Equipment Reviews – Finger protectors

We recently ran a couple of sessions introducing archery at a local school and wanted to make things as easy as possible for ourselves and the archers,  so we bought some finger protectors to go on the junior bows rather than worrying about issuing out finger tabs.
For those not familiar these devices, let me give you a quick description of what they are. There purpose is to protect the archers fingers when drawing back and releasing the string. Anyone who has shot a bow several times with no finger protection knows full well how sore your fingers can become, even if only using a bow with a light poundage draw weight.
These protectors remove the need for the archer to use a tab or shooting glove. This makes them great for taster sessions or have-a-go events. They fit over the bow string serving at the nocking point.
Whilst they are a great addition, they are a pain to fit on the string so I thought I would offer these thoughts as a review.
Since they have to slide over the string, getting them over the string loop isn’t an easy task. Trying to thread the bow string through the small hole in the protectors is near impossible. I tried using thin thread, even wire to help give me purchasse to pull the string through as you can’t push it through the hole.

Wire on string loop.

You have to be particularly careful not to damage the bow string by using wire or other thin string, as you run the chance of damaging or worse cutting the bow string threads. In the above image you can see the serving thread opening up.
I also found that thin wire snapped easily. I ended up using a cable tie I normally use for my mobile charging cable.

Threading wire through

Make sure you are working from one end of the string so you get the two pieces in the right spot.
I found once i had threaded the wire through, I could use a pair of pliers to grip the wire and pull the bow string.

Pulling string through

We have noticed they do move a little on the string when being used,, so you might want to monitor this. You could add a loop of spare serving at the bottom of the protectors on the string to stop it moving.
Warming in cup

Warming the plastic in a cup of hot water.

Top tip –  I found dropping the protectors into hot water prior to fitting them on the string made them slightly more malleable. This was a trick I picked up when fighting to fit different attachments to garden hoses. I found warming the hose made it more flexible so I tried it with the protectors and it worked.

Where did we get them?

They are available from most archery shops and we bought ours from Merlin Archery.
N.B. There are two types, one solid one large enough for those shooting three fingers under and a type which comes in two parts for those wanting to set up for splint finger or Med lose.

How much do they cost?

The ones we bought were £2.36 for a pack of 4. There are others available from different manufacturers.
Nusensei has a great YouTube on fitting these if you are thinking of using them.
Overall I think they work really well for have-a-go sessions or for junior bows. Since they are a pain to fit we bought spare strings and fitted them to these. This meant for each of our junior bows we have two strings, one with, one without.
One last point about doing this. Take your time. I rushed doing this as had four to do. This resulted in me fitting one set perfectly, but to the wrong string!
Thanks for reading and stay safe.

Drawing arrows – sounds simple, but is it?

How to draw an arrow, surely that is pretty easy? Just grab it, pull and out it pops. Simple right, after all it is one of the first things you learn when you start archery. Isn’t it?
Back in 2012 (yes I have been writing this blog that long !!) I wrote an entry on the method of drawing arrows and following a few discussions I thought I might revisit it along with providing an update for it.
As with everything there are numerous ways to accomplish a task. Some will be the right or preferred way and no doubt there are several wrong ways to do things. Just look on YouTube and you’ll see a dozen different views. This is the same with pulling arrows from the target, whether this be a 3D or foam boss. In this post I am going to go through the process I recommend to my students when they start.
So before I start I’d like to remind you these are my views and personal advice.
There are a few things to remember before you draw arrows.
  1. First off, its important that all archers whether newbies or experienced get to  see where their shots have landed in the target. If nothing else it provides them with feedback on how they are doing.
  2. Check it is okay for you to draw the arrows as some archers prefer to draw their own arrows.
  3. If in a competition, ensure those scoring have finished noting down the results. In fact you shouldn’t touch any arrows until the scorers have marked the score cards. Most organisations have this in their rules as it prevents arguments over whether the arrow was scoring before being touched.
  4. Make sure no one is standing in a location that they may be hit by the arrow as you draw back.
I must admit to cringing sometimes when I see archers pull arrows. Some people grab them and just pull without considering what might happen or could go wrong. I’ve seen carbon arrows snap in an archers hand, slicing their finger open or wooden arrows bending into a banana or snap as someone is a little over zealous when drawing them. So my first tip is slow down.
Drawing arrows badly

Drawing arrows badly

When it comes to actually removing the arrow from the target, then can I suggest the following.
Never grab the arrow from the end by the nock and fletching as shown in the picture, as it may well result in a bent or worse still broken arrow. You often see archers pull arrows like this because they are unaware of the potential problems that might occur, especially with wooden arrows. Maybe they are used to drawing carbon arrows that are more resilient than wooden ones. The thing is any arrow can break and I’ve seen more serious injuries when carbon arrows break than any other. I’ve also seen several annoyed archers when they see their prized wooden arrows snap because of a lack of care.
Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with carbon arrows, but you need to remember whether carbon, wood or metal,the material can brake. When carbon breaks it can result in razor sharp edges.
The other thing to consider is you don’t know if the arrow has impacted on metal ground pin in the target or possibly a lost arrow point.
For this reason I always advise you  hold the arrow at the front end nearest the point. This gives less chance for the arrow shaft to break or bend.
Then pull back in a steady even draw. Also there is nothing wrong in asking for help if you find you can’t draw the arrow on your own. Some foam, 3D targets are very hard to draw arrows from.
I always suggest when drawing an arrow you avoid using your thumb on top of the arrow shaft as this can lead to you expending downward pressure and increase the risk of bending the arrow., as shown in image below.
gripping arrow

Gripping arrow without using your thumb

The method shown in the picture is the best way I’ve found. Grasping the arrow with the fingers of one hand and with your other hand bracing target. This grip is sometimes referred to as a gorilla grip as it does not use your thumb.

Drawing arrows

Drawing arrows with one hand on the boss to steady it

This method allows you to brace the target with one hand preventing it moving. By holding the target with the other hand you can judge how stable it is. I’ve seen archers go to pull the arrow and the boss or 3D target fall on them as it wasn’t secured or stable.
Ideally once the arrow is drawn it should go directly into a quiver or on the ground. Try to avoid putting arrows on top  of the boss or leaning against target as they are easily lost when they roll off the back of the boss or forgotten.
Some people may use an arrow puller to give them a better grip on the arrow. These can work pretty well in most circumstances but can slip in wet weather. I would say it is worth investing in an arrow puller or grip as this gives you greater grip on to the arrow. In the case of carbon arrows it also reduces the risk of getting carbon splinters. as they offer a level of protection to the archers hand.
Last piece of advice I would like to offer is to put your bow down somewhere safe before you start drawing arrows. This may seem obvious but you will be surprised how often people lean them against the 3D and suddenly discover their bow is falling over as they draw the arrows.
I hope you find this useful, let me know your thoughts .
Thanks for reading.