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Many consider a compound bow to be an efficient weapon for both sport and hunting prey. There are many different brands, models, and quality levels for every budget. It was discovered in 2020 that the United States has approximately 9.9 million archery bowhunters. There are roughly 5.4 million competitive archers and about 17.6 million recreational archers. Finding the right set depends on what you’ll want to use it for and how often.

Purpose of the Compound Bow and Arrow

The first step in choosing your new compound bow and arrow set is deciding what type of archery you’ll participate in the most: target shooting or hunting. Different models will work better for each sport, so you must buy one that suits your needs. For example, a hunter might prefer more draw weight than someone who wants to use their bow at the target range. The poundage capacity on the bow will determine how fast and with what force the arrow penetrates once released. Starting poundage is 40 pounds with weights up to 80 pounds on average.

Quality for Different Budgets

Quality is determined by the materials and processes used to manufacture components. Arrow materials can range from wood or aluminum to fiberglass or carbon fiber, the latter typically being the most desirable for its combination of strength, and tight straightness and weight tolerances, also usually the most expensive. The bow riser (mainframe of the bow) can also range in material type and method of construction, such as a cast aluminum versus machined aluminum, various alloys, and even carbon fiber. This is one area where your research is important, if you are looking for precise high-quality gear, you often get what you pay for.

How it Feels When You Hold It

No matter which weight you choose, you’ll want one that feels comfortable in your grip. Compound bows are made specifically for right-handed and left-handed individuals. Right-handed individuals will hold the bow in their left hands and draw with their right, and left-handed people will grip the bow in their right hands and pull with their left. You’ll intuitively know the perfect fit because it will feel lightweight as you hold it away from your body, won’t wobble as you tighten your grip around the center, and will feel like a natural extension of your body.

How it Feels When You Fire

Bows are not ambidextrous, so you first need to be sure the bow you are looking at is of the correct dexterity, especially if you are shopping used or just get started and looking to borrow something from a buddy. Most importantly a bow must fit the shooter properly, a misfitting bow can be extremely challenging to tune and sight-in, a correct fit is extremely critical to accurate shooting. This is where it can be challenging to shop used, you really need to know what you need, and what you are looking at. Once you have a correctly fitted bow in your hand, it should feel comfortable and balanced at full draw, with a grip that just feels “right” in your relaxed hand. Remember we do not want to “grip” the grip, it should just settle into the palm of your hand along with the ball of your thumb with fingers gently resting, never squeezing or grasping in any way. A relaxed hand is critical to consistent accuracy. Your properly fitted equipment will need to be correctly tuned and sighted-in, this will likely require the services of an archery pro-shop.

Once you are ready to shoot, be patient, with time and practice will come consistency and confidence, and plenty of good fun along the way. These are only basic points but should be helpful in getting you off on the right foot.