How Long Should My Arrows Be

How Long Should My Arrows Be? – The Optimal Arrow Length

If you’re new to archery, you might be asking yourself what the right arrow length is for you. How long should my arrows be? Arrow length is actually a pretty subjective thing, as there are a number of things you need to consider before deciding on a length for yourself. Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal rule that governs the effective length of an arrow, but there are some tips and tricks that archers have picked up over the years that can improve both your power and accuracy, all while ensuring that your arrows are the ideal length for you. This being said, if you’ve ever asked yourself “how long should my arrows be?”, we’ve come up with a few things you should consider when looking for the right arrow length for you.




How Long Should My Arrows Be?

Wondering where you should start with your arrow length? Arrow size depends on a number of things, but primarily it depends on the draw length of your bow string. Your draw length is essentially how far you’re able to draw your bowstring back before releasing your arrow at your target. The distance between the body of your bow and the maximum stretch of your bowstring will determine the size of the arrow you can use comfortably.

Different Arrow Lengths

Basically, depending on your draw length, your arrow might be too long or too short for your bow. While your arrow size can be shortened, it’s often best to purchase arrows that are the correct length for your bow and draw length. You can do this by determining your draw length and purchasing arrows that are the appropriate length for your bow.

Bow with Suitable Arrows

Why is it best for you to purchase well-sized arrows instead of cutting them? Well, cutting an arrow increases its rigidity, which can be a good and a bad thing. Arrows that are more rigid tend to crack and bend easily, which isn’t great if you’re shooting particularly hard targets. On the other hand, arrows that are cut shorter weigh less and therefore travel faster than longer ones.

Lighter Arrows Travel Further

Now you might be asking yourself, what length of arrows do I need based on my draw length, and that’s actually a really good question to ask. The simplest explanation is that if you have a draw length of around 30 inches, the best arrow length for a 30-inch draw is around 28 to 28.5 inches. A 25-inch draw length would be way too short and would require you to adjust your draw length.

Consider Draw Length for Arrow Length

This might seem like common sense, but there are many people out there that are yet to discover this. Arrow length, and subsequently its weight, can have a huge impact on your accuracy, distance management, and overall performance. Although this doesn’t answer the question “what length of arrows do I need”, there are some other things you need to consider when choosing your arrow length.Arrows for Recurve Sport Bow

Your arrow length can also be determined by where your arrow sits on your shelf and rests. You could use a bit of extra length at the end of your arrow tip to compensate for broad head and/or bladed arrow tips too. The ideal length should allow for your arrowheads to sit on the shelf without the blades cutting into the forward edge of the shelf.

Just watch out that your arrows aren’t too long though, as if they stick out beyond your shelf too much it can make the entire bow a bit awkward to handle. Not to mention that it might catch on things in your surroundings if you are shooting from cramped spaces like behind a blind or from inside a hunting shelter.

Arrows Should Not Be Too Long

This being said, the best arrow length for a 30-inch draw will be around 28 inches as it’s just short enough for the length of the arrow not to be obnoxious and long enough not to hinder your performance. This isn’t set in stone though, and the best thing to do in the interest of convenience is to purchase your arrows with your bow and have someone in-store help you choose an arrow that suits your draw length and shooting style.



What Is the Easiest and Safest Way to Determine Arrow Length?

If you’re still asking yourself “how long should my arrows be” there are a few simple yet effective ways to determine the best length for you. While it might not be the way that everyone goes about determining the length of their arrows, this first method is pretty well known and is considered to be the standard method to determine the right length for your arrows. This involves measuring from the back point of the arrow to the throat of the nock. Keep in mind that your draw length and spine will affect the size of the arrow you’ll be using.

How to Determine Arrow Length

Proper arrow length should leave you with no obstructions when lining up or releasing your arrow, whether you’re working behind a blind or out in the open, you should always be confident in your setup before you fire a shot. This is why it’s recommended that you don’t cut your arrows, instead getting the proper arrow length directly from your local archery store or someone experienced in setting up bows.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t attempt to cut your arrows on your own, but cutting an arrow poorly can result in its structural integrity being compromised. This can result in hairline cracks or the warping of the arrow’s shaft, which can not only lead to inaccuracy but can make them pretty dangerous to shoot too.

