Archery classifications are a simple shorthand way of identifying how good you are – if you like, what league you belong in. Similar to handicaps, you must shoot at least three rounds to gain a classification. There are separate indoor and outdoor classifications for each bow style an archer shoots. However unlike handicaps, classifications take into account an archer’s, gender, age and bow style. They therefore give an indication to an archer’s broad standing in the competitive community taking these factors into account.

The outdoor classifications are widely recognised by other archers so much so there are badges for those classifications. The indoor classification are more of a general guide to skill and are only really used to group archers in competitions (sorry indoor specialists. NO badges!). As with handicaps, Archery GB produce classification tables which state what score must be obtained for a given round to qualify for a given classification. The classification tables can be examined here with the  full versions to be found in Archery GB’s Shooting Administrative Procedures. You can work out your own classification or submit your scores to the club Records Officer and they will work it out for you.

Outdoor Classifications

Classification badgesOutdoor classifications are (the easiest to obtained are listed first) 3rd class, 2nd class, 1st class, Bowman (BM), Master Bowman (MB) and Grand Master Bowman (GMB). Juniors can gain Junior Bowman and Junior Master Bowman instead of Bowman and Master Bowman respectively. You can achieve 3rd, 2nd, 1st classes or BM (Bowman) classification at any club shoot or competition. The badges pictured above have to be purchased by yourself from an archery shop … yes, I know, it sounds stupid just being able to buy a skill based medal with no checks  …. for about approx £2.99. Stocked by Quicks and others.


My Precious

You can only qualify for Master Bowmen and Grand Master Bowman (see pic left) having submitted 3 scores to Archery GB, from Record Status competitions. These at least AGB track and are sent to you on receipt of valid authenticated score sheets from qualifying competitions. They are paid for by your annual fees.

Badges are awarded for all outdoor classifications. To get an idea of the difficulty of getting these classifications they are designed so that only the top 15% can achieve Bowman, the top 4% can achieve Master Bowman and the top 1% can achieve Grand Master Bowman.

Indoor Classifications

Indoor classifications are different to the outdoor scheme in that they run from A to H, A being the best. As with outdoor handicaps, classification tables are produced by Archery GB and three qualifying scores are required before a classification can be obtained. Most club archers fall within the D classification just as a rough guide. As was noted earlier, no badges are produced for indoor classifications (Boo!).

Liberal excerpts from Malcolm North’s Guide to Target Archery Rounds, Scoring , Handicaps and Classifications. Herts Group of Archery Coaches. Full guide available here.