Archery Shopping Advice
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.
** 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.
So 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 it’s 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. You’d be surprised just how little difference there is between a £150 riser and an £800 one. It’s extremely unlikely that such kit will ever hold you back.
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. It’s important to remember that 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. Even the once obligatory scorebook can now be replaced with a free scoring app for your phone.
Step 2: Browse! Browse! Browse! Unfortunately, there are no major archery shops in Scotland. 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. Archery kit is a VERY personal thing where colour and look are important – love your bow! It’s 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. Some archers bite!
Recurve: 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 recurve, but cost is important. These are reasonably priced entry level items but do your own research as this list was made a couple of years ago.
Barebow: We have a page all about barebow kit. If you fancy trying this style of archery, check out our barebow kit guide.
Traditional bows/styles: Have a look at this page on traditional personal kit and see if it’s any help. Also we’ve had a look at starter bows for trad and have a few suggestions as to what might suit you if you fancy buying a traditional bow.
Compound: And finally, they said it would never happen, but we have a page on buying your first compound. This is a compound bow for those on a budget.
Step 3: Speak to someone at the club again (an experienced archer is good, more ideally an equipment nerd. Fact: Every club has at least one and at GA ours is EXACTLY who you think it is). Get them 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 single store, don’t settle for something if it’s not what you want. Just because something is in stock is no reason to buy it unless it’s 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. Even post Covid lockdown, many stores are still running with low stock levels, but items can usually be ordered in – just be patient.
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 ;o).
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). Especially with Merlin (who can get things sent up from their other stores), it pays to give them a phone, say a week/10 days in advance, if you are looking for something specific and are visiting. It’s 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 – even post covid lockdown this apparently is STILL a thing!)
Here are a few of the archery suppliers many of our members use …
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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