Glossary Of Archery Terms

To help you learn more about archery, below you will find the different archery terms. These are perfect if you heard a term want to understand what it is, or as a refresher. At the top you will see a bullet point of the most common terms and then below this a table that includes all of the terms

Most Common Archery Terms

  • Aim – This when you point the arrow at where you want it to shoot and hit.
  • Anchor Point – The Anchor point is a point of reference on your face as to where you place your drawing hand. The most common are the mouth or jaw.
  • Arrow Rest – This is a plastic piece that sits on the riser and the arrow rests on.
  • Bow Stringer – This device is used on recurve bows to either string the bow or remove the string. It is made from cord which connects to either end of the bow, allowing you to reduce the slack of the bow string and remove safely.
  • Draw – The name given of actually pulling or drawing the bowstring back.
  • Draw Length – The distance in which you are able to fully draw the bowstring back
  • Draw Weight – Measured in pounds, this is the amount of force is being applied when the archer has the bowstring fully drawn. The higher the force, potentially the faster shot but this also means its much heavier.
  • Dry Firing – Shooting a bow whilst no arrow is nocked. This should NEVER be done, it can break the bow and also void any warranties.
  • Full Draw – When your drawing hand is at the anchor point and you have drawn the bow string, this is known as full draw.
  • Nock Point – Is found on the bowstring and is used to show where the arrow should be nocked.
  • Release – When you let go of the bowstring whilst an arrow is in place and the bowstring is fully drawn.
  • Stance – This is how your legs, body, arms and head should be. A good stance and posture is key to good archery.
  • Target – A term used for where you intend your arrow to hit.

