Are you looking for the best beginner bow and arrow set for adults?
This article will not only show you the best beginners compound and recurve bow, but it is also a complete guide to give you the information you need when buying your first bow.
If you are thinking about starting archery, one of your first questions will be about the types of bows available. How will you know which bow is best for you? It can be a little confusing at first. Searching for a bow is tough if you have never done it before and don’t have someone to guide you.
You’ve likely seen how many are available and might be wondering what best beginners bow and arrow set for adults is. This is the guide to help you get started figuring out which bow will be best for you. If you have no previous archery experience it will be beneficial for you to take some time to learn a little a couple of things.
The Best Beginners Compound Bow Package
The Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow Package is definitely the best affordable beginner’s compound bow. You can check out the best price here on Amazon.
Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Specs
Why The Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Bow is The Best Choice For Beginners.
The truth is that there are a ton of entry level bows on the market. So what sets the Diamond Edge apart?
For starts we are talking about a compound bow package. While technically this isn’t a beginners bow and arrow package, the reality is that there aren’t any quality bows that also come with arrows that I would recommend. There are a few on the market that you could find on say, Amazon but these are extremely cheap bows that are likely to fail and really unsafe.
The reason reputable bow companies don’t make bow and arrow packages is because there is really no need. There are so many arrows available and every archer has their own preferences based on their shooting needs. It is easy to buy a quality set of arrows along with your bow to make it a good “package.”
So, what exactly is a bow package?
Most compound bows are shot with bow accessories. These include things like the bowsight, the arrow rest, stabilizer, and wrist strap.
The Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Package includes:
- Infinite Edge Pro Bow
- 3-Pin tundra sight
- Hostage XL arrow rest
- DeadLock lite octane quiver
- Tube peep sight
- BCY string loop
- Comfort wrist sling
- 5″ ultra-lite octane stabilizer
Why you should buy the Diamond Infinite Edge
I could make a big case for why this is the best beginners compound bow but the status of the bow has already proved itself. Google and Youtube searches show hundreds of reviews from archers who love this bow. Diamond Archery is a sister company of Bowtech Archery who has been well known and trusted in the archery industry for many years. These bows are also made in Eugene Oregon which is awesome.
Many new archers are searching for the best affordable beginners bow package. The key is quality and affordability. Compound bows can be insanely expensive and new archers usually don’t want to get in that deep. Still, you need a quality bow that is easily adjustable and will not break. Diamond Archery has accomplished that in the Infinite Edge. It is the best affordable bow to get you started in archery.
As I mentioned, this is a compound bow package but there are few other things you will need to get started shooting.
Tiger Archery makes a great set of arrow for an even better price. These are great for practicing with. You can get these here on Amazon. They are the best selling arrows on Amazon and have great reviews. I have been really happy with mine. t
Most compound archers utilize a release aid. This is a hand held device used to smoothly draw and release the bowstring. Using a quality release aid is an important part of accurate shooting. You can read my review of the best index trigger release on the market or check it out on Amazon. Again, as with all the equipment I recommend, the reviews speak for themselves.
The Best Beginners Recurve Bow
Without a doubt, the best beginners recurve bow is Southwest Archery’s Spyder Take Down Recurve Bow.
You can click on the above link for my full in depth review of this great bow. You can also watch my video review below.
(The Samik Sage is the best selling recurve in the country. It’s a good bow but it’s not as good as Southwest archery’s Spyder. But the title is a little misleading, the Spyder is designed by the same company as the Sage and it is really a new and improved version.)
Should You Start With A Compound or Recurve Bow
This is one of the most common questions for perspective archers. Compound bows are more expensive and require more set up, but are easier to shoot accurately with once it is set up. Recurves are cheaper and require less accessories but they are harder to shoot accurately.
The first thing you need to know is if you plant to bow hunt. If so, I always recommend starting with a compound bow. The reason for this is the faster arrows speeds and the easier accuracy which will be much better for hunting.
If you only want to participate in target archery then either bow is good. Overall, I would recommend starting with a compound bow if you have the money. Yes, it requires initial set up but it will be easier to start shooting well with it.
Once you purchase a bow I would recommend reading the following articles to help you with the basics.
There is more.
If you are just starting archery and wanting to buy your first bow I have written some information below that will help give you a good knowledge base. This information will help you feel more comfortable with the bow you decide on and give you instruction you need to get started.
