What Bow Height Is Right For Me?

Are you an aspiring archer, searching for the perfect bow height to enhance your shooting experience? Look no further, as this article aims to provide you with valuable insights on determining the ideal bow height tailored specifically to your needs. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned archer, understanding the significance of bow height is crucial for improving accuracy and achieving consistent results. So, let’s explore the factors that influence the appropriate bow height for you and unlock the hidden potential in your archery journey.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a bow, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you find the right height for your needs. These factors include physical characteristics, experience level, intended use, and comfort level.

Physical Characteristics

Your physical characteristics play a crucial role in determining the appropriate height of your bow. Factors such as your height, arm length, and strength will all influence the type of bow that suits you best. For example, taller individuals with longer arms may need a taller bow to accommodate their frame, while those with shorter arms might opt for a shorter bow.

Experience Level

Another important factor to consider is your experience level. If you’re a beginner, it’s generally recommended to start with a shorter bow height to develop proper form and technique. As you gain more experience and strength, you can gradually transition to a taller bow if desired. On the other hand, experienced archers may already have a preference for a specific bow height based on their shooting style and personal preference.

Intended Use

The intended use of your bow is another crucial factor to consider when determining the appropriate height. Different types of bows are designed for various purposes, such as hunting, target shooting, or traditional archery. Each of these activities may require a different bow height to optimize your performance and achieve the desired results.

Comfort Level

Finally, your comfort level should not be overlooked when choosing the right bow height. It’s essential to select a bow that feels comfortable in your hands and allows you to maintain proper form throughout your shots. A bow that is too tall or too short can lead to discomfort, which can affect your accuracy and overall shooting experience.

Different Types of Bows

There are several types of bows available in the market, each with its own unique characteristics and advantages. Understanding these different types can help you make an informed decision about which one is best suited for you.

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Recurve Bows

Recurve bows are a popular choice among archers of all skill levels. They feature limbs that curve away from the archer when the bow is unstrung, which enables them to store and release energy more efficiently. Recurve bows are versatile and suitable for various purposes, such as target shooting, competitive archery, and hunting.

Compound Bows

Compound bows are known for their use of cams or wheels in their design. These mechanical systems allow the archer to hold more weight at full draw and produce faster arrow speeds. Compound bows are often favored by hunters due to their power and accuracy. They are also highly adjustable, making them suitable for archers of different sizes and experience levels.


Longbows have a long and rich history, dating back centuries. They are characterized by their simplicity and elegance, with a single, straight piece of wood forming the bow. Longbows require a higher level of skill and strength to shoot effectively, but they can provide a unique and rewarding archery experience for those who appreciate traditional craftsmanship.

Traditional Bows

Traditional bows refer to a wide range of bows that have ancestral roots. This category includes recurve bows without modern features, self bows made from a single piece of wood, and various other designs that follow ancient archery practices. Traditional bows require patience, skill, and an appreciation for the art of archery.

Size Charts for Different Bows

To determine the appropriate bow height, it’s helpful to refer to size charts specifically designed for each type of bow. These charts take into account your physical characteristics, such as your height and arm span, to recommend the ideal bow size for your body.

Recurve Bows

When it comes to recurve bows, size charts typically consider both a person’s height and their draw length. This information helps guide archers towards the right bow size, ensuring that they can comfortably draw and shoot the bow with good form.

Compound Bows

For compound bows, size charts also take into account a person’s draw length. However, the recommended bow size may differ slightly from that of a recurve bow due to the mechanical advantages and adjustability offered by compound bows.


Size charts for longbows often focus on an archer’s height as the primary determinant of the appropriate bow size. This is because the draw length of a longbow is typically determined by the archer’s arm span, which closely correlates with their height.

Traditional Bows

Size charts for traditional bows can vary depending on the specific type and design of the bow. Some traditional bows may require custom measurements or recommendations based on an individual’s shooting style and experience level.

Choosing the Right Bow Height

Choosing the right bow height is essential for optimal performance and shooting comfort. Here are some key considerations to help you make the right decision:

Understand Your Draw Length

Before selecting a bow, it’s crucial to know your draw length. Your draw length is the distance between your bow hand’s pivot point (typically the bowstring) and your anchor point (the consistent point on your face where you bring the bowstring before releasing). Knowing your draw length will help you determine the appropriate bow height that will allow you to shoot comfortably and efficiently.

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Consult a Professional

If you’re unsure about your draw length or the right bow height for you, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional archery coach or experienced archer. They can assess your physical characteristics and shooting style, providing valuable guidance and recommendations based on their expertise.

Try Different Bows

To find the perfect bow height, it’s essential to try out different bows and test them for size. By experimenting with bows of varying heights, you can get a feel for what feels most comfortable and natural for you. It’s also an opportunity to evaluate your shooting technique and see how different bow heights affect your accuracy and shooting form.

Consider Your Shooting Style

Your shooting style can also influence the ideal bow height for you. For example, if you prefer shooting with a more extended draw length, you may benefit from a taller bow to accommodate your preferred shooting technique. Conversely, if you shoot with a relatively shorter draw length, a shorter bow height might be more suitable.

