How To Choose The Right Arrows?

So, you want to know which arrows you should choose? You saw arrows with different lengths and materials and want to know which ones you need.

This article will give you the understanding you need to know which arrows you should choose.

So, here are the 5 things you should look for when deciding which arrows you should choose:

  • Length of the arrow
  • The Tip of the arrow
  • Material of the arrow
  • Weight of the Arrow
  • The fletching of the arrow

This article will explain to you everything you need to get started, so you can avoid wasting money on the wrong arrows. And

Key Factors To Look At When Deciding Which Arrows You Should Choose

  • Length of the arrow
  • Tip of the arrow
  • The material of the arrow
  • Weight of the arrow

Length of the arrow

Let’s start with the easiest factor. The length. This one is quite simple. The length of the arrow should fit the bow you are using.

What do I mean by that?

Each bow has what it called its own “draw length”. The draw length can roughly be defined as how far you can safely pull the bowstring back.

An Example of How You Measure a Draw Length of the Bow

So a good rule of thumb is: The arrows you are using should be 1 to 2 inches longer than your draw length.

To be honest the arrows could be longer than that. There is just no real need for that.

Be very careful!

If the arrows are shorter than your draw length and you draw the bow at full length then the arrow tip will fall off the arrow rest and could lead to some cuts and other discomforts.

You could in theory shoot shorter arrows, it’s unnatural though. Just never draw them fully!

How To Determine Your Draw Length?

It’s simple.

  1. Get a measuring tape.
  2. Extend both of your arms to the side, so you are standing straight with both of your arms extended to the side.
  3. Have someone measure the distance between your middle fingers.
  4. When you get the distance, you simply divide it by 2,5
  5. When you have your draw length add one or two inches to it
  6. Voila, you are done.

There is also an easier way. Simply drop by your local archery shop and have them perform the measurements.

It’s always easier when getting hands-on advice from an expert.

But what if you got some really cool arrows that are simply too long?

You Can Shorten Your Arrows

If someone gifted you a dozen really cool arrows made of carbon fiber or aluminum or both, you can cut the arrows down.

I strongly advise any beginner from doing this. Chances are you don’t have the necessary experience to do it or even the equipment.

You should definitely use an arrow saw. Not a normal hacksaw. It should provide the cleanest cut (in the right hands).

An Example of an Arrow Saw

The benefit of cutting your arrows is:

  • It allows you to custom tailor your arrows to your bow. Thus enabling you to improve the performance and score.

Main Takeaway: The length of your arrows should ideally be between 1 to 2 inches longer than your draw length.

The Tip of the Arrow

There are six main types of arrow tips:

  • Fishing arrow tip
  • Bullet arrow tip
  • Grabbing arrow tip
  • Blunt arrow tip
  • Broadhead tip

So, if you are simply into target archery, like most of us here. You can stick to the bullet arrow tip. That’s it, you can skip to the next section.

Bullet Arrow Tip

I promise. The other tips are mainly for bow hunters.

If you want to go a little more into the tip, then continue reading.

Why are arrow tips important?

In target archery the purpose is simple shooting an arrow and having it penetrate the target and stay stuck to the target until you pull it out.

In bowhunting, things are a little different.

If you use a tip that is designed for small animals like rabbits or fish on a large animal then the arrow will not penetrate the animal’s skin.

Thus, ruining the hunt.

So, it’s important to put the right tip on your arrows if you are a hunter. I might write an article in the future on bowhunting but for now, let’s skip to the next section.

Main Takeaway: For target archery, you can use the bullet arrow tip. It will do the job just fine. If you are bowhunting then choose the tip based on the animals you are going to hunt that day.

The Material of the Arrow

Arrows tend to be made from 5 materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Wood
  • Carbon
  • Aluminum carbon mix
  • Fiberglass

Let’s get straight to the point.

Wooden arrows.

While historic and cool-looking, wooden arrows aren’t really that useful for a beginner or experienced archer as well.

Why is that?

Well, wooden arrows tend to break more easily than other ones, they splinter or get damaged in some other way.

The benefit of wooden arrows is that they are cheap and usually have markings on them indicating what kind of draw weight they are most suitable for. Meaning if you lose a wooden arrow, they are so cheap you won’t be that bothered.

So, forget wooden arrows.