Complete Glossary of Archery Terms

TermDescription
3D Archery3D archery uses different targets then the standard targets, they use 3D objects that normally look like an animal such as a elk or deer.
A.T.A (measurement)The A.T.A is a measurement of the length between the axles that keep the cams connected to the limbs on a compound bow. It is actually an acronym of “Axle-To-Axle”.
AimThis when you point the arrow at where you want it to shoot and hit.
AluminumIs a type of material that is used for making parts of bows, such as risers, cams and is even used in the making of arrows.
Ambi-OcularThis is an archer that has no dominant eye, they are strong in both the left and right.
AMO (org)Was the original name of the Archery Manufacturers Organisation. They were however renamed to ATA (Archery Trade Association in 2002.
AMO Length (measurement)This the length for when you want to measure the bow string.
Anchor PointThe Anchor point is a point of reference on your face as to where you place your drawing hand. The most common are the mouth or jaw.
ArcherIs also known as a bow-man and is the name of the person that practices archery.
Archers ParadoxIs a effect when we shoot an arrow, we apply a certain force and this cases the arrow to wobble. This is known as flexing
ArcheryThe name of the sport or activity of shooting an arrow with the use of a bow.
Archery TagWe all loved tag when at school, this is a similar game but uses a bow and arrow. You will normally wear gear like in paintball but shoot arrows with foam.
Arm GuardWhen shooting the bow, the string can hit the forearm and this can cause pain and bruising. An arm guard is used to help protect it, usually made from leather.
ArrowMade from wood, carbon or fibreglass, it is the arrow that is shot from the bow. The front is sharp and the back has feathers, as well as a nock to help it connect with the string.
Arrow PlateWith this the arrow will contact the bow and the friction will cause damage. This plate is made from material (often plastic or rubber) and protects the bow.
Arrow RestThis is a plastic piece that sits on the riser and the arrow rests on.
Arrow ShaftThis is the main part of the arrow, the part without the nock, fletching or arrow point. Traditionally made from wood but more often than not they are now made from aluminum, carbon or a combination of the two.
Arrow StraighterWith continued use arrows can bend, this tool helps to straighten the shaft.
ArrowheadYou will find this at the top of the arrow. It will often look different depending on what type of archery you decide to do, whether target or hunting.
ASA (org)This is the abbreviation of the Archery Shooters Association.
ATA (org)Formerly known as AMO, abbreviation of The Archery Trade Association.
BackThe part of the bow that is away from the bow string.
Backed BowThis is when you have a bow that has extra material on the back of the bow, doing so gives it increased strength.
Barbed ArrowThis is when a arrow has barbs on and is only used in hunting or bowfishing. An arrow like this is used so that it will not come out.
Bare ShaftOften used to tune a bow, this is when you have an arrow shaft and the fletching has been removed.
BarebowA bow that uses no additional accessories such as sight, stabilizers and release aid. This style of shooting is growing in popularity.
Barreled ArrowWhen the ends of the bow are smaller than the middle, like a wooden barrel.
Belly Or FaceIn modern archery this is often called the face. It is the side of the bow that is facing the bow string, or otherwise the side of the bow that you are looking at.
BoltA much shorter and heavier arrow, these are used when shooting from a crossbow.
BossFound in target archery, this is the backing of the target. It is often made of compressed foam or straw and is used to stop the arrow.
BouncerThis is the name we give an arrow that falls out when it hits the target.
BowHopefully self explanatory if you are on an archery website, however a bow is curved wood or fibreglass. It features a string that is attached to each end of the bow and is used for shooting arrows.
Bow Arm/HandThis is the hand or arm that you use to hold the bow. If you are right handed then it will be your left hand and visa versa.
Bow CaseA case that you use to carry your bow, arrows and accessories in.
Bow ReelA type of fishing reel that is attached to the bow, this enables you to do bowfishing.
Bow SightPlaced on the riser just above the arrow rest, this device is used by archers to aim at the target. It can be adjusted side to side and up and down, depending on where your arrow landed on the target.
Bow SlingIs a strap that connects to the thumb and the second finger of the archer, although some do fasten to the bow. If the archer shoots without gripping the bow, this strap stops it from falling onto the floor.
Bow SquareIs used to help place the nock location and determine brace height.
Bow StaveIs a long piece of wood, that is then used to make a bow.
Bow StringIs connected to either end of the bow with loops. The bow string is made from either Dacron, Kevlar or Fastflight. It is however not just 1 strand of string but multiple strands twisted together.
Bow StringerThis device is used on recurve bows to either string the bow or remove the string. It is made from cord which connects to either end of the bow, allowing you to reduce the slack of the bow string and remove safely.
Bow ScaleIs a type of scale that is used to help you to learn the draw weight of a bow
BowfishingA type of archery that uses bows and arrows to catch fish.
BowhuntingThis is a type of archery where the archer hunts game.
BowyerThe name given to people that makes bows.
Brace HeightAlso known as string height, its the distance from the pivot to the string when it has been strung. Prior to being known as brace height, it was also called Fistmele.
BracerThe more traditional name for arm guards.
BroadheadThis is a type of arrowhead, its used for hunting and is often sharp and razor bladed.
CablesAre used to connect the string through the cams to the limbs on a compound bow
CamAre found on compound bows and are used to provide the let-off and additional power. They act as a pulley and can be found on the end of the limbs.
Carbon FiberA Type of material that is used to produce arrows, some bows have also started using them for the limbs.
CastWhen a bow is able to shoot an arrow a specific distance
Center ServingThis part of the string helps to protect it from wear. It is found in the centre of the bow string and is located where you nock your arrow.
Chest GuardIs often worn to help stop the bow strings from hitting the clothes or the body. It will normally cover one side of the chest.
ClickerHelps to tell the archer when they should release the bow, it is a device that clicks when the bow is drawn to the ideal draw length.
