Peter Broadhurst, Archery GB Level 1 Coach, shares his advice for that all-important first bow purchase.
You are probably full of enthusiasm to purchase your first bow. However, this is precisely the time to temper that enthusiasm with a healthy dose of control and patience.
New or secondhand?
First, it is important to decide which style of bow you wish to follow: recurve, traditional (longbow) or compound. Online sites can sell second-hand bows, but be careful as without help you might buy a bow that is not the right draw length or draw weight for you. You will not get an opportunity to try before you buy which could lead to a costly mistake. However, if you get advice from your coach or someone at the club you might get a bargain.
A new one can be more expensive, so decide how much you want to spend (typically £200 - £350 on a first bow). Booking an appointment with a reputable retailer is a good way to go, as many have a small indoor range to try out the equipment. They will make sure the bow and other equipment are tailored to you and you are comfortable using it.
The riser, for me, is the most important part as this is what you hold and everything else attaches to it. Once you are used to the draw weight of the bow you can upgrade just the limbs for a higher draw weight.
Buy some time
Alternatively, you could buy yourself some time by purchasing a good quality training bow such as one offered by Clickers Archery in Norwich for just £68.46. This will allow you to work on your technique and form and also develop the strength to draw the weight you would like to once you purchase your new bow. Your coach can measure you for the bow length and draw, (arm length). The limbs can also be upgraded for heavier ones for around £30.
You will need other items, such as a bracer and tab, a quiver, and arrows - maybe even a sight and bag to hold it all, but buying all this at the same time can be costly.
You are probably figuring out which equipment works for you, such as different types of bracer and tab. Quivers and bow stands are fairly standard and there is nothing stopping you from buying equipment you are already comfortable with and spreading the cost.
Advice is vital when buying arrows, as a measurement is needed for the correct length for you but also for the draw weight of the bow. You can personalise the arrows by choosing different colour fletchings and nocks. Eight aluminium arrows cost around £50.
There is a lot of advice and guidance available, so don’t rush. Talk to experienced archers and coaches at your club and seek their advice. Above all, practise and enjoy archery!
If you still have some burning questions about buying your first bow, check out our Q&A with Quicks Archery which was published in our winter edition of Archery UK.