Measuring draw length for a compound bow is essential to ensure that you have the correct setup for your body and shooting style. An incorrect draw length can negatively impact your accuracy and comfort. Here’s how to measure your draw length:
Quick Wingspan Measurement
- Stand with your arms stretched out: Stand up straight with your arms extended to the sides, forming a T-shape with your body.
- Keep your fingers relaxed: Don’t stretch your fingers or pull them back. Keep them relaxed and slightly curved.
- Measure your wingspan: Have someone else measure the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other middle finger. Make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor and level with your shoulders.
- Divide by 2.5: Take the measured wingspan and divide it by 2.5 to get your approximate draw length. The formula is Wingspan / 2.5 = Draw Length (in inches).
Archer’s Pose Measurement
This method can be done alone, but it may be slightly less accurate than the wingspan method.
- Stand naturally: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your arm: Extend your dominant hand (the one you use to hold the bow) in front of you at shoulder height, with your palm facing outward.
- Form a right angle: Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle.
- Measure from the base of your neck: Use a measuring tape or ruler to measure from the base of your neck (where your neck meets your shoulder) to the tip of your middle finger. This measurement is your approximate draw length in inches.
Other Factors That Determine Draw Length
It’s almost a certainty – most compound-bow shooters use a D-loop and a mechanical release to shoot their bows. The length of that D-loop, as well as the type or style release you decide to use factor into your precise draw-length setting.
Shooting a bow with too long a draw-length setting makes it very hard for you to get to the let off on your bow cams or anchor consistently against the back wall, and one that’s too short will again prevent you of hitting the let-off on your bow and robs you of speed while forcing you to bend your bow arm too much or creep you anchor point inconsistently forward. Either way, it will destroy your accuracy and could put your arm in the string line when firing. A few whacks of the string and you will find yourself right where you should go anyways – a bow tech at your local archery range or shop.
These measurements are approximate, and you will need to make fine adjustments based on your comfort and shooting style. It’s a very good idea to consult with a professional archery technician or visit an archery shop to get your draw length fine-tuned for your specific needs. They can help you select the appropriate arrows and set up your bow accordingly.