What Type Of Arrows Should I Use With A Compound Bow?

If you’re new to the world of archery or just recently acquired a compound bow, you might be wondering what type of arrows would be best suited for your equipment. Choosing the right arrows for a compound bow can greatly impact your shooting accuracy and overall performance. In this article, we will explore the different factors to consider when selecting arrows, from arrow weight and spine to material and length. With these insights, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and start hitting bullseyes in no time. So, let’s get started on your quest for the perfect arrows!

What Type Of Arrows Should I Use With A Compound Bow?

Carbon Arrows

Lightweight and durable

Carbon arrows are a popular choice for many archers, and it’s easy to see why. One of the key advantages of carbon arrows is their lightweight nature. Being significantly lighter than other types of arrows, such as aluminum or wood, carbon arrows offer numerous benefits. Their light weight allows for faster speeds and a flatter trajectory when shot from a compound bow. This means that they can travel through the air more quickly and maintain a straighter path towards the target, making them ideal for both hunting and target shooting.

Another crucial aspect of carbon arrows is their durability. Made from a composite material, they are incredibly tough and have a high resistance to bending or breaking. This durability ensures that carbon arrows can withstand the rigors of archery, whether in the field or during practice sessions. However, it’s important to note that carbon arrows, despite their resilience, do require careful inspection for damage after each use. Any signs of cracks, splinters, or structural weaknesses should be addressed promptly to ensure safe shooting.

Aluminum Arrows

More affordable compared to carbon arrows

If you’re on a budget or just starting out in archery, aluminum arrows can be an excellent choice. One key advantage of aluminum arrows is their affordability. Compared to carbon arrows, which can be more expensive due to their advanced technology and materials, aluminum arrows are relatively budget-friendly. This affordability makes them a great option for beginners or archers who shoot casually and don’t want to invest heavily in their equipment.

Heavier and slower than carbon arrows

While aluminum arrows offer cost savings, they do come with certain trade-offs. One notable difference between aluminum and carbon arrows is their weight. Aluminum arrows are generally heavier than carbon arrows, which affects their performance. The added weight results in slower speeds and a steeper trajectory compared to their carbon counterparts. However, for some archers, this may not be a significant concern, especially if they are shooting at shorter distances or focusing more on the experience rather than achieving maximum velocity.

Suitable for beginners or casual shooting

Considering their affordability and reasonable performance, aluminum arrows are a suitable choice for beginners or archers who engage in casual shooting. They provide a good balance between cost-effectiveness and functionality, allowing novice archers to practice their skills without breaking the bank. Additionally, the slower speeds of aluminum arrows can help beginners develop proper form and technique before moving on to more advanced equipment.

Require regular straightening

One aspect of aluminum arrows that requires attention is their tendency to bend. Over time and with repeated use, aluminum arrows can become bent or distorted, affecting their flight and accuracy. This means that regular arrow straightening is necessary to ensure optimal performance. Using an arrow straightener or a bow square, you can carefully align any bent sections of the arrow shaft to restore its straightness. Regular maintenance and straightening of aluminum arrows will promote consistent arrow flight and help improve accuracy.

Hybrid Arrows

Combination of carbon and aluminum components

Hybrid arrows offer the best of both worlds by combining carbon and aluminum components. They consist of a carbon shaft and aluminum inserts, providing archers with a unique blend of features from both materials. This combination allows for enhanced durability and speed, making hybrid arrows a versatile choice for different styles of archery.

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Adjustable weight and spine

One of the standout advantages of hybrid arrows is their adjustability. Using interchangeable aluminum inserts, archers can fine-tune the weight and spine of their arrows to suit their specific needs. This adjustability allows for greater flexibility in choosing the optimal arrow setup for different shooting conditions or personal preferences. By experimenting with different insert weights and configurations, archers can find the perfect balance between accuracy, speed, and penetration.

Enhanced durability and speed

Hybrid arrows offer improved durability compared to full carbon arrows, thanks to the aluminum inserts. The combination of carbon and aluminum components makes them more resistant to bending or breaking when subjected to the stresses of shooting. Additionally, the presence of carbon in the shaft provides the lightweight characteristics and higher speeds associated with carbon arrows. This combination of durability and speed makes hybrid arrows a reliable choice for archers who want versatility and performance.