Clout ArcheryImagine playing golf with a bow and arrow and you have something close to clout archery. It is basically a game where the idea is to shoot an arrow and have it land as close to the flag as possible. Around the flag is a target and the closer you get to the flag, the more points you get.
Composite BowIs a type of bow that is made from combining different layers of materials together.
Compound BowOne of the types of bows that is widely used. It uses mechanical aids to help reduce the weight when you fully draw the bow. This allows your to aim better, manage lower draw weights and also produce faster shots.
Cross DominanceIs when an archer has a stronger eye and uses the opposite hand to shoot, as an example is left eye dominant but still shoots from their right hand.
CrossbowA type of bow that is horizontal instead of vertical. You place the bolt into the crossbow, draw back and lock it into place. These bows are then held and fred with a trigger. Think a cross between a bow and a gun.
DacronA type of material that is used to make bowstrings.
Dead ReleaseKeeping your hand at the anchor point when you let the arrow go and don’t follow through
Director Of ShootingThe name given to the official in charge of the competition/tournament
DrawThe name given of actually pulling or drawing the bowstring back.
Draw LengthThe distance in which you are able to fully draw the bowstring back
Draw WeightMeasured in pounds, this is the amount of force is being applied when the archer has the bowstring fully drawn. The higher the force, potentially the faster shot but this also means its much heavier.
Drawing Arm/HandThe name given to the arm/hand used to draw the bowstring back.
DriftThe name given when an arrow is knocked from its original target from outside factors, these will often be caused by the wind.
Dry FiringShooting a bow whilst no arrow is nocked. This should NEVER be done, it can break the bow and also void any warranties.
End LoopThe end of the string that goes over the bow
Eye DominanceThis is the name given to the eye of the archer that is more dominant or stronger than the other.
FiberglassA material that is used to create bows and arrows.
Field ArcheryA type of archery where you would shoot your arrows at different targets, outside over different types of terrains. Its popular to do these in woods and the targets used are normally either bulls-eyes or 3d animals.
Field CaptainThe name given to the person in charge of a field competition/tournament.
Finger PinchIs when the bowstring is pulled back with the fingers against the nock or arrow.
Finger TabA leather piece that is used to protect your fingers when you pull the bowstring back.
FlatbowWhen the bow is not a recurve bow but has a cross section.
Flax-linenIs a material that was used in medieval days on the bowstrings, it is now only used on longbows for re-enactments.
Flemish String/TwistIs when your string is made from two different strings, these are normally different colours. You also find that these are hand twisted together.
FletchOne of the vanes in which you attached to the arrow, these either feather, rubber or plastic.
FletcherThe name given to the person that makes fletches for arrows.
FletchingThe name given to all 3 Fletches, these are the vanes at the end of the arrow. Normally feather, plastic or rubber in material.
FlexThe arrow shaft does provide a certain degree of bend, this is known as the Flex.
Flight ArrowThe name given to a type of arrow that is used in Flight Shooting. Compared to other arrows it is much lighter and doesn’t bend as much. You will also find the fletching is smaller, to prevent the wind impacting on the shot.
Flight BowThese bows are made specifically for those that do flight shooting. They tend to be very strong with draw weights being over 100lb.
Flight ShootingIs a type of archery where the aim is to see who can shoot an arrow the furthest distance.
FlinchingThis is when you move your bow arm or the hand you use to draw the bow, before releasing the arrow.
Flu-Flu ArrowThis type of arrow is used when shooting aerial targets, it is made from large fletchings and these prevent it from travelling to far away.
Follow ThroughThis is the motion you do after you have shot the arrow, to avoid any change in its direction.
Foot MarkersThese are used to determine where the archers feet are at the shooting line, at an indoor range you might have lines or otherwise any other object to indicate them.
Full DrawWhen your drawing hand is at the anchor point and you have drawn the bow string, this is known as full draw.
GloveOtherwise known as a shooting glove, this is used as an alternative to tabs and protects the fingers. I personally prefer this over the tab as you get more of a feel of the string and anchor points.
GripThis is the location on the riser as to where the archer will hold the bow.
Ground QuiverOften metal or plastic, this is placed into the ground. It often looks like a tube and is where you will often hold the arrows.
Group/GroupingThis is when you shoot arrows at a target and they all tend to “group” together.
GungdoThis is the name given to the Korean art of archery.
Horse ArcherWhen the archer is mounted on the back of a horse.
IBO (org)The previous name was ATA or otherwise known as The Archery Trade Association. Now they are known as the International Bowhunting Organization.
Index FletchYou will notice the arrow has 3 fletches, one of these is a different colour and is caled the index fletch. This one is position away from the bow when nocked and helps you ensure proper arrow alignment.
InsertA part on the arrow that connects the nock
KevlarIs a material that people will often use for bowstrings. The reason it is used is because its lightweight and also strong. There is very little stretch so some bows are not able to use this type of bowstring.
KisserIf you struggle with getting your anchor point, you might use a kisser button. This touches the lip when drawn, hence why it’s called the kisser button.
KyudoA name for the art of archery in Japan.
Kyudo ArrowsThese are the traditional arrows that they use in Kyudo. They are fletched with feathers and are over 1 meter, 40 inches in length
Kyudo BowThis is a traditional bow in Japan, that is very similar to a longbow. It is typically 2 meters in height, made from bamboo an is one piece of wood with limbs that are rounded.
Laminated BowThis is when the bow is made and uses multiple layers of material. More often than not it has a hardwood core with a layer of fibreglass on either side.
Left-Handed ArcherWhen a archer holds the bow with their right hand but pulls the bowstring back with their left hand, as this is more dominant.
Left-Handed BowA bow that is manufactured to be used by left handed archers.
Let DownWhen the bow is fully drawn and you return the bowstring to its standing position, without shooting an arrow/releasing the string.
