Measuring Your Draw Length


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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    San Diego, California

    Measuring Your Draw Length

    Measuring Your Draw Length

    Unlike a traditional recurve bow that can be drawn back to virtually any length, a compound bow will draw back only a specific distance before it stops (the wall). Compound bows are designed to be shot from the full-draw position. If a compound bow is set for a 29" draw length, it should always be shot from the full 29" draw position. But the bow cannot be over-drawn, say to 30" or 31", without modifying the setup on the bow. So the draw length on your compound bow must be set to match your particular size. When we setup your bow, we will adjust the bow for your precise draw length.

    To measure your draw length, determine the length of your arm-span in inches. Stand with your arms out and palms facing forward. Don't stretch when measuring. Just stand naturally. Have someone else help you, and measure from the tip of one middle finger to the other. Then simply divide that number by 2.5. The quotient is your proper draw length (in inches) for your body size.

    The majority of compound bow owners set their bows for too much draw length, which results in poor shooting form - inaccuracy - and painful string slap on the forearm. You will better enjoy - and be more successful with your new bow when it is fitted properly to your body. And REMEMBER! If in doubt, choose a little LESS draw length rather than a little more. If you are still unsure, or plan to shoot with a string loop, you may benefit from reading our Additional Discussion on Draw Length.

    If you are a person of average proportions, your arm-span will be roughly equal to your height (in inches). So there is often a direct correlation between a person's height and their draw length as well. Once you have computed your draw length using the method above, you can double-check yourself by using the scale below - to see if your number is within the expected range.

    What is the draw length formula?

    There are 2 draw length formulas that I am aware of that will get you close.

    Stand straight up with your arms extended to your sides.
    Take the measurement from middle finger tip to middle finger tip and divide that number by 2.5.
    Measurement/2.5=DL estimate

    The other formula is to take that same measurement subtract 15 and divide by 2
    (Measurement-15)/2=DL estimate
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    San Diego, California
    The "Perfect" Draw Length

    Your own "perfect draw length" is the draw length setting at which you are the most comfortable and the most accurate. There is no right and wrong, no absolutes. But it is unlikely that a 5'10" guy will be successful with a 30" draw length, and similarly unlikely that a 6'3" guy will shoot well with a 28" draw length.......not impossible - just unlikely. For some, a "perfect draw length" may be ultimately determined by feel (and some trial and error) rather than by calculation. However, we still recommend a common-sense approach here. If you're new to the sport, you'll have better luck if you just play the averages and choose an initial draw length that's similar to others of your same size and stature (reference the chart from the previous page). Fortunately, on most bows, making a minor draw length change is pretty simple. So it's not quite a life or death decision to start. However, as you become more immersed in the sport and begin to "fine-tune" your game, you may wish to experiment a little with your draw length.
    Why Draw Length Matters

    More Draw Length = More Power

    The longer your draw length, the longer your bow's powerstroke will be - and the faster your bow will shoot. As a general rule, 1" of draw length is worth about 10 fps of arrow velocity. Bows are predominantly IBO Speed rated at 30" draw length. So if your particular bow has an IBO speed of 300 fps, and you intend to shoot the bow at 27" draw length - you should expect an approximate 30 fps loss in speed. This is one of the reasons that so many archers choose inappropriately long draw lengths. So with regards to generating hot arrow speeds, tall shooters do have an advantage. However, shorter guys might feel better to know that short-draw archers do have a few advantages over taller shooters in other areas.
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