Effects of Incorrect Bow Height

Using an incorrect bow height can have adverse effects on your shooting experience and overall performance. It’s important to be aware of these effects to avoid potential issues down the line.

Inconsistent Accuracy

One of the significant impacts of an incorrect bow height is inconsistent accuracy. If your bow is too short or too tall, you may struggle to maintain consistent form and release, leading to inconsistent arrow flight and accuracy.

Injury Risk

Using a bow that doesn’t match your physical characteristics can increase the risk of injuries. Drawing a bow that is too long for your arm span can strain your muscles and cause discomfort or even lead to repetitive strain injuries. On the other hand, if the bow is too short, you may have to overextend or strain your body to draw the bow fully, increasing the risk of muscle strains or even accidents during the release.

Reduced Shooting Efficiency

An incorrect bow height can also result in reduced shooting efficiency. If you’re using a bow that doesn’t suit your body size and shooting style, you may find it more challenging to achieve the desired arrow speed and distance. This lack of efficiency can impact your overall enjoyment of archery and hinder your progress as an archer.

How to Measure Your Draw Length

Accurately measuring your draw length is essential in determining the appropriate bow height. Here are a few commonly used methods to measure draw length:

Wingspan Measurement Method

To use the wingspan measurement method, stand with your arms stretched out to the sides, forming a straight line. Measure the distance from the tip of your middle finger on one hand to the tip of the middle finger on the other hand. Divide that measurement by 2.5 to estimate your draw length. This method provides a rough estimate and can be a starting point for finding your ideal draw length.

Archer’s Arm Measurement Method

The archer’s arm measurement method requires the assistance of a partner or a friend. Stand upright with your back against a wall and extend one arm straight out in front of you. Have your partner measure the distance from the corner of your mouth to the tip of your fingers. This measurement typically corresponds closely with your draw length.

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Draw Length Measurement Equipment

If you want a more precise measurement, various tools and equipment are available specifically designed for measuring draw length. These tools typically involve drawing and anchoring a bowstring to the appropriate position, allowing for an accurate measurement of your draw length.

Common Bow Height Mistakes

When selecting a bow, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that can lead to an incorrect bow height choice. Here are two common pitfalls to watch out for:

Selecting Too Short of a Bow

Choosing a bow that is too short for your body size and shooting style can lead to several issues. As discussed earlier, it can affect your shooting form, accuracy, and potentially result in injuries. It’s important to find the right balance and select a bow that provides ample draw length for your shooting technique without causing discomfort or compromising your performance.

Opting for Excessively Long Bows

On the other end of the spectrum, opting for excessively long bows can also be problematic. While a tall bow may seem appealing for its extra power and arrow speed, it may be challenging to handle properly, especially for archers with shorter arm spans. Shooting with an excessively long bow can strain your muscles and make it difficult to achieve consistent and accurate shots.

Tips for Adjusting Bow Height

If you find that the bow height you initially selected doesn’t feel quite right, don’t despair. There are several ways to adjust and fine-tune the bow height to better suit your needs:

Using Adjustable Bows

One of the advantages of modern compound bows is their adjustability. Many compound bows feature adjustable draw lengths, allowing you to fine-tune the bow height to your liking. If you’re using a compound bow, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional help to make the necessary adjustments.

Changing Limb Attachments

For recurve and traditional bows, changing limb attachments can alter the bow’s overall height. Some bows allow you to interchange different limbs to increase or decrease the bow height subtly. This method requires careful consideration and guidance to ensure compatibility and safety.

Adding/Removing Bow Accessories

The addition or removal of accessories on your bow can also affect its overall height. Accessories such as stabilizers, sights, or quivers can add weight and alter the bow’s balance, potentially impacting the way it feels and the draw length. Experimenting with different accessories and configurations can help you find the perfect setup for your needs.

Importance of Professional Advice

While it’s helpful to research and educate yourself about bows and bow heights, seeking professional advice is invaluable. Here’s why:

Seeking Guidance from an Experienced Archer

Experienced archers have a wealth of knowledge and firsthand experience when it comes to selecting the right bow height. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific goals, physical abilities, and shooting style. Their expert guidance can help you avoid common pitfalls and make an informed decision that enhances your archery experience.

Visiting a Local Archery Pro Shop

Visiting a local archery pro shop is an excellent way to gain access to professional advice and expertise. Archery pro shop staff are knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of archery equipment, including bows and choosing the right bow height. They can provide hands-on assistance, help you try different bows, and offer personalized recommendations based on your unique needs and preferences.


Choosing the right bow height is an important decision for any archer. By considering factors such as your physical characteristics, experience level, intended use, and comfort level, you can narrow down the options and find the perfect bow height for you. Remember to consult professional advice, try different bows, and prioritize safety and shooting comfort. With the right bow height, you’ll enjoy a more rewarding and accurate archery experience. Happy shooting!

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