Archery | Buying Your First Bow #1 – How to Choose A Bow


Hey guys, this is NUSensei. This is the first video in a series on
how to choose your first bow. For someone completely new to archery your
understanding of a bow may be as simple as this. This is also a bow but I’m assuming
you’re not looking for this, so let’s go from here. Firstly, why did you choose to get into
archery? Were you inspired by pop culture figures like Katniss Everdeen or maybe
Oliver Queen, or perhaps you want to spend time in the great outdoors and do
some bow hunting, or you might have seen the olympic games and you want some
competition, or maybe you’re looking for a social experience hanging out with
friends and family and shooting at your club. Now buying a bow might seem like a very
simple endeavor, you go to Google, you type in archery bow, and you find the most
reviewed and most popular and cheapest bow you can find. However, this isn’t
necessarily the best idea. While you might get a functional usable bow,
often by rushing into a purchase without doing the proper research you get
improper equipment. Not only does this waste time and money,
it may tarnish your first experience of archery. So before you click the “buy it now”
button and get your Samick Sage, understand that there are many types of bows you
can get and some bows may appeal to you more than others. Firstly, a special mention goes out to fiberglass bows. These are often labeled as “youth bows”. These
are very cheap, the cheapest you can find often being under twenty-five dollars or
fifty dollars for a whole set. These are usually marketed towards young kids, being a very basic design looking like a cheap plastic toy that can be quickly outgrown and they’re not very accurate. These
can be tempting for many people as an entry point, but understand that these
bows offer very limited development. Another alternative is to make your
own bow. While making your own wooden bow for the first time may be very
daunting, many people like the idea of crafting their own PVC bow. PVC bows are
very cheap, it’s a great do yourself entry point and it’s great for people
who want to be hands-on and entering archery as a hobby There are also traditional and primitive
bows. These cover historical styles and designs which were used at some point in
time, for example with the English longbow, the Japanese yumi, and
traditional horsebows. There are also crossbows. Now crossbows look really awesome but
they are often considered to be separate from archery bows because of their design
and function. Modern crossbows can be used for hunting or sport target shooting, but
there may be classified as a weapon in your local area and you may require a
license to own them. Additionally, because of these
restrictions many clubs don’t support the training of crossbows. Now we move on to the
most common type of bow, the recurve bow. Recurve bows are very popular among
beginners and they’re used by clubs and ranges to teach new archers. Recurve bows
can be one piece or take down, meaning that they can be disassembled into
separate components. They’re easy to learn with and are very generic in design. There are more specialized kind of
recurve bows, for example there are target bows otherwise known as a Olympic recurves. These bows are made from modern materials such as aluminium or carbon.
They use sights and stabilizers and they are used in freestyle competition. There are
also hunting recurves. These are usually designed to be more practical in the
field, being smaller and more compact. Often these are made to be aesthetically
pleasing and comfortable to handle. The other common type of bow you will find is
the compound bow. Compound bows are engineered to be highly precise. They are
mechanical in design, with cams and very efficient limbs. They have very high
velocities and they are made to be used with mechanical release aid and
magnified lenses. Compound bows tend to be very popular because their of ease pick
up and use, and you can gain a lot of accuracy in a small amount of time. It
also come in different variants for target, being larger heavier and brighter
and hunting compounds, which are more compact and come in black or camouflage
patterns. Because compound and recurve are the two most common kinds of bows in the
market people are often torn between which one to
choose. It’s a very personal choice based on
what you want to achieve in archery and these factors may help make your decision.
Compound bows are more about mechanical precision whereas recurve bows are more about
natural simplicity. Compound shooters expect consistent bullseyes whereas recurve
shooters have more variables to deal with. Compound shooters will expect
immediate results. Recurve shooters can also achieve a high level of accuracy, but it takes a
lot longer to achieve. Compound shooters often focus on accuracy, whereas recurve
shooters often focus more on form. In the end compound shooters will have high
expectations, whereas recurve shooters have high hopes. These factors are highly personal
and highly subjective so what you choose is really up to you. Now that you have the understanding of
different types of bows how do you know which bow to choose? When I
help people buy bows I keep these things in mind: purpose, price, progression, and
preference. Before I continue I want to give a
special mention to trad shooting. Traditional shooters are mostly separate
from mainstream recurve and compounds, They have a unique appeal and people
who choose traditional bows often have a specific reason such as historical
appeal, traditional links, cultural appreciation or just enjoying a simple,
traditional bow. Some bows and styles are very specialized, such as Japanese kyudo.
