Do you want to know more about what bow and arrow accessories you really need?
In this article I am going to break down the archery equipment you really need for compound bows.
Compound Bow Major Accessories
- Arrow Rest
- Bow Sight
- Peep Sight
- Release Aid
Compound Bow Minor Accessories
- Wrist Sling
- Bow Square
- Bowstring Wax
- Arm Guard
First, Archery Bow Types
One important distinction first. The archery accessories you really need will depend on the archery bow types. In other words, compound bow accessories and recurve bow accessories are different. This article is going to cover compound bow accessories only. If you are shooting a recurve you can read about recurve bow accessories here.
Compound Bow Accessories Guide
Compound bows are the most popular type of bow used in archery. The downside to shooting a compound bow is that they require more set up to start shooting. Additionally, while recurve bows can be shot with little to no accessories, compound bows are made to utilize accessories.
Compound bows has a cutout riser and predrilled for an arrow rest. The arrow rest has the task of supporting the arrow when it is drawn and shot, and must also interfere as little as possible with the arrow flight.
There are a lot of arrow rest on the market today and many different variations of three basic styles.
This style, last the name suggests, surrounds the arrow shaft. One of the most common full capture rests is the whisker biscuit. This is a circular rest with many different lightweight fibers that hold the arrow shaft. An arrow with plastic fletching is able to cut through fibers when it is shot.
These rest are very popular and one the benefits of this style rest is that it hold the arrow well when it is nocked and in full draw. The negative of this style rest is that is makes a lot of contact with the arrow when it is shot, which reduces arrow speed and can affect accuracy.
There are many different styles of drop away rest but basic design is usually an arm or small platform piece that raises to nock level when the bow is in full draw. The rest arm supporting the arrow then drops simultaneously when the arrow is fired. Because the arrow speed is so fast on compound bows, the front of the arrow does not have time to drop before begin its flight.
This is my personal favorite arrow rest style. The biggest benefit is that it does not interfere with your arrow in flight. The drop away rest that I use is the QAD Ultra Rest HDX which you can read about here.
Possible negatives for this kind of rest depend on the design and performance. Some drop away rest do not offer great support for the arrow when it is nocked or possibly even when it is in full draw. This variation is little more than a arm for the arrow to sit on.This can be an issue for those new to shooting a bow and also for bowhunters.
Another possible downside depends on the quality of the rest. Some archers do not like this fall away rests because of the possibility that the launcher doesn’t drop when shoot. If this happens, it will negatively impact your arrows flight. Mine has never failed to drop which is why I don’t hesitate to recommend. That being said, if you are shooting in competition or even bowhunting I would make sure to go with a high-quality drop away rest to avoid any performance failure.
The HDX I use has more of a “full capture” total containment arm. You are able to lock the launcher in the upright position when the arrow is nocked and it will remain upright until the arrow is fired. This prevents your arrow from sliding off the rest which I like for both target archery and bowhunting.
Launcher rest are common among target archers. These rests have a very simple design and just a blade or prongs for the arrow shaft to sit on. If your launcher rest is set up right, it will not interfere with the arrow flight at since there are no moving parts, it should never mess up.
The downside of this style rest is that your arrow is literally just on the blade. If you torque your bow to either side it can fall off the rest. This kind of rest isn’t great for bowhunting where you may need to nock the arrow and still be able to move around with the bow before you shoot.
Most compound archers make use of bow sights when they are shooting. Bowsights are attached to the front of the bow and offer a point of reference when you are aiming. Once you have your bow “sighted in” it can be a big benefit to your accuracy. The bow riser is already drilled to accept the standard size bolts which are used to attach most bow sights.
As technology has advanced, so has archery equipment, including the bow sight.Most bow sights make use of fiber optics for pins inside a circular aperture to offer a very bright aiming point. There are different options for the pin setup on bow sights.
Some have a single pin which may be easily adjustable depending on the distance you are shooting.Others can have anywhere from three to seven pins inside the aperture. Each pin will mark a different yardage distance.
Target archers often use an adjustable single pin bow sight. This is beneficial because they will be shooting at a set distance and adjust the pin accordingly. A single pin is helpful because it gives you a bigger picture window without other pins in the way. Multiple pins are often used by bowhunters who may not know the distance they will need to shoot when hunting.
Many compound archers make use of a peep sight. This sight is a small aperture which is inserted into your bowstring. When you are at full draw, the peep sight gives you another reference point when aiming. You can look through the peep and line up your front sight. The combination of a peep sight and front sight can significantly assist with your accuracy.
It is necessary that the peep sight is set up correctly. Since a compound bow has a fixed draw length, you will need the peep lined up for your correct anchor point.
Since compound bows have a fixed draw length, most archers make use of a release aid when shooting. Release aids are small devices you attach to the bowstring or D-loop. The release typically connects with calipers or a small hook. When the bow is in full draw, you can release the bowstring by activating the device. This is done either with a trigger or tension.
Release aids are beneficial because it helps smoothly release the bowstring without any finger interference. Many recurve and longbow archers release with just the fingers and this pushes the string slightly to the side around the fingertips. This small movement still has a significant impact on arrow flight.
The best release style for beginners is trigger style release aid. These can be index finger or thumb trigger releases depending on which feels best for you.
Many compound bows come with a wrist sling already attached. If yours does not have one, it would be worth it to get one. They are inexpensive and will help you grip the bow correctly. The reason for this is because your grip on the bow should very light, utilizing the back pressure of the draw to steady the bow in the web of your bow hand.
However, once you release the arrow, the forward momentum will cause the bow to fall forward. If you use a wrist sling, it will hold the bow when this happens, causing the bow to tilt forward over your hand and not fall.
Without using a wrist sling, you are aware the bow is going to fall forward when you shoot, and most archers compensate by over gripping the bow handle when they shoot to keep it from slipping. Over gripping your bow will negatively impact your accuracy.
A D-Loop is a small string you attach on the top and bottom of your anchor point. You are then able to attach your release aid to this loop. This is minor accessory in the sense that it is not absolutely necessary. I shot without one for a few years when I first got into archery.
Although its a minor archery accessory I would recommend it to every archer. It enables you to attach your release and thus draw directly behind the arrow. Without it, you will need to attach your release below the nock, directly on the serving.
Bow squares are used to set a correct nocking point on your bow. You can make it without one of these if you have your bow set up an archery shop. Bow squares are inexpensive and necessary if you are going to put on your own D-Loop.
Bowstring has come a long way. Today it requires little maintenance and last for a long time. Still, it’s good to wax the string occasionally. Bowstring wax costs a few dollars and will last longer than your string.
String slap happens with the bowstring grazes your forearm during the release. It’s not a pleasant experience. Most recurve and longbow archers use arm guards but I also recommend using one if you are going to practice a lot with compound bow. Your forearm will thank you!
Author: Kasey Jones
Published Aug 15,2018
Category: Archery Accessories