Learn More About Compound Bows
Take your best shot with performance-engineered compound bows.
Today’s compound bows are built for speed and accuracy. Find the bow that’s right for you—the collection at DICK’S Sporting Goods includes bows for hunters, accuracy shooters, experienced archers and novices. Explore a variety of bow constructions, cams and materials.
How quickly an arrow flies to its target depends on several factors, but it's important to understand speed first.
The Archery Manufacturers Association tests each bow set at 60 pounds for a 30-inch draw using a 540-grain arrow. This lets you compare the relative speed of the arrow of various bows. For example, an AMO speed of 235 means the arrow is propelled at 235 feet per second.
The International Bowhunting Organization also began measuring speed but uses different conditions, namely a lighter arrow, so IBO speeds are much higher.
The Importance of Speed:
The faster the speed, the less drop over the same distance. But super-fast bows are more difficult to shoot.
Most experts suggest bows that have moderate AMO speeds of 235-245 (or IBO speed rating of 290-305). Actual speed needs depend on how you are going to use the bow.
Cam: The teeter-totter system that is composed of string and one or two wheels—the cams—and two harnesses on your bow.
- A soft cam allows you to pull back in a softer, smoother fashion
- This helps you aim better whether you're target shooting or hunting
- It gives less energy to the shot
- If you plan on using your bow for hunting, consider an aggressive cam
- This provides more energy in the draw cycle that provides valuable penetration for your arrow, which may help you on marginal hits
- A two cam bow relies on both cams staying in synch
A number of factors from stretching over time to heat can affect this which will the lead to poor arrow flight
Bow Length:A bow's length is critical for both your maneuverability and weight
- Maneuverability is especially important if you hunt because you need to swing into position quickly while avoiding limbs that may ruin your shot
- Measured from axle-to-axle, the shorter the bow, the lighter the weight, which may be important if you plan on hiking
- The longer the bow, the more stable
- When in doubt go for accuracy and select a longer bow
- When buying for a child, look at the youth models to ensure a better fit
Draw weight: Draw weight is the amount of actual peak weight you pull as the string is being drawn back before letting off
- For most adults, a draw weight between 50-70 pounds is recommended
- Look for youth models with adjustable draw weights and lengths
- When you receive your bow, see if you can draw it and hold it for 15-30 seconds without shaking. If you can it is the proper draw weight for you
- A properly sized bow has to fit your arms. The longer you can draw back the bow, the more speed you'll get in your arrow
Determining Your Draw Length: Make a fist with your bow hand and touch a wall, holding it straight out as if you were shooting a bow.
- Measure distance from the wall to the corner of your mouth measuring parallel along your arm
- Measure your wingspan by spreading your arms out and measuring the distance from fingertip to fingertip