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.

Hardest lessons to learn in archery – Why does my arrows comes off the rest

I’ve had this question come up a couple of times recently, so I thought I would put a quick reply up now in an attempt to help people out.
“Why does my arrow keep flipping off my rest or bow when I draw up?”
Okay there can be a few reason why this can happen, so I’m going to pick out the three most common ones.
  • Twisting of the bow string.
  • Throwing your bow arm.
  • Damaged rest.
Twisting of the bow string is probably the most common of all reasons the arrow flicks off your bow and occurs normally about mid draw. when you are drawing up.
When you are starting to draw up your hand is gripping the bow string, as you draw the string back you twist or rotate the string, this twisting results in the nock moving and arrow flicking off the rest. So if I explain this from a right handed archers perspective. A right handed archer with the bow held in your left hand, will draw back the string and in the process will twist the string effectively rotating it counter clockwise. This rotation is what causes the arrow to flick off the bow.
A solution to this is to ensure you are not gripping the string too tightly, try relaxing your fingers, before drawing up.
Throwing your Bow arm – Sometimes when people draw up, they end up “throwing” their bow arm, this can be due to you drawing up too quickly or enthusiastically. As you draw up you move the bow arm quickly and then abruptly stop when at full draw, however, the momentum flicks the arrow off the rest. I’ve seen this quite often with young children who are quite excited and energetic in their draw cycle.
The solution is to slow down your draw sequence, being more controlled in the draw, with less rapid movements.
I have also seen both of the above examples being as a result of the archer fighting the bow in some way, possibly because they are over bowed or not comfortable in their draw technique.
Hoyt rest

Hoyt rest on Sharons’ old bow

Damaged Rest – If you are using an arrow rest on your bow it is possible that the rest has become damaged and is no longer holding the arrow on bow. This problem isn’t that uncommon especially if you are using something like the Hoyt plastic super rests.
Close up of Hoyt rest

Close up of Hoyt rest

There is nothing wrong with these rests and I use them on my beginner bows and Sharon used to use these rests on her bows and would often replace them, sometimes in the middle of a competition if she saw it was wearing or damaged.
For this reason it is worth carrying a few spares in your quiver just in case  you need to replace them.
Okay, so these are some very quick tips and advice, I hope this helps and thanks for reading.