Bow Draw Weight – Everything about Bow Draw Weights

A very important factor to consider if you want to buy a bow is the compound bow draw weight. Especially as a beginner you may not have any idea of the significance of draw weights. That’s why you can find out all about it in our draw weight guide. Not only do we describe the optimum draw weight for your bow, but we also give you an overview of the different types of bows. Have fun reading it!




What does the Bow Draw Weight mean?

The tension weight indicates the force you need to apply to fully tension the tendon of a bow. It is important that the string is only stretched to the extension length, i.e. the archer does not overstretch. The draw weight is given in pounds, the abbreviation for which is lbs. – from the Latin word libra.

The tensile force varies from bow type to bow type, which means that the same tensile weight may feel different on a different bow.

With many bows, the bow poundage is a fixed value. However, there are also types of bows whose draw weight can be changed. Such takedown bows have throwing arms which can be exchanged. Compound bows can also have a variable draw weight by making different adjustments to their cams. However, this is often not so easy for the layman.

In general, the hunting bow draw weight is estimated for your optimal bow. This estimate includes values such as gender, age, experience, and other sporting activities. An athletic mid-twenties will definitely create a different draw weight than an obese mid-fifties who has never done any sports before. A fourteen-year-old will not generate as high a draw weight as a thirty-year-old competitive athlete.

You can find out which draw weight is suitable for you from a sheet of draw weight tables. You can find it everywhere on the Internet. They contain the above-mentioned parameters so that you will certainly find what you are looking for.

If you like to be precise, you can also calculate your traction force very precisely: Hook a spring balance into the bowstring below the arrow and pull the string to your anchor point. Take this measurement three times and average the result.

bow draw weights


Draw Strength: Effects in Archery

Of course, different tensile weights of the bow have serious effects on different areas. The higher the tractive force of the bow, the higher the force the shooter has to exert on the bowstring in order to pull it out. An experienced archer with trained muscles in the right place will of course be able to handle a higher pulling force than a beginner archer.

As a beginner, you often overestimate yourself and choose the pull weight that you can just about manage. You should avoid this at all costs! It is better to choose a lower weight because if you are able to completely tighten a bowstring just now, your technique will inevitably suffer. And this is the most important thing when learning archery!

However, you should also not choose the traction too low, otherwise, you will need a new bow after a few weeks. This can also reduce the joy of archery. So the rule is: choose a low draw weight so that you can learn the technique properly as a beginner, but a high draw weight so that it is a challenge. The middle way is, as so often, optimal.

Care should be taken when choosing the appropriate arrows because the required spin value changes depending on the pulling weight. If you change the draw weight of a takedown bow or a compound bow, you must choose arrows with a different spin! The same applies if you use different recurve bows or longbows. If you do not pay attention to this, there is a risk of loss of flight characteristics and – in the long run – damaged limbs. In the worst case, you could even injure yourself.

By the way, especially with children, care should be taken not to choose a bow pulling force that is too high. Parents often don’t want to invest too much money and therefore buy a bow that should still fit the child two or three years later – often a mistake, because the draw weight is too high for the child at the beginning, which quickly makes him or her lose interest in archery.

compound bow draw weight


Tension Weight for Compound Bows

As far as the pull weight is concerned, the compound bow is a special case. It has cams, i.e. deflection rollers, through which the so-called Let Off is achieved: When the tendon is almost completely stretched, the pull weight suddenly drops. This gives the shooter more time to aim without his muscles slackening too quickly.

What sounds like the perfect bow for beginners is in practice, however, a filigree high-tech sports equipment. Only if the bow is adjusted correctly, you will be able to shoot it perfectly. And this is in principle hardly feasible for the layman without complicated machinery.

Compound bows are of course available with different tensile weights. This is important because the draw weight until the Let-Off is reached, is of course very important. In general, a compound bow with a higher draw weight is easier to draw out than a recurve bow with the same draw weight, but keep in mind: No let off in the world will give you an advantage if you don’t manage to draw out the bow until then. Also with the compound bow, you should therefore be careful.


Draw Weight for Recurve Bow

The recurve bow is characterized by its throwing arms curved away from the shooter, which guarantees an optimal energy transfer to the arrow. Therefore the recurve bow has a very good shooting performance even with rather low draw weight. Of course, this is not comparable to a compound bow. For beginners, however, the recurve bow is a good choice.

Archers, who are used to a compound bow, should rather orientate themselves downwards again regarding the draw weight because it is easier to tension a compound bow with a high draw and especially to hold it. A recurve bow is much less forgiving.

bow poundage


Draw Weight for Longbow

The specifications for the Longbow draw weight are more or less the same as for the recurve bow. However, it should be noted that a longbow cannot produce the same shooting performance as a recurve bow, even if both have the same draw weight. This is, as already mentioned, due to the curved limbs of the recurve bow.

With the English Longbow, you should inform yourself beforehand because this type of bow traditionally has a much higher tractive force. In earlier times this could be an incredible 120 lbs! Probably no archer would be able to handle such a pulling weight nowadays.


Bow traction has a great impact on your technique and can impact on your enjoyment of archery. Therefore, you should pay attention to which draw weight is suitable for you. If you are unsure, determine your personal draw weight or take the value from a bow draw weight table. Do not overdo it if you want to get a taste of the sport, archery is a mental and physical challenge. An archer aspires to become one with their bow. A good tip is therefore the following: You have to feel comfortable with the weight of the bow. Listen inside yourself and check carefully whether the tensioning of the string feels right for you or whether you have to fight it extremely hard. If you have the feeling that it fits, then you have usually found the optimal tension weight.

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