Shooting my Bow bare … Oh Matron!

With the rise in popularity of Barebow, our editor thought it would be a good idea for us to jump on the bandwagon write some pieces to support our barebow brethren. We put our resident equipment geek on the case to look at some equipment both entry and intermediate to help newer archers who see themselves shooting bare in their future. (No oh err intended …. much! :o)
Remember it’s your choice, our opinions below are just letting you know a few things out there and are just to indicate what other archers may be using … which can be a good indicator as to what’s good. Our message is, however, do your own research and identify what you want. A bow is a very personal thing, it should be an expression of self and you should love it.

Note: The advice for arrows and limbs is pretty much the same as it is for recurve, the below is more about barebow specific equipment.



Kinetic Vygo with bespoke weights set into the riser and weights in the bushings.

Any riser can be used for bare bow so there is no need to fork out a fortune for a “barebow” riser. Even risers with only the main longrod bushing can be effectively weighted for barebow. If your preferred riser has the 3 main bushings for stabilizers (top, bottom and the middle), so much the better. You can play around with distributing weights. However, there are some risers made especially for this category of shootie. Specialist risers from Gillo or the Kinetic Vygo have dedicated locations built into the riser to take bespoke weights sometimes in addition to the weights that go in the bushings.


Listed above, a nice entry specialist riser is the Kinetic Vygo riser that we reviewed recently. Also noted, specialist kit can be got from Gillo and Spigarelli who make risers that are barebow first. Worth looking at these companies to see the differences from the norm as they can vary quite a bit from simple recurve risers. For example, the Spigarelli Revolution II is something special for its design, eye catching good looks and comes with a bespoke rest. Gillo have been quite innovative with weight location and design as well as extremely adjustable limb bolts on their more expensive risers although there have some reported teething issues with these. At GA we have both Kinetic and Gillo risers on our line with some varied weight loadouts if you fancy a look.


restsBarebow archers tend to prefer the wrap around style of rest rather than the lighter magnetic flipper arm. This is somewhere we would recommend some money being spent. Cheap can be pretty frustrating on these as they are not always reliable or easily adjustable. Our editor loathes these things due to poor function on the cheaper models, but the chunkiness of the design is useful to barebow specialists as they firmly hold the arrow in place pre shot with little chance of the arrow falling off. Spigarelli seem to be the best at implementing this design with the Z/T a barebow staple.
Note: Spigarelli have remodeled the Z/T model B, its now called the model C. Its mainly for use with Hoyt risers. Model A is universal rest for most risers.




the V-C’s collection … for in, out and shaking it all about!

Still only one choice … the Shibuya DX – around £27 which won’t need to be replaced til you start to challenge for competition gold medals or getting scores that are beginning to make recurvers uneasy. This button doesn’t have micro adjustability like say the vastly more expensive Beiter, but it is smooth, well made and well-priced.
Our Vice Chair is a big fan and has three. Cheaper than this button, you will find its nowhere near as good. More expensive, you’re paying for features you won’t get the benefit of for years perhaps ever. You really can’t go wrong with the DX.


IMG_1639Generally, just a lump of metal screwed onto one or more of the stabilizer bushings and they come in various weights for fine tuning. Gas Pro (£11-£13) and Avalon (£7-£9) barebow weights are fairly representative, the heavier the more expensive. When these are screwed into the normal bushings, they give the bow a lower centre of gravity and more mass better able to handle vibration and external influences. Normally silver, they can be painted to match your bow! (See left)

In more specialist risers like the Gillo, weights can be rigged in quite unique ways. IMG_1667There has been quite a bit of thought from Gillo on radical placing and design of weights including hammer shaped ones for adjustability. Also, Gillo’s bespoke weights can allow you to be quite expressive as they have some decoratively sculptured ones including axe, wolf and dragon heads! These however are a bit more expensive, but a definite chance to customize your bow making it look unique. Weights don’t need to be just boring lumps of metal!


angel tab

Angel’s tab with remarkably well calibrated “decoration”

As barebow archers usually shoot 3 fingers under and string walk, the split tab used by recurvers isn’t especially helpful as there’s no need for separation of the fingers. Barebow tabs can come with either a ruler marked on the tab palm plate or movable indicators to help with string walking. These rulers have been ruled as legal by World Archery (considered “decoration” … yeah, right!) so there’s no longer a need to guess exactly how far to string walk anymore at a distance. Here a few examples to look at and get a feel for.


We did recently hear someone talking about the £13 Avalon Tec One Barebow Tab in pretty positive ways, so we’ll link that one as a bonus for you to check out.

So, there you have some suggestions to consider should barebow be your future in archery. Simply suggestions of things to look at, you need to do your own research and not just take a single review for granted … even ours! (Even though we are lovely! :o)

To sum up, barebow is gaining quite the following currently. We at GA have Barebow specialists “getting sh*t done”. OK, that’s probably a bit too street hip for more traditional archers but you hopefully get the mindset. They have rejected many of archery’s advances and accepted norms to go their own, more simple way. Why is barebow on the rise in popularity? It does seem to be due to lower costs as it’s a very cost-effective way to get your arch on without all the faffing about and expense of Olympic recurve and compound. Enthusiasts like Pennsylvania’s Lancaster Archery push the style’s visibility with high profile competitions and World Archery’s YouTube channel showing international barebow field and 3d finals doesn’t hurt either. Just don’t say anything to this site’s editor, he gets upset about anything not Olympic recurve-centric!

So, if you want to shoot your bow, bare … go for it. You won’t be alone. Just remember it gets chilly down the field so wear thick socks.

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Arco Sport Spigarelli – Italian style in a riser
Gillo Archery – Beloved by club coach Wee Dave
Kinetic – Pretty good suppliers of entry level risers (best source material we can find)
Lancaster Archery videos – US archery suppliers who run barebow competitions!
World Archery Videos – doff thy cap to our liege lords peasant!
Carry On movies – where our editor gets most of his humour it seems