Draw Weight for my Bow, What’s Best for me?

Anthony Cote
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Build, Bodyweight and Suggested Bow Draw Weights

Have you ever wondered what the best draw weight is for you and your situation? You probably have a handy dandy bow scale to tell you that your 80 lb pull bow weighs 80 lbs. You may even have a set of 20” draw weight pins for your bow—but did you know that all that information may not matter for your draw length and physical needs?

The truth is, most bow weight recommendations out there don’t take your draw length, bodyweight, and physical needs in consideration.

The recommended draw weight charts I have seen online up until now have simply been equations with a basic formula, such as:

Your body weight divided by 2 = suggested bow weight

By using this formula for a person who is 5’10 and 175 lbs, the suggested draw weight would be 37.5 lbs.

Is this information correct?…YES! Is it the best or only way to determine proper draw weight?…NO!

Recurve Draw Weights

There is no official draw weight for recurve bows. Their manufacturers make them so they feel right and then they adjust the draw weight with a bow press, they call it “deflexing”. The best way to set up your bow correctly is to get professional help from a pro shop or bow dealer who knows how to do it.

The proper draw length for your bow will depend on where you can comfortably bend your arm. Most people can tolerate a bow with a draw length six inches shorter than their elbow to fingertip. For example, the adjustability of the bow is 18-29 inches. This means your initial bow should have the grip 22” long. If you can pull the bow with the handle at 24”, then you should be good. But if you can pull it only at 20” then you have to cut it down to 20” or less.

The reality is, once you put a string on it, wrap a bow string around it and add a metal bow plate, most bow re-investment shops can set an arrow rest, do a draw length check, and add a bit of hair to your bow string.

Hunting Draw Weights

As a traditional archer, you will know you have made the right choice if you enjoy getting out into the wild and were a fan of traditional bow hunting. While some might think that this is a tad old fashioned, this is something that is a way of life for many. There are modern crossbows that are available that offer the same kind of excitement.

When it comes to choosing a bow, it is important to keep the draw weight of the bow in mind. This is what is referred to as the force required to pull the string back. Having a bow with the right draw weight allows you to hit your target with more accuracy. This also allows you to avoid having a sore shoulder.

If you do not know much about archery and you want to explore this as a hobby, it is possible to purchase a low draw weight. When it comes time to choose something with a little more punch, you will then be able to make a good purchase. As you get more adventurous with this sport, you will want to explore various draw weights. This is because you will want to be able to get your game on and maintain your accuracy when you go hunting. This is also important for competitive archery.

Compound Draw Weights

Buy your compound bow online at Amazon.

A lot of new compound bow owners have questions about what draw weight is best? How much draw weight do I need with my new bow? How do I know what draw weight I should choose? Make your compound bow draw weight selection as easy as possible with this simple FAQ.

What Is The Difference In Draw Weights?

If you have bought a new compound bow and are ready to pull back and shoot, you may notice it takes quite a bit of effort. This takes some getting used to, but you will eventually figure out how much draw is best for you. This takes time and you should practice with your bow plenty of times. As you practice more, you may notice that the amount of draw you can handle is increasing. When this happens, you may want to consider increasing your draw weight as well.

What Is The Difference Between Draw Weight And Let Off?

With compound bows the let off is the amount of weight that is left on the string when the arrow is shot. Most compound bows are set to 70% let off. This means you will be holding 30% of the draw weight in your hand when you release the arrow. 70% let off is considered the standard of compound bows.

Compound Let-Off Percentage

For manufacturers to easily evaluate the draw weight of compound bows, they borrowed a measurement from the rifle industry which gauges how much of a force (weight) is left on the draw when the trigger has been released. This is the compound let-off. It’s also known as the let-off percentage and represents the length of the draw in relation to how much of the initial weight is left upon trigger release.

The term "compound" is never used when talking about the let-off. It's because every bow has a let-off and all compound bows are measured the same way. It’s just that some bows have more let-off than others. The trigger is only used to compare bows against each other. Each time the bow is drawn, the trigger is tested to measure how much force is left.

From a short draw of about 12 to 15". The let-off of a bow will almost always register 100%. This means when the trigger is released the amount of weight remaining is virtually identical to the amount of weight previously held.

From 15" to 20" draw lengths, the let-off on most bows will be 80%. This percentage means that a higher percentage of the force is left behind when the shot is released.