4 tips for buying Archery gear for beginners

In Archery, Archery Accessories, Archery Tips, Recurve Bows by Vineet Jain13 Comments

So now you have got a taste of archery in a range or a club. You have tried the bow, and tested what kind of archery you should pursue.

And now you are at a stage where you are looking to buy your first set of equipment. If you are looking for a quick and easy guide on buying archery gear for beginners, you are at the right place.

If you have done a bit of research on Google or Youtube, you may have found the price of the gear can vary from say $10 to couple of thousand dollars.

So how much should you spend? Does the price even matter in archery gear?

As a beginner you may also have some reservations or budget constraints, and expensive gear may be something that you want to avoid.

This is a guide to answer all those questions regarding beginner gear as well as on how to buy on budget. Here we’ll cover:

  • What a beginner archery gear should typically have
  • Why cheap equipment should be avoided
  • Ways to approach buying your archery gear
  • How to reduce your total spend while on a budget

Let’s look at what equipment you need in a typical archery gear.

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1. Archery gear you need while starting up

i. BOW

Compound Bow

The ultimate go to equipment that’ll suck up most of your time and money is the bow. If you buy a decent beginner bow or a hunting bow, it is typically equipped with all the things you need to shoot. Including the riser, the limbs and the bowstring.

If you buy an Olympic style target bow, these components are all sold separately. For convenience, you may be able to buy pre-selected bow packages, or ask the shop to put one together for you with your bow purchase.

ii. FINGER TAB/GLOVE, ARMGUARD, BOW STRINGER

Finger Tab for archery
Finger Tab

Most stores have some sort of beginner package that includes the riser, the limbs and accessory gear. The essential accessories are a finger tab or a glove, and an armguard. A bow stringer is recommended. A quiver is nice to have, but not vital.

iii. ARROWS

Ofcourse, you need arrows. Arrows aren’t made equal. Depending on the draw weight, you need to match the spine of the arrows with the bow. You can look at either the print on the spine of the arrows, or you can ask the store for help.

iv. LIST OF ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES YOU MAY WANT TO GET

  • Quiver
  • Bow stringer
  • String silencers
  • Bow case
  • Plunger buttons
  • Stablizers
  • Sights
  • Probably something to shoot at – a target. If you are going to the range, that’s not a problem. But at home, you’ll need to either buy one, or make one.

BOW TIP:

There are couple of things you should have on your bow before you are good to go.

Nocking point
Nocking point
  • Make sure your bow has an arrow rest. If you are shooting traditional style, you can get a shelf rug. But in that case your arrows need to have feathers and not plastic wings. Commonly a stick on the arrow rest is used. Some bows already come with rest. But make sure you’ve got one.
  • You need to put a nocking point on your string. Without it, the arrow will slide up and down. You can ask the shop to do it for you, or you can get your own brass nock sets. You want your arrow to be square with the string, or slightly angled down.

Now, before we move onto discussing the budget of your bow, let’s understand why you shouldn’t buy cheap equipment. Now, not buying cheap doesn’t mean buying expensive. It just means not buying crap.

Read: Gear Up: 6 Essentials for Beginner Archers

2. WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID CHEAP EQUIPMENT

Regardless of the price range, a good bow should encourage growth and development.

There are some bows (generally at the lower spectrum of the price range) that can only fulfil a short-term thrill.

These cheap bows work. You can shoot an arrow from them. They have lots of reviews because they are cheap.

Price difference is also not that much. For about $50 more, you really get a beginner bow anyways, and it can last you for months.

But the difference is that you’ll be able to learn the craft of the trade much better on them, they will be pleasant its terms of the feedback they give, and will feel like real bows.

The plastic ones or fiber ones are more of a toy than a bow. They are of very limited usability, and nothing much going for them.

