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How to Measure Draw Length of a Bow | Complete Beginners Guide

As a beginning archer, it’s important to know how to measure draw length of a bow. Every archer must know their draw length to tune and fire a bow properly. Because draw length affects how you shoot, you must measure your exact bow. Finding the right draw length is necessary to get excellent form and put as little effort into archery.

One of the most crucial aspects of archery is the length of your bow. You might gain accuracy and power if you hold your bow at the correct length. Achieving the right length for your bow is more challenging than it sounds.

How to Measure Draw Length of a Bow

The draw length of a bow is the distance between a fully drawn bow and its unstrung position. This is measured from end to end or from nock point to nock point.

The draw-length setup on compound bows is basic in archery. Experts find it surprising how many shooters ignore the draw length measurement. Shooters overlook the significance of ensuring that their projection is set up correctly. This might happen when people buy second-hand bows or when friends and family own bows.

Here we discuss how to measure  draw length of a bow. Several methods are used, such as string, a ruler, or tape, to measure it. These methods are helpful for you if you need an experienced archer near you. The right way to detect your bow length would be to ask a skilled archer or take a lesson from them!

Draw Length of a Bow

A draw length is a distance from the pivot point of a bow to the string. The draw length of a bow refers to how far the bowstring can be forced back before needing to be restrung. The draw length is measured as the distance between the arrow’s nock and the position where it would rest after being drawn.

The correct length for an individual varies. It depends on many factors, including height and arm length. The most common mistake people make when measuring their draw length is not holding their arms straight enough when measuring it.

The idea of draw length has gained more significance with the introduction of compound bows. Compound bows, in contrast to conventional bows, are configured to draw back a certain length. Draw length will also affect projection and arrow dimensions. To be compatible with the most effective and accurate shooting, you must measure the bow.

A bow’s draw length is the distance from where the string touches the bow to the point at which it releases. The draw length influences how far an arrow can be shot and is a critical specification in bow design.

The draw length of a bow is usually measured in inches or centimeters. The size of a bow is measured from the tip of the arrow to the end of the bow. The length of a bow can be measured by dividing the height by 2. 

The draw length of a longbow should be between 28 and 34 inches (71-86 cm)

Recurve bow’s draw length should be between 18 and 27 inches (46-68 cm)

Each compound bow is set to a specific length, and the bow shoots from that length. Recurves and longbows have no setup draw length and can be shot from almost any distance the archer desires.

Importance of draw length of a bow

The draw length is important because it affects the distance between the string and the arrow. It also determines how much energy is held in the limbs when the string is pulled back.

Measure the draw length from the end of your fingers to the shoulder. If the draw length of a bow is incorrect, it will not hit the target.

Most hunters can maximize their draw weight with the proper draw length. This is especially important for bow hunters because it affects the speed of the bow.

Effect of draw length in archery

Accuracy in archery is dependent on consistency. Yet, if your draw length isn’t adjusted to fit your body, keeping consistency with every shot can be challenging, if not impossible.

If the bow’s draw length is too small, you’ll have to stoop to see across the peep sight.

While if the draw length is long, you will have to exert extra effort to pull the bowstring back and maintain it there. It will be hard to shoot compact arrow sets because you will force your body into different angles when pointing.

You won’t be able to hold the traditional “T-form” that archery experts advocate. In which the holding arm of the back is parallel to the arrow at a maximum draw.

The bow’s string is pulled back and released to shoot an arrow. The force of the line will cause the arrow to fly in the direction it is pointed. A longer draw length will provide more power, but it will also make it harder to release because there is more tension on the string.

A shorter draw length will have less power but be easier to remove because there is less tension on the string. Suppose someone pulls back a bow with a smaller draw length than intended. In that case, they risk not having enough power for their shot and missing the target completely or being unable to shoot.

It would help if you drew a length appropriate for your body. The proper draw length for your body feels comfortable and manageable. So this is your first preference. Not only should you know  how to measure draw length of a bow, but also what draw length to use.

Summary: When the draw length of your bow is properly adjusted, you should be able to pull the bowstring fully. Link in a row with your carrying (rear) elbow pointing right away from the arrow.

Methods of How To Measure Draw Length of a Bow

Every person’s body is different. So, how does your physique relate to archery? Having an appropriately fitted bow is essential for optimal shooting form and accuracy. Draw length of a bow is an important measurement for getting the best fit.

Several methods help how to measure draw length of a bow; some are more accurate than others. Most archers have a checkbox with faux arrows and measurements marked for draw length in their shops. The archer draws the bow, and the lines on the indicator show the draw length. This method is quite accurate if a couple of conditions are met.

1- Accurate Measuring Using Your Draw

Step 1: Learn How to Draw a Bow with Good Form

Knowing how you will draw the bow to shoot in practice is crucial for getting an accurate draw measurement. Your draw length may be several inches off the mark if you need better form, posture, or training.

