How to Find the Draw Length on a Recurve Bow

How to Find the Draw Length on a Recurve Bow

When it comes to archery, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the basics of your bow and how to shoot it with much success. Selecting the right draw length for the bow is just as important as finding the right shoe size for your running shoes to protect the runner’s feet.

Similar to a pair of shoes fitting the runner perfectly, the draw length is going to vary according to the person holding the bow.

One thing that should be remembered is that an archer can never learn how to properly shoot the box if the bow size and the draw length are too small for the user.

It applies for both a recurve bow and a compound bow. When it comes to learning how to find draw length for recurve bow options, there is much that a potential archer should know. Here are a few tips for getting it right the first time.

While the method below is a simple way to measure the draw length, there are other methods that can be used as well. One, a practice bow can be used, though these are most often found in a pro shop or a coaching expert. Having an expert measure the individual can be beneficial as well since they are skilled and equipped for measuring draw lengths on a regular basis.

Preparing to Measure

Before beginning, the user must prepare various things before measuring. First, a tape measure will be used, so it is important to get one before taking any measurements.

Next, mathematics will be used as well, so having some scratch paper and a pencil can be handy for keeping track of the measurements to determine the calculated draw length. A little painter’s tape or some other marking tool might be needed to help take the measurements as well.

The individual being measured should also remember that good posture and relaxed muscles are ideal for ensuring that the draw length will be the right length and not too short or too long. A draw length that is too short or too long will hinder performance and possibly cause issues with the bow or individual.

archer draw back

Taking the Measurement

Another reason why bow height is important is for bow forgiveness. In other words, a good bow height will help the shooter be more accurate with their shots.

When a bow is more forgiving, the string has less contact with the arrow, which doesn’t mean the archer has to maintain a proper form for quite as long. The forgiveness of the bow helps reduce the number of mistakes by the shooter.

A longer bow height will be more forgiving, which is better for beginning archers as well. As the archer gets better and more comfortable with the bow, the shorter they can make their bow height.

Doing the Math

The next step involves a bit of math to help determine the correct draw length. By taking the arm span measurement, the one doing the measuring should divide this number by 2.5. For example, if an individual has an arm span of 52 inches, the number will be divided by 2.5 to give a total of 20.8 inches.

This total will be different for everyone based on their arm span measurement, but this will give the proper draw length needed for a recurve bow.

If there is a draw length total that includes fractions or decimals, the individual can always round the number up to the nearest half inch to get the correct draw length.

A Few Notes

One should remember that when calculating the draw length, they can determine the size of the bow that will best suit their arm span. This can be helpful for getting the right size bow to provide much success with the shooting.

Remember that if the individual doesn’t have the right size bow, it can alter performance and comfort for the shooter. For example, an adult should not use a child’s bow since the bow size will be too small for comfort, and uncomfortable bows can cause performance issues.

Unfortunately, there are a few myths when it comes to calculating the draw length of a bow that many people misunderstand and get wrong. First, there are many websites out there that provide handy charts with draw lengths written on them.

People should not fall for the tricks because these charts tend to forgo one of the most important steps in figuring out the specific draw length for each person: that is the arm span length for the individual, which is unique for everyone.

Remember, when trying to determine the draw length, the individual being measured should maintain a good alignment that is comfortable for them but still straight. Leaning back too much or standing slumped will make the draw length a little too short and will mess up the performance of the bow.

When shooting the bow, the wrists should remain relaxed, and the back muscles should be used to help draw the bowstring back for better velocity in the aim.


When it comes to learning how to find draw length for recurve bow options, every individual needs to remember several things. First, posture is vastly important.

A good posture will ensure that the draw length is neither too short or too long for the unique individual, and good posture will help improve the performance of the shooter over time. Another thing to remember is that the arm span length should be divided by 2.5 to get the total draw length for the individual.

While it may seem easier to just refer to those charts online, everyone should remember that these charts are neither accurate nor do they take into consideration the unique arm span length of each. Everyone is different, which is something these charts do not have.

It is not difficult to determine the total draw length for a recurve or even a compound bow. However, the one being measured needs to follow each step completely to get an accurate measurement that will help with the comfort with the bow and with performance as they shoot the bow. Determining the draw length is not a difficult process, but some people still prefer to go to a professional to ensure that the length is correct.

The draw length is an important part of shooting a bow, and determining the length of the draw is important for comfort and performance reasons, and it can determine how much the individual likes and uses the bow in the future.

If you’re looking for a new bow, why not go ahead and check out our detailed list of the 5 best recurve bows?

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