Archery | Why You Should Avoid Cheap Equipment

i. BEGINNER RECURVE OR HUNTING BOW

As a basic beginner recurve bow, you should at least look for a $150 one. $200 or higher will give you much better options, but if you are looking for a budget buy, don’t go below $120-130. Below this level, the quality and make will be shoddy, and it will harm your game more than anything else.

Recurve Bow

In fact, for many people the first bow is the final bow they ever buy. Even $150 bow will serve you well for years if you are satisfied with it.

But the cheap ones will not give you the same satisfaction and more often than not, you’ll drop the archery altogether than to continue with a cheap toy you may buy in the name of a bow.

A real bow will help you grow and develop with.

Read: Archery 101: How to Buy Your 1st Recurve Bow

ii. COMPOUND BOW

Compound Bow

Compounds are little different because they tend to be more expensive than recurve bows. Because of this, more people are driven to find cheaper options.

If you are buying a compound bow for the first time, I recommend you budget atleast $400 USD. This will give you any bow in the beginner to intermediate range. These bows are easy to use, and very flexible because they come with variety of draw weights and draw lengths which allows you to grow with your bow.

If you go below $300, then you start getting into cheap Chinese knockoffs. They have very poor quality and cheap parts that break easily.

Archery stores don’t stock these items for a reason. These bows are marketed to people who have no knowledge, experience or guidance for buying a bow or archery in general.

These are basically just metal risers with wheels on the end. The look and feel of these cheap imitations is terrible. They are simply very bad quality bow. The vibration is very high with no shock absorption. The accessories barely function.

What is dangerous is the mentality that comes with buying these bows. Not all people are like this but, certain people in the community have this tendency though.

5 Considerations when Buying a Compound Hunting Bow

iii. Difference between cheap and good quality bows:

CHEAP QUALITYGOOD QUALITY
Price$7-150 USD$120+ USD
Look and FeelBad feedback and shock absorptionGood feedback and shock absorption
AccessoriesFancy add-onsAccessories actually work
LifeFrequent problems, breakdowns, and degraded performance over timeLong-lasting, consistent experience with little to no maintenance
GameShort-term curiosity quenchingReal growth and development

3. HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SPEND

The next series of questions that might be arising in your mind must be:

  • How much should my bow cost?
  • Should I buy the more expensive one or shall I go for a cheaper one in the beginning?
  • Are budget options good?

Read: Is archery expensive? Cost Breakdown For All Equipment

i. FORM AND TECHNIQUE

Before we jump into it, I would like to point out that good technique is the single most important factor for any good archery.

Yes, good equipment does help, but without good technique and form a good piece of equipment won’t help you to become a good archer overnight.

So, it is always better to focus on your form and technique at the beginning than worrying about good equipment.

Average equipment can serve you really well in the beginning and slap you into a good form without you worrying about damaging expensive gear due to your immaturity.

Read: Coach Kim Hyung Tak’s 5 Keys To Great Recurve Archery Technique

ii. BASIC BUDGET

A bow can cost anywhere between $100 to $2000. But the real question is how much should you spend on the bow.

You see, the equipment used to practice archery can last you for years. So, you may not be switching your gear very often. That leads to two ways you can approach your equipment buying project:

A. Buying low cost entry-level stuff and moving upwards as you grow approach

First is, you can buy a low-cost entry-level bow to begin with, and as you grow and develop over the years, you can upgrade to better bows.

Entry level bow is comparatively cheaper. And you can learn on the entry level bow perfectly alright without committing or investing too much money into it – in case you decide not to pursue archery after that passionate high wears off.

If you realize that archery is not your cup of tea, you wouldn’t have wasted that much money with an entry-level bow than a high-end one.

B. Buying expensive equipment from get go, and use it for years to follow

Because the equipment is durable and can last for years, should you get a more expensive bow to begin with? Why not skip the entire entry level steps and save yourself trouble and buy something that you can comfortably use for years?

If you have the money, drive, motivation and/or passion for the archery, and you really want to get good at it, you may as well spend big on your first bow. Skip the initial level step. Go for the bow and equipment you feel you can use for a very long time and not get bored of it.

