to remain in good condition, they must be constantly maintained. Looks wise, they need to be stained before they are used.

Arrows made from carbon are more durable than the wooden arrows. Their main advantage is that they are easy to customize, such as, upgrading or changing the nocks and inserts. They are more consistent and much lighter than wooden arrows. The arrows looks are also updated on an almost annual basis, meaning there are many colors and designs available.

Aluminum arrows are significantly heavier than wooden or carbon arrows. They are extremely affordable, and ideal for any archer seeking for value for their money. They offer excellent penetration and are made from tough material. They bend more easily than other shafts, but they are durable. As they are easily available, they can also be found in many colors and designs.

The fiberglass arrows are rarely used today. They are ideal for young novice archers. This is because the shaft is very strong and they are the heaviest in weight of all the different arrows. As well as being affordable, they are also resilient. Most fiberglass arrows are available in the color black. For a novice archer who requires a lot of practice so that they can hone in on their skills, this arrow is ideal as it is hard to break.

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