Versatile for different styles of archery

The adjustable weight and spine of hybrid arrows make them suitable for various styles of archery. Whether you are an avid hunter, a competitive target shooter, or simply enjoy recreational shooting, hybrid arrows can adapt to your specific needs. By fine-tuning the arrow setup, you can achieve optimal performance and accuracy in any shooting situation. This versatility makes hybrid arrows a favored choice for archers who participate in a range of archery disciplines.

Wood Arrows

Traditional and aesthetic appeal

For archers seeking a more traditional and aesthetic experience, wood arrows offer a unique charm. With their rich history and timeless appeal, wood arrows hold a special place in the hearts of many archers. The natural beauty of the wood grain, combined with the craftsmanship involved in their creation, evokes a sense of connection to the roots of archery.

Slower speed and less durable

While wood arrows possess undeniable charm, they do come with some drawbacks in terms of performance. Compared to carbon or aluminum arrows, wood arrows tend to be slower and less durable. The natural weight of the wood, combined with its inherent properties, results in slower arrow speeds and a higher arc trajectory. As a result, wood arrows may be less accurate at longer distances.

Moreover, the organic nature of wood makes it more susceptible to damage and deterioration. Exposure to moisture, extreme temperatures, or mishandling can cause wood arrows to warp, splinter, or break. This fragility requires regular maintenance and careful handling to ensure that the arrows remain in good condition.

Require maintenance and care

To prolong the lifespan of wood arrows, regular maintenance and care are essential. Applying a protective coating, such as polyurethane or varnish, to the arrow’s shaft can help shield it from moisture and environmental factors. Additionally, inspecting the arrows for cracks or structural weaknesses before each use is crucial to prevent accidents or equipment failure. By taking the time to properly care for wood arrows, archers can enjoy their traditional appeal while maintaining their functionality.

Suitable for traditional archery and historical reenactments

Wood arrows hold a special place in traditional forms of archery and historical reenactments. Their authentic appearance and slower speeds align with the practices of yesteryears. Engaging in traditional archery or historical reenactments allows archers to connect with the rich heritage of the sport and experience archery in its purest form. For those who appreciate the nostalgic and cultural aspects of archery, wood arrows provide a sense of authenticity that other types of arrows may not.

What Type Of Arrows Should I Use With A Compound Bow?

Fiberglass Arrows

Lightweight and inexpensive

Fiberglass arrows are a viable option for youth or beginner archers who are just getting started in the sport. One of their key advantages is their lightweight nature. Being significantly lighter than many other types of arrows, fiberglass arrows are easier for young or inexperienced archers to handle and shoot accurately. This reduced weight allows for better control and a more enjoyable shooting experience for beginners.

In addition to their lightweight nature, fiberglass arrows are also relatively inexpensive. This makes them a cost-effective option for those who are unsure if archery is a long-term commitment or for parents looking for affordable alternatives for their children. Investing in fiberglass arrows allows beginners to try out the sport without breaking the bank.

Less durable and prone to breakage

While fiberglass arrows offer benefits in terms of weight and cost, they do have some drawbacks in terms of durability. Fiberglass is less durable compared to materials like carbon or aluminum, and fiberglass arrows are prone to breakage if mishandled or subjected to excessive bending forces. Therefore, it’s important to handle fiberglass arrows with care and avoid putting them under significant stress. With proper handling and maintenance, fiberglass arrows can still offer a sufficient lifespan for beginners or young archers.

Ideal for youth or beginner archers

Fiberglass arrows are particularly well-suited for youth or beginner archers due to their lightweight nature and affordability. The reduced weight of the arrows makes it easier for young archers to draw and shoot, promoting proper form and reducing fatigue. Likewise, the lower cost of fiberglass arrows allows beginners to get started in archery without a hefty investment.

However, as archers progress in their skills and develop a higher draw weight, it is recommended to transition to more durable and higher-performing arrows, such as carbon or hybrid arrows. These arrows can handle the increased forces exerted by higher draw weight bows more effectively and provide better overall performance.

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Not recommended for high draw weight bows

Due to their relatively lower durability, fiberglass arrows are not recommended for use with high draw weight bows. High draw weight bows exert greater force on the arrow when released, and this increased stress can lead to the premature failure of fiberglass arrows. If you are shooting a bow with a high draw weight, it is advisable to use sturdier arrow options, such as carbon or hybrid arrows, to ensure both safety and performance.

Arrow Length

Importance of proper arrow length

Choosing the correct arrow length is crucial for optimal performance and safety. It directly impacts the arrow’s flight characteristics and how it interacts with the bow and archer. Using arrows that are too long or too short can significantly affect accuracy, speed, and even potentially cause injury.