You get what you pay for. That being said, higher costing gear can be used by beginners as well. There are no steps to it. The entry level bow and professional bow functions the same way. But professional bows usually have more customization, increased performance, but are more sensitive to any tweak you make.

If you are very new, it will take some time to adjust and learn how to use and utilize full potential of your new bow.

So, in conclusion:

  • If you are undecided, and just want to test it out, or have a nag to give up things mid-way, or can’t say for sure the time and money you may be able to commit to your new hobby, then go for an entry-level bow
  • If you have the cash, and you have the passion, you may as well go for an expensive bow. And you will not regret it.

It is like buying an expensive computer or an expensive car. Cheaper one’s work, but with expensive stuff you get the performance, and so many small issues get taken care of right off the bat. You get what you pay for.

That said, expensive equipment doesn’t make you a better archer. Your form and technique won’t get fixed by buying a better or expensive product from the market. You don’t become a better driver just because you bought an expensive car like a Ferrari.

4. BUYING ON A BUDGET

It is hard to recommend a bow that is both good AND cheap. If you are looking for something under $150, any wooden recurve will do. But if you are serious about it and want to buy something for a long term, then you have to be willing to spend a bit more.

Let’s take a look at buying a good archery gear for beginners on a budget.

Target figure for a good medium level equipment that can serve you well for a long term, even on a budget, is about $400 – $600.

You are interested, but a little short of cash. Now you are in a fix. You want to buy good equipment, but don’t or can’t spend too much money over it. Is there a way to have great equipment without splurging too much money?

You see, the rule of thumb in this situation is that anything that is NOT directly hindering your game can be replaced with a cheaper alternative. You can cut some corners to limit your spending while owning a great gear at the same time. Here are some ways you can do it:

  • RISER: Buy a really good riser. Because that is the most important part of your archery altogether. That is what essentially bow boils down to. It will give you better performance, will be easy to adjust, better feedback, and will last for years.
  • LIMBS: Buy cheaper limbs. They are important, but cheaper ones won’t be too devastating. Plus, with practice you will want to go up the draw weight. In that case you will be replacing them anyways in the future. Buy better ones once you are ready to settle with a particular draw weight for yourself.
  • STRING: Buy a default option for string. Won’t make very big difference for quite some time as a beginner.
  • SIGHTS: Go cheap. Better ones are easy to work with, but in the beginning cheap sights are perfectly alright to learn with.
  • ARROW REST: Go cheap
  • PLUNGER: Go cheap. But better to have one, then none
  • STABILIZERS: They are just weights. Go cheap. OR skip them entirely if it is not mission critical for you.
  • ARROWS: Definitely go cheap. For a beginner, you are definitely going to break and loose arrows. Aluminum ones are easily replaceable, sturdy, and good for practice.
  • FINGER TAB: Cheap is fine. But decent one can last longer. They are also not that expensive and getting a good one won’t break your budget.
  • QUIVER: Go with a cheap one.

But this is for beginners. Basically, if you buy a good riser, then you can skimp a little on the other things.

Bow will serve you for a long time and will account for most of your budget anyways.

Rest of the things can lower the cost so that you don’t have to bust a bank for your first time as an archer.

Read: A Beginner’s Guide To Buying Archery Gear

Conclusion

Archery gear makes a big difference in how much you will enjoy doing it. A good equipment will be enjoyable to use, while a shabby equipment will be very off-putting.

It’s like a car. A decent car will do its job and will make your rides pleasant. On the other hand, a shabby car will breakdown very often or will give a terrible performance and experience even if it barely works.

That being said, depending on how you are going to pursue archery, you can customize your gear in such a way that it is easy on the pocket.

You don’t have to go with all the bells and whistles when you first start out. You can gradually expand your not-so-essential-accessories when need arises.

In fact, in many cases these extras can be a distraction from your main goal: that is, learning proper form and technique.

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