When it comes to archery, the type of equipment you use can have a significant impact on your performance and overall experience. Finger tabs and shooting gloves are two of the most commonly used pieces of equipment in the sport intended to confer finger protection each time you shoot an arrow, and each has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. It is important to understand the differences between these two options so you can make an informed decision on which one is best for you.
What Is An Archery Tab?
An archery tab is a small piece of archery gear made of leather or other materials worn on the fingers of the hand that draws the bowstring. The tab is typically worn on the first or second finger, and it helps to protect the fingers from the rough edges of the string each time you fire an arrow. It also helps to reduce the amount of stress on the fingers, which can be especially beneficial for those who shoot frequently.
Tabs provide a hard surface for the string to hit each time you shoot your bow, conferring finger protection from the impact. Traditional bow archers often prefer to use a tab because they provide a consistent and precise release of the string. The hard surface of the finger tab allows for a clean and smoother release, which is important for target archers who are looking for minimal noise and maximum accuracy.
Additionally, tabs are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry around and use. Many archers even believe tabs produce a solid anchor point reference. For increased comfort, it's advisable to shoot with a tab that comes with components like a finger spacer, pinky hook, thumb rest, and palm plate. Some options come with a rubber spacer attached that is positioned between the archer's index finger and the next two fingers.
One of the main drawbacks of using a finger tab is that it can take some time to get used to. It's quite normal to experience subtle changes in their draw finger and anchor feel the first few times of using a tab. The hard surface of the tab can be uncomfortable for some archers, and the precise bow release can take some time to master. Additionally, the tab can get in the way of your fingers, making it difficult to adjust your grip or hold the bow steady.
Pros Of Using A Finger Tab
Confers Finger Protection
One of the biggest advantages of using a tab is the protection it provides for your fingers. The rough edges of the string can cause significant damage to your fingers over time, especially if you shoot frequently. Tabs can help to reduce this damage and keep your fingers in better condition.
In addition to protecting your fingers, a tab can also help to improve your accuracy. When you use a tab, it provides a consistent surface for the string to rest against, which can help to eliminate any variations in your anchor point and help to improve your aim and accuracy.
Many tabs are made of leather and are customizable, allowing you to adjust the fit and shape of the tab to suit your specific needs and preferences.
Cons Of Using A Tab
Uncomfortable To Wear
One of the biggest downsides of using a finger tab is that it can be uncomfortable to have on for extended periods of time. Some archers who shoot with a tab may find that it rubs against their fingers, causing irritation or even pain.
Not Suitable For Larger Fingers
Additionally, tabs may not be suitable for people with larger fingers, as they may be too small to fit comfortably.
Difficult To Adjust
Another disadvantage is that it can be difficult to adjust for different shooting styles. Archers may have different preferences for the position of the tab on their finger, which can be difficult to achieve with a standard archery tab.
The Archery Glove
Archery gloves are full-fingered gloves usually made from thick leather or velcro material worn on the hand that draws the bowstring. Gloves typically cover the entire hand, including the fingertips, and it is designed to confer protection from the rough edges of the string. It also helps to reduce the amount of stress on the hand and fingertips, which can be especially beneficial for those who shoot frequently.
Many archers prefer to use a glove because of their simplicity and wide variety of choices of materials. Some options are designed to completely cover the entire hand up to the wrists, while other options on the market are such that they cover only three fingers and come with a strap that fastens the glove to the wrist. Archers sometimes prefer to use a glove because you can safely retrieve your arrows without necessarily removing the glove, as it doesn't restrict your finger movement.
Gloves provide a soft and flexible surface for the string to hit, protecting your fingertips from the impact. They are often preferred by hunters and field archers because they provide a quiet release and natural feel. The soft and flexible surface of the shooting glove allows for a more natural release, which is important for hunters who are looking for a quiet release to avoid spooking their prey. Additionally, a shooting glove is comfortable to wear and can provide warmth in colder weather.
One of the main drawbacks of shooting with a glove is that it can be bulky and can get in the way of your fingers. Their soft and flexible surface can also make it difficult to achieve a consistent and precise release, which is important for target archers. Additionally, they can be expensive and may need to be replaced more frequently than tabs.
Pros of Using A Shooting Glove
Protection For Hand And Fingers
One of the biggest advantages of using a glove is the protection it provides for your hand and fingers. It is especially helpful for archers that shoot bows with a heavy draw weight to use a glove. The rough edges of the string can cause significant damage to your hand and fingers over time, especially if you shoot frequently. Shooting gloves can help to reduce this damage and keep your hand and fingers in better condition.
Consistency In Release Point
Similar to the tab, a glove can also improve your accuracy by providing a consistent release point. The glove covers your entire hand, providing a consistent surface for the bowstring to rest against, which can help to eliminate any variations in your anchor point.
Gloves can also be beneficial in cold weather conditions as they keep the hands warm and comfortable.
Cons of Archery Glove
Uncomfortable To Wear
Like the tab, gloves can also be uncomfortable to have on for extended periods of time. Some archers may find the gloves too tight or loose, causing discomfort or even pain.
Not Suitable For Larger Hands
Additionally, gloves may not be suitable for people with larger hands, as they may not fit comfortably.
Difficult To Adjust
Some gloves may also be difficult to adjust for different shooting styles. Archers generally have different shooting styles and hence, may have different preferences for the position of the glove on their hand, which can be difficult to achieve with a standard glove.
Additional Considerations When Choosing An Archery Tab Or Glove
Some additional considerations to make when looking to choose an archery tab or archery glove include:
The material of the tab or glove can also be a factor to consider. Leather tabs and gloves are usually more durable and long-lasting, but they may also be more expensive. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, may be less expensive but not as durable and sometimes confer less finger protection.
The weather can also play a role in your decision. Leather tabs and gloves tend to be less breathable than synthetic materials, making them more uncomfortable to use in hot or humid weather. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, may be more comfortable in these conditions but may not be as durable.
Lastly, budget is also a factor to consider. Leather tabs and gloves are usually more expensive than synthetic materials, so if budget is a concern, synthetic materials may be a better option.
Archery Tab vs. Archery Glove: Which Is Right For You?
Both tabs and gloves have their own benefits, so it's important to try both before you decide which one is right for you. If you're a traditional or target archer, a tab may be the better choice for you because of its consistent and precise release. A glove may be the better choice if you're a hunter or field archer because of its natural feel and quiet release. A rule of thumb, if you're a beginner archer, is to try firing an arrow or two using both options to see which one suits you best. It's also important to consider your budget and the type of weather you will be shooting in.
In summary, when deciding whether to use a tab or a glove, it's important to consider your shooting style, preferences, draw weight, and comfort level. Ultimately, the goal is to protect your fingers while providing a consistent and precise release of the string. Try firing arrows with both options, test and figure out which one you prefer, and make sure to use the one that best suits your shooting style and will give you the best results and the most comfortable archery experience.