How to Select Proper Arrow Length for Compound Bows

How to Select Proper Arrow Length for Compound Bows

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There is more to choosing an arrow for your compound bow than selecting an one which is not too long or short, but that is the first step in selecting the proper arrow. Correct arrow length is partially determined by the shooter's arm length and, therefore, the person who will be shooting the arrows should hold and draw the bow for this procedure. The procedure for determining correct arrow length requires a second person to mark the arrow.

Items you will need

  • One extra-long arrow blank with nock

  • Ruler

  • Pencil

Hold the compound bow by the handle. If you are right handed, hold the bow with your left hand. Place the arrow nock on the bowstring with the arrow resting on the arrow rest, just above the handle and the arrow perpendicular to the string.

Draw the bow to full draw. In this position, the arm holds the bow fully extended with the elbow locked, and the bowstring and arrow nock touch the corner of the shooter's mouth on his dominant side. If you are right handed, this is the right side of your mouth. Keep the arrow pointed in a safe direction downrange at all times.

Measure along the arrow 1 inch from the front -- the point furthest from the shooter -- of the arrow rest while the shooter holds the bow at full draw. Mark the arrow at that spot. After the arrow is marked, the shooter should let down the bowstring without letting go of the arrow and remove the arrow from the compound bow. For safety's sake, make sure that your helper does not stand in front of the arrow. Have him stand only to the side.

Measure the arrow from the bottom of the nock -- the point the string rests against -- to the mark made while the arrow was at full draw.

Select an arrow length from the chart supplied by the manufacturer of the arrows you wish to purchase. The arrow selected should not be more than 1 inch longer than the arrow length determined from this procedure.


  • Always keep the arrow pointed in a safe direction. Never point the arrow at anyone and don't point it at anything you don't intend to shoot.
  • The assistant in this article should only stand on the side of the shooter, never in front of the arrow.


  • Perform this procedure at an archery range. In the case of an accidental release, the arrow will travel safely downrange.