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.
Archery Backstop Net

Archery backstop nets – some thoughts

In an earlier post I provided an overview of a few of the sort of things to consider when you are setting up a target boss. In this one I am going to talk about my views of backstop nets, including trying my hand at  busting some myths associated with them.
Backstop nets can be a useful addition to any range, but there a few things to consider about their use, so I will start with some mythbusting on the topic of backstop netting and what they can do.
A backstop net will stop the arrow. 
Not always. I shot a 11/32 diameter wooden arrow from my 45lb flatbow, which comes out at 180 feet per second. So it;s not as fast as an arrow off a barebow or compound bow, nor is it as small a diameter as a carbon arrow. Yet my bow has launched an arrow through backstop nets on more than one occasion and said arrow has travelled a considerable distance beyond.
The net, if hung correctly and in good condition may slow and possibly stop an arrow. Key words there are “hung correctly”, “good condition” and “possibly stop”. There are no guarantees.
Putting up a net make a dangerous shot safe. 
WRONG in so many ways!! If a shot is unsafe then adding a net isn’t going to suddenly make it safe. Nets are not there to make dangerous shots safe, they are there to reduce the risk.
Stretching out a net to cover as large an area as possible does not increase safety.
In fact it makes the net less effective as it needs to be both free hanging and pleated, much like a net curtain in the window. So if you have a 5 metre gap to fill you need a 10 metre wide net.
The more material the more likely it will slow an arrow.
It doesn’t matter if it’s trailing on the floor.
 Ideally you want the net to be free hanging and only just touching the ground so it can move slightly when the arrow hits, thereby absorbing some of the arrows energy. If the net is taught or lots of it is on the ground, then it won’t be bale to move.
Old  carpet work just as well. As someone who is using some old carpet as an extra layer of protection to stop arrows, it may sound strange to say old carpets don’t work. The truth is they don’t work as well a proper net. I use a double thickness carpet at the end of my range. The thing to remember is this is 60ft behind the target boss on the fence line. Before any arrow gets that far it has to go through 50ft wide copse of trees as shown in this photo.
Close up of Sharon shooting

Close up of Sharon shooting

Lets have a quick look at a set up as an example. In this photograph we can see a net hung ready to be used. What do people think? Can you see any problems or issues?
Archery Backstop Net

Archery Backstop Net

Here’s a thought, what’s behind the net? You can see from the second photo there are vehicles behind so any arrow passing through the net is likely to impact one of the vehicles.
Archery Backstop Net - different angle

Archery Backstop Net – different angle

The other thing to consider is the net is strung up quite tight, with no pleats so any arrow hitting the net is likely to pass through.
By the way, this is not where the net normally hangs as I had just put it up to dry out after it being used on our clubs course the week before.
I hope this provides an insight into the use of backstop nets. It’s not a definitive list of topics but hopefully an eye opener.
Stay safe and thanks for reading.