Holiday shopping for archery gear can be daunting. So many choices, so little time.
Even when you know what you want, you might struggle to find it. Maybe a friend recommended a bow, or you saw one in a movie or on TV, but you never found it when you were ready to buy. Well, unfortunately, few of those props turn into actual, buyable and useable bows. (Sorry!) That’s why we compiled some choices to help you start flinging your first arrows.
Archers often wear an armguard. Unless, of course, it’s your cousin Earl who keeps bruising his arm every time he shoots. Don’t be like Earl. For just $5, armguards do their job: They protect your bow arm from the bowstring as it speeds past during the shot. As a bonus, you look snazzy in any color you choose. Some even come in leather!
Releases, Tabs or Gloves
We like to accommodate all archers and bow types. Here are three choices to help release the bowstring.
If you shoot a compound bow, we recommend a release-aid. They typically cost $30 to $45, but good ones function a long time. Don’t just grab the first one and run. Visit your local archery store, and ask what type would most benefit you and your shooting style.
Recurve shooters and traditional archers can use both of these next options. We’ve seen Katniss shoot her bow in the “Hunger Games” series using a glove. You can, too! We like this shooting glove because it gives some color choices, which is great for $9, right? Gloves in more traditional styles, and with color options, range from $9 to $20.
The second option for finger shooters is a finger tab. A tab slides onto one of your draw-hand fingers, and covers the palm side of your fingers. Most recurve shooters use a tab instead of a glove because the leather doesn’t wear out as quickly, and it doesn’t cover their entire hand. For $10, who says no?
All archers need a quiver to hold their arrows, right? Many people think archers routinely use back quivers like those worn by Robin Hood. Well, not anymore. Some archers prefer a field quiver or hip quiver. A regular hip quiver keeps your arrow nocks facing out in front to grab, while the field quiver keeps the nocks facing up and behind. That gives archers a little bit of that “back quiver feel” without having to fumble for arrows they can’t see. Whichever style you choose, you’ll be the envy of the other archers on the range. Quivers come in various colors (and some come in leather) for just $25.
Sights: To Use, or Not to Use.
Should you go barebow or get help from an aiming device? Most people shoot better with a bow-mounted sight. For about $20, a standard beginner’s sight lets you easily move the sight pin to the spot needed to hit your target. A nice feature is that you can mark its black surface with a pencil to indicate various yardage settings. Nice, right? Talk to your local archery store about which sight is right for you.
For around $100 you can get your hands on a recurve bow. These bows are easy to set up and start shooting. They’re available in several lengths. Generally speaking, the right size is within 2 inches of your height. It’s all right if the bow is taller than you. Visit your local archery shop for help choosing a bow that’s right for you.
Many recurve bows don’t come with an arrow rest or bowstring, so be sure to buy those two items. They’re essential to a properly shooting bow! A plastic stick-on rest costs about $2.50. The bowstring should be 1 to 2 inches shorter than your bow’s length. Again, a local archery shop can match your string to your bow and set you up for success.
To step up from the Genesis compound bow, consider the Diamond Prism Compound Bow. This setup comes in many colors, and with a sight, peep and rest. Unlike the Genesis, which has no let-off and draws like a recurve, the Diamond Prism has the true feel of a compound bow. Even though it costs $300, understand that most compound setups cost twice that amount. This is a great bang for your buck.
Arrows can be tricky because you must know your draw length and draw weight to ensure you buy the right shafts. We recommend visiting an archery store to guarantee the right match. Go the smart way, not the cheap way, for arrows. For beginners, building your own arrows can be difficult and time-consuming. Archery pros can custom-build them for $7 to $10 per arrow, which means cutting the shafts to the right length and then gluing in the nocks and inserts, as well as the fletching. If you want to learn those skills, ask to watch. Many archery pros appreciate a willingness to learn.
Starting small and working your way up is what archery is all about. Buy all that first-timer gear and then stick with it and have fun shooting arrows with your friends. And whether you pick your favorite color or match those of your friends, you’ll be participating in an awesome activity you can enjoy a lifetime.
So what are you waiting for? Find an archery shop near you and give archery a try today!