I still remember the first day I took up archery a little more than 3 years ago. From the very first arrow I shot at the beginner’s class, I was hooked. As soon as I got home I, like most of us did, went on Lancaster, Amazon/eBay, Craigslist/Kijiji to look for archery equipment. Thankfully, I went for a gear consultation with a local coach before I made any purchase and it helped me avoid most, if not all common mistakes we make when we make that first order of archery equipment.
We’ve all seen what horrifying results come to life when a new archer buys their gear with poor or lack of any sound advice and consultation; A riser/limb combo that simply does not work, arrows that are way too short, bow weight that is not suited for beginners, and whatever else that could go wrong when you mutter the words “I’m looking for archery equipment” at a shop that rhymes with, oh I don’t know, let’s say Pass Bro.
To help you get the right gear for you on first try, here are some tips and recommendations.
- It’s not about the price tag. Surprise! More expensive does not mean better. Buying archery equipment should be treated like buying a suit- it needs to bloody fit you first. A cheaper suit you paid a little more on the side to get it tailored is going look a thousand times better than a much more expensive suit that is the wrong size for you. Archery equipment is not so different either.
For those that didn’t want to go over budget on their first riser, I used to recommend SF Forged riser. It has a solid build and anodized coating at the price tag made it rather attractive. Unfortunately, these days the SF Forged is replaced by WNS Forged Elite Alpha riser (which is the same riser). It’s got a higher price tag and doesn’t include an arrow rest nor a plunger button. That still doesn’t make it a bad choice, but now it opens up some comparison possibilities with other bows in a similar price range, such as Mybo Wave riser. Keep in mind your riser is typically for long term usage so skimping on the quality isn’t the best idea unless you really have to. If you are going for a lower grade riser, make sure to check their bow poundage limits as they are typically lower than other risers.
- Go cheap on your first set of limbs. Most recurve archers will want to move up in bow weight to hit targets farther away or just to move up bow weight because your ego will feel good about it (yeah, it’s more of a guy-thing). This means you’ll be looking to swap out limbs at least a couple of times until you hit your desirable bow weight making your first sets of limbs more of a short term investment. Treat it as no-strings-attached as it’ll get de-strung fairly fast for another set later.
- Get longer arrows or don’t cut them right away. As your archery form develops, your draw-length will most likely get longer. If you got your arrows cut on day one, they may not be usable by the next month as they’ll be too short to accommodate your developed draw length. Treat this as buying-slightly-bigger-clothes-and-you’ll-grow-into-it, kind of thing. Keep in mind your arrow stiffness should depend on your draw length and bow weight (your limbs). If you plan on replacing your limbs several times eventually, it’ll save you some cash by going for cheaper arrows they typically will need replacing as well.
- It’s the fool, not the tool. At the end of the day, it still comes down to your form. Whether you purchase a budget range Cartel Fantom riser or a top-class Hoyt Epik, it still comes down to the shooter. If you’re truly going to invest anything in archery, purchase some courses or lessons with (credible) archery coach in your area. Taking on a few lessons and using a rental equipment may give you a better idea of what you’re looking for. Your coach should also be able to recommend equipments for you as well as teaching you how to tune and take care of it properly, which always helps.
I hope this gave you some insights or better yet, made you ask the right questions in regards of what your bow setup should be. Feel free to post your tips in the comment section and stay tune on Canada Archery Online for the next article.
Yours truly, D. K.