Many archers invest in archery gear they can use for years and have had success with it. But there are times when your archery interests or shooting style might change, and you decide it’s time to make an upgrade or try something new in your quest to broaden your archery horizons. There is a truckload of reasons you might need to upgrade your archery equipment as you progress in the field. In this article, we’ll discuss some of those reasons and the possible gear upgrades you can make as an archer.
Possible Reasons To Upgrade Your Archery Gear
All archers have different paths and will have different experiences along the way. Where your gear is lacking as an archer will not necessarily be the case with the next guy. There is a long list of variables to consider when deciding to make a gear upgrade, but the most important thing to consider is whether or not our gear is really the one thing holding us back. Below are some of the ways to know it’s time to upgrade your archery equipment:
Every professional archer will agree that shooting with a bow that isn’t the right fit will hamper your shooting accuracy. Bows are designed to match individual body sizes and abilities. To be a consistently accurate archer, your bow must fit your draw length - a measure of how far back you need to pull your bow to get to full draw and your draw weight - the amount of force required to bring the bow to full draw. These parameters grow with you as you physically grow as an archer. The draw length, however, ordinarily shouldn’t change for adult archers, but youths will experience an increase in draw length over time. If your current draw length or draw weight isn’t right, your form will suffer, and so will your archery performance.
It’s not uncommon for archers to switch disciplines a number of times as they progress in their journey. Some archers start archery for recreational purposes, then dabble a bit into 3D archery, only to end up settling for bowhunting or decide to shoot competitively. We’ve also seen archers set their compound or recurve bows asides after getting curious about traditional bows or crossbows.
Irrespective of what the case might be, an archer’s shooting or equipment interests might change even when their first bow is still a perfect fit. This calls for a gear upgrade, as it’s advisable to go for bows that suit your archery skills and interests.
One constant thing in the gear market is change. Every year, manufacturers release new innovations, and it’s only normal to want to quickly grab the next in-thing as an archer. I mean, why pass up a chance to take advantage of new technology and advancements in archery gear and accessories?
While we’re not against you exploring new innovations, you need to understand that this won’t necessarily improve your shooting. Hence, the next time there’s a new product on the market, slow down and consider if you really need to make the switch.
But, of course, new bows are faster, quieter, more accurate, and easier to shoot. They also have outstanding let-off and forgiveness. As long as your budget allows it, we don’t see why not, especially if your current bow and accessories are already considerably old or if your budget didn't allow you to go for your dream bow while starting out.
Upgrading Your Archery Gear - What To Consider
Now that you’re ready to switch up your gear game, you first need to determine what you really need. Do you need a general overhaul, or do you just need a few tunings and probably only change a few things? Regardless of where you stand, we’ve prepared a guide for you as you go about your equipment upgrade.
Irrespective of your bow type, one important thing you always have to remember is you must be able to control your bow. There’s really no point increasing your bow weight only for your technique and form to suffer.
It is recommended that beginners start with lower draw weight and gradually work their way up to higher weights. It's true higher draw weights increase the power of your shots, resulting in faster arrow speeds, but why pull more weight if you can't handle it yet?
When considering upgrading your archery gear or going up in poundage, the ideal amount of bow weight increase is 4lb. Usually, 2lb isn’t enough, and 6lb might be too much to go up by. Nonetheless, it all depends on the individual.
Regarding the time frame for upgrades, everyone is different. While there are people ready for changes after only 3 months, some other people can take up to 6 months or more. There’s really no need to feel rushed about going up in draw weight. Jumping up bow weight too soon can lead to a number of issues with your form and technique. From short draws to inconsistent anchoring, muscle fatigue, or hunched shoulders - the list is endless.
Ideally, if you increase your poundage by 4lb or more, you’ll likely need to change your arrows, as there’ll be an increase in the amount of energy transferred into the shaft. This extra energy can result in clearance and contact issues and, consequently, poor arrow flight and grouping.
Asides from changes in your draw weight, you also have to consider draw length and release. Once you notice any of these parameters are not intact, you know it’s time to switch those arrows.
By increasing the bow’s inertia, stabilizers reduce vibration and the amount your sight pin moves, stabilizing the bow in your hands as you release your arrows. Without a proper stabilizer, your bow will feel unstable while you aim, which can lead to inconsistent shots.
While some people tend to prefer starting with only the long rod and adding side rods subsequently, there are archers who combine the long rod and side rod right from the start, and the reason for this isn’t far-fetched. Side rods help balance the bow better by bringing the center of gravity to a manageable point, offsetting the effect of the long rod.
For archers who start out with just the long rod, we recommend that you head to an archery shop to try out sidebars, as this could be just what you need to take your shooting to the next level.
Sights take in a considerable amount of vibration, but those of high quality won’t rattle loose. Provided your bow sight isn’t falling apart or missing some parts, you might not necessarily have to consider an upgrade. But for compound archers who can’t adjust to the third axis with their starting sight, an upgrade might become unavoidable in due time if you seek to improve your shooting accuracy.
Most archers generally start out with a lower-end rest and, over time, will need to upgrade to options that provide more tunability, particularly for compound archers. When upgrading your arrow rest, consider going for options that offer greater adjustability and smoother arrow flights.
A good archer is always on the quest to improve their skills and shot accuracy, putting in long hours of practice and maybe even signing up for practice lessons. But as you evolve as an archer, let your gear evolve with you. Who knows? Knowing when it's time to upgrade your archery gear as an archer might just be the miracle your archery performance needs.