Introduction: Bow and Arrow for Dummies

Picture of Bow and Arrow for Dummies

This Instructable is going to show you the best way to shoot a bow and arrow. I may have a different technique than you may have, (if you have one.) This WILL require practice, determination, and quite a bit of welds on your arm, that is if you don't wear an armguard. If you are a starter, it is HIGHLY recommended that you wear one!


Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Here are some supplies that you will need:

You can get these supplies from Dick's Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops, or any other sports related store. Wal-Mart is not the best place to get these things. (I hate Wal-Mart anyways.)

Step 2: Bow and Arrows

Picture of Bow and Arrows

First I am going to give you some facts about the Bow and Arrow.

If you buy your bow and it says it is 50 Lbs., that does not mean your bow weighs 50 Lbs. It means that it requires 50 Lbs of force to pull back the string.

If you are not the most strong person in the world, you will probably want to get a bow that is around 25#-40#. If you're strong, you will want a bow that is 50#-70#. I personally like 60#. But as a beginner, even if you are strong, I would stick to around 35#.

Ok, now to something different. The difference between Compound bows, Recurve bows, and Long bows. (In this instructable, I will tell you how to use a compound bow.) Compound bows will have wheels or cams on each of the limbs. What I like about compound bow is that when you pull them back about halfway, it gets pretty easy to pull it back the rest of the way, and once you are back all the way, there is about 75% let-off.(Which means it is 75% easier to hold back.)

Ok, to Recurve bows. I don't have a recurve bow, but I know some about it. Recurve bows don't have any wheels or cams.(Go to picture to see what these are.) They do not have any let-off, and they usually are harder to pull back. At each end of the bow, there is a little curve to them. I have no idea what it is for, but it is there.

Now the last one, longbows. Longbows are pretty much a stick, or fiberglass, that has a string attached to it to make a bow. That is pretty much it. I personally hate shooting them, but some people like it. There you go, that is all I know about a longbow.

The best arrows to use are Carbon Fiber arrows, but they can be pricey. They are good to use if you want accuracy, durability, and speed. If you aren't willing to spend an arm and leg on arrows, get fiberglass, aluminum or wood arrows. They are cheap, but usually break when ever you hit a house, or even a tree.(Unless you have a slow bow.)

Whenever you are practicing, you can use field tips for your bow. They are just a pointy lead thing. But for hunting, you will need a broadhead which is a field tip with 3 or 4 blades sticking out of them.

There you go, that is pretty much the basic information of a Bow and arrow. If you really get into it, there will be a LOT more information that you will need to know. But for an instructable, that is to much.

Note: I highly recommend reading Precision Archery! Go to, they have some there.

Step 3: Set Up

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OK, the easy part. You will need to be in a place that you will not accidentally shoot a person or house.(I don't care if you hit animals... just joking!) You will also want to be in a place that has a nice stretch of land so that you can shoot at distances. This is pretty much all you need to so to set up your shooting ground!

Step 4: The Grip

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Ok, I am going to say this first. You are not Robin Hood. You aren't going to hit the bullseye your first time, so don't get frustrated if you don't. You will get better with practice.

Now pick up your bow. You need to have a loose but sturdy grip on the bow. To much pressure on the grip, the more Torque you will have, which can cause fatigue, or even death...LOL, just kidding. But do not have a tight grip.

Step 5: Stance

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So now that you've mastered the grip, you can move on to your stance. You NEED to have a VERY balanced stance. Your feet need to be shoulder length apart, this provides a good, balanced stance. You need to place your feet in the direction your target is. A good way to help you do this is to take aim, then put an arrow in line with your toes. If the arrow is pointing at the target, then you are doing good. If not, that is ok. Practice makes perfect!

Step 6: Your Almost Done!

Picture of Your Almost Done!

Now the fun part. Since you mastered everything else, you can shoot. Don't get in a hurry, I know it is so exciting. =D

Get aligned with your target, have a good grip, and then nock your arrow. When you pull the arrow back, you do not want to use your arm muscles to do it. Instead, use your shoulder muscles, and your scapula.(Your shoulderblade.) This is called back-tension. This help from injuring your arm, and also helps stability; which creates a better and more accurate shot. Also, you want to keep your albow in-line with you arrow, this helps accuracy.

You want to put your index finger above the arrow, and the middle and ring finger below it. When you release, you should release with all 3 fingers spontaneously.

Now you have finally shot an arrow, retrieve it. Shoot a couple thousand more, have it mastered, then go hunting for a nice 12 point buck. I doubt you will get one, but have fun.

I have only gave you the basic skills of shooting a bow and arrow, so son't think it is easy once you start. There is a LOT more to learn to be a master like me. =)

Note: This is my second instructable, so tell me how I did.


AndrewS112 (author)jamiespark2015-10-01

then don't shoot your hand

tofuftw (author)jamiespark2009-03-02

This can happen if you use wooden arrows in a compound - apparently the force is too much for them.

Flotonic (author)tofuftw2009-03-08

In that picture that jamiespark posted, was that someone accidentally shooting themself or another person?

tofuftw (author)Flotonic2009-03-08

They shot them self, the arrow would have broke as it was being shot.

