Determining Draw Length And Draw Weight

Unlike a traditional recurve bow that can be drawn back to virtually any length, a compound bow will draw back only at a specific distance before it stops. Compound bows are made to shoot at full–draw position. To be able to shoot at full draw, one will need to know what his/her draw length is. Determining your draw Length is very important for proper shooting. The length must fit your arm length and is definitely essential in purchasing a compound bow. There are two methods for one to find his/her draw length.

The first and probably the most accurate are to measure your wingspan. Hold your arms straight out and measure from finger tip to finger tip. Round off to the nearest inch.

63″ Wingspan: 24″ Draw Length
64″ Wingspan: 24 1/2″ Draw Length
65″ Wingspan: 25″ Draw Length
66″ Wingspan: 25 1/2″ Draw Length
67″ Wingspan: 26″ Draw Length
68″ Wingspan: 26 1/2″ Draw Length
69″ Wingspan: 27″ Draw Length
70″ Wingspan: 27 1/2″ Draw Length
71″ Wingspan: 28″ Draw Length
72″ Wingspan: 28 1/2″ Draw Length
73″ Wingspan: 29″ Draw Length
74″ Wingspan: 29 1/2″ Draw Length
75″ Wingspan: 30″ Draw Length
76″ Wingspan: 30 1/2″ Draw Length
77″ Wingspan: 31″ Draw Length

The second way of determining is as follows:

Make a fist with your bow hand and touch it against a wall straight out to the side of your body as if you were shooting a bow. While you stand straight, in a good shooting posture, have someone measure the distance from the wall to the corner of your mouth.

Determining your Draw Weight:

In determining your draw weight, it will mostly depend on your stature and strength. The best thing to do is to start out light when shooting. Choose a weight that is easy to draw so you can build your muscles after repeated shooting. The chart below will give you an idea of what weight would be typical. Also keep in mind that if you are using your bow for hunting there will be certain restrictions on what weight is required for hunting.

Here are some general guidelines for choosing an appropriate draw weight. Of course, each individual is different. You should apply your common sense here and interpret these numbers considering your own age, general physical condition, and Body Mass Index (BMI).

Very Small Child weighing between 55–70 lbs.: 10–15 lbs.
Small Child weighing between 70–100 lbs.: 15–25 lbs.
Larger Child weighing between 100–130 lbs.: 25–35 lbs.
Small Frame Women weighing between 100–130 lbs.: 25–35 lbs.
Medium Frame Women weighing between 130–160 lbs.: 30–40 lbs.
Athletic Older Child (Boys weighing between 130–150 lbs.): 40–50 lbs.
Small Frame Men weighing between 120–150 lbs.: 45–55 lbs.
Large Frame Women weighting 160+ lbs.: 45–55 lbs.
Medium Frame Men weighing between 150–180 lbs.: 55–65 lbs.
Large Frame Men weighing 180+ lbs.: 65–75 lbs.