What is Hand Shock in Archery?

Hand shock is the sudden vibration or jolt felt in the hand holding the bow after an arrow is released. This can be uncomfortable and even painful, and it can also negatively impact accuracy by causing the bow to move off-target.

Causes of Hand Shock in Archery

Hand shock is caused by several factors, including the design of the bow, the weight and stiffness of the arrow, and the archer's technique.

Bow Design

The design of the bow is a significant factor in hand shock. The limbs of the bow are designed to store energy when the string is drawn back, which is released when the string is released. If the bow's limbs are too stiff or heavy, they may not flex enough during the draw cycle, causing excessive energy to be released when the string is released. This can result in significant vibration and hand shock. Similarly, if the bow's limbs are too flexible, they may wobble excessively when the string is released, causing hand shock.

Arrow Weight and Stiffness

The weight and stiffness of the arrow can also contribute to hand shock. Heavier arrows tend to absorb more of the energy released by the bow, reducing the amount of energy that is transmitted to the bow and the archer's hand. Arrows with a higher spine or stiffness also tend to be more stable in flight, reducing the amount of vibration that is transmitted to the archer's hand.

Archer's Technique

 The archer's technique can also contribute to hand shock. Poor form, such as gripping the bow too tightly, can cause the archer's hand to absorb more of the shock from the bow. Not properly aligning the bow arm can also cause the bow to torque, which can cause hand shock. Additionally, not using a consistent release technique can cause variations in the amount of energy released by the bow, resulting in inconsistent levels of hand shock.

Effects of Hand Shock

Hand shock can have several negative effects on archery performance. The discomfort and pain caused by hand shock can distract the archer and make it difficult to maintain focus. Additionally, hand shock can cause the bow to move off-target, resulting in lower accuracy.

How to Reduce Hand Shock  in Archery

To reduce hand shock, archers can take several steps:

Choose a bow and arrows that are well-matched

The bow and arrows should be matched based on the archer's draw length, draw weight, and shooting style. Using arrows that are too heavy or stiff for the bow can cause additional problems, such as poor accuracy and decreased velocity.

Improve technique 

Proper technique, such as using a relaxed grip on the bow and maintaining proper alignment of the bow arm, can help reduce hand shock.

Use a release aid

A release aid can help ensure a consistent release of the string, which can reduce hand shock.

Add dampeners

Some bows come equipped with dampeners, which are small devices that absorb vibration and reduce hand shock. Archers can also add aftermarket dampeners to their bows to reduce hand shock.