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How to Choose Arrows: For Recreational Competitive Archery

How to Choose Arrows

Do you still need help with poor accuracy and consistency in shots? Despite highly priced compound bows or stabilisers, do you not get a perfectly straight shot? Then it is time to think about changing your gear, but how to choose arrows for recreational and competitive archery is a tough row to hoe. 

Whether you are a beginner or a professional, you have an idea that success in archery depends upon many factors, and having the right arrow is the crux of the matter. There are many factors to consider while choosing a right arrow, for instance length, weight, material, spine and fletching. Beside these, your personal preference and skills level plays a significant role. 

This article provides a complete guide about different components, types, and other considerations suited for your next archery season. 

Components of Arrow

You need an accurate arrow to hit your target accurately. The type of arrow you choose can significantly impact your performance in archery.

Many factors contribute to selecting an arrow because these factors affect the trajectory of your arrow, the amount of penetration, and most importantly,the amount of kinetic energy transfer. 

Material, weight, length, spin, nock type, and fletching are the most powerful components. Let’s discuss them individually to see their role in choosing an arrow. 

1- Material

There are different types of material used for making the shaft of an arrow which depend upon the type of bow, the archer’s skill level, and the intended use of the arrow. 

Each material has its benefits and drawbacks. Let’s find them.

Carbon Fibre

The most commonly used arrows are made up of carbon fiber. Carbon shafts give a feather-like feel and are super strong, making them a popular choice for modern archery.

They are resistant to bending and warping and can withstand the impact of repeated use, although they’re expensive. You can use them during recreational shooting and bow hunting. 


Are you a beginner who is looking for an affordable but lightweight arrow? Good news! Arrows made with Aluminium are flexible, lightweight, and durable. 

The shafts are hollow inside and used for indoor and recreational shooting. You can use them with traditional bows and compound bows


In traditional archery, the arrow shaft is made up of a thin rod of traditional wood like cedar, pin, maple, and ash. The arrows made up of these woods are lightweight and strong. 

Like aluminium shafts, wood shafts are not empty from the inside. You can use them for longbows and traditional bows. 


Another popular choice for beginner archers is the arrow made up of fibreglass. As compared to others, fibreglass arrows are relatively cheaper.  

They are lightweight and travel greater distances in the air. They offer high flight characteristics. They are durable and offer high stability. 

Hybrid Material

Some arrows are made up of a combination of materials like carbon and aluminum. Like a carbon fiber arrow with a wood or aluminum core. 

These combinations affect the weight, durability, and stiffness of the arrow. They are small-diameter arrows that are best for low-power bows and distance shooting. 

2- Weight

When an arrow leaves the bow, kinetic energy is present, which comes from the bowstring. Do you know the physics behind the arrow’s path from bow to target? 

This is because kinetic energy is dependent upon the weight of an arrow. The weight decides how the arrow flies, how deep it penetrates, and what its drop rate is. 

They come in three categories: light, medium, and heavyweight. The heavier the arrow, the more its speed and the deeper it penetrates. However, it becomes difficult to control it.

3- Length

Longer arrows are more stable in flight but difficult to draw. The recommended length of the arrow is between 20″-32″. The flight of arrows affected by its length. 

Shorter arrows are lighter, safer, and have better accuracy and speed. Because the shorter the arrow, the lesser the flexibility, so it adds more speed.  

4- Spine

Have you ever heard about the “archer’s paradox”? An arrow can bend when it leaves the bow but straighten immediately. 

Too stiff or soft arrows are considered poor as they do not cover the distance properly and either shoot left or do not recover from paradox. 

5- Fletching

When your arrow leaves the bow, fletching helps to stabilise your arrow’s shaft and causes it to spin. With spinning arrows you can gain speed, accuracy, and power. 

The recommended fletching is 4″-5″ which easily compensates for the broadhead weight and size. The fletching is aerodynamic, so make sure it should be wider than the cutting diameter.

Besides these factors, there are other considerations. Let’s find them with me.

Things to Consider While Choosing an Arrow

There is not an all-in-fit-size arrow for everyone; you can find several options in the market, each with its unique feature. 

Therefore, when choosing an arrow, it is important to consider your purpose, personal preference, arrow speed, and bow type.  


First, decide the purpose of the arrow selection, whether you want an arrow for hunting or target shooting.

  • For hunting, you can use heavy and sturdy arrows that can penetrate deeply. 
  • For archery competition, you can prefer lightweight and fast arrows.

Bow type

Selecting the right bow can affect your performance significantly, as each bow has its own draw weight, draw length, and power stroke. 

If we talk about recurve bow, it requires longer and more flexible arrows, while compound bow needs shorter and stiffer arrows. Miss match bow results in poor performance.

Draw weight

Choosing the arrow according to the bow’s draw weight is compulsory to withstand the force of shots. The higher the draw weight, the heavier the arrow you need. 

Arrow speed

Arrow speed has a direct relation with trajectory. The greater the arrow speed, the less it is affected by the wind drift and the more the flatness of the trajectory. 

Personal preference

While selecting an arrow, the colour, brand, budget, and material also matter. Some archers like chrome carbon arrows as they are highly durable, while others like aluminium arrows as they are lightweight within affordable range. 


The most important decision when choosing an archery session is how to choose an arrow. Several factors are considered to level up the game, like material, weight, length, spine, and fletching. Despite that, some other considerations are the types of game and your personal shooting style. 

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