How to Buy a Bow

If you are in the market to buy a bow of your own, whether it is your first or your 21st bow, it is critical to make sure you buy a bow that properly fits your body and training style. Doing so will help you avoid training injuries due to using a bow that is improperly sized or weighted for the type of shooting you do. This is your guide to buying a bow from pro archery shops, in order of importance.

Eye Dominance

The first thing to consider when buying a bow is do you choose a left- or right-handed bow. While most would think they would choose a bow to fit their dominant hand, in fact your dominant eye should drive your buying choice. Just like one hand is stronger and more coordinated than the other, the same is true for your eyes. This allows you to aim the arrow with your dominant eye, while keeping your non-dominant eye open, adding greater field and depth to your sight while shooting.

To determine your dominance, Make a circle with your hands and look through it at a fixed point with both eyes open. If you close one eye, and the fixed point moves out of your hand-aperture, the closed eye is your dominant eye. If you close an eye and the fixed point stays in view, the open eye is your dominant eye. If your right eye is dominant, you will use a right-handed bow. Vice versa for southpaws.

Bow Length

The length of the bow is also important, as it determines the length of the draw. To find your proper bow length, hold an arrow with both arms outstretched in front of you and the nock end against your chest. Measure the farthest point you can reach on the arrow, and add one inch for a safety margin (a little large is better than a little short) and multiply this length times 3. This will give you a good starting place to begin your search for the proper length of bow.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is one of the most important aspects of a bow, depending on its use. If you plan to use a bow for game hunting, you need a powerful, usually compound bow heavy enough to bring down a large animal. However, this draw weight may not be suitable for everyday training use. To determine your draw weight place your non-drawing arm and knee on a weight bench and pick up a dumbbell off the ground. The heaviest weight you can lift for 15-20 repetitions is going to be your ideal weight for training use.

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