Cut Arrows to Length Properly

The cool thing about getting your arrows done at an archery store is that you don’t have to chop up arrows you already own. You can keep those and get some arrows that are the proper length and which fit your budget. They’ll also be able to cater to the type of shooting you do and your personal style, which a cut arrow won’t.


Does Arrow Length Affect Your Safety?

This is a good question. Arrow length can affect your safety, but it might not be for the same reason you think. Remember, when you set up your draw length you are essentially setting up your presumably expensive compound bow to equip arrows of a certain length. Far too often, archers who are just starting their careers think that they can use arrows of any length because they’re “all the same”.

Novices with Too Long Arrows

This couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact, choosing an arrow length that doesn’t suit your draw length and bow can have serious consequences for your safety and the safety of those around you. If your arrow catches your bow or string it can cause serious bodily harm to your arms and/or face. The same can be said about shooting with different types of arrows (different brands, sizes, head configurations, etc.)

Too Short Arrows Can Be Dangerous

It’s not just the safety of you and your fellow archers that you should be concerned about either. If you’re hunting game, you should be completely sure that you are using ammunition that is properly suited to hunt and kill your target in the most humane way possible. This means ensuring that your arrows are properly weighted, that your bow is set up correctly, and that you’re able to shoot accurately at all times.

If you’re wondering if there’s a standard way to measure your arrows correctly either before they are cut or when you’re buying them, there is. The AMO method of measuring an arrow’s length is done by measuring from the groove of the nock to the end of the shaft. This measurement does not include the tip of the insert of the arrow at all.

Measure Arrow from Groove of Nock

Remember that once an arrow has been bought it is possible to return it if it hasn’t been shot and/or damaged, depending on how gracious your retailer is. However, once an arrow has been cut it cannot be returned, and the material you have removed cannot be re-added to the arrow. This is why you should be absolutely sure of the measurements you’re working with before you commit to the cutting process.


Are There Other Methods You Can Use to Measure Correct Arrow Length?

There are a few methods to determine the right arrow length for your bow setup. One common way is to use an arrow length to draw a length chart. These are pretty easy to come by and they’re pretty comprehensive too, but in case you don’t have an arrow length to draw a length chart, or simply don’t want to use one, here are a few other methods you can implement to determine if your arrow length suits your draw length, and overall bow setup. This being said, here are a few methods you can use to ensure that your arrow length is suited to your setup.

Arrow Lengths for Target Shooting


Using Arm Measurement

This method is simple and easy to execute. All you need to do is stand next to a wall and extend your arms outwards from your sides. Also, make sure that your palms (AKA hands) are extended as well for this to work. Now, have someone measure from the center of your chest to the tips of your fingers with some string or a measuring tape.

Measure Arm Length for Arrow Length

You can do this on your own, but in the interest of not hurting yourself with the tape measure and making things much easier, we highly recommend you get someone to help you out. Once you have your measurements you should add just one additional inch of length to it, and this will be the length of the arrow you should use!


Using Your Draw Length

Previously, we talked about how to calculate your draw length and why it’s important to take it into account when choosing the length of your arrows. The relationship between your draw length and your arrow length is tentative, you should always ensure that they fit one another in the interest of accuracy, power, and safety.

Measure Arrow Using Draw Length

You can use the draw length of your bow to determine the ideal length of your arrows. How do you do this? Well, once you have determined your draw length all that you need to do is add a half-inch onto the measurement, and you will have your arrow length. This being said, it might not work if you’re using large arrow tips, especially the broader, bladed heads which are often used for hunting


Use a Draw Arrow Indicator

This is by far the simplest way to determine the best length for your arrows. A draw arrow indicator is essentially a prop arrow that has loads of little marking on it that indicate length at certain intervals. These aren’t used for archery, but rather to determine the length of the arrows needed for bows with different draw lengths.