READ ON! YOU ARE GOING TO REALLY LIKE ARCHERY!
How Does a Bow Work?
It helps to have a foundational understanding of the physics behind a bow. (Don’t get scared if you hate physics. This isn’t that hard!) A bow can propel an arrow because someone pulls back the string and let’s go. Pretty simple right!
A bow stores energy in the limbs when you draw back the bowstring and when you release the string, it transfers that energy to the arrow. Think of a car antenna. When you pull it down, energy is stored, and when you let go, energy is relapsed as it snaps back upright.
There are several different main types of bows you can shoot, and also many different variations for each type, like the design, the material it’s made of, or the accessories you can attach to it. But the most important thing is that you select the correct bow for you. How do you know which bow is right for you?
The correct bow for you depends on some factors, like your height, strength, and hand dominance. Bows are usually made in a variety of sizes to cover different body types.
Once you have the correct bow for your height, other things like the draw weight, (the pounds necessary to pull back the bow-string) need to be adjusted by you or preferably someone with experience if this is your first bow. If you are a beginner, heading to the local archery shop is a good idea, but you will benefit greatly from learning a few things about the basics of archery.
The Three Main Bows
- Longbow: A longbow is most often made from one piece of material. The string can be taken off a longbow. When it is unstrung, the bow is fairly straight. Pressure must be applied to bend the ends of the bow when you attach the string, causing the bow to curve.
- Recurve bow: The recurve bow is a marked improvement on the longbow and used by many archers. This is the type of bow you would see in the Olympics. This bow can also be unstrung, and it is recommended if you are not shooting for a while. When the recurve bow is strung, tension causes the limbs to curve back toward the string, but the ends or tips of the limbs are designed to curve forward. Hence the name recurve.
- Compound bow: Compound bows are shorter and more compact than recurve and longbows. They were originally designed for hunters, but now they are commonly used by competitive archers. Compound bows vary in design, but most will have wheels and cams, and several cables or strings. Cams are a specific type of wheel that helps generate greater speed than a regular wheel.
Compound bows can look very different. Some of the variations are specific to their use. They do share some common traits which classify them as a compound bow. All compound bows are bent in a C shape and the handle that is held while shooting is called the riser. The bowstring connecting the limbs is typically made of synthetic fibers which are protected on the ends and in the middle by a reinforced thread called a serving. The serving in the middle usually has some form of nock indicator. This can be a small metal ring or extra wound thread. The nock is a forked plastic cap on the back end of an arrow, which snaps on to the bowstring.
3 Types of Cams
There are three types of cams found on most compound bows today.
1. Draw Length Specific Cams
You could say this is the bare bones version of the bow cam. It is manufactured for a specific draw length, which is marked on the cam. If you need a different draw length, that cam will have to be changed out with the specific cam. This is the worst cam choice if you like to work on things yourself. A bow press is necessary, and the process is complicated. It’s probably best to take a bow with this type of cams to the pro shop.
2. Adjustable Cams
Adjustable cams allow you change the cam to the specific draw length you need. Most have a screw you will need to move with a hexagonal wrench, usually with these cams you don’t need a bow press and the process is fairly easy. Some bows with adjustable cams allow you to adjust the draw length as much as 13 inches. Bows with adjustable cams are a great choice for working on the perfect draw length, and they are also excellent for kids so that you can increase the draw length as they grow.
3. Modular Cams
Modular cams have become the most popular cam on bows today. They are similar to adjustable cams but have specific modules attached to the cam that allow for greater tuning possibilities for your shooting needs. Some bows come with a set of length specific modules. In this case, you will attach the module corresponding to your desired draw length. Other bows have adjustable modules. With these modules, you take out the screws and adjust them to the position which corresponds to your specific draw length. With the modular cams, most adjustments can be made with a hexagonal wrench, and a bow press is not needed.
The longbow is the most basic, traditional form of bow. Think of every middle ages battlefield movie with archers shooting toward the sky after the commander yells, “LOOSE!” That is the longbow.It’s a simple design. One piece of fairly straight wood is used, and it is typically the same height as the archer. This will allow for a long draw with the anchor point near the shooters cheek. Pressure must be applied to the bow, bending the end of the limbs together, (in a D shape) at which point a string, which is shorter than the length of the bow is then attached to the ends.