Flotonic (author)tofuftw2009-03-08

How exactly do you do that? And what do you mean that the arrow would've broke while being shot? Nonetheless, I'm now slightly scared of bows. I'm pretty accidental.

tofuftw (author)Flotonic2009-03-08
The stress of being fired would cause the damaged arrow to break as it was shot; arrows naturally flex as they are shot
- thats why its good practice to check your arrows now and then for damage, as it broke it probably came off the rest and went into their hand.
Flotonic (author)tofuftw2009-03-09

Ohh... I see. But when you say they should naturally flex, do you mean that they should literally bend, or is a solid stick OK, too? Thanks, though, nonetheless. You probably saved me a huge surgery (when my bow is complete, of course), as I'm quite an accidental person. Also, how do I check them? (Heh... best to ask questions that be hurt.)

Bushie (author)Flotonic2013-03-09

If you're so accident prone, Flotonic, are you sure that maybe you shouldn't be taking up some safer activity than archery ???

Like maybe base jumping, or swimming with sharks ??

As well as the risks of carbon arrows shattering on launching, I would recommend that you check out the very real risk of compound bow limbs "exploding" after "dry firing" ??

And if you do carry on and take up archery ~ remember to never fire an arrow if you DON'T have a clear view of everything that is behind your target.

cruzpeter11 (author)Flotonic2009-08-16

u can check carbon arrows b4 u shoot by flexing them in your hand if u hear a crack or any thing then throw it away

tofuftw (author)Flotonic2009-03-12

They need to flex, the flexibility of an arrow is called the spine, if the arrow is too stiff it will pull to the left (this is for a right handed archer - bow held in the left hand), if it is too flexible it will pull to the right.
Usually you can check the spine you need with the manufacturer via tables (, you need to know your arrow length, limb poundage, cam type type, tip grain weight. Though to be honest the best way to do it is to go into a shop and get them to help you chose - that's what i did.

cruzpeter11 (author)Flotonic2009-08-16

no what happends was it had a crack and when they realesed the arrow in a compound bow the force on it wa to great and it cracked an hit his hand b4 leaving the bow

tacamaral (author)tofuftw2009-03-25

How much weigh would you say is safe enough to use a wooden arrow? I have a 42lbs bow. Thanks. : )

tofuftw (author)tacamaral2009-03-26

Depends, compound, recurve or traditional bow?

tacamaral (author)tofuftw2009-03-26

Sorry, my bad: recurve.

tofuftw (author)tacamaral2009-03-26

To be honest I'm not really to sure, I shoot recurve, with 37lb on the fingers - I wouldn't feel comfortable shooting wooden arrows (especially ones where the nock is made from the shaft) as my bow (and pretty much all other modern Olympic recurves) shoots a damn sight faster than the traditional bows, which are what the wooden arrows are really made for. I asked a few other friends that also shoot recurve and the general consensus seems to be 'not sure if it would destroy the arrow, but I would certainly not recommend it', at the least using aluminium or carbon arrows should give a more consistent shot.

Kazeem (author)tofuftw2009-04-23

I've used wooden arrows on a 38lb compound if its any help. They break. Readily. Luckily, only in the target, and not in a dangerous fashion.

cruzpeter11 (author)jamiespark2009-08-16

that happend becuse after u shoot a carbon arrow u are suppose to bend it to make sure there is not a crack in it so that is all i have ever used and that has neber happend to me to that guy must have hit a tree or somthing hard becuse that will crack it becuse it takes quite a bit to crack one of thoses and wood can do that easiter adn aluminum arrows bens then break so either way they r all dangurus but actually carbon ar the safest

iulian.petre.79 (author)2015-06-15

This is one sport i will try soon! This instructable will be baseline.

PhilipL4 (author)2015-04-20

Im looking online to buy a carbon fiber bow, and I'm curious as to why there are 3 different pound options for arrows. there is a 45/60 lbs, a 55/70 lbs, and a 65/80 lbs option. I have a 58 lbs draw but am new to archery. While I'm assuming the before listed options relate directly to draw strength, I'd greatly appreciate clarification. Thanks!

SusannaGail (author)2014-09-21

Now, time to check your spelling and grammar, starting with the title of this step: You're almost done!

sin491 (author)2013-07-01

you come across as sarcastic and not a little snooty, I know computers exaggerate and are not a good medium to use humor on but you could be a bit more humble

barnhill123 (author)2013-06-27

thats a bear oddyssey II it maxes out at 50 so i dont see how you have it set at 65#s

jamiespark (author)2008-12-23

also recurve has a lover draw weight but will shoot farther

Bushie (author)jamiespark2013-03-09

Further than what ???

Is your 35-40 lb. recurve going to shoot an arrow further than my 65 lb. compound ??

mbreukel (author)Bushie2013-05-12

dont comparise apples to pears, any compound should shoot faster then a recurve, just like pretty much all recurve/1P hunting bows should shoot faster then most of the flat and especially longbows out there.

note, this is even without taking lbs in concideration. my 40# can shoot faster then a 16 pound recurve, but that isnt a really fair competition of course ;).

