Different Types of Arrow Rests: The Ultimate Guide

An arrow rest is a tool typically hooked to the side of your bow to hold the arrow in position, allowing for more precise and consistent shots. Investing in a good arrow rest can give you better accuracy and make it easier to hit the target.

Several types of arrow rests are available on the market, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. 

In this guide, we’ll look at the different types and help you choose the ideal one for you.

Selecting an Arrow Rest

arrow rest

How do you know what type of arrow rest will suit your archery? There are a few things to take into account to find the one that aligns with your requirements and skill level.

The key focus of target archery is an accurate shot that can get you a winning point. A target archer will prioritize shot accuracy by enforcing center shot alignment with the help of a static rest.

On the contrary, a hunting archer will lean more toward one that allows for extended range and flexible adjustments for windage to shoot at extreme angles.

Types of Arrow Rests

Choosing the right arrow rest is just as important as selecting the perfect bow or arrow. Each type of arrow rest is designed to work best with a specific kind of bow and shooting style. 

Here are some of the most common types of arrow rests: 

Compound Bow Rests

compound bow rest

Compound bows have a cable system that helps reduce the weight of the draw and speed up the arrow.

The arrow rest on a compound bow needs to be strong enough to handle the force of the cables while still allowing the arrow to fly straight and accurately. There are three main types of arrow rests used with compound bows:

Launcher Rests 

The launcher rest employs the most straightforward design – two prongs or a blade supporting your arrow with minimal contact to reduce friction. 

It’s mostly used for target archery and is not recommended for bowhunting since during hunting you’ll likely have to shoot from odd angles, and the arrow will fall off easily.

Containment Rests

A containment rest holds the arrow inside a housing or cage. Also known as whisker biscuit arrow rest, it’s great for beginners because it prevents the arrow from falling off the rest, ensuring a successful shot. 

Containment rests can also help reduce noise and vibration. However, this type of rest is not as accurate as the launcher rest due to more contact with the arrow and fletching.

Drop-Away Rests

Drop-away rests are popular among competitive archers because they offer the highest level of accuracy. The rest drops away when the bow is fired, allowing the arrow to fly without interference, reducing the chances of fletching contact, and improving arrow speed.

There are two kinds of drop-away rests: limb-driven and cable-driven. The difference lies in its attachment to the bow. Installing and tuning a drop-away rest can be tricky, but it’s the most accurate option for compound bows.

Recurve Bow Rests

recurve bow rest

Recurve bows are traditional bows that use a curved shape to increase the power of the draw. Unlike compound bows, recurve bows do not have a cable system, which means that the arrow rest must support the arrow’s weight without interference. 

There are four main types of arrow rests used with recurve bows:

Shelf Rests

A shelf rest is the simplest arrow rest built into the bow. The shelf is a small flat surface located just above the grip where the arrow is placed. This type of arrow rest is commonly used by traditional archers and is best for shooting with feather fletching.

Stick-On Rests

Stick-on rests are attached to the bow using adhesive and are popular among beginner archers because it is affordable and easy to install. Stick-on rests can be made of various materials, including felt and rubber.

Screw-In Rests

The screw-in rest is a step up from the stick-on rest, as it provides more solid and secure support for the arrow. Another difference is that they are screwed and tightened onto the bow, giving them a firmer hold.

Final Thoughts

As a beginner, figuring out all the types of arrow rests can be overwhelming.

First, determine your requirements – what kind of archery you will take on? The arrow rests used in target archery demand minimal contact and stable angles for greater precision, whereas bowhunting requires a firmer grip and more flexibility to shoot from odd angles.

It all comes down to your requirements – this article should help you choose the right one.

Picture of Brad Burnie

Brad Burnie

Picture of Brad Burnie

Brad Burnie

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