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Archery Equipment

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When you are ready to buy your own archery kit it can be a bit confusing and difficult to know what you need. We give each of our beginners a list of recommended equipment to help them when they go shopping. We are always happy to talk to you and explain the options to you. This page will give you some basic information on the various pieces of equipment that are generally needed.


The most obvious piece of equipment, but there are many options. First you need to consider which bowstyle you would like to shoot. See here for information on the main bowstyles.

A takedown recurve bow is the most common type you will see at clubs and events. This is a very adaptable bow with options to add to and upgrade items, such as limbs and stabilisers. It is used for both Recurve Freestyle and Barebow.
You would start by choosing a riser (the middle section which you hold). If possible pick up and handle the riser you are considering. You want to check how it feels in your hand. Different risers will feel different and have slightly different configuration.
Risers come in different lengths, but most adults use a 25″ riser. Your coach can advise on what would be most suitable for you.
Don’t underestimate the importance of colour and appearance! Choose something that appeals to you. If you like how it looks you will enjoy shooting with it more.
The most popular option for a riser is one with ILF (International Limb Fitting) to give you the most adaptable set up.

The next thing to consider are limbs. These attach to the riser and flex to give the power to propel the arrows forward. For a beginner your coach will recommend a maximum poundage which you should not exceed. You can save some money by buying cheaper, but suitable, limbs as you will outgrow these in time and want to upgrade.
Limbs come in different lengths, depending on your draw length. This may change as you develop your skill and your coach can advise on what length to buy.

You will also need –
– string, matched to the length of your bow
– arrow rest
– pressure button
– sights, if you want to shoot recurve freestyle

For each of these there are many options. Take a little time to look at them and decide which will suit your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

You may need weights and/or stabilisers. Your coach can advise on these.


Once you have your bow you need arrows to go with it. Arrows are matched to the power, or poundage of the bow measured at your draw length. Arrows that are not matched to the bow will not perform as well as those that are.

Arrows are made from various materials, mainly –
– wood
– aluminium
– carbon
– a mix of aluminium & carbon
– fibreglass

At Riverside, as we shoot on a school field, we are required to account for every arrow & report any missing. Because of the difficulties in finding them, and the dangers of breakages, arrows made wholly of carbon or fibreglass are not permitted and we ask that you buy arrows made of wood (with brass or steel points), carbon/aluminium, or aluminium.

Wooden arrows are generally used with traditional bows such as longbows and flat bows. For a recurve freestyle or barebow you generally need aluminium or carbon/aluminium arrows. Aluminium arrows are usually cheaper than carbon/aluminium and make an ideal choice for beginners. As you improve and increase the poundage of your bow you will need to buy new arrows to match, so you can save a little money at the beginning with cheaper aluminium arrows. We recommend you buy at least 8 arrows. This will allow you to shoot the outdoor rounds where 6 arrows are shot each end, and have a couple of spares should one get damaged. It is also a good idea to but some spare points, nocks and vanes so that if any are broken or lost you can replace them and continue to use the arrow. Also, buy arrows that are 2 or 3 inches longer than your draw length to allow for improvement.

Arrows should be numbered and have your name on the shaft near the fletches. This is required at many competitions but also helps to identify lost arrows.

It is good practice to count how many arrows you put into your quiver at the start of a session and how many are left in your case or arrow tube. Count again at the end to make sure all arrows are there. Always report any missing arrows to the Field Captain on the day.