Archery is an activity that hails all the way back to caveman times. It was one of the primary hunting methods, and the weapon was quite popular in combat as well. Modern applications of archery have been reduced to recreational purposes only.
However, archery is not as simple as aim-pull-release. It requires a lot of practice before achieving pinpoint accuracy. Apart from that, you would also need a few types of equipment before you send your arrow straight into a bullseye. If you do not know where to start, we have got you covered.
We are bringing you a list of essentials for beginners and some valuable tips for advanced archers. Stick around to learn more!
Basics For Beginners
Even before you set out to purchase new archery gear, you would need to undergo proper training to be able to practice archery. Even if you are not looking to become a professional, some preliminary training will go a long way towards minimizing discomfort and injury.
Once you have done that, you might then look for archery equipment that suits you. Archery gear tends to be more expensive than some other sports equipment, and thus you should first consider looking for second-hand items. However, it is wise to get these equipment tested by a professional archer before you end up making a purchase.
Here is a list of equipment you would need to start your archery journey.
One of the first things that comes to mind when somebody mentions archery is ‘arrows.’ An arrow is a thin stick with a sharp point that penetrates and sticks in the target. Some arrows have feathers on the other end to help stabilize their flight.
In the caveman days, arrows used to be made of animals’ bones or wood, but nowadays you can find arrows made of carbon fiber, aluminum, fiberglass, and composite materials. Not every one of these materials provides the same accuracy, and some even tend to bend more than others once you release the arrow.
Arrows come in different sizes as well, but the average is eighteen inches to six feet (45 cm to 150 cm). You shouldn’t go with just any arrows but rather have them specially chosen to fit your bow perfectly.
The arrowhead is the most crucial part of the arrow. Here are some of the most common heads:
It is a square-section arrowhead, usually 11.5 cm long and 1 cm thick. They are short and made of unhardened iron. These points are hazardous as they can penetrate all materials except for heavy steel plate armor.
These arrowheads are made of metal or hard rubber and they are unsharpened. Their primary purpose is shooting targets without actually penetrating the material. They are mainly used for recreational archery.
These are the most popular types of arrowheads used for ages. Broadheads are made of steel and are used for hunting. They have two to four sharp blades that can cause serious injuries.
Using these heads for target practice is not recommended as they can be fatal. They are not meant for practicing.
These arrowheads are bullet-shaped with a conical point. They can penetrate the target but do not cause much damage, making them an excellent choice for practice.
They are usually used when shooting at people wearing armor. They are padded to reduce the risk of actually damaging the person. They are perfect for practice and competitions.
Some other arrowheads are judo points and field tips.
Apart from the arrow, another thing most commonly associated with archery is a bow. A bow is a weapon used in archery, usually made of curved wood and connected at both ends with a taut string. The string must be elastic so that you can easily shoot the arrow.
There are four types of archery bows:
This bow is well-known for its simplicity. It is one of the most challenging bows to use because it requires a lot of strength. However, it is mighty and primarily used for target shooting.
This type is perfect for beginners, but more advanced archers can also use it. It is the oldest type of bow, which means that it has been tried out numerous times and is still in use.
Both limbs of the bow curve away from the archer, but the bend in both limbs allows for a lot of power to be released. We advise you not to dry shoot with this bow, or any other for that matter, as it can be hazardous.
These bows are especially suitable for sports shooting, and they are the only type allowed in the Olympics! As a beginner, you can quickly advance with this bow.
The compound bow was created in the 1960s, and it is truly a technological masterpiece in archery! It looks quite intimidating with its pulleys, cams, and cables. It is a bit heavy but surprisingly convenient to use.
Once you do the initial draw, you will be able to aim at your target more precisely. A compound bow is made out of composite materials because those are a lot more durable. It is mainly used for hunting as its accuracy is unmatched.
Possibly one of the most convenient options for beginners, this bow uses the point-and-shoot system. It has a trigger release mechanism to make things even easier. It is excellent for newbies and even people with disabilities.
However, keep in mind that crossbows are illegal in some places, so make sure to check the regulations before purchasing one. This bow is the perfect mixture of modern and traditional technologies.
Archery can be a dangerous sport, which is why you would want to stay as safe as possible. Arm-guard, also known as a bracer, is an excellent way for an archer to protect their arms from abrasion and other injuries while shooting.
It is a strap protecting the inside part of your arm. They are made of leather, stone, or plastic, and they usually cover only the forearm, but some bracers cover the upper arm as well.