Determined by draw length and bow setup

Arrow length is primarily determined by an archer’s draw length, which is the distance from the nocking point on the bowstring to the throat of the grip, when the bow is at full draw. To determine your draw length, it is best to consult with an experienced archery professional or use a draw length measuring tool. By knowing your draw length, you can then select arrows that are appropriate in length.

Additionally, it is essential to consider the specific setup of your bow, as different bow designs and riser lengths may require slight adjustments in arrow length. Consulting with a knowledgeable archery technician or referring to the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific bow model can help ensure the correct arrow length.

Longer arrows may have slower speeds

The length of an arrow can affect its speed and overall performance. Longer arrows tend to have slower speeds compared to shorter arrows, primarily due to increased surface area and weight. The additional length creates more friction against the bow’s riser and air resistance, slowing down the arrow’s travel. It’s important to note that the impact on speed may vary depending on factors such as bow design, draw weight, and arrow construction.

Shorter arrows may lead to finger pinching

On the other hand, using arrows that are too short can lead to finger pinching, where the fingertips of the bow hand come into contact with the arrow during the release. Finger pinching not only affects accuracy but can result in discomfort or even injury. Therefore, it is crucial to select arrows that provide enough clearance between the bow hand fingers and the arrow shaft.

By ensuring the proper arrow length, archers can improve their shot consistency, maximize speed and accuracy, and minimize the risk of finger pinching or other unwanted issues.


Definition of arrow spine

The spine of an arrow refers to its stiffness or flexibility. It determines how much the arrow bends when it is in motion. The spine is an important factor to consider as it directly affects arrow flight and accuracy.

Importance of matching spine to bow draw weight

Choosing the correct arrow spine is crucial for achieving optimal performance and accuracy with a compound bow. The arrow spine should be matched to the bow’s draw weight, which is the amount of force required to fully draw the bowstring. This matching ensures that the arrow flexes properly upon release and allows for consistent and repeatable flight.

Arrow shafts with a lower spine value are stiffer and have less flex, whereas higher spine values indicate a more flexible shaft. Using an arrow with an incorrect spine can result in erratic arrow flight, reduced accuracy, and decreased energy transfer, ultimately impacting overall performance.

Considerations for arrow length and point weight

When selecting arrow spine, it is important to consider the arrow’s length and the weight of its points or tips. These factors can affect how the arrow behaves when shot. Longer arrows and heavier points generally require a stiffer spine, while shorter arrows and lighter points may require a more flexible spine.

To determine the appropriate spine for your arrows, it is recommended to consult arrow manufacturer charts or seek guidance from experienced archery professionals. They can help you navigate the various options and make the most informed decision based on your bow setup, shooting style, and personal preferences.

Proper spine ensures accuracy and consistency

Ensuring the proper spine for your arrows is crucial for achieving accuracy and consistency in your shots. An arrow with the correct spine will flex appropriately upon release, providing optimal energy transfer and more accurate flight. Additionally, utilizing arrows with consistent spine values throughout your setup promotes shot-to-shot consistency, reducing the possibility of unpredictable arrow behavior and improving overall accuracy.

By understanding and properly matching the arrow’s spine to your compound bow’s draw weight, arrow length, and point weight, you can maximize your shooting performance and enjoy consistent results.

Arrow Weight

Impact of arrow weight on performance

The weight of an arrow plays a significant role in its performance and can affect various aspects of archery, including speed, penetration, and accuracy. Choosing the appropriate arrow weight is important as it can directly influence the shooting experience and the effectiveness of your shots.

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Lighter arrows for increased speed

Lighter arrows generally offer increased speed due to their reduced mass. The lighter weight allows them to accelerate more quickly when shot and maintain higher velocities during flight. This speed can be advantageous in certain situations, such as long-distance target shooting or when quick arrow travel is desired for hunting purposes.

However, it’s important to find the right balance between arrow weight and other considerations, such as the bow’s draw weight and shooter’s capabilities. Shooting excessively light arrows with a high draw weight bow may result in harsher recoil, increased noise, and potential damage to the bow or arrow upon release. Therefore, it is essential to choose arrow weight that is compatible with your specific setup and experience level.

Heavier arrows for improved penetration

Heavier arrows offer improved penetration capabilities compared to lighter ones. The additional mass behind the arrow helps it retain more kinetic energy upon impact, enabling deeper penetration into the target. This characteristic can be beneficial when hunting larger game or dealing with challenging target materials, such as thick foam or heavy fabrics.