  • Overstretching is a frequent problem with the form. It feels natural to stretch your shoulders and arms back as much as possible to gain more power. After a certain point, you stop extending in the arrow’s direction. This results in extra length that is useless for your shot.
  • In most situations, you need your front arm extended and locked. The curve between your thumb and index finger should be drawn to the jawbone behind the ear on your rear arm. This anchoring tip will provide consistent shooting and correct aiming placement.

Step 2: To Measure the Draw Length, Use an Uncut Arrow

This is a professional’s go-to method for beginners Because it uses the Archery Trade Association’s draw length measurement. You’ll use a standard bow and an uncut arrow, and the expert will be able to measure your draw length with a ruler.

Step 3: Use pivot point

Draw the bow, measure the length from the pivot point to the nock point and add 1 3/4 inches. The nock tip is where the arrow rests on the string, not where the arrow ends. The pivot is the point at which the bow rests against the curve formed by your index and middle fingers. 

The additional 1 3/4 inches is the distance between the pivot tip and the front side of the bow grip. This is known as the “true draw length of a bow.”

2- The Wingspan Method

  1. Stand against the wall with your arms outstretched. To avoid changing the measurement, keep in mind that the wall behind you is bare. While parallel to the ground, your arms should be close to the sides. Your body ought to be arranged into a “T” configuration.
  2. Draw a dot on the wall where your index fingers are extended. Where your index fingers stretch on the wall, make a mark. Ask a friend to apply a little strip of painter’s tape to the tips of your index fingers without hurting the wall.
  3. Measure the width of your wings from tip to tip in inches. Measure the length between every bit of tape using a tape measure. This represents your wingspan. You can now take the tape away from the wall.
  4. Take the wingspan measurement and divide it by 2.5. This is yet another proven and true approach utilized by archers worldwide. Because there is a connection between wingspan and height, some places will check your height instead. Still, because your arms are performing the work, it is ideal to accomplish this by wingspan.
  5. Purchase your bow based on the draw length measurement. You’ll choose your recurve bow size based on the draw length or alter the compound bow’s setup to match your draw.

Before you go to the store, have an estimation of the amount of draw you require. When interacting with the salesperson will save you effort and time. 

It would help if you also researched the right draw weight for size, age, and athletic capabilities. If you are doubtful, seek the advice of a professional.

3- Measure the Draw Length With an Arrow

Use an arrow that is at least as long as your arm. Choose an uncut or a measuring indicator with side ruler markings. Visit your local archery shop nearby for options, or construct your own. In the long term, this can make calculating distances easier.

Put the arrow’s notch on your chest. It ought to be at the level of the collarbone. This lines up the arrow with the right and left shoulder sockets on your shoulders.

Face the arrow between your clasped palms. The arrow should be parallel to your arms and pointing away from you. To acquire more distance, don’t arch your back!

Add 2 inches to the point on the arrow where your middle fingers’ tips touch (5.1 cm). You will increase the length of the arrow by 2 inches (5.1 cm), much like the Archery Trade Association did. Although this approach is frequently less precise for experts, it is a useful place to start for newbies or archers working alone.

Important Tips

  • Try out various techniques to determine how accurate your measurements are. You can desire a slightly smaller or larger draw length based on where you shoot.
  • Keep in mind your draw weight as well. The more effort you make each time you shoot an arrow, the heavier the draw weight and the longer the draw length.


1- Are the comfort of draw length important in archery or not?

Beyond raw strength, there are several aspects to consider here. First and foremost, we strongly advise selecting a draw length that is COMFORTABLE for you and appropriate for your specific purpose. A bow with too much draw length in recreational archery will make you less successful and less enjoyable.

2- Does a string loop alter the “feel” of your draw length? 

The string’s touch with your nose and the bow’s nock’s contact with the side of your mouth are unaffected by a string loop. Still, it does move your release hand roughly 1/2″ back on your face. If you have, doing so makes you “feel” as though you had a greater draw length. Otherwise, no

3- Which draw length is “proper”? 

Suppose you ask different experts for answers. All archer professionals have other explanations on how long your draw should be. A variety of techniques and tools are frequently utilized for the measurement of draw length. However, only some of them are in agreement. The truth is that the draw length you feel most comfortable and accurate is your “correct” draw length.

Final Thoughts

Now you are aware of how to measure draw length of a bow. Select one of the methods listed here, then use a detector to determine your exact draw length. It would help if you discovered a draw length that fits you because it supports appropriate accuracy and perfect shooting. This judgment is easy, but it is complex for measuring the draw length of your bow and arrows and allows you to shoot best. If you are still unable to measure the draw length of a bow, then measure by an expert or visit an archer shop. Follow these methods to feel more comfortable, which increases your accuracy. Keep in touch if you want to get more information.

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