Finding Your Correct Draw Length

Finding Your Correct Draw Length by guest author Robert James Foort


 Archery is a technical sport, but once you know the ins and outs correctly, nothing can stop you from becoming a champ! 


A few of the terms that one might hear before buying a crossbow are draw length, draw weight, speed, and kinetic energy. Step by step, we learn each of them so that when we go out on the field, fast learning is confirmed.


What is draw length?

Draw length is the length of pulling the arrow on your bow to shoot the arrow with the best potential. This length determines the amount of force that the arrow needs. Crossbows with a higher draw length have greater speed, and therefore, your chance of shooting down prey or hitting a bull’s eye is the highest!


Typically, draw length is the distance from the nock point to the throat of the grip with almost two inches. Did we confuse you? For beginners, the nock point is the point at which the arrow is touching the crossbow. The nock point keeps the arrow in place on the crossbow string, ensuring that it is shot from a consistent position and with uniform force. Similarly, the throat of grip is the deepest part of your bow grip. So you may say that the distance of the string to the center of the crossbow is your draw length. The right arrow will also be of the same length almost. The smaller bows may have a shorter draw length, but does that mean that you cannot stretch more than the crossbow’s draw length? Yes, you can! The draw length is measured accurately for every individual, according to his or her physique. So if you are a short and slender person, your draw length for a particular crossbow will be different from the draw length of a taller and broader person! Read on, and you can find your personal draw length to use on crossbows and recurve bows. You can understand this distance once you get a crossbow in your hands. 


How to calculate draw length?

Every archer must know their physical draw length, which is the maximum amount of stretch to give the bowstring. Your maximum draw length will propel the arrow with the utmost force, so this statistic is your secret way of getting closer to learning. Your best option is to look for a technician at a pro-shop or sports shop who can calculate the draw length by taking a few body measurements. However, the formula given below should get you the right crossbow too. 

To calculate your draw length correctly:

• Stand against a wall and raise your arm to shoulder height. 

• Stretch them outward with your fingers straight. 

• Measure the distance from the tip of your right-hand middle finger to the tip of your left-hand middle finger.

• Make sure you measure the straight line from one arm, across the chest to the other arm’s length. 

• This distance is called your wingspan. Yes! That makes it easier to understand.

• Your correct draw length will be (Wingspan – 15) and then divided by 2.


For example, if my wingspan is 63 inches, my draw length will be (63-15)=48/2=24inches. An interesting fact is that your wingspan is usually the same as your height. 

For compound bow users, a technician calculates the draw length as the cam system on this type of bow changes the calculations. The compound bow is then fine-tuned to suit your draw length, so you never hit the target. 


What if you don’t have a measuring tape?

No worries! Usually, your wingspan is the same as your height, and there’s a chance you would know that! However, if you still want to calculate your draw length but do not have a measuring tape on you, there is another quick way of finding the right draw length. 

Place the nock of the arrow in the center of your chest, just below your collar bone. Make sure that the arrow points straight outwards from your body. Now reach forward and place both your arms straight on the arrow. Keep your elbow joint locked, so you get the most accurate reading. On the arrow, note the point that the tip of your middle finger is touching. This length on the arrow, plus almost two more inches, is your draw length. 


Understand the importance of draw length

Draw length determines the maximum force that you can give to the arrow. Moreover, it helps determine the right bow and arrow for you to use. The farther you can push back, the arrow gets more speed and energy. If you are using a compound bow, the cam system will handle much of the force factor, so your draw length can be shorter. However, for the more conventional crossbows, you will need to extend your arm and stretch the bowstring enough to give the arrow a thrust that can bring down an animal or tear apart the target. 


Choosing a bow that matches your draw length

When you are out buying a compound or crossbow, the draw length measurement is essential as it decides which bow is best for you. You will feel more comfortable and can aim naturally if the bow is according to your draw length. Many people do not know why draw length is essential, they might not buy the crossbow to suit them the most, making them an archer in comfort. If your bow is according to your draw length, you will naturally shoot better and more effectively. 

Compound bows are different, as we mentioned earlier. For compound bows, the draw length is tuned, and therefore you need to adjust this kind of bow to suit your individual statistics. 


Does your draw length seem shorter or longer?

For a successful shot, draw length must be correct as it is the make or break point of your game. Even if you have the most suitable crossbow or compound bow, if you keep your draw length less or more than the natural length, you might not get the desired results on the field or while hunting. Check a few points to see if the draw length was too short or too long;

• Standing properly, without popping or drooping shoulders.

• Poor alignment in terms of when you shoot the arrow. When you are drawing the arrow, the posture must be correct. The arm holding the bow must be in front of you, stretched. Similarly, the arm with the arrow must be bent well, with the elbow behind your shoulder. Looking straight ahead, with a straight back-this posture, is how you must draw the arrow to stretch thoroughly, with proper bone alignment. 

• Do you use a D-loop? 

D loop is the small device that you attach to the bowstring to help you stretch. This loop may put your measurements out of line as it can shorten the draw length, compromising the arrow’s speed. 

• Long release aids can lengthen your draw, and this may make you miss the target. Ensure that you make adjustments to the bow as well as your arms stretch to adjust any difference caused by accessories. 


Last thoughts

Draw length measurement is as essential for archery as your shoe size is for the right fit! Make sure you get your draw length measured from a professional so that you can buy a compound or crossbow accordingly. The basic physical statistics play a crucial role in success at the game, and all of it begins with drawing an arrow! We have discussed some simple ways of measuring draw length and ensuring that you never miss the target. 

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