How to Set Brace Height on a Recurve Bow

recurve bow

For those that are just getting their first bow, it can come with a lot of information, set up time, and practice.

However, getting that first bow doesn’t have to be a stressful time for beginning archers. There are many different things that beginning archers need to to make their bow fit them and boost performance.

One of the most important things that a new bow owner needs to do is figure out how to set brace height on a recurve bow.

Since the entire system of tuning is based on adjusting the bow, arrow, and string to get the best results from the bow, it is important to get all of the adjustments and measurements on the bow as accurate as possible.

Once the archer has gotten the accurate measurements and made the proper adjustments to the bow, the weapon can be shot with much accuracy and better performance. Plus, the bow will feel more comfortable in the hands of the user.

What is the Brace Height?

For those that aren’t sure, when it comes to bows, the brace height is the distance put between the string in the loose position and the deepest portion of the bow riser.

Many of the recurve bows out there have a normal brace height of 7.5 to 9.75 inches. However, the brace height will need to be adjusted in most cases. The brace height also controls certain behaviors of the bow like the sound of the arrow leaving the bow and the pivot the bow will put on the arrow once it is in the air.

Why is it Important?

The manufacturer of each bow is going to be set the bow height according to each model. This is going to be a good bow height. However, sometimes a little tweaking can make the bow height even better for each.

There are two major reasons why bow height and getting it right is so important to great shooting and performance. First, the bow height determines the speed of the arrow. When the bow has a shorter brace height, the arrow gains more speed. This means that if the shooter wants a fast shot, a shorter brace height is the way to get that done.

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.

How to Set Brace Height on a Recurve Bow

Getting it Set Up

Setting up the brace height is as simple as twisting the string while stringing the bow. Twisting the string more will cause more flexion in the string, thus causing the brace height to increase. Decreasing the brace height is just as simple. The fewer twists put into the string as the bow is being strung will cause less flexion in the string and decrease the brace height.

Most recurve bows will come with exact instructions on how to twist the string to either decrease or increase the brace height on the bow. However, if the user is ever unsure of the exact way to change the brace height, contacting a professional can a beneficial way to ensure that it is done correctly to avoid problems with the string and with the bow.

It is pretty simple to adjust the bow height. First, the users need to measure the brace height by using a ruler. This should be done after shooting a few arrows. Afterward, the brace height can be adjusted by 1/8 of an inch either down or up according to the needs. The adjustment is easy to make just by simply twisting the string on the bow. As the user adjusts the bow height, each measurement should be written down as well as make notes of the noise to indicate where the bow height should be. This should be called the noise rating.

Points to Remember

After the archer has found that ideal bow height, writing down the exact measurements on the bow itself can help ensure that the measurements will be there at all times. This can help should the user need to re-string the bow or get a new bow of the same model.

Another tip to remember is that the brace height is going to vary based on the model and the brand of recurve bow chosen. No two bows and no two strings will be alike, and relying on other people’s bow height is never a good idea since everyone is unique. The best way to ensure that the bow height is the right zone is by measuring the bow height individually. This will also help with performance, sound, and accuracy of the bow.

Finally, if the user is uncomfortable changing the bow height on their own, it is always a good idea to contact a professional. Professionals can help maintain the bow, set the bow height, and do other tune-ups to ensure that the bow is comfortable for the user and ready to be shot. The only thing to note about using a professional is they may cost for their services.


Owning a bow is both fun and exciting. However, most people should note that getting their first bow will result in several tune-ups and adjustments before the bow can be comfortable and accurate in the user’s hands. One of the most important things to note about bow adjustments is how to set brace height on a recurve bow. It is a rather easy step, but it also takes quite a bit or precision as well. This is why some choose to have a professional make the adjustments for them.

Once the individual has gotten the correct bow height, they can begin practicing their speed and accuracy. As the individual becomes more accustomed to the feel of the bow and how it shoots, the bow height can be readjusted if needed to work on faster shooting speed and better accuracy for longer periods of time. Getting the correct bow height is not as hard as it seems With just a little adjusting even the beginning archer can perfect their shot and improve their bow performance to get more accuracy and speed while gaining comfort with their chosen bow.

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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