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Archery Equipment & Accessories

Updated on November 29, 2016

Essential equipment, or tackle, includes a bow of the right weight for the archer's strength, with a properly fitted bowstring, and arrows of the right spine for the bow weight. An archer also will need an armguard, a glove or fingertab, and a quiver.

Photo by Lisa Solonynko
Photo by Lisa Solonynko


The best modern bows are made of fiber glass over a hardwood core. The rigid center section (handle) contains the hand grip and the arrow rest - the shelf above the hand grip that holds the arrow at the exact spot each time the archer shoots. Both upper and lower limbs have a nock (notch) at their outer ends for attaching the bowstring. Bows vary in length from 5 to 6 feet. The surface area of each limb on the string side of the bow is called the belly; the side away from the string, the back.

Bow weight is determined by the number of pounds of effort necessary to pull the bowstring back to a distance equal to the length of the arrow an archer effectively draws. Most bows are marked with the pounds of pull indicated for 28 inches of draw.

Bowstrings vary in length, strength, and stretch. They are generally made of fine-thread Dacron. The serving on the string, usually of a snug-fitting nylon or cotton, has a marked nocking point for accepting the nock of the arrow.


Arrows must be matched; that is, they must be of the same spine (stiffness and resiliency of the shaft), weight, length, feather size, and pile. Hunting arrows average about 500 grains and are 26 to 30 inches long. Target arrows weigh approximately 300 grains and are 24 to 28 inches in length. Turkey feathers are used for fletching and are carefully selected and placed with regard to ballistic exactness. Increasing numbers of target arrows use plastic instead of feathers for fletching.

For both target archery and bowhunting, arrows of aluminum and fiber-glass tubing are used, although for bowhunting the most commonly used arrows still are made of wood. Target arrows have a tapered metal pile. Arrows with blunt heads are used for small game and for roving. Big game hunting arrows are equipped with sharp-edged broadheads.


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