We live in the golden age of archery equipment. From bows to targets, manufacturers are producing high quality gear that fits any budget and all archers.
To help manufacturers make products that meet the specific needs of new archers of all sizes –
especially women and youths – the Archery Trade Association created an equipment development program.
The ATA is an organization that includes retailers, manufactures and other companies in the archery industry. One of their chief missions is to grow archery. Archery 360 and the equipment development program are part of that goal.
Here’s how the program works: The ATA puts new products into the hands of experienced archery coaches and instructors– including archery retailers, and staffs at summer camps and park-and-recreation groups – who evaluate each piece of gear and provide feedback to the manufacturer. This open, unbiased feedback generates high-quality, user-friendly products.
Why do you need a bow that fits? Archery isn’t a one-size-fits-all sport. For maximum comfort and enjoyment, a professional at an archery shop should fit your equipment to you.
Choosing Gear That Fits
A few features make a bow fun and easy to shoot. First is the draw length, which is how far the archer pulls back the bowstring before releasing the arrow. The length of an archer’s arms determines their draw length. A person of a short stature will have a shorter draw length than a tall individual.
Next is draw weight, which is the effort required to pull back a bowstring to full draw. Again, a professional should help you determine which bow has the correct draw weight for you. Most archers will begin with a low draw weight bow because archery uses muscles that aren’t used for other activities.
Last, the length of your bow is considered for a proper fit. A longer bow will fit a tall person and a short bow will fit a shorter person. This is especially true with recurve bows because bow length matched to a person’s draw length will result in greater arrow speed.
Recurve bows come in lengths from 48 inches to 72 inches and draw lengths from 10 pounds to over 60 pounds. Most beginners will use a recurve bow that is under 40 pounds in draw weight.
If you’re a new archer looking to gather the necessary gear to get started, here are products recently tested by the ATA equipment development program
OMP Bow Kits
October Mountain Products produces entry-level recurve bows for youths and adults. The Passage Bow Package puts everything beginners need into one kit that includes a bow, arrows, quiver, armguard and bow-stringer. The bow has a 20-pound draw weight and measures 54 inches, which makes it ideal for archers age 7 to 12.
If you’re an adult or teen who’s looking for an all-inclusive archery set, consider the Adventure 2.0 Bow Package. It’s much like the Passage Bow Package, but has several bow-length options to fit everyone from youths to adults. You can choose from a 48-, 54-, 62- or 68-inch bow. These bows are made from walnut, maple, padauk and white oak, which give them a traditional look.
Rinehart NASP Target
Rinehart is famous for its premium targets. That target technology is now available for beginners with the NASP target, named for the National Archery in the Schools Program. The NASP target is brightly colored and has a built-in bow stand. The center portion is replaceable for increased target life. Arrows easily pull out of the target, making it ideal for youths.
Hurricane Bag Target
The Hurricane bag target is durable, cost-effective and easy to carry. It’s an ideal target for backyard ranges or archers on the go. Bag targets have a replaceable, woven outer target, and their interiors are stuffed with arrow-stopping material. The Hurricane bag target comes in 20-, 25- and 28-inch models. A large target is perfect for home archery ranges, and the smaller models are portable.
To begin your archery journey, all you need is a bow package and a target. You’ll find them at an archery store, where you can expect helpful advice and professional service. To find an archery shop, click here.