When it comes to bows, there is one thing that we hear more often than any other: “I’m looking for a bow for my young lad/lady.” Well, unfortunately there is no single bow that is going to fit every kid, but there are some specific details you can bring to make your shopping experience go a lot smoother.
Use the following guide to learn which information is important when purchasing a bow. Feel free to print a copy of our New Archer Info Sheet
to keep track of all your child’s information. Keep in mind that each child is unique and the best way to guarantee a proper bow size is to bring them into the store to try it out. Consider the following categories as guidelines instead of strict rules.
The age of your child is always a good place to start. It acts as a starting point to narrow down the size and draw weight. There are more accurate methods to determine these that will be explained later, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
Age also helps indicate how advanced of a bow they may be interested in. A younger child is likely interested in something relatively simple and easy. An older child may be much more invested in improving their skill and will want something with a higher level of accuracy.
Height is extremely important when determining the size of the bow your child needs. You wouldn’t want to purchase a bow that’s as tall as your kid, right? We want to ensure that your child will be comfortable and steady while they hold and draw the bow.
Height can also help our team determine the draw length. The height-based draw length formula is not always the most accurate indication, but it can provide a jumping off point that can be further refined and tuned. The formula is height (inches) divided by 2.5 (h/2.5). The problem with the formula is that a person’s draw length may vary by a few inches due to strength, arm length, or a variety of other factors. While it’s a good starting point, we always recommend measuring draw length more accurately by visiting us in store.
Draw weight varies based on a child’s strength so it can be difficult to determine without the child testing it out. However, there is a rough guide that is often used to get started:
| Child's Weight (lbs) || Draw Weight (lbs) |
| 55 - 70 || 10 - 15 |
| 70 - 100 || 15 - 25 |
| 100 - 130 || 25 - 35 |
| 130 - 150 || 30 - 50 |
| 150+ || 55 - 65 |
It’s important to make sure the draw weight is comfortable enough for the child. If it is too difficult for them to hold, they may have a hard time hitting their target and get tired or discouraged quickly. We want to help all of the young archers grow their skills at a comfortable rate, so make sure you take the time to talk to the experts about which draw weight is best.
Please note, your local hunting regulations may specify draw weights for different types of game. Check the appropriate regulations if you intend on using the bow for hunting.
Finding the dominant eye is one of the most important steps for selecting a bow. Trying to shoot a bow that is for the wrong eye is like trying to write with the wrong hand. It’s just not going to work out! Luckily, determining the dominant eye is an extremely easy test.
All you have to do is have your child stand in front of you and place their hands into a small triangle. Then, with both eyes open, elbows locked, and arms straight, have them raise the triangle up to their eye height until they can look at you through the hole. The dominant eye will be the one that you see them using through that small hole.
One more important thing to keep in mind: your dominant eye will not necessarily be the same as which hand you write with.
Wondering if you should be choosing a compound bow or a recurve bow? There are advantages to both, but it depends on what’s best for your child.
- Usually the best choice for beginners
- Offers a classic and simple archery experience
- Light and portable
- Many affordable options
- Popular with hunters and experienced archers
- Highly adjustable and customizable with a variety of accessories
- Extremely powerful
- Higher set up cost
When it comes down to it, if you’re still unsure which type of bow your child wants, ask them about their inspiration for getting into archery. If they reference a popular character, you can always check what kind of bow they use. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Hawkeye (Avengers), Legolas (Lord of the Rings), Merida (Brave) and even Robin Hood all use recurve bows.