Most longbows are very basic and primitive which is a part of the appeal in shooting one. Longbows do not have sights, but aiming is done instinctively. In other words, being accurate with a longbow takes a lot of practice. Comparing longbows and compound bows are somewhat like comparing a fly rod and spinning rod.
Fishing with a fly rod is more difficult than fishing with a spinning rod, and requires more practice, especially in the beginning; but fly fishing is very enjoyable in a unique way. This doesn’t mean that fishing with a spinning rod is less enjoyable or that it doesn’t require any skill.
It may be easier to fish with a spinning rod, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will catch fish. Similarly, all archery requires some level of skill and practice, and shooting with a compound bow doesn’t guarantee you will always hit your target. (If all the arrows I’ve lost from missing my target could talk, they would tell you this is true.)
While longbows do not have sights available, as compounds do, there are some options available for arrow rests. There is a lot of variation on design depending on how primitive the bow is, (It could just be a long piece of wood) but many longbows have a shelf which functions like an arrow rest.
Just above the grip where you hold the bow when shooting, there is a shelf for the nocked arrow to rest on. The shelf is a part of the design on many bows and these make shooting easier.
Many longbow archers utilize aftermarket accessories such as arrow rests and plates. Some rests are no more than a piece of animal hair or leather for the rest and plate. These pieces are both attached to the shelf and primarily help to protect the bow from arrow wear, and they also reduce the sound of your arrow when it is shot.
This setup would not help stabilize the arrow a lot. Arrow rests are available for longbows in everything from a plastic clip you attach to the shelf which helps hold the arrow, to a mechanical fall away rest. If you decide to take on the longbow, you have plenty of time to experiment with your set up and find out what works best for your accuracy.
The limbs of a recurve bow are, as the name suggests, curved. They have elongated limbs with a lengthy curve on both ends. The string is attached directly to the end of the limb, known as the limb tip.
Compound bows are built with prominent risers and shorter limbs which are not recurved and shorter than recurve bows. The string on a compound bow is a part of pulley system, so it is connected to wheels or cams which are attached to the limbs.
Some bows have a cutout above the riser that is a sight window. Compound bows and many recurve bows have holes near the sight window for attaching rests and other sight devices. Both rests and sight vary greatly in their complexity and depends entirely on what serves you well as an archer.
Bows are manufactured in many different draw lengths and weights. The draw length is the measurement of how far you pull the bowstring back when you are at full draw. How far do you draw back your bowstring? Is it always the same distance? You should always draw your bow back the same distance is marked by what is called the anchor point.
There is some variation on where archers want their anchor point to be, but it is usually near the side of your mouth or just underneath by the chin. Some prefer a little further back under the ear of on the jaw. Some of where you pick your anchor point may also be effected by the release you are using.
There are a variety of release aids, and these can position the hand differently which may effect a comfortable anchor point. Whichever place you end up becoming most comfortable with will become your anchor point, and you will always draw back to this same point. Some archers advise two anchor points, and this works well for some.
An example of this would be putting your thumb on the edge of your mouth and touching your nose on the bowstring. This puts your head in a very fixed position every time you shoot which helps to improve accuracy and also make easy adjustments when necessary.
Having anchor points and shooting identical arrows are two ways you can become consistent and accurate in your shooting. Archery is a precision sport and variation is not your friend. Even the slightest changes in your equipment or form can have a very big impact on your accuracy.
Finding Your Draw Length
Draw length is unique for each shooter and depends on your specific body measurements and also your technique in shooting. You can estimate your draw length by stretching your arms out to the side and measuring from the middle fingertip on one hand to the middle fingertip on the other and then dividing that number by 2.5.
A rough range for men is 27-29 inches and 23-27 for women. The range for children is obviously large. The estimate taken by measuring your fingertips and dividing by 2.5 should be accurate to within a quarter of an inch if done correctly.
There is some flexibility in draw length, and you will eventually settle on a permanent draw length with practice. When I say flexibility, I mean adjusting it at most a half inch based on shooting position, anchor point, and preference. Some like a quarter inch worth of bend in their arm, some prefer an anchor point further back, etc. These areas give you a little variation on the draw length, but in this area, it is better to go a little short than a little long on draw length.
