Unlike some of its predecessors a compound bow is a modern bow that uses a leveraging system to bend or pull the limbs with pulleys and cables. When compared to a longbow or a recurve bow the limbs are much stiffer. This stiffness is what enables the bow to shoot arrows quicker and with more power because of the energy that is stored in the limbs. If you have decided to pick from the variety of compound bows that are available there are some considerations to think about.

Just like most pieces of sports equipment these bows can vary widely in price. You can see a variety of bows ranging from anywhere of $50 upwards to $1,500. A new upper entry to mid-level quality bow typically runs between $350 to approximately $600. Higher and bows typically start around $600 and go up from there.
Bowtech "Admiral" Compound Bow

Choose the bow weight

The first consideration is the power of the bow. Bows actually convert energy they do not create power. You need to find a balance between the power and your ease of use. If you find a bow with a 30-inch draw it may not be the best choice for you. You will get more power and strength from a longer draw, but you could be sacrificing a significant level of comfort and control with each shot that you make.

If you force yourself to draw too far the muscles in your arms tire quickly and will cause your aim to shake. The best solution for this is to choose a bow that has adjustable draw-stops. These stops are rubber-coated blocks to provide a limiter for your draw. This keeps you from overestimating your draw as well as underestimating.

Adjust for your strength

The bow you choose needs to fit properly and adjust to your strength. You want to be able to maximize the amount of energy that transfers to your arrow. A heavy draw stores higher energy and results in a higher arrow velocity. However, you need to find a draw weight that is as high as possible but still allows you to be able to practice regularly. You need to be able to draw for hours of target practice.

Find the let off

The “let off” of the bow is also important. When you draw a standard bow you need to release the arrow quickly otherwise you will begin to shake. A compound bow allows you to hold your draw for a longer period of time. This is called “let off”. Many bows come with interchangeable cam modules that allow you to switch between different let offs. Typically, the higher the let off percentage is the longer you will be able to hold your bow and maximum draw length comfortably.

Check limb design

Limb design is also an important consideration. When you start looking at compound bows you will notice that they have both split and solid limbs. People that choose to use split limb bows claim that they have less shock and are more durable than the solid bows. People who choose solid limb bows claim that they offer better stiffness and are more accurate.

There seems to be no significant evidence to support either claim. It comes down to personal choice. A significant part of the design revolves around recoil. Some manufacturers have designed a higher limb angle and they are called a parallel limb bow. This type of bow may or may not be more accurate, however they are very popular.

Decide on brace height

Brace height is also an important consideration that is often overlooked by an inexperienced archer. This is the distance between the top of the handle grip to the bowstring. If you are a beginner and want to shoot a bow that has a high forgiveness factor then you should have a brace height of seven inches or greater. More advanced and experienced archers typically use a bow that has a brace height below seven inches because it is not very forgiving.

Overall size of the bow

If you will be using your bow for hunting you need to consider your axle to axel factor. If you hunt from a tree stand you would typically want a lower axle to axel bow that is usually 32 inches or less. If you typically hunt from the ground a higher axle to axel will probably work better for you. The smaller axle to axel works better for carrying, going under tree branches, and small spaces but it does have the drawback of not being accurate at long ranges.

These are just a few of the many considerations to think about when choosing a compound bow. Your best bet is to try as many manufacturers and bow designs as you can before making your final choice. Eventually you will find the bow that feels right for you.