how to test draw weight


Why Testing Draw Weight Matters for Archers

As an archer, understanding and testing draw weight is crucial in order to achieve accuracy, consistency, and overall success in shooting. Draw weight refers to the amount of force required to pull back or draw the bowstring to its full extent. It directly affects the speed and power of the arrow, as well as the archer's ability to control and aim the shot. In this article, we will delve into the importance of testing draw weight and discuss various methods to ensure you find the perfect draw weight for your needs in archery.

Understanding Draw Weight

Draw weight plays a significant role in archery, and finding the right draw weight for yourself is essential for optimal shooting performance. The draw weight of a bow is typically measured in pounds, and it determines the force needed to bend the limbs and store energy in the bow. When an arrow is released, this stored energy propels the arrow forward toward the target.

Draw weight not only affects the speed and power of the arrow but also impacts the archer's ability to shoot consistently and accurately. A draw weight that is too heavy can lead to fatigue, poor form, and less control over the shot. On the other hand, a draw weight that is too light may result in decreased arrow velocity, reduced penetration, and compromised accuracy.

Determining the Appropriate Draw Weight

Finding the appropriate draw weight is crucial for archers of all skill levels. Several factors should be considered when determining the suitable draw weight for an individual archer. These factors include the archer's physique, experience level, intended use of the bow, and personal shooting preferences.

It is important to note that the ideal draw weight can differ for each archer. Beginners may want to start with a lighter draw weight to develop proper form and technique, gradually increasing it as they progress. Experienced archers, on the other hand, may prefer a higher draw weight to achieve greater arrow speed and power.

Methods for Testing Draw Weight

There are several methods available for testing draw weight depending on an archer's individual preferences and available equipment. Here, we will explore five common methods for testing draw weight:

1. Bow Scale Method

One of the most accurate ways to measure draw weight is by using a bow scale. Bow scales are designed to attach to the bowstring and measure the actual weight required to draw the bow to a specified draw length. This method provides precise measurements and is particularly useful for archers who require very specific draw weights.

To use a bow scale, simply attach the scale to the bowstring, draw the bow to your desired draw length, and read the weight measurement provided. Repeat the process multiple times to ensure consistent results.

2. Draw Check Method

The draw check method is a simple and commonly used technique to estimate draw weight. This method requires the assistance of another person and a standard wooden dowel of known weight and length. The dowel should have a diameter similar to that of an arrow.

To use the draw check method, have someone hold the dowel horizontally at both ends while you draw your bowstring to your desired draw length and anchor point. The person assisting should pay attention to the amount of bending in the dowel. If the dowel bends significantly, it indicates that your draw weight is too heavy. Conversely, if the dowel barely bends or remains straight, it suggests that your draw weight may be too light.

3. Hanging Weight Method

The hanging weight method is a practical way of estimating your draw weight and requires minimal equipment. To use this method, you will need a luggage scale or a fishing scale, a sturdy pole or dowel, and a strong cord or rope.

First, attach one end of the cord or rope to the handle of your bow and the other end to the luggage scale. Hang the scale and the bow from the pole or dowel so that the scale is at a comfortable height. Ensure that the bow is level and that the scale is not touching the floor.

Next, carefully pull the bowstring until you reach your desired draw length, making sure to maintain proper form. Take note of the weight displayed on the luggage or fishing scale. Repeat the process a few times to ensure consistent readings and calculate the average weight.

4. Draw Board Method

The draw board method is commonly used by advanced archers, coaches, and equipment specialists to test and fine-tune draw weight. A draw board is a tool specifically designed to measure draw weight and draw length, and it allows the archer to safely and accurately test different draw weights without needing an actual arrow.

A draw board consists of a sturdy frame, a winch or pulley system, and a measuring scale. To use this method, attach your bow to the draw board, set the desired draw length, and gradually increase the weight until you reach your intended draw weight. The draw board will provide precise measurements, allowing you to experiment with various draw weights and find the perfect balance for your shooting style.

5. Consult with a Professional

If you are uncertain or find it challenging to determine the appropriate draw weight for yourself, it is always beneficial to consult with a professional archery coach or experienced technician. They possess the knowledge, expertise, and specialized equipment to assist you in finding the optimal draw weight based on your individual needs, physical ability, and shooting goals.


In conclusion, testing draw weight is an essential step in archery, regardless of your experience level or shooting goals. Finding the right draw weight helps ensure accuracy, consistency, and overall shooting performance. Remember that the ideal draw weight can vary for each archer, so it is important to consider various factors such as physique, experience, and personal preferences when determining the appropriate draw weight. Whether you choose to use a bow scale, perform the draw check method, employ the hanging weight method, utilize a draw board, or seek professional assistance, testing draw weight will ultimately lead to improved shooting skills and enhanced enjoyment of the sport. So go ahead, experiment with different draw weights, and find what works best for you. Happy shooting!


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