If you want to shoot a traditional bow it mostly depends on the style you want to
shoot. Going back to picking your bow, the first question you should ask yourself
is why do I need the bow? What is your purpose or what is your
goal? Now, if you are just planning to shoot in your backyard for fun then you don’t
necessarily need a high-end sporty bow, but if you’re planning on shooting at
the Olympic games then you will need a bow that will take you there. If you’re
going to hunt with your bow then certain bows are better for that purpose
than others. An example of this is an Olympic recurve. It’s
great for a target range. It’s long, it’s flashy, it’s balanced and
colorful, but these things don’t make it suited for hunting. The next thing to
keep in mind is your budget. How much can you spend on your bow, and you
have to remember that buying a bow isn’t just the bow, you have to buy the
arrows and the accessories. This can make a really big difference in
what equipment you have to select from many people start with a budget that is far
too low. One the most common questions is “what bow do you recommend that’s
under one hundred dollars?” and really that is far too low to make a good
recommendation. A basic takedown recurve can cost up to around 200 US dollars and
entry-level compound cost bit more about 400 US dollars. This varies of course, and
you can cut corners by buying secondhand, but you need to budget a fair
amount to get some good options for your first bow. Now more expensive bows tend
to be more specialized in their design or cheaper bows are bit more general
purpose. Earlier I mentioned youth fiberglass bows
and you can buy fiberglass bows which are meant for adults as well. These are very cheap bows, costing around 50 US dollars for an entire kit that includes a fiberglass
bow, a really cheap finger tab, arrows, and so on. Now these bows may be very
tempting because people want to spend the least amount to get into archery, but
while they can be fun to use they’re only really meant to pique interest and not really meant
to be grown with, so they’re great for a short term fix especially for young kids,
but if you are serious about doing archery you should look into a more serious purchase.
So while these may be tempting, try to avoid them because they won’t give you a
genuine experience to see if you really enjoy archery. Next question is, how long
do you think you will keep the bow for? Now, bows are meant to last forever
bows don’t break unless you mishandle it or you don’t take care of it. You really don’t need to buy more than
one bow, however people will buy new bows for
various reasons. For example, they might want better performance, there might be new
features, there might be more personalization, or they just want the
newest model. It is often viable to skip entry-level bows to get something that
is more suited for midterm to long-term growth. A common misconception is that you need
to start from a cheap beginner bow before you go to an expensive advanced bow, and
this myth is sometimes perpetuated by veteran shooters, coaches, or even
shops, who might freak out at the prospect of a new archer spending
thousands on their first bow, and while this price tag might sound really scary, it’s not actually a bad thing. The
reality is that you can skip the basic bows, especially if you’re already
learning using club equipment or rented equipment, and especially if you already
had a chance to handle and use other people’s bows, so you kind of know what
you’re looking for. Now people are more often afraid of
making a big purchase if they’re not confident they’ll stay sport, so cheaper
bows can more tempting because it’s less of sacrifice in case they drop
out. Additionally, budget limitations may also
skew the results so people might buy cheaper bows because that’s all they can afford. Overall if you are confident with your
commitment you can save money in the long term by investing in better quality
equipment earlier and grow into a better bow sooner. Last but not least is preference. Is
there a particular style that you simply have more of a liking for? Because you
probably haven’t used many bows the first impressions are actually pretty
good determining factors and I call this the look and feel of your first bow. If
looks good and it feels good buy it. Now if you don’t want something
that’s flashy or high-tech like a modern target bow, there’s nothing wrong with
going with a traditional wooden bow. Don’t let other people bully you into buying
a particular style bow if that’s not what you want to shoot. Buy the bow that
you want to use, not what someone else tells you to get. Now that you have a better idea of
different styles of bows and the factors involved in making the right choice,
which bow do you go for? To make things easier, I’ve put together this visual diagram.
This shows bow progression with the cheaper simpler bows on the left and
more complex, advanced, and expensive bows on the right. Note that you don’t have to
start from the beginning. You can enter at any point in this diagram if you know you’re
looking for. We’ve already mentioned youth fiberglass
recurve bows. These are very cheap and they’re alright
for really young children. You may personally have come across these bows
as part of a camp activity or school program, but effectively I will suggest that you
skip this step. Next we have the takedown recurve bows.