Draw weight is the pull your bow has when the bowstring is fully drawn. A recurve and compound bow are different how the draw length works. A recurve bow allows the natural physics of the bow to work. Everyone’s unique draw length means that the draw weight changes.
The further you draw back on a recurve, the more the limbs flex with stored energy and the heavier draw weight becomes. The actual length of the bow and material it is made of will affect the draw weight. Although the draw weight varies by the draw length, recurve bows will have a weight number printed on them. This number is the draw weight at 28 inches of draw length.
The matter of draw weight and length is more complex on a compound bow. Most compound bows have a range of draw length, and this is controlled by the cams. Some cams only work for one draw length, and if you want to change that length, you will have to change the cams.
This is a complicated process where a bow press is needed. A bow press is a type of vise for compound bows. It applies tension to the bow limbs enabling you to remove the bowstring and change out the cams. Aside from bow presses being quite expensive, this is complex process better left to the guys at the pro shop.
Adjusting Your Draw Weight
Thankfully, most bow today have either adjustable or modular cam which make adjusting the draw length quite simple. Cams allow you to draw your bow with the full draw weight all the way to the set draw length. The genius of the cam is that when you are at full draw, the cam is a position that lessens the draw weight.
This is called let off. Let off allows you hold your bow in full draw at a small percentage of the draw weight. This is one of the reasons compound bows are so popular for bowhunting. You can hold your bow in full draw for a long time while you are waiting for the best possible shot.
In addition to an adjustable range for draw length, most bows today also have an adjustable draw weight range of at least 30 pounds. Some bows have a fully adjustable weight range of 5-70 pounds. This is not typical because most bow manufacturers make different bow sizes for smaller draw weight ranges. And of course, my usual addendum, a pro shop can help you short everything out, and I cannot recommend this enough if you are just starting out or buying a bow for your child.
More on Choosing a Bow
So, you know a little more about bows in general, but you may still be wondering, “which bow is best for me?” One of the biggest factors is deciding how you will use the bow. When you decide the type of archery that would like to participate in, then you can get the equipment you need.
Keep in mind is that many archers have an appreciation for all types of archery and own different types of bows as well. If you start with a compound bow, it is best to stick with that for awhile if you are just starting out but once you have the fundamentals down, you can benefit from learning to shoot with the recurve bow. Both types of bow will teach you unique aspects of shooting that will help you as an overall archer.
Using Your Bow
Longbow- Longbows are still used by many archers today who enjoy the traditional style of archery. Longbows certainly have a unique feel being a wooden bow. It’s true that you can break a stick off a tree and make a longbow out of it, but it won’t be any fun to shoot. Bowyers practice an art and are very skilled in their production of longbows. The limbs are carved carefully, and it takes a lot of expertise to get both limbs to flex equally when draw. Custom longbows will be more expensive than those that are manufactured.
Longbows do not usually have accessories. The grip is usually just leather wrapped around. There is often a cut in the wood just above the grip, and this is used for the arrow rest when shooting, or for the more experienced longbow archer, they can shoot off the back of their hand.
The longbow should not be the first choice for children learning archery. They have a difficult time with the lack of a rest and not allowing the front of the arrow to fall when they are shooting. This is not as much of issue for an adult who is new to archery, but I would recommend starting with a recurve or compound.
Recurve Bow: One Piece and Takedown
The recurve bow is more efficient than the longbow because the limbs and riser are designed to transfer energy better. The design of the limbs will also help transfer greater to the arrow. Recurve bows are the bows used for Olympic competitions. Regarding design and material, there is a lot of variety in recurve bows.
One piece recurves made from laminated wood and synthetic material as well. They usually have a small riser which helps shorten the limbs. This is helpful for handling the bow. Think of throwing a 6ft one piece bow in your car…… It can be challenging not to mention easier to damage the bow. The one piece recurves look a lot like longbows in appearance and is used by bowhunters and competitive archers.
An Olympic recurve is usually the same height as the archer when it is unstrung. Olympic recurves are typically three-piece bows; a riser with two detachable limbs. These are known as takedown bows, and they were created to make the bows portable. Risers on these bows are anywhere from 21-27 inches with the majority being near 24inches.
