Full Draw

Why your Draw length is not the same as arrow length?

Here is a quick post following a question I’ve had asked of me “Why your Draw length is not the same as arrow length?
Before I start though, some of the more regular readers may have noticed I’m not doing many shoot reports and instead focusing on coaching articles. This is intentional as I’ve written loads of shoot reports over the years and currently I’m not getting out to many shoots. So I’m trying to produce some archery resources or publish material that all archers will find useful.
So if you have any questions let me know. I’m working on something about target panic and hope to put that out shortly but it’s taking a while to write and get it right, or should I say useful.
So back to the question on draw length and arrow length. First things first, here is a definition or two.
Draw length – Put simply your draw length is how far you draw back the bow string to your anchor point. This is measured in inches so mine is a just under 28 inches 27 1/2 if you want to be exact.
Arrow length – Your arrow length is how long your arrow is. This is normally measured from the bottom of the groove in the arrow nock to the tip of the arrow shaft behind the point.
Your arrow length should be longer than your draw length to allow the arrow to clear the bow or arrow rest and more importantly not to come off your rest if you over draw slightly as this could be dangerous. I have to say I cringe when I see some archers draw back and their arrows come within millimetres of coming off their rest. Yes it can demonstrate very good draw consistency but it doesn’t take much to go from great consistency to accident. Especially in wet conditions or when they are at full draw and sudden a bug decides to have a munch on their arm. I’ve seen both and neither ended well.
So, if your draw is 28 inches your arrows should be over 28 inches. I’m going to offer a couple of what I hope are useful tips. Let me know what you think.
Useful tip #1 – For beginners who are still developing a sound draw and static anchor point or junior archers who are still growing, I tend to recommend them having the arrow length a couple of inches longer so if your draw length is 24 inches your arrows should be 26 inches. When the archers settle or stop growing the arrow length can be reduced.
For those of you who shoot wooden arrows.
Useful tip #2 – When I started shooting wooden arrows, all those years ago. I always made them slightly longer than needed so if the arrow snapped just behind the pile, the arrow would still be long enough to use. I could simply fit a new point to the slightly shorter arrow.
I still do as you can see in the photo below.
Rob Shooting

Rob Shooting

Measuring draw length is really easy and you can either use a measuring stick or use a mathematical  based approach. Height in inches divided by 2•5
I’m 5 feet 8 inches  so that is 68 / 2•5 = 27•2.  This provides a rough guide as in my case my draw is slightly under 28 inches.
Full Draw

Full Draw

 You can buy draw length gauges from most archery stores or alternatively I made a measuring stick from an arrow shaft, marking it up in inch bands of green and red.
Measuring Arrow

Homemade Measuring Arrow

I hope you find this useful. Thanks for reading.

How to measure your draw length?

I’ve had a couple of people ask about how you measure your draw length and what length to make arrows?

There are a couple of ways of measuring draw length, I know Jordan Sequillion has posted a method on her site. The one I feel works best is using a measuring stick or measuring arrow.

You can buy them from most archery suppliers but I made mine. In essence, mine is an unused arrow shaft which I have glued a nock in one end and then marked up in one inch intervals. To make it easier to read I’ve painted the increments in contrasting colours.

Measuring Arrow

Homemade Measuring Arrow

Get the archer to draw up 3-4 times and then coming down obviously without releasing the measuring arrow. (make sure they are in a safe environment so on the range pointing towards the target boss just encased they accidentally release)

Full Draw

Archer at Full Draw

Ensure they are drawing to their normal anchor point each time, this way you can ensure the measurement is correct.

You can then see easily what there draw length is and the technique can be used for all pretty much all styles of bow, though please be careful when trying this with a compound bow, since it is easy to release the measuring arrow when you come down from full draw.

Here is a couple of additional tips.

Camera Phone – Use your camera phone to capture a couple of images of them at full draw. This will make easier to check the measuring later.

Rubber band or Tape – If you don’t have a camera to hand try using a piece of tape or rubber band at what you think is their draw and then have them draw up a couple more times. This way you can see if it is in the right spot.

If they are a beginner add another inch on as shown in this photograph below.

Measuring Arrow

White tape shows potential arrow length

I tend to recommend a slightly longer arrow if shooting woods and field archery. simply as in winter months you might be wearing a glove on bow arm and it gives you a little more clearance. Also should you lose the pile or snap the tip-off you might be able to taper the end back down and still have a usable arrow.

For competition I tend to cut them exact leaving no “spare”, if I lose the tip the arrow is added to the wood pile for the fire 😦

The other useful thing with using this method is spotting archers who either overdraw or overdraw and then collapse slightly. But I’ll cover this in more detail in my next posting.

Thanks for reading, any questions let me know.