These wooden models are the generic entry level recurves which a club would
use to teach beginners. If you buy one of these bow, you can expect to spend no more
than 200 US dollars on the bow itself, making it quite an affordable option.
These bows look and feel like a real bow, making this a great starting point for most new
archers. From here things begin to get more specialized. Entry level hunting recurves like the Martin Jaguar are still fairly
affordable, and while they’re designed for field shooting or hunting they can
be used for target shooting and backyard shooting. The design of these bows is quite
visually appealing and they can still be used as general purpose bows. Bows higher up on the hunting line
include more luxurious wooden bows, or we have modern bows like the Hoyt Tiburon. These bows often contained features borrowed from target bows being very
comfortable to use, boasting more advanced features and more customization. Crossing
over to the target recurve line, we come across bows like the SF Axiom+. A bow like this will cost around 300 to 600 dollars depending on whether
you go for the entire setup including sight and stabilizers. A bow like
this despite being entry level still has that sporty riser and has the features which enable it to be useful for someone starting out in
the sporting discipline. At the top end of the target recurve line we come across
brands like Hoyt and Win & Win. In this case, the Win & Win Wiawis Nano Max.
A riser like this would cost easily over 800 to 1,000 dollars. When
you factor in the rest of the bow: the limbs, the sights, the stabilizers, a complete
bow may cost around 2,000 to 3,000 dollars. These bows offer the maximum in
adjustment and personalization and the best in performance. Perfect for the choice
of professionals and Olympians. Compound bows are little more ambiguous but there
are specially designed target and hunting compound bows, often people use
good hunting compounds for target shooting and that works fine. Starting on
the lower end we have the very popular Diamond Infinite Edge. A bow like this may
cost around 400 dollars. The advantage of a bow like the Infinite
Edge and similar bows is that they have a very large range of
adjustment, meaning you can shoot a very low draw weight or very high draw
weight, making this a very accessible boat for many people. One of the problems if you’re using a
beginner level compound bow is that despite having a large range of
adjustment it’s really only good in one particular
draw weight bracket. Now the higher-level compound bows will have a smaller range
of adjustment but they will be maximized in efficiency for that particular draw weight.
These high-level bows like the Bowtech Boss will cost a lot, around 2,000
dollars, however they are generally much better
performers that will shoot at much higher velocities, they are much more
efficient, and there are far more customization options available. Going over to the target compound line
again there’s some ambiguity as which bows are specifically target and which
both are specifically hunting and really they can be used for both purposes. In
this case the Hoyt Ruckus does come in both variant types of color scheme. Now
worth noting that you can find junior version of certain bows, like the Hoyt
Ruckus, junior versions are small in size so they can be used younger
children. At the top end of the target compounds we have bows like the Hoyt
Podium X Elite. As you can probably see these bows are the pinnacle
of engineering and design boasting the best in performance, efficiency, balance, and
customization. A bow like this may set you back around 2,000 dollars and
that’s just for the bow. Getting excellent accessories like sights and
release aid will also set you back hundreds of dollars. This is truly the best of bow
technology of course these descriptions are very
general, it’s very hard to be specific about particular bows and particular
categories, but you probably get a general idea as to what kind of bow you
can get in each of these lines. Of course if you buy more than one bow, which is likely for most people, then you don’t have to stick with one particular kind. People may have
a hunted bow and a target bow. They may have a recurve bow and a compound bow. You don’t have to pick one necessarily. But
what if after all that you’re still stuck? What if all you want is a bow and you don’t
really care what kind is? If all you want is a bow to use then I recommend the
takedown recurves. The most basic takedown recurves look and function exactly the
same and they all cost under 200 US dollars. For someone getting into archery with no guidance this is the safest choice it provides
the easiest learning curve and the skills you learn using this bow can
carry over to any style of bow you might choose to use later on. There’s a reason
why these bows are standard for clubs for the beginner programs. One of the
advantages is that you can find these bows in any store. If you can’t find one
particular model it doesn’t really matter, they mostly handle and look the
same, so if your local store stocks a different brand or different model just
go with that. These are very straightforward buys and you really can’t go wrong with
these bows if that’s all you need. Again these bows are the safest choices
if you don’t know what you’re getting but you still really want a bow for
yourself then this is what you should be looking for. In the end my advice to you is to choose
what makes you happy This concludes my introduction on how to
choose your first bow. If you would like more information on how to order your
first bow or how to set up your first bow, then check out the second and third
videos in this series this is NUSensei, thanks for watching and
I’ll see you next time.

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