In the past, arm guards were made of animal bows, and the tradition was to decorate them with different motifs. Nowadays, they are mostly used for protection, so this decoration is not strictly necessary. Keep your arms scrape-free by getting one for yourself!
Every experienced archer knows that wearing a chest guard is an intelligent thing to do. Strings on a bow move around and you cannot tame them. A string hitting your chest is extremely painful, which is why you want to prevent this from happening. Getting a chest guard is the perfect way to do so.
This is especially beneficial for women, but everybody who wants to practice archery should wear them too. Apart from protection, you can also reap the following benefits of using the chestguard.
It Helps Your Form
If you want your string to go back all the way and your arrow to fly true, your form must be admirable. Many archers claim that wearing a chest guard improves their form and helps them focus on shooting more.
Stops Clothing From Getting In The Way
Imagine trying to shoot a bow and the string gets attached to your shirt. This is especially problematic if you are wearing layers on a cold day. Avoid these unnecessary problems by wearing a chest guard.
Every bow has a string attached to both ends. The condition of these strings is a crucial part of archery gear as poor quality strings will resist your attempts to launch an arrow. One must pay attention to the following qualities before purchasing a bowstring:
- Resistant to abrasion
- Water resistant
The most commonly used materials for these bowstrings are linen, hemp, different vegetable fibers, sinew, silk, and rawhide.
There are three forms of bowstrings:
These strings are twisted into a single cord, making them easy to use but too weak for their weight. They are usually made out of fiber.
They are a lot stronger than simple strings since they are made of separate bundles, each twisted in one direction, and then all of them together are twisted in the opposite direction. Their weight is ideal for the quality that you get. They are usually made of natural materials like linen and hemp.
Continuous loops of different materials are used to make these strings. However, these strings can quickly wear by the ends.
Archery gloves serve to protect the archer’s fingers from any possible injuries. You might think that the itchy feeling in your fingers, or tiny blisters that appear, are nothing to worry about. However, it is quite the opposite. Shooting with a bow over a long period irritates your nerves and can cause persistent pain in the long run.
These gloves are safe, comfortable, and durable. However, archers often complain of discomfort while pulling the string.
While buying archery gloves, take a look at the fingertips. If this fingertip padding is thicker than the rest, then the gloves are suitable for archery.
Once you get suitable equipment and high-quality arrows, you will want to keep them intact. A great way to do this is to get a quiver for them.
Quiver is a tubular arrow holder. Archers usually carry it on their backs. In the past, they were made of leather or wood, but lately metal and plastic have taken over.
Some of the most popular types of quiver are:
They are traditional quivers that are strapped to the archer’s back and are convenient enough to pull out the arrows. This is mostly used while hunting and field activities where you would have to move around considerably.
Whenever an archer is shooting from a fixed location, ground quivers are an excellent option. This is usually used in target shooting. You would not need to carry these quivers around and your back is free of the extra burden,
Some other types of quivers are belt, bow, Japanese quivers, arrow bags, etc.
What About Advanced Archers?
If you have been practicing archery for a while, you would be very familiar with the equipment, prices, and quality. However, there is still a few things that you might want to add to your usual gear. These come in handy if you wish to elevate your skills to the next level. Here are a few ideas:
Fletching is a stabilization device that can be attached to arrows to stabilize the arrow in flight. There are two materials used for fletching:
Regular feathers are more of a traditional material used for fletching. They serve their purpose perfectly, but they are not waterproof. You can use different sprays and solutions to make them water resistant. They are used for a recurve bow or a longbow.
They are also known as vanes. They are durable and waterproof, making them a popular choice. This material is used for compound bows to allow the arrow to follow a linear path.
If you are using a recurve bow or a longbow, you will need to take off the string before storing the bow. This is when the bow-stringer comes in handy. However, this process is slightly tricky, so make sure you are well prepared.
If you want to preserve your bowstrings and keep them fresh, bring some string wax to protect them. You can wax your strings every now and then to keep them in better condition.
Archery is a sport that requires a lot of skill acquired through practice. You will also need different pieces of equipment before you embark on this journey. Make the experience more enjoyable by protecting yourself appropriately and using high-quality gear.
Take proper precautions before you indulge in the sport. As harmless as it may seem, there are certain risks that you need to be aware of. However, with the right set of equipment, you are all set to hit that bullseye over and over.