Assuming you are a beginner to an intermediate archer, the main things to keep in mind are:

  1. No arrow will last forever
  2. You will need to replace your arrows regularly

For those two simple reasons, I suggest you stick to fiberglass or aluminum arrows.

The Main Benefits of Fiberglass Arrows

A Set of Fiberglass Arrows

Fiberglass arrows are cheap and very durable. Perfect for novice archers.

Keep in mind though!

While they are perfect arrows for any beginner, as you improve you better shift to aluminum arrows since fiberglass arrows work best with bows with a low draw weight on shorter distances.

After you damage your first set of fiberglass arrows, do consider upgrading to aluminum or carbon ones.

They should help with accuracy on longer distances.

Regarding aluminum carbon mixed arrows, yes you could buy them. There is just no need for a hobbyist target archer to use those unless they are professional.

Best Material for Bowhunters

The heavier the better so carbon fiber, aluminum carbon mix would be the best option.

The issue is also, as you up the draw weight on your bow, the lighter arrows like those from fiberglass won’t function well.

The Main Takeaway: If you are starting out with archery use fiberglass arrows and gradually transition to aluminum ones as you get better and upgrade your equipment.

The Weight of the Arrow

To simplify things.

There are lighter arrows and heavier arrows. Lighter arrows are the ones from fiberglass.

Heavier ones are from carbon fiber or an aluminum carbon mix.

Benefits of Lighter Arrows

They tend to travel further than heavier arrows and they also drop a lot less over distances compared to the heavier arrows.

They also give you a tighter grouping.

Benefits of Heavier Arrows

The arrow is capable of absorbing more kinetic energy from the bow. This means it pierces a hell of a lot better than lighter arrows.

For a target archer, not a huge deal but bowhunters appreciate that capability. Given the increase in weight, it’s also less susceptible to winds.

So which ones should you choose?

Given that I suggested you use fiberglass arrows as a beginner, you will be using lighter arrows.

This is what you should be paying attention to!

You should always use arrows that are designed to be used with your type of bow.

Most arrows, when sold are marked with a marking saying that they should be used with a bow with a draw weight between x and y.

So, stick with those recommendations!

Main Takeaway: If you are not a bowhunter stick with the lighter arrows in the beginning. Each set of arrows tends to be marked with the ideal bow draw weight the arrows should be used with.

As long as you stick with those you will do fine.

The Fletching of the Arrow

Fletching referees to the stabilization devices on the back of the arrow. Their job is to stabilize the arrow as it leaves the bow and in some cases to even rotate the arrow for increased accuracy.

Fletchings come in many shapes and materials. The most common ones used are plastic vanes. Which themselves come in many shapes and sizes.

To read a detailed breakdown on which plastic vanes to use on your arrows click here to go to an article for a detailed breakdown.

In order to grossly oversimplify things: In most cases use smaller plastic vanes with an offset configuration. In most cases, those are more than fine when choosing the best arrow yourself.

How To Make Choosing Arrows a Lot Easier

Go to your local archery shop

If you want to simplify things, step into your local archery shop.

It’s very likely the person working there has had countless situations where he had to advise people on choosing arrows.

Tap into that knowledge.

Go there, tell them what you want and you could be walking out with a cool set of arrows really fast.

You can easily gather advice and information at your local archery range as well.

If you need your arrows cut down for size, before buying them contact your local archery shop and see if they are willing to cut down your arrows.

A lot of them will do that.

Stick to official recommendations

Assuming you are not a professional archer or a bowhunter. If you stick to recommendations on draw weight, length of the arrow and if you have the right tip, you should do just fine as an archer.

In Conclusion

Picking the right type of arrow for your bow is an important process. Deciding which arrows you should choose can be made easier if you enlist help from your local archery store or your local archery range.

Tell them what kind of bow you have, the draw length, and just see the advice pouring in.

While I know, choosing the right arrow could fill an entire book I hope by reading this you have gained an understanding of what to look at when choosing the correct arrow.

If you want to take a look at my article on how many arrows you really need just click here, it will take you to an article explaining how many arrows you need.

You will see it’s surprisingly little. 

If you ever wondered how the anatomy of an arrow looks like then click here.

You can see how you can make your arrow curve by clicking on the highlighted portion of this sentence.

Take care

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