The detachable limbs can be made from wood, carbon, fiberglass, or combinations of these. Most of the competition recurve bows are takedown since archers have to transport their bows to and from competitions. The takedown recurve is also designed to use all the accessories available if the archer chooses. Many accessories can be used to help with accuracy, give stability, and make the shooting process smoother. Some of the fully loaded recurves look less like a bow and more like a science experiment!
Compound bows broke the mold when they were designed. They look like gnarly machines next to a beautifully finished wooden recurve. But modern compound bows with shorter limbs, cams, and wheels add a whole new dimension to archery.
With compound bows, you can use the best in technology to help you in archery, but as I said earlier, it is still archery, and you will have to practice. The great thing about compound bows is that since the mechanics make it easier to shoot, you will want to practice more. The longbow and recurve increase in draw weight the further back you pull.
The compound is much different. It is storing energy while you are drawing, and once you reach the set draw length, you will experience the wonderful phenomena know as “let off.” Let off is possible because of rotating cams on the limbs of the bow. This means that you can hold your bow fully drawn and it is only a small percentage of the actual draw weight.
80% let off is fairly common in many bows today, and I’ve seen as much as 99% let off from one company. But for our example, we will take a 60-pound bow with 80% let of. This means that it 60 pounds of force the draw your bow and that would be hard to hold for long. But with 80% let off you would only be holding 12 pounds at full draw! Most shooters can hold 12 pounds for a long time.
Let off is one of the primary advantages of shooting a compound bow because you can aim carefully for a long period. This along with the shorter limbs and many great accessories, like sights, rests, and stabilizers make compound bows a popular choice for many archers.
Which Bow Should I Start With?
There is no consensus on whether someone should start with a compound or recurve. Many archery coaches will likely recommend starting with the recurve bow when you are first starting out. Many archers who shoot both recurve and compound proficiently will tell you the best bow is the one you will practice with. I think this is good advice because one needs to consider the fact that the compound bow is easier to shoot all around.
The recurve will take a lot more practice to be proficient. This isn’t a bad thing if you have the time and you are will to practice. It’s also a good idea to get instruction from an archery coach at the beginning whatever bow you choose. This will help you get started the right way. If this is your first bow, your best path is to the pro shop where an expert can help you decide on what bow you want (and you can test some before you buy.) They can also get your bow set up for you.
The Best of Both Worlds (The Best Choice for Kids)
I mentioned that there are some bows that extremely adjustable not only in draw length but draw weight as well. These would typically be recommended for youth archers because it will keep them from outgrowing the bow. With a bow like this, you can remeasure the child every year and make adjustments to the bow as necessary.
This is certainly the most cost-effective method for children, but there are some concerns to be aware of. The primary concern is the actual size of the bow frame. Most bows are a specific size and cover a smaller weight and draw range. The wide range adjustable bows are more like a “one size fits…most” compound bows.
While the bow may meet the specs for your child’s draw weight and length, the bow frame may not be a good size for the child. If you are getting your child a bow, it’s best to bring them to the pro shop and let someone there measure and help you decide on the best bow for them.
Mathews is a bow manufacturer designed the Genesis bow, and it is the official bow of the NASP (National Archery School Program). This is one of the most used bows for youth archery. It is a universal draw weight bow and fits draw lengths of 15”-30”. Along with having a wide range of adjusting draw weight and length, they have several frame choices available the regular Genesis, Genesis mini, and Genesis Pro.
This is a big plus as you can choose the model frame which best fits your child. In some ways, the Genesis bow falls in-between the recurve bow and compound bow. It has a zero left off design which means that the cam system is designed without the let-off regular compound bows have, so the draw on this bow is closer to a recurve except that the draw weight does not increase as you pull back. Since it is set up like this, you can set the draw weight, and it will work for different draw lengths.
This will also be an ideal bow if you have multiple kids learning to shoot. The adjustable draw weight on these the three Genesis models ranges from 6-25 pounds so you can start off your child with a good light draw weight while they are learning. This is important as too high a draw weight can not only cause injury, but it can also lead to bad form.
Also, because of the universal draw weight and zero let off, your child doesn’t have to learn with a release aid but can instead use their fingers which many coaches would recommend for starting out. In many ways, this bow is the ideal choice for kids just starting out in archery, and it will give them a great foundation for both compound and recurve bows.
Published: January 7, 2018
Category: beginners bow and arrow set