How to Measure Your Draw Length

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Knowing how to measure your draw length is an extremely crucial skill in archery. Not only will it improve your archery skills, but it will also help you pick the perfect bow. Therefore, it’s important to know just how to calculate your draw length.

To calculate draw length, stretch your arms to the side, so that your body forms a “T”. Measure the wingspan from the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your other middle finger. Divide this length by 2.5. This is your approximately draw length.

Why Is Draw Length Important?

A bow’s draw serves as the foundation of a good shot. Get it right and your shots will be smooth-sailing. Get it wrong and you’ll wonder what went wrong.

Everyone has their own individual draw length, so keep in mind that what might work for you, might not work for someone else. Also, never assume that you know your draw length without getting a proper measurement done. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you exactly how to calculate it below.
If your draw length is too short, you’re not going to be able to draw the bow completely. Or at the very least, you’ll overdraw it, but this can seriously damage the bow itself. If your draw length is too long, then you’re going to have to hunch over or twist your body in weird positions to compensate for the inconvenience.

draw length on a bow

Can You Draw Length Change?

Yes, a person’s draw length can change and for a multitude of reasons. For example, young archers cannot use the same bow for too long. This is because they are still growing and because they need a bow that will fit their needs.

But what if you’re an adult and you’ve already stopped growing? Well, you’re not necessarily safe yet. While different brands may use the same system of measurement, not all bows are created equal. A certain size of one brand may be smaller than the next. Think of it like shoe shopping. You could buy two pairs of shoes that are labeled exactly the same size and still have one of them not fit. While it would be wonderful if everything could be cohesive, for now, the best thing that we can do is to try them on before we buy.

What Is Draw Length On A Bow?

Before you calculate the draw length of your bow, you should first know what exactly you’re calculating. To start, draw your bow back to a full draw. Make sure that your arrow is in place. Then, measure an imaginary line from the knocking arrow on the string to the pivot point of the grip, plus 1.75 inches. Keep this imaginary line perpendicular to the centerline of the bow. Once you’ve measured that, you should have your draw length.

Which Bows Have Draw-length Adjustments?

Compound bows are the only bows that can have their draw length adjusted. This is because they are designed with a pulley system that allows you to shorten or lengthen its draw.

draw on a bow

What Is The Perfect Draw Length?

Everyone has their own perfect draw length that works for them. The perfect draw length is easy to spot. You’ll know that you’ve found the best one for you when you don’t have to hunch over or overextend yourself to shoot.

How To Measure Draw Length With A Bow

To get a rough estimate of your draw length, have someone to help you. Stand up with your arms outstretched. Your arms should be parallel to the ground. After this, have your friend measure the distance from the tip of your middle finger to the tip of the other middle finger. Once you’ve got that number, take it and simply divide it by 2.5. This should be the approximate drawing length for your body. If your proportions are fairly accurate, then your arm span should be nearly equal to your height in inches.

How To Tell If Your Draw Length Is Too Short

If you already calculated your draw length with the formula above, your measurements shouldn’t be too off. However, here’s how to know if you’ve been using a draw length that is too short.

In fact, it’s actually fairly common for archers to use a draw that is too short rather than long. This is because it’s much easier to compensate for this situation. When this happens, many archers will cramp up and bring their elbow close to their bodies. If not, they will lean their head forward in an attempt to get their face closer to the bowstring. Of course, this is improper form and you’ll need a draw length that suits you if you want to make accurate shots. You can also check out this article here if you want to learn how to improve your shots.

If you can’t tell if your draw is too short, have someone film you while you shoot. This will allow you to see if you’re tilting your head to meet the bowstring or if you’re bending the bow to get it closer to you.

drawing a bow

How To Tell If Your Draw Length Is Too Long

Now, if your draw length isn’t too short, it may be too long. Bows always have a set length that will make the draw come to a hard stop as it reaches its full potential. In other words, you won’t be able to pull the bow back any further once it reaches this point. However, if you pull your bow back and you don’t feel this stop, you should be able to tell immediately.

All compound bows have different designs that affect the draw leading up to the hard stop. But generally, once the bow reaches the hard stop, then the draw weight gets reduced slightly.
To find your draw length, you should be able to draw your bow back to the anchor point and not much more. If you don’t get to a hard stop at the anchor point, your draw is too long and you need to shorten it.