Basically, based on your draw length, you can use the length indicators on the draw indicator to determine what arrow size is right for you. Honestly, this is the simplest way to determine what arrow size you need, but these can be pretty difficult to get your hands on depending on where you stay, and where delivery is available.


Using the Rush Archers Technique

This might not be the most scientifically accurate way to determine the appropriate length for your arrows. This method is simple, all that you need to do is take your draw length and add a half-inch onto the measurement, and you’re pretty much done. This method might not work depending on the type of bow you use, but it’s a good one to know if you’re in a pinch.

You should also keep in mind that if you’re using broad arrow tips or ones that are bladed, you might need to compensate for the added mass. The last thing you want is the arrowheads damaging your shelf or the body of your bow. In the worst-case scenario, you might find that if your arrows are too short, your arrow tip could bite into your bow when the arrow is drawn, which can cause further damage when the arrow is released.



Are There Different Arrow Lengths for Different Kinds of Bows?

This is a good question. There are different types of bows, all of which have varying amounts of tension and storage of potential energy. This being said, here are a few commonly asked questions regarding arrow lengths for different bow types. Including the correct arrow length for compound bows and the correct arrow length for hunting.

Arrows for Hunting and Compound Bows


What Is the Correct Arrow Length for Hunting?

There is a distinct difference between target arrows and hunting arrow length. Remember that hunting arrows need to be able to carry a lot of energy. This is because they need to be able to traverse vast distances while still carrying enough energy to penetrate the hide of the animal and the (presumably) vital organs you are aiming for.

Arrow Lengths for Hunting

Hunting arrow length then, should be noticeably longer than one used for target practice. If you’ve hunted game before then this should seem like it goes without saying, but if you haven’t it’s an important detail to keep in mind. You should never attempt to hunt without an arrow that has been designed for hunting, as it could cause unnecessary suffering for the game you’re attempting to hunt.


What Is the Correct Arrow Length for a Compound Bow?

What is the correct compound bow arrow length? As you’ve probably figured out by now, the length of your arrow is pretty subjective. When it comes to compound bows though, there are some things you should consider besides the draw length when choosing your arrow. Keep in mind that compound bows have the ability to store a lot more energy than recurve and traditional bows.

Arrow Length for Compound Bow

Because of this, any imperfections such as bends and fractures in your arrow will not only negatively affect the speed and accuracy of your shots, but these mistakes will be strongly magnified due to the speed and power the arrow will be subjected to. Picking an arrow that is slightly longer and meatier will store more energy, and give it a lot more mass to carry all of that potential energy along its flight path. When deciding on your compound bow arrow length then, it’s best to go with a longer arrow with a dense composite.



Now that you know how long your arrows should be, what the easiest and safest way is to determine the length of the arrows you need, how using the correct arrows can affect the safety of you and those around you, as well as some other methods you can use to determine the best length for you arrows, it’s time for you to get out there and put your new-found knowledge to the test. Remember to always ensure that you have the correct arrow for your bow setup, and to always have your arrows cut by a trained professional whenever possible.



Frequently Asked Questions


What Arrow Length for a 28-Inch Draw Length?

What arrow length for a 28-inch draw length you ask? Well, the length of your arrow should never exceed the draw length of your bow setup. This being said, you should aim for an arrow length of about 27 to 27.5 inches if your draw length is 28 inches at full draw.


What Is the 29-Inch Draw Arrow Length?

Looking for a 29-inch draw arrow length? Well, the best draw length to arrow length relationship is usually about an inch or a half in difference. To put this into context, a draw length of 29 inches should have an arrow length of around 28 to 28.5 inches for optimal accuracy and speed.


Why Is Arrow Length Important?

You might be asking yourself why the length of your arrow is important if they’re all just little pointy sticks. The truth is, the length of your arrow affects the speed and distance at which it’s capable of traveling, which can affect your accuracy and performance.


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