How To Measure Draw Length

Draw Length is vital in archery, you need to make sure you are shooting from a bow that is right for your and your draw length. The aim of this guide is to teach you how to measure draw length accurately.

Whether your are looking to use a recurve bow (Check out this guide) or a compound bow, getting your draw length right is essential. Let’s look at it this way, if you was a ice hockey player and your skates were too small or too big it would impact your ability to skate.

The same is said with archery, if your bow is not the right size and you are not able to draw it properly then it will impact your shot. If you cannot draw it all the way then you will find your shot lacks power.

The thought of working out draw length does put a lot of people off as it sounds more complicated than it actually is. Even if you know your draw length, I would recommend measuring it several times with different methods.

I also hate to say this but not all archery stores are able to provide the best measuring, some will simply just try to sell you the current “hot” bow or have a “that’s close enough” mindset. By learning how to measure draw length yourself, you will be able make sure you get the right bow for you.

Below are two great methods, I would recommend doing it with both methods to see if the numbers match. If they are a little different then you might want to work out the average of the two. Are the numbers completely different? Then you want to remeasure both methods to see if one was done incorrectly.

For both methods you will need someone to help you with the measurements, this will make sure they are accurate.

Measure Draw Length – Measuring Wingspan

Measuring the wingspan is probably one of the most common and well-known methods of measuring draw length. It is probably one of the simplest methods and works, which is why so many people use it.Measure Draw Length – Measuring Wingspan

Step One

Stand up against a wall against your back with your arms stretched outwards, as though you were positioned like the letter “T”. Make sure your fingers are also outstretched.

It’s important to make sure;

  • ​You are standing straight with your palms facing outwards
  • ​Your shoulders are not scrunched or you are over compensating by standing taller than you would normally
  • You are relaxed and standing as you would naturally stand.

Step Two

Have someone place a marker on the wall where your fingertips end and measure the length of this with a measuring tape. They can also measure from one finger tip to the other without the marker if that is possible.

Step Three

Once you have this measurement, for example 54” (inches). You then need to divide this number by 2.5. In this example the result would be 21.6”, which would be the draw length. I would normally round this up to the nearest half an inch so the final result would be 21.5 inches.

You are simply taking the length from fingertip to fingertip and then dividing this by 2.5, the result is your draw length. Simple right? Many people are worried that it’s a complicated method with lots of maths to workout, it really is not that complicated.

Measure Draw Length – Pretend Draw

The second method on measuring draw length is not used as much, however to me it does make perfect sense. The point of draw length is to realise how far you can draw the bow back, this method pretends that you are drawing a bow to get the right draw length.

Stand as though you was holding a bow with your arm up with your hand in a fist, this will act as though you’re holding the grip of a bow. Its often recommended to put the first against a wall so that it doesn’t drop, as you want to keep it raised as though there is a bow.

Pull your other arm back past your mouth, as though you was drawing the bow string. Keeping your eyes forward as though you are aiming, ask someone to measure the top of your fist to the corner of your mouth. The result will be your draw length.

Draw Length Measuring Tips

Below are a couple of tips to bear in mind when you are trying to measure draw length;Draw Length Measuring Tips

1. Right Posture

Whichever method you decide to do (as I said you should do both), posture is very important. You need to make sure you are in a natural position and your shoulders are not scrunched. By making sure you are in a natural position, you can ensure that your results will be more accurate.

2. Check Measurements

Once you have your draw length, you will be one step closer to buying your bow. Its therefore important that you have the right measurements, as you don’t want to have to change your bow. I would therefore recommend double checking your measurements, potentially even triple check them. As mentioned above, try and do both methods and double check the measurements of both.

3. Round Nearest 1/2 inch

I always tend to round the measurement to the nearest half inch, as you are closer to that half inch so it’s better to up to the nearest one than round down. If you was 21.9 then you would want to go to 22”. Rounding this down to 21.5” could result in it being a little too small for you.

If you was to get a compound bow then I would also recommend getting one that is a little bigger as you are able to adjust them and set a maximum length.