Ultimate Guide to 31 Archery Terms
New and experienced archers alike know how tricky it can be to keep track of each archery term. Between different disciplines, rules, and plenty of gear, understanding it all will make each shot more successful. Let this be your go-to guide on archery talk and important terms.
Archery Bow Types
Recurve bows are the most common amongst the archery community. Among beginners and experts, the recurve bow is the easiest to handle from start to finish. It has enough accuracy and power to help every step of the shot.
This bow style gets is name from its limbs, both of which curve away from the archer. It may be confusing to navigate at first, but this design ensures the maximum of potential energy can be produced from the string. Recurve bows are typically made out of fiberglass, carbon, and wood.
Archers can find recurve bows from some of the biggest names in the business. If you’re looking to enter competitions or perfect your hunting skills, the recurve is your best choice. Not to mention, it’s currently the only bow allowed in Olympic-style competitions.
Archery has been around forever, but the compound is a product of the most recent advancements in bow technology. The whole process of shooting arrows is made simpler with this style. Its easy-to-use features make it a favorite among modern bowhunters.
Developed in the 1960s, the compound bow uses a series of cams, pulleys, and cables. This archery equipment allows the archer to draw back a larger load than most standard bows. With a compound bow, it can potentially reach father distances and hit an archery target at a higher velocity.
Compound bows are almost exclusively made from composite materials. They’re easier to bend and warm, allowing for the system to operate fully regardless of the surrounding conditions. Some archers even make modifications or purchase additional pieces to help when using a compound archery bow.
Newest to the game, crossbows are one of the most unique bows on the market. It has a simple firing and reload mechanism; it’s fool-proof for just about any archer. The crossbow is a combination of a bow and a gun, with the archery arrow being drawn back into the bow and into place.
A crossbow’s arrow is fired from a trigger that slings it toward the target with incredible accuracy. The crank reloading system in this archery equipment allows for minimal effort between shots. Your arrow will be notched into place at the end of the bow, holding it in place until you’re ready to fire.
Now that we’ve covered the new and improved, let’s take it back to the oldest bow. The longbow dates back to medieval times when kings would lead charges against enemies. These bows are almost exclusively made of wood.
The design is very simple. A longbow’s string is strung across a long pole, with a slight bend, allowing it to create more energy when drawn. Since this style is old technology, there aren’t many archers who use them for hunting or competitions.
For the most part, longbows are used for archery target practice outside of competition. Some athletes modify the longbow by adding archery accessories to improve accuracy. Overall, consider the longbow a collector’s piece.
Parts of a Bow
A riser is the bow’s central part which houses many of its essential pieces. Depending on the type of bow, a riser can be created of composite materials or wood. Three pieces reside in the riser: the grip, sight window, and archery arrow rest.
The grip is the spot where archers grab the bow. It’s typically made out of rubberized material to allow for the best grip possible. Sizes vary to fit the archer’s grip style.
Sight windows generally fit above the grip, allowing archers a spot to aim from. Typically, you’ll find a sight window on one side of the bow. However, some designs place one on either side for more customization.
The arrow rest is a piece that can be built into the riser or attached. It allows the arrow to come from a place free of obstructions when the archer comes to rest from drawing back the bow.
Limbs are crucial for bows and are formed in a specific, interchangeable way. An upper and lower section is attached to the riser at the grip. They must be attached properly for the bow to function, and are made out of wood, plastic, or composite materials.
The string nock is a small notch at the top of each limb that’s used to attach the string. It works by looping the string through and around it. You’ll know the string is secure when it’s tight in the nock.
An archer’s string is attached to the bow by loops in and around the string nock. To keep the string intact after plenty of use, they can be rubbed down into a silicone-based wax. Both the center and the nocking point are components of the string.
Other Bow Terms
An arrow-plate is a shell-like object used to receive the arrow’s chaffing once it is released. It sits where the arrow typically crosses, along the lateral side of the bow, above the handle.
The arrow shelf can be found above the bow’s grip. It’s where the arrow sits before firing.
The “back” of a bow is essentially the part of the bow facing away from the archer drawing it.
Some bows have backing, which is a material used to strengthen its limbs. Archers use various different materials as DIY bow backing or find one in the archery store.
A bow’s belly is sometimes also referred to as the “face.” It’s the side of the bowstring that faces the archer as the bow is drawn. In other words, what you can see while shooting.
Brace height describes the distances between the bowstring and the bow’s grip. It’s important to keep track of this for maximum accuracy.
The cast is a measure of the maximum distance a bow is capable of shooting an arrow. Understanding your cast can help create goals during archery lessons.
A bow’s tiller is a measure of the length between the upper and lower limbs of the bow’s belly. Knowing these measurements is important as they can affect your shot.
Parts of an Arrow
Now that we’ve covered bows, it’s time to dive into arrows! The arrow point – often referred to as the arrowhead – is the arrow’s most dangerous part. It’s the first point that goes into the target.
There are three different types of arrow points: bullet/field points, broadheads, and blunt points. The most ideal point for you will depend on which discipline and bow you are planning on trying.
The arrow’s shaft is basically the backbone. It’s the central, cylindrical rod that holds the whole thing together. Shafts are typically made out of wood, aluminum, or carbon.
Fletchings are the three feather-like pieces attached to the arrow’s shaft. They are designed to allow for optimal arrow flight, helping it soar the right way. One feather will be a different color, called the “indicating fletch” that points outward when the arrow is notching in archery lessons.
An arrow’s nock is a V-shaped groove attached to the arrow’s end via the shaft. It allows for attaching the arrow to the string. The nock is an attachable piece that can be made out of wood or plastic.
Additional Arrow Terms
A barreled arrow is a specific design where the ends are tapered, while the center is heavy. It aims to improve the stabilization of the arrow after shooting.
This is a type of arrow that’s tapered towards the notch and bulky at the pile margin. It produces a heavy hit while reducing vibration.
A bolt is simply the type of arrow used with a crossbow.
This term occurs when an arrow’s shaft has been squeezed to make it stronger and straighter. A compressed shaft is smaller and easier to shoot than other archery accessories.
Other Archery Terms
We’ve covered the ins and outs of bows and arrows, but we’re not done yet. Let’s dive into the additional terms that can come up in archery talk.
The anchor refers to a spot along the bowstring’s arm, used to aim the arrow before firing. It’s also sometimes known as the “anchor point”.
Archery Arm Guard
Also sometimes known as the “bracer,” an archery arm guard is a strap worn on the bow arm. It helps protect the archer from the bowstring’s intense vibration after firing an arrow.
A classic form of archery, barebow refers to shooting without the use of sights or other target aids.
Dry firing is the act of firing a bow without actually releasing an arrow. This technique is used when getting used to a new bow or solidifying your stance.
This cute-sounding term refers to where the lops meet the bowstring. Hitting the kiss button matters because it ensures the anchor point’s stability to maintain consistency across shots.
Nocking the arrow is the act of placing it on the bowstrings for preparation to shoot. It’s one of the first steps in the shooting process.
An archery quiver is used to store arrows. It is typically equipped with a strap to be worn over the shoulder, on the hip, or attached to the bow. Using one from the archery store makes fetching arrows easily during hunting and competitions.
Now that you’re versed on every important archery term, hitting that target has never been easier. Come back whenever you’re confused on a term or hear archery talk you’re not super familiar with. In the meantime, check out some of Crow Survival’s additional archery content.