Hammie83 (author)2013-04-12

Not bad! You should define what "nocking" is since you may have newbies reading this.

Imcrazydude (author)2013-04-09

No offence but have u even shot a longbow I like shooting longbows better then compounds and recurves in my opinion just suck

Ole bally (author)2010-12-28

Hold the bow on the thumb pad of yr palm holding it with yr thumb an forefinger. The other three fingers, tuck into a loose 'fist'. As you draw the bow, rotate yr elbow outwards as best you can. now yr string can't hit yr inner blood shed! No torque on the bow either.

_Scratch_ (author)Ole bally2011-06-19

Just use a wristguard. Even if you do this every time, theres probably going to be a hit or 2 on your wrist.

Ganoderma (author)_Scratch_2012-11-06

I agree that you should use a wristguard, but that isn't a replacement to rotating your elbow outwards.
If you rely purely on your wristguard, the string will hit it very often, not only ruining your shot (yes, this makes a huge difference to where the arrow lands) but also quickly wearing out your bowstring.

A simple practice for rotating your elbow out: hold a door frame like you would a bow and then rotate it out. It's easier since the doorframe isn't gonna turn and you should be able to feel which muscles you should use to rotate your elbow without rotating your bow.

crash98 (author)2012-01-23

Um I have a question. I can't seem to use my shoulder muscles to pull back. I always use my arm muscles, and that gets me maybe a little less than average.

esmith37 (author)crash982012-01-26

Try standing at a (slightly) different angle to your target, and maybe use a rowing machine to get better at isolating your trapezius and rhomboid muscles.

esmith37 (author)esmith372012-01-26

I'm not very knowlegable about Archery stance, but for Slinging (yes, as in David & Goliath) The best stance is with your feet at about 45-60 degrees to your target.

nalk55 (author)2011-07-09

You did pretty good, didn't act like a robot with no emotions, I loved the animals joke.

nvxcmz (author)2009-11-01

You shouldn't call ur instructable "archery for dummy's"  because with a compound bow their is no skill involved. i'd like to see u pick up a long bow without a sight or stabalizer and  actually hit something. with a compound your cheating.

tincanz (author)nvxcmz2010-01-23

hear, hear!!! I am a barebow recurver and I think compound bows suck!!!

KingRohvo (author)tincanz2010-04-12

Amen to that! Compounds are indeed cheating. Recurve hunting is the only fair or humane way.

_Scratch_ (author)KingRohvo2011-06-19

How is hunting with a recurve any more humane? Either way, theres gonna be an arrow flying through that animal, and its either gonna be at 80fps, or 300fps. I would say compounds are more humane if you hit the right place.

KingRohvo (author)_Scratch_2011-06-22

True, the animal is going to be dying either way, but I feel that with a non-compound bow, it's more of a fair game between you and the animal. No fancy sights or gears or anything. It's nature against nature. Not machine. I don't REALLY care either way, I believe God put animals here for us to kill them or use them for our own purposes, no matter how we do it. But if you're going to do it, you might as well make it a fair game. And thus a more fun game.

_Scratch_ (author)KingRohvo2011-06-25

Well the animal cant make bows. Fair game would be beating down the animal with your hands or something along those lines. Compounds are just as natural as regular bows, but more developed. Superior intelligence v.s. nature. lol

joeyay (author)KingRohvo2010-10-29

Wow i completely agree

Hell yeah! I use a recurve/longbow thing and i tried to use a compound and it was just over complicated and if you have any skill youd be able to hit a target using a pin as a sight with a stick with twine for string. almost impossible to use as i was to busy laughing at the bicycle wheels on the ends ( my group calls them bicycle bows)

Cubie2 (author)nvxcmz2010-01-21

That's why its for 'dummies'!
But i agree with you- check my earlier post

glitcher (author)nvxcmz2009-11-01

why would you want to? I've used both compound and long (a few years back, weak bows, I was young) and there was a very little difference.  I didn't have a sight or stabilizer on my compound, all it did was make it easier to hold back.  So if you would like to pull a muscle in your back by holding your longbow back while aiming for your target, be my guest.  plus, nobody said you had to use a sight/stabilizer.

nvxcmz (author)glitcher2009-11-05

all I'm saying is its more traditional . with all the new advancements in bows its turning into a lazy mans weapon. like firearms for instance, archers used to be vital for hunting and fighting. but now we use high powered guns and even robots to do the fighting for us. the first mistake we made was relying on the crossbow because it required less training and skill . but all it did was take avay a great warrior from history.

NapoleanDynamite (author)nvxcmz2009-11-01

You know... I would like to see you pick up a compound bow and shoot a bullseye from 60 yards away. You mean to tell me that that requires no skill? So I guess you could hit that bullseye every time since it doesn't require skill huh? Yeah that's what I thought. :)

_Scratch_ (author)2011-06-19

Ahhh! The knees are not slightly bent!

grevious (author)2008-09-27

what exactly is a "hollow tip" and what does it "do" and what circumstance is it "used" in?


About This Instructable




Bio: I pretty much have the best skills ever...heck yeah!
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