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What Is Draw Length and what it means when choosing a bow and arrows

Is Draw length Important and will it affect the type of bow you can buy!

Are you fairly tall with long arms? Or perhaps you consider yourself a little short or still growing?
This article will explain exactly why your height (well more your arm length) determines the power you will get out of your bow!

Draw length is the distance at which you pull back your bow to your anchor point.

Once you start pulling on the string the bow will start feeling heavy and becomes heavier and heavier (also explained in the Draw Weight article) until it reaches the point at which you hold your position before releasing the string and you arrow shooting out. The distance from the resting position to the point at which you hold the string before releasing is called Draw Length ?
It’s pretty much that simple but the following diagram will help with understanding.

The further you pull back the string the higher your draw length will be. Every bow, unless otherwise stated, will be measured at a 28” draw. This is because it’s a comfortable average for adult bow shooters to understand as most people are around the 28 inch of draw length.

Why is this important you ask?
3 main reasons!

  1. The further your draw the heavier your bow will be. Therefore if you have a bow that states 30# of Draw Weight this will mean that if you draw less than 28” your bow will be lighter than 30# of force and your arrows will shoot at a slower speed. The same happens if you have a longer than 28” draw the bow will be heavier than 30# of weight to pull back.
  2. If you are very tall you will need a bow that can stretch to a higher draw length so that you don’t risk snapping the bow with your very long draw. The same applies for short draw lengths. If you want a 50 pounds bow as an example but your draw is only 24” then you will have trouble finding the right bow for you and may require the bow maker to make it custom as otherwise you will only draw around the 38# amount at 24” (this can change depending on the bow)
  3. Your arrows will need to be custom made because if you have a 32 inch draw you will need at least a 33 to 34 inch arrow so that you do not shoot yourself. The same again applies for short draws. The arrow should not stick out of the bow more than 3 inches as it will be unbalanced in your shot (more on arrows in the next article)

With these 3 reasons in mind How are you going to measure your Draw length so that you know which bow to order? There are several methods that are easy enough to do for yourself. The most accurate one would be to go to an archery store and have someone size you up.

The other 2 methods are in the below video which will make it nice and easy for you to understand how to measure your draw length.


In short your draw length will greatly affect the power of your bow and the accessories you may need to use in your archery journey. Knowing this will allow you to chose the correct size bow and arrows for you. You can also go around and measure up your friends to see what their draw lengths are to have a bit of fun!

To summarise the Draw length is the distance at which you draw the string until you are at an anchor position ready to release your arrow.
Lastly depending on your stile of shooting this can change by a couple of inches (more on shooting stiles in another article)

Thank you all for reading and Remember!!
Keep it Traditional!

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