Archery Shopping Advice


I don’t care too much for money, Money can’t buy me love …… but it will buy me a bow!

This is it! You’ve been shooting with club equipment for a few months** and decided what style of bow you want to shoot. Now you can’t wait to get your own equipment. Figuring out what to get can be daunting. Since archery equipment isn’t exactly cheap and with advice seemingly obscure and even contradictory, mistakes can be a bit expensive.
Don’t Panic! We’re here to help.

Step 1: Speak to someone experienced at the club. We’ve all been there and have experience of buying our first bow, so we can give some good advice on what (and what not) to do or get! 
After this chat consider a budget that you wish to spend. With archery kit its all too easy to lose sight of how expensive it can get if you suddenly feel the need to buy top of the range items that will do you no favours as a beginner. “Intermediate” is very good kit so don’t be dismissive of such equipment.
Important fact: you don’t need to buy everything NOW! We can give you a list of items that are your starter for 10 into archery i.e. personal kit. Items like a tab, bracer, chest guard, stringer and quiver.  For the first few months you will be using club kit but personal equipment takes on a comforting feel allowing you to develop a baseline in your shooting technique. In addition, when buying your bow, you don’t need all the bells and whistles from day one. Such mysterious items as clickers, side rods and v-bars all can wait.


Beyond these doors lie temptations beyond your wildest dreams. Be strong or you could end up with a compound … or a Hoyt!!!

Step 2: Browse! Browse! Browse! There are no major archery shops in Scotland although smaller supplier Redfrog are in Ayrshire. However, here the Internet is your friend. Write up a shopping list, visit some of the sites listed below, compare prices and write down anything that is unclear. Here is a recurve checklist listing everything you need (or is more optional early on) for a recurve bow. These items might be a bit mysterious so here are descriptions of kit components. To give you that starter for 10 in your window shopping, in this document are entry level  suggestions for kit that might be of interest if you are looking to take up archery but cost is important. These are reasonably priced entry level kit but do your own research. Archery kit is a VERY personal thing where colour and look are important – love your bow! If you are looking to spend a little more than entry level prices … its vitally important you talk to someone experienced at the club about what you are thinking of! Budgets can get out of control very quickly. GA has some really nice bows on our line if you want to window shop. Just ask before touching!
(Sorry this is only for recurve – we don’t have a lot of compound knowledge in the club presently. For more traditional bows/styles, its best to discuss with someone on a bow by bow basis rather than a catch all component list.)

Step 3: Speak to someone at the club again (ideally an experienced archer, more ideally our equipment nerd. Fact: Every club has at least one) to review your list and clarify any questions you have. Quality and price are things to be considered. Remember this mantra .. Not everything good is expensive, not everything expensive is good … and cheap can be a false economy.
If you are dealing with a store, don’t settle for something if its not what you want. Currently, just because something is in stock is no reason to buy it unless its a better choice or better fit (keep an eye on price) than the out of stock item you wanted. There are other stores if you want a specific thing so shop around. Post Covid, many stores are still running with low stock levels but items can usually be ordered in.
Honestly, getting things wrong in archery can be eye wateringly expensive or, more commonly, frustrating. So ASK! GA committee members are mostly lovely (excluding our vice chair obviously).


That will do nicely …

Step 4: When the list is done and everyone is happy, get the credit card! All archery suppliers deliver to Scotland so home delivery is the option most go with. If, however, you want a more tactile experience, the closest major shops to Glasgow are in Bishop Auckland near Newcastle (Merlin) being the largest, then Preston (Archery World) with Redfrog in Ayrshire closer but with a much smaller selection and (even outside of COVID) only open by appointment. Especially with Merlin (who can get things sent up from their other stores), it pays to give them a phone, say a week plus in advance, if you are looking for something specific and are visiting. Its a long way to go to be disappointed if something is out of stock. (also check to see well in advance if booking your visit to a store is required)

** Under no circumstances rush out and buy kit immediately. You need to settle into your archery comfort zone. You need to start building those archery muscles so increasing your draw weight. Get a feel over time of what appeals to you. traditional, barebow, olympic recurve, compound. Plot your future in the sport – there are so many paths to take! Talk to people with their own bows. Identify what bow type you feel drawn to. There’s no need to rush your choices, that’s why we have club kit. 


Here are a few of the archery suppliers many of our members use …

Alternative Archery
Quicks Archery
Merlin Archery
Clickers Archery
Archery World

And if the bits of a recurve bow are still giving you grief … here is British Olympian Naomi Folkard to show you all the bits being put together. How to assemble a recurve bow.

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Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay