Archery: What equipment doe you need?

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Are you new to archery? We know how overwhelming it can be if you are not sure what equipment to buy.

Looking at all the archery equipment, gear, and gadgets can leave you confused. Therefore, if you want to know what equipment you need for archery, you have come to the right place.

We will help you to buy the essential gear without the gimmicks. In the article, you will find the devices you must have with recommended gadgets that are optional to purchase. So let us get started.

The Must-Have Equipment for Archery

The following equipment is things you cannot do without and each one plays a vital role in archery. Whether you are playing around in your backyard or ready for competitive shooting you need them.

The Bow and Bow Stringer

Of course, you need one as without it you will not be able to shoot. There are different types of bows you can buy to start your training.

Recurve Bow

The Recurve consists of a riser with two limbs curving back away from you. The components linked with a bowstring you draw with your fingers. You can use a stabilizer and clicker with it and you can use it with a magnifying sight as well. Check out my post on the best archery bows.

Compound Bow

The bow works with a cam system that works with a bowstring and cables to help increase the efficiency of the energy when shooting the arrow. You can use a magnifying sight with it as well.

The English Longbow

The most basic and fun form of archery is to learn to shoot with the English Longbow. The bow construction is simple with a stick and string. Here you do instinctive shooting using your bow without sight and rely mostly on your archery skills. Shooting with one is challenging but rewarding out of all the bow types. Each Longbow has unique features, and no two bows are alike. Here many archers shoot with wooden arrows and feather fletching.

The Flatbow

The American Flatbow is similar to the longbow and great for target shooting. The bow constructions fiberglass with wood veneers made of red oak or black locusts.

The Horse Bow

The bow is a century-old style of weapon used by archers in the Asiatic/Eastern World. The horse bow is smaller than a longbow. Furthermore, has recurved limbs while others have inflexible limp tips. The bow you use to shoot from horseback, but you can use it standing as well.

To start with, archery using a Recurve Bow is the best option. You can find the best Recurve Bows selling at a reasonable price online. Another essential item is the bow stringer. With the tool, you can string a bow safely. A fact is there are different ways to string your Longbow and Recurve.

You get the “push-pull and step-through method.” For the longbow, the double loop stringer works best. With the device, you put less strain on the limbs, and it avoids twisting them. You get complete control of the process, and the same applies when using it with a Recurve Bow. With the Recurve, it helps make bending it simpler to slip on the line over the limbs.

The Arrows

The next essential item is the arrows with field tips. Without them, you are not shooting anything. You need more than one arrow so buy a six-pack at first. If you plan to buy a Recurve, try to purchase the arrows at the same time. The reason is that the bow technician will help you to get the right sized arrows. They do this by measuring your draw length.

However, if you plan to select your arrows, you can do this by measuring your draw length yourself.

  • Spread your arms keeping them parallel to the floor without pulling your shoulder blades together. Get a family member to measure the exact distance between both your middle fingers.
  • Take the measurement, divide it by 2.5, and should provide you with a reliable estimation of your draw length.

Therefore, if you have an arm-span of 70”, divide this number with 2.5 providing you with a 28-inch draw length. With the measurement, you can now decide what arrow length you need. All you need to do is take the 28-inches and add 2-inches to that. You will get your ideal arrow length of 29 to 30-inches long.

We recommend you use fiberglass or carbon arrows for target practice and the carbon ones are the best for hunting as well. Furthermore, there is a difference between using a target arrow and hunting arrow shaft. The difference is the total weight of the arrow. The heavier the arrow shaft, the deeper it penetrates on impact and great for hunting. You do not need this much penetration when target practicing.

quiver of arrows

Nocking Points

The nocking point is not categorized as a must but helps provide a constant placing on the bowstring to knock the arrow. It is essential to give you the consistency of shooting. Furthermore, it gives you a better chance for the point to go where you want it to go every time. Alternatively, it also helps prevent nicking your bow hand with the fletching of the shaft. You can make one from brass points, tape, or serving string. While buying your bow, you can ask the bow technician to set it up.


Now that you have the essential archery equipment, it is time to shoot some arrows. Wait! Where are you going to aim at? Ah, you need a target it does not have to be fancy and can draw one yourself. Alternatively, you can make your archery target yourself. On the other hand, if you do not want to spend time making one, you can always purchase one at the shop or online. You can practice archery using paper targets, bag archery targets, foam targets, and 3D archery targets.

Recommended, but Not Compulsory Archery Items

The following archery equipment is great to have but not must-haves. The majority of them are comfort-related to enjoy the sport more.

