Do You Even Need A Plunger For Your Bow?

Ever wondered if you should even buy a plunger? Does a plunger really help or is it a waste of money? Here we discuss this in detail. Do you need a plunger, what it does and if it is a waste of money?

Here we go.

As a general rule, an archer does not need a plunger on their recurve bow to be an effective archer. You can achieve a high degree of accuracy with consistent practice without relying on a plunger.

Now, let’s delve deeper into the very purpose of the plunger, what it is and why I think you can do without it.

So, now we will take a look at what a plunger is, the problem it’s designed to solve, and based on all that you will see why it is not that necessary.

What Is A Plunger And Why Do People Use It?

A plunger is a spring-loaded piston that is attached to the riser of the bow. Its main purpose is to absorb the lateral flex of the arrow upon release which helps to improve the archer’s accuracy.

A Plunger

It’s an archery aid.

So, why do people use it?

Well, archery is a sport of minimizing inconsistencies. As an archer, you make sure every part of your shot stays the same as much as possible. Your job is to minimize any variables. That is why your form/stance is the same during every shot, your anchor point is always the same. You use a finger tab.

That is because you know, that even a minimal inconsistency or chance in your release will affect the flight path of the arrow.

One of these inconsistencies an archer wants to minimize is the lateral flex of the arrow.

Why Do Arrows Flex?

An arrow will flex when fired from a bow because of two reasons:

The 1st Reason:

When the bowstring transfers the energy from the bow to the arrow the arrow itself can not absorb the energy of the bow evenly. This results in the back of the arrow moving at faster speeds than the front of the arrow.

This pushes the front of the arrow against the riser resulting in a slight lateral bend. And as the arrow bends in one way it reactively bends in the other way as well, due to the material it’s made of.

The 2nd Reason

It is impossible for any archer to release the bowstring evenly every single time. This uneven finger release causes the bowstring to have a slight movement left to right. This tiny lateral movement of the bowstring gets transferred to the arrow which amplifies the arrow bend during flight.

I delve deeper into this phenomenon in my article on the Archer’s Paradox which you read about if you click here.

You could reduce the effect of the bending of the arrow on accuracy by using a plunger, a mechanical release, or using a bow with a centerline shot.

Like this:

A Bow With A Center-line Shot

Now, since we covered the arrow bending and what the plunger is let’s see how it works in slow motion.

How Does A Plunger Work?

A plunger works by absorbing the lateral bending of the arrow when it’s released to straighten its flight path, thus increasing the accuracy of your shot.

Breakdown of A Plunger

Here is a video demonstration of the plunger in action. It’s a short video, just 71 seconds. Take a look at just the first 15 seconds.

A Plunger In Action

The plunger absorbs the bending of the arrow and uses the spring to straighten out the arrow and reduce the contact between the arrow and the riser. Leading to increased accuracy.

Do Compound Bows Need A Plunger?

If you have a compound bow a plunger is useless, since compound bows are fired using a mechanical release, which eliminates the side-to-side movement of the bowstring upon the release.

This means, that the arrows fired from a compound bow do not bend side to side but up and down. Negating any need for a plunger. Plungers are useless on a compound bow.

Why You Do Not Need A Plunger

A plunger acts as a device that straightens the flight of the arrow as it leaves the bow.

Now, can you shoot without a plunger? Absolutely it is possible to shoot effectively without the plunger. After all, it is not the archery aid that makes the archer but his or her skill.

So if you take into account the archer’s paradox and if you have chosen the right arrow that fits your bow you can fire accurately. Simply make a few shots, notice where the arrows land and make the necessary adjustments in your shooting.

As an archery aid, the plunger is very useful. Me being a very cheap person finds it an optional piece of equipment.

Any beginner should not even touch a plunger or any other archery aids until they master the fundamentals of shooting a recurve bow. After that, you can start adding equipment to your bow.

Do The Pros Use A Plunger?

Yes, a plunger is an essential piece of equipment for any competitive archer shooting recurve. When you are at their level, your skills are already top-notch. So, it just makes sense to add an extra “piece of the puzzle” to increase the consistency of every shot.

I know what you are probably thinking “You said plungers are optional but here you are telling us that even the pros use them”. All of that is true, but then again they are professionals. If you are planning on competing definitely get one. But only after you took the time to hone your skills.

In Conclusion

The main point of this article was to hammer in the point of not relying too much on equipment at the expense of developing skills. Your focus should be on making yourself better and once you reach a certain point then you can invest in all the extra add-ons.

Personally, I feel you can do without them if you are not a professional archer.

That is all from my end. Hopefully, you took something out of this.

If you want to take a look at plungers on Amazon feel free to look at them by clicking here. I know I didn’t make a strong case for them, I am just leaving it here as an option, should you choose it.

Take care.

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