Let-offA term relating to compound bows, this is when the draw weight is reduced when the bow is fully drawn.
LimbThere are two limbs that attach to the top and the bottom of the riser. These are the flexible part of the bow and the bowstring is attached to either end of the limbs.
Limb DampenerIs used to help reduce the vibrations of the limbs after releasing the arrow. They are usually made from rubber and attach to the limbs.
Limb StackingIs when you are able to draw the string further back than its designed to go. This can damage the limbs as well as risk injury.
LongbowA traditional bow in archery, it is made from one piece of wood and doesn't have the recurve. This type of bow is typically what you see in Medieval films.
LoopThe loop is found at either end of the bowstring and is used to fit around the top of the limps in the teardrops/nocks.
Mass WeightThe weight of the entire bow when fully assembled.
Mechanical BroadheadAnother arrowhead that is used in hunting. This head contains several blades at the tip that open up on impact.
Mechanical ReleaseA device that is used to grip the bowstring and when pressed releases the arrow. They are also known as Release Aid or just Release.
NockThe nock is found on the end of the arrow after the fletching. This is needed to clip the arrow onto the bowstring otherwise known “nocking an arrow”.
Nock PointIs found on the bowstring and is used to show where the arrow should be nocked.
Over BowedIf you are using a bow that has a draw weight that is too high and heavy, it would be known as “over bowed”. In simple terms the bow is too heavy for you and you need one that is a lower draw weight.
Peak WeightYou can change this on modern compound bows but is typically the maximum draw weight of that bow.
Peep SightThis is attached to the bowstring and is used to look through, it will help you to locate the front sight and make sure both this and the front sight are on the target.
PluckAlso known as “plucking the string”, this happens when you pull the bowstring in another direction on release.
Plunger ButtonWhen you release an arrow it has some degree of flex, a plunger button is used to help correct this.
QuiverThis is where you can store your arrows, there are many different types from those that attach to the bow, belt, on your back or even on the ground. The best would depend on what type of archery you are doing and if you need to be on the move.
Recurve BowA type of bow that is one of the most common and popular. It gets its name from the limbs, as they recurve away from the archery.
Reflex BowThis bow is like the recurve in that it is curved away from the archer, the entire length of the bow recurves away and not just the limbs.
ReleaseWhen you let go of the bowstring whilst an arrow is in place and the bowstring is fully drawn.
RiserThis is the name of the handle of the bow, although it is also where the arrow rests and additional accessories are connected. The limbs will also screw into the sides of the riser.
RoundA round consists of shooting so many arrows at the target from a certain distance.
Run ArcheryIs a fun cross-country event where you run through a trail and stop at certain places with rounds of target archery.
Safety ArrowThis is a type of arrow that normally has a padded head, it is often used in games of archery tag or in reenactments.
Scope SightThis is a sight that goes onto the bow, it has a lens that magnifies the target for better aiming.
Self BowA homemade bow that is usually made from one single piece of wood.
ServingIn order to prevent the bowstrings from wear, this is an extra wrapping that goes around it.
Shooting LineDepending on the distance you are shooting, this is a line that is parallel to the target. It is here that all archers will shoot from.
Snap ShootingIf you are wanting to do Instinctive shooting then you will do this more, however not as good if you need to aim properly. It’s basically shooting the arrow without stopping to aim properly.
StabilizerThis can help to give additional balance to the bow as well as reduce vibrations. You can either use a single rod or a set of rods that are weighted and connect to the riser.
StanceThis is how your legs, body, arms and head should be. A good stance and posture is key to good archery.
String FingersThese are the fingers you use to pull back the bowstring.
String HandThe hand you use to pull the bowstring back. Right handed archers will normally pull the string back with their right hand and left hand archers pull back with their left hand. (as this is their more dominant)
TackleA term used to describe all archery equipment
Tackle LineA line that is behind the shooting line, this is where all equipment should remain that is not being used during shooting.
Take-down BowThis is the name given to a bow that can be taken apart, these are popular as they are easier for travel and storage. These bows use screws/bolts to unscrew the limbs from the riser, another advantage is that it allows you to keep the same riser but upgrade/replace the limbs.
TargetA term used for where you intend your arrow to hit.
Target ArcheryOne of the most common types of archery. The idea is to shoot a non moving target that has been placed at different distances, the target is more than often a bulls-eye.
Target CaptainThis is the person who takes score and determines the value of each arrow. On some occasions it is also the captain's duty to remove the arrows from the target.
Target FaceThe paper target that is placed to the butt, this will usually be different sized and coloured circles each representing a differents coring zone.
Target ShootingThe term for competitive target archery, the event is designed to test the archers skill levels at aiming and scoring as high as possible.
Thumb RingMore common in Asian archery, this item is used to protect the archers thumb.
ToxophiliteSomeone who is devoted to Archery
Traditional ArcheryThis term has two meanings, it describes a form of archery where the bow that is used has no modern stabilisers but also those that use a traditional bow, I.E a longbow.
VaneThis is the name given to any fletch that is made using plastic or rubber.
YabusameIs a Japanese form of mounted archery.

I hope this glossary of archery terms has helped, if you do have any questions or comments please do leave them below.

Adam Profile Image

Adam has been enjoying the sport of archery since 2010, intially getting the bug for it whilst on holiday and trying it out in an activity center. Since his very first eperiance of holding a bow and arrow, he fell in love with it and can now be found at the range or in the great outdoors as often as possible.

His main go to bow type is a recurve but he loves shooting from compounds as well. Adam created The Archery Guide as a way to help others get into this great activity and to share his knowledge/experiences.

Leave a Comment

Share
Tweet
Pin
+1
0 Shares