The Arm Guard

While not a necessary item, we would still add it with your other essential archery equipment. The reason it does help prevent unforeseen accidents such as string slap from hurting your arm. Contusion (string slap) can be painful as the string smacks or drags along the arm. The guard covers the forearm and can sometimes cover the whole arm. Furthermore, it prevents your hair, skin, and sleeves out of the bowstrings way when you release the bow.

Finger Tabs or Gloves

Your fingers need protection when drawing back and releasing the bow. If you do not make use of gloves or finger tabs, you end up with blisters. You only need to wear the gear on your shooting hand. With the new finger tabs, you get spacers included to spread your index and middle fingers apart. The spaces help prevent pinching of the arrow. The fantastic news is you do not have to buy them but can make them as well.

The Arrow Rest

Normally the bow does not come with the arrow rest. You might want to invest in one, as it is where the arrow sets on when drawn. You can buy a fixed rest or drop-away one instead. Alternatively, you can use your hands as a makeshift arrow rest. If you prefer using one you can look at the following models available:

Bear Weather Arrow Rest

The arrow rest comprises of a soft plastic you can easily flex forward when shooting. Therefore, the vanes do not come into direct contact with anything when it leaves the bowstring. On the back of the rest, you get adhesive and once removing the sticker; it applies to the riser. The options fantastic to use with feather vanes and makes for a great add on used with a Samick Sage.

Easton Arrow Rest

For a great rest, Easton stands out from other popular models. The device is similar to the Bear Weather with its soft plastic construction. The item also works well when using a plunger button. The details small and the top and bottoms parallel to place correctly.

Screw-On Arrow Rest

If you prefer not sticking something on the bow, the screw on armrest works well. You need to make sure the bow has a shelf to screw it on. The arm is long providing less contact with arrow vanes and the rest. Furthermore, you can adjust it manually to make the rest sit further right or left.

Alternatively, if you do not want to spend money on arrow rest, you can always shoot off the shelf. You do this by applying a soft fabric to the rack. The material quiets the arrow and softens the contact the shaft makes as it sails past. So what is the difference between the two when it comes to shooting?

You get the most significant advantage of using rest as it increases your accuracy. You can draw an arrow from the exact place every time for better grouping. Furthermore, it helps if your form is not perfect. While shooting off the shelf is more famous for traditional archers.

Doing it in this method allows for a more natural approach when doing the instinctive shooting. However, it all comes down to personal preferences and no matter which way you prefer both remain excellent options.

The Broadhead Wrench

For shooting with broadhead arrows, you need a wrench to remove the tip from the arrow. Without one, you may end up slicing your finger. If you use filed tips, the gadget can wait a while.

Bow String Wax

Bowstring comprises millions of fiber to make one strand. You need to keep it lubricated to prevent the threads from rubbing together and causing friction leading to strands snapping. Using bow was is the best way to avoid this from happening. Furthermore, it gives the string layers of protection against elements in and outdoors.

Optional equipment for archery:

  • Sight – the optic helps you to aim your bow better. When purchasing a Recurve Bow the sights are not always included. The majority of archers prefer using the bow without one for instinctive shooting. For beginners, a bow sight is an excellent help for aiming.
  • Quiver – the container holds the arrows and keeps the arrow tips safe. You can find ones that attach to the bow and others you wear around the shoulder or waist.
  • String Whisker Silencer – the gadget helps reduce the noise of the bowstring without compromising the bow performance. When you start bow hunting, it is an excellent piece of archery equipment to have.
  • Backpack – for hunting this is a necessity to have, and you need to choose one that fits in with the surrounding you are hunting.
  • Bow Case – with a bow case you can safely keep your bow and arrows lasting longer to prevent elements from damaging it.

While these are some essential and not so important items to have there is one more item you may want to consider:


As you will notice, we mentioned using a plunger in the arrow armrest. As the armrest comprises a hole, you can use it with a plunger button in your bow. If you make use of an elevated rest, you use the plunger to manage “The Archer’s Paradox.” It is the motion of the arrow when you make a shot. The shaft bends when you shoot and once released from the bowstring it looks like a snake that is slithering. When the arrow bends, it hits the riser, and the tool helps you make accurate shots as the shaft nudges a little left or right.

Final Thoughts

If you are starting with archery, the list of items should get you started. Furthermore, with the wish list of optional items and recommendations, you can build your archery skills. With practice, you can eventually broaden your horizon and start taking up other forms of archery as well. However, if you are new to the sport, you may not need the plunger button at first. Keep on shooting to gain experience. Once you master the skill, you can add the plunger button to play around with a bit.


I'm Isaac Murphy and at the moment I am a student. I took up archery as a hobby about 3 years ago and built this blog to share some of the things I have learned and to help those starting out in this sport. Check out my bio here

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