How To Measure Draw Length For A Bow – The Ultimate Guide

Do you expect to learn archery shooting accurately with a draw length that is too small? If you’re using a traditional bow, you’re fine, but what if it’s a compound bow? Compound bows are not built to draw back as much as you like. They can only drawback a small distance, and this particular distance is called the draw length.

And it’s how to measure draw length for a bow that we are going to discuss in this article.

The components engineered on the bow help to control its draw length. If you want to get it right, then you should know that the mechanical setting found on the bow should be the same as the physical size of the archer.

The rule mentioned above must be strictly followed; otherwise, it will be impossible for you to learn archery shooting properly. That is quite obvious. Do you know what happens if the bow is too large for the archer? He or she loses the opportunity of making the most of the bow’s accumulated energy.

Also, when the bow is too large for the archer, the nock point is placed a little too far from the face so anchoring properly becomes a problem too.

So you see a number of issues you have to deal with when the draw length is not measured correctly. We’ve put together this step by step procedure so you can finally learn how to measure draw length for a bow in the most efficient and comfortable manner.

What you need to measure draw length for a bow

The list of supplies is pretty basic so you don’t have to go through the trouble of visiting countless or even a single local store. We’re pretty sure that you have all the supplies you need in your house already.

  • Tape measure (who doesn’t have tape measure!)
  • Basic math skills (we all have a brain, don’t we?)
  • A real human assistant (we have plenty of those around us).
  • Pencil or tape (if you don’t have either, reconsider your life goals!).

How to measure draw length for a bow

Known as Calculated Draw Length, this method of measuring draw length is pretty quick and straightforward. Both compound,as well as recurve archers, make use of this highly popular method. It is also called the measure and divide method because all you have to do is measure your arm span and divide that by 2.5.

Yes, it’s that simple. But let’s not get carried away and go through the process step by step so you can understand it better.

1. Stand Like the Letter T

The best way to measure your arm span is to stretch out both your hands sideways like you’ve been told to make the letter T. Next step is tohave your real human assistant measure the length of your arm span from one hand to the other.

But before you take that measurement; be sure that you’re following these instructions.

  • It is extremely necessary to stand up straight and to keep your arms stretched out with open palms.
  • Shoulders should be in an expanded position and not crunched.
  • The chest should be relaxed and not overstretched.
  • Don’t concentrate on standing up too straight. Make that letter T as naturally as possible without overstretching or under-stretching your torso muscles.

2. Measure Your Arm Span

Once you’ve followed all the instructions mentioned above, it’s time for your assistant to measure the length of your arm span from the tip of the middle finger of your left hand to the tip of the middle finger of your right hand, using a tape measure.

Another more efficient way of measuring the arm span is to stand in the same T position but with your back glued to the wall.

When your back is against the wall, your assistant can quite easily and conveniently mark the tips of both your middle fingers on the wall either with a pencil or better yet, tape.

Then all you have to do is measure that arm span marked on the wall.

We would highly recommend the second method as it ensures that you are standing straight since your back is up against the wall. In this case, the shoulders and chest are also positioned perfectly as even the slightest errors are easily visible with a wall at the back.

3. Do the Math

When you have the accurate arm span measurement with you, divide it by 2.5. So let’s say that your arm span measurement is 54 inches, you divide it by 2.5 to get your calculated draw length.

54/2.5 = 21.6 inches

There you have it; the draw length measurement is 21.6 inches.

A helpful tip:

Round it up to the nearest half inch in order to avoid any possible confusion in the future. In this case, you can either go with 21.5 inches or simply round it up to 22 inches.

Pro Tips

How to Measure Draw Length for a Bow

Here we thought it best to also discuss the method of Actual Draw Length, a simple technique that teaches how to measure draw length for a bow with regards to the standard measurements followed by the archery community.

The method of Actual Draw Length considers draw length to be the distance from the pivot spot of the bow till the knocking spot located on the string, added by 1 and 3/4 inches. Now this sounds complicated but it isn’t. In fact, it’s the only effective way of achieving accurate draw length.

So let’s discuss how to measure draw length for a bow using the Actual Draw Length method.

  • As an archer, you should already know how to draw the bow to the conventional anchor position. So it’s time to do that now.
  • This is where your real human assistant will have to measure the distance between the pivot spot of the bow and the nocking point found on the apex of the string.
  • Once you have your measurement, add 1 and 3/4 inches to that number.
  • Now smile because that’s a wrap!

Reasons Why Your Draw Length may Seem Shorter than It Actually is

  • Improper alignment can lead to your draw length appearing shorter than it really is.

Your bow arm must not be on the same level as the top of your shoulders or your drawing elbow must be positioned farther back than your head. So have someone carefully study your position from above to ensure that you don’t have a poor alignment.

  • Both or one of your shoulders must not be in a relaxed position.

More often than not, we tend to raise our shoulders, especially the bow shoulder. And that is exactly where we’re going wrong. Both the shoulders must be positioned as naturally as possible and must not be elevated in any manner.

  • The most common cause of your draw length appearing shorter than it really is is the presence a D-Loop. 

If you’re using a D-Loop with the bowstring to assist you with the release, then it’s highly possible that your draw length measurement is getting recorded shorter than it really is. So make it a priority to keep this in mind when you’re selecting your bow.

Reasons Why Your Daw Length may Seem Longer than It Actually is

  • The anchor point may not be consistently positioned.

We tend to hold the string inconsistently either along the midpoint of the jaw or right in front of the chin. While both positions are apt, you have to pick one and make it a point to consistently hold the string in either one of the positions.

  • Your head must not be placed at the center of your whole body.

Straining the head and neck backward is something that many archers do, unintentionally of course. So there’s a slight possibility that your draw length seems longer than it really is because of that strain. So relax your head and neck and naturally position them at the center of your body.

  • This factor may not be under your control but you can easily look into it while buying your bow.

Some bows are built with mechanical release aids that inevitably contribute in lengthening your draw. So consider buying a bow that doesn’t give you such results.

You learned something new, on your own

You should take pride in that. Learning how to measure draw length all by yourself can really help you with learning archery shooting properly. You will be making fewer mistakes and will learn quicker.

Our advice to you is to make use of all the different methods mentioned in the article. If you get the same draw length measurement, bingo! But if you don’t, then we would suggest you to have your super helpful real human assistant take a few photos of you shooting. With the help of these photos, you’ll be able to see for yourself if your draw length looks fine or if it needs any further alteration. This may take a while but that’s how you’ll achieve perfection.

We hope we were simple enough in our instructions and you got what you were looking for.

Have you tried the Calculated Draw Length method or the Actual Draw Length method to properly measure your draw length for a bow? And has it worked for you?

Is there any other important procedure that we have failed to discuss?

Please let us know in the comments section. We would be happy to know what you think.

You might also like:

Leave a Reply