Whether you’re interested in getting a tool for hunting or simply want to have something to fire at the range, you may overlook bows in favor of guns. We understand why too. Firearms are cool, fast, and easy to use. However, buying a gun is significantly more complicated than purchasing a bow and arrow. You need a license just to own one, unlike a bow. Plus, bows are way cheaper, and some would argue that they’re even more fun to use.
If we’ve piqued your interest, or you’ve already had a slight interest in getting a bow and arrow set, you’ve come to the right place. In this beginner’s guide to archery, we’ll cover what you need to get started in this exciting new hobby.
Best Bow Types for Beginners
There are multiple types of bows you can buy for yourself. But since you’re new to this activity, we’ll go over each of the three basic ones that you can start with.
We’ll start with the most recognizable type: the recurve bow. When people try to picture a typical bow and arrow in their head, this is the one that usually comes to mind. It has a simple, sleek design that includes all the basics you need in a bow. The main focus of these is accuracy, which is why athletes and people who want to improve their aim at the range use them the most. They’re also on the cheaper end of the bow marketplace.
If you like the idea of a standard bow but want to get some more power out of your shots, compound bows are what you’re looking for. On each end, the pulleys (or cams) allow users to have significantly more power behind their shots with much less effort. These cams enable the bow to compound the forces that it exerts once released, hence its name. These bows’ strength is what makes them an excellent choice for hunters.
If the compound bow just isn’t powerful enough for you for some reason, you’ll want to look into getting a crossbow. Arrows that you shoot out of these will move much faster and cover more ground than compound bows of the same strength. The crossbow’s design also allows for better accuracy, giving you the best of both standard bow types. But that comes at the cost of the speed of reloading and a higher upfront price tag.
The Different Kinds of Arrows
Now that we’ve covered the weapon itself, it’s time to go over the various types of ammunition that you can use for it.
Let’s begin this section with classic wooden arrows. These are what most bow users in the past used before modern advancements in technology. They’re probably the most impractical for hunting, but that doesn’t mean nobody uses them anymore. If you’re willing to spend enough money, you can get some high-quality ones.
No matter how well a company crafts them, though, they will always be more delicate than their metal counterparts, which is why we don’t recommend using them with compound bows or crossbows. Instead, these are best for recurve bows.
Aluminum arrows are the most popular for beginners. So, they’re the kind that we suggest for you to use in the beginning. You can usually get these for a reasonable price. They’re sturdy enough for use with stronger bows but light enough to be easy to use.
Carbon Fiber Arrows
These are the heavy hitters. People most often use carbon fiber arrows with compound bows and crossbows. They’re also the go-to-choice for experienced bow users. They’re usually on the expensive side, but it’s possible to find some that have more reasonable prices.
Build Your Own
While arrows are arguably cheaper than bullets since they’re reusable, they can still cost too much for some people. That’s why building your own is always a good option. Probably the most important part you’ll need to purchase is the shafts. Just keep in mind all the things we mentioned above when ordering them. If you’re looking to buy arrow shafts of your own, be sure to check out our vast selection online.
Bow Attachments and Accessories
Now that you’ve figured out what you want for the basics, it’s time to look into attachments and accessories. These are obviously not necessary right away. However, we’ll go over some of the most important ones you’ll presumably want to grab.
If you buy anything from this list, make sure it’s an arm guard. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to pick up your bow and instantly become an expert. That means you’ll likely hit your arm with the bowstring quite a few times, which is more painful than it looks and leaves unsightly bruises behind. Don’t be ashamed to wear one, though. Many pros do so as well because the injury from a bowstring is no joke.
Depending on the bow you get, you might be able to store your arrows on it for safekeeping, but you’ll likely want a separate quiver for when you’re using it. Hip and back quivers are the most common because they’re easy to pull arrows out of and go with you wherever you go. With them, you won’t accidentally leave your arrows behind.
Some bows come with their own sights, but if you want something a little more high-tech or fancy, there are tons of different bow sights on the market. They can obviously get pretty pricey, but you can easily pick one up without breaking the bank if you’re just looking for something basic.
As the final thing in our beginner’s guide to archery and what you need to get started, we want to discuss the bow release, or as some like to call it, the tab. Even if you know a bit about archery already, this is potentially the one thing you haven’t heard of before. Using your fingers to pull and release your bowstring isn’t the most accurate. Additionally, it can lead to some soreness if you do it too many times.
Bow releases fix both of these problems. They hold on to the bowstring tightly and have a quick-release mechanism that helps your string remain as straight as possible, leading to more accurate shots. Since you’re new, you can definitely pass on this accessory for now. But it will be one to remember as you get more into this well-renowned hobby.