Moreover, heavier arrows tend to be less susceptible to wind drift, as their increased weight provides more resistance against crosswinds. This can result in improved accuracy and consistency in adverse weather conditions.

Balancing arrow weight with bow draw weight

Achieving the right balance between arrow weight and bow draw weight is crucial for optimal performance. Too light of an arrow can lead to an inefficient transfer of energy from the bow to the arrow, negatively impacting speed and accuracy. Conversely, using an arrow that is too heavy with a lower draw weight bow may result in sluggish arrow flight and reduced overall performance.

Finding the ideal arrow weight for your compound bow involves considering factors such as your bow’s specific design, its draw weight, your shooting style, and intended purpose. Experimenting with different arrow weights and seeking advice from experienced archers or technicians can help you determine the optimal weight that suits your needs and maximizes your shooting performance.

Broadhead Compatibility

Different types of broadheads (fixed-blade, mechanical, etc.)

Broadheads are the specialized arrow tips used for hunting game. They come in various designs, with fixed-blade and mechanical broadheads being the most common types. Each type has distinct advantages and considerations when it comes to compatibility with different arrows.

Fixed-blade broadheads feature stationary blades that extend out from the arrow shaft upon impact. They are known for their simplicity, durability, and typically have a larger cutting diameter. On the other hand, mechanical broadheads have blades that are concealed during flight and deploy upon impact, increasing their cutting diameter and potentially providing better aerodynamics. Both types have their pros and cons, and the specific broadhead design you choose will depend on factors such as your hunting requirements and personal preference.

Considerations for broadhead weight and design

When selecting broadheads, it is crucial to consider their weight and design in relation to the arrow’s spine and overall setup. The weight of the broadhead, in combination with the arrow’s weight and spine, can affect arrow flight characteristics and accuracy. It is generally recommended to match the arrow’s spine and the broadhead’s weight to ensure that the arrow flexes properly upon release and maintains consistent flight.

Additionally, the design of the broadhead can impact its compatibility with specific arrow types. Some broadheads may require a specific arrow shaft diameter or have recommendations for optimal performance. Understanding these compatibility considerations and reviewing the manufacturer’s guidelines is essential in selecting the right broadhead for your arrows and maximizing their performance.

Matching broadhead to arrow spine for proper flight

To ensure proper flight and accuracy, it is important to match the broadhead’s weight and the arrow’s spine. Selecting a broadhead weight that is within the recommended range for your arrow’s spine will help achieve the desired arrow flex upon release. This ensures that the arrow and broadhead work together harmoniously, promoting consistent flight and energy transfer.

Using broadheads that are too heavy or light in relation to the arrow’s spine can lead to inconsistent or erratic arrow flight. This can result in reduced accuracy and performance, as well as potentially compromising the effectiveness of the broadhead’s cutting capabilities. By carefully considering both the broadhead’s weight and the arrow’s spine, archers can achieve optimal flight characteristics and maximize their chances of success in the field.

Testing and adjusting broadhead consistency

Once you have selected the appropriate broadhead for your arrows, it is essential to test and ensure its consistency before heading out for hunting. Testing the broadhead’s flight characteristics can help identify any tuning or adjustment needs that may be required. This can be done by shooting arrows with the broadheads attached and assessing their impact points, groupings, and consistency.

If inconsistencies or undesirable flight patterns are observed, adjustments can be made by addressing factors such as arrow spine, broadhead alignment, or bow tuning. Consulting with an experienced archer, professional technician, or utilizing the services of an archery pro shop can greatly assist in the tuning process and ensure that your broadheads deliver consistent and accurate results.


Choosing the right arrows for your compound bow is essential for maximizing your shooting performance and overall enjoyment of archery. The type of arrow, whether carbon, aluminum, hybrid, wood, or fiberglass, should be selected based on your shooting goals, experience level, and budget. Considering factors such as arrow weight, spine, and broadhead compatibility will further enhance your shooting experience and help you achieve accuracy, speed, and consistency.

Remember to always inspect your arrows for any signs of damage or wear, regardless of the material. Regular maintenance and care will extend the lifespan of your arrows and ensure safe shooting.

By understanding the characteristics and advantages of each type of arrow, as well as their compatibility with your compound bow, you can make an informed decision and confidently select the arrows that are best suited for your specific needs. Whether you’re a seasoned archer or just starting out, the right arrows will enable you to hit your mark with precision, speed, and confidence. Happy shooting!

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