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Target practice
Hunting small game
Hunting large game



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Compound bow for beginners

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Compound bow for beginners - How to choose the right one

Compound bow for beginners

So you want to try your hand at a compound bow and you’re wondering which bow you should choose. Beginners might have a hard time finding the right bow. You might be asking yourself what’s the best draw weight for me and what in the world does FPS means. Relax and sit back, we’re going to go through all the necessary terms and look at the best compound bow for beginners.

As always, we suggest you to try our compound bow finder at the top of the page to easily find the right bow for you. If you’re not a beginner, we suggest you to try our how to choose a compound bow.

What is a compound bow?

A compound bow differs from a normal bow, or a recurve bow, by having two pulleys on each end of the bow. For this reason, a compound bows limbs can be much stiffer than other bow types which in return improve arrow speed.

There are other concepts using this kind of design with pulleys/cams. These are called bow eccentrics. Most common types of bow eccentrics are Single Cam, Hybrid Cam, Dual Cam and Binary Cam.

Compound bows for adults are usually from 40 to 80 pounds in draw weight. Youth bows can be from 15 to 40 pounds, depending on which age the bow is made for.

Compound bow for beginners can vary in draw weight. Some youth bows can actually be beneficial to beginners, while others might want a bow with more draw weight for hunting for example.

Because of its superiority, especially when it comes to hunting, the compound bow is now the most popular type of bow in the US.

Read more about compound bow on Wikipedia.

Beginner shooting a compound bow

Archery terms

At first we need to explain what all the different words and expressions used by bow manufactures to get a better understanding of what impact those words have on choosing the right compound bow for you.

Draw weight

Draw weight is the actual force required to pull back the string. Some bows have fixed draw weights like 40lbs, 50lbs and up to normally around 70lbs for compound bows which are used for hunting large game. When choosing a compound bow for beginners it should be noted that a bow with a flexible draw weight is the best. That way you can start with a low draw weight and work yourself up to the max draw weight of the bow without buying a new compound bow.

Draw length

This is a term used for how far back the string is pulled at its max. When buying a bow online you can’t get the professional help needed in choosing a bow so here’s a little trick for you to find the right draw length for you.

  • Stand upright and lift your arms up so they are pointing outward in a straight angle away from you. Just like a cross
  • Get someone to help you with a measuring tape. Measure the distance from one middle finger across your chest to the middle finger on your other hand.
  • Take that measurement and divide it by 2.5. If your arm span is 68 inches and you divide it by 2.5 you get 27. 27 inches is then the perfect draw length for you.

Brace height

Brace height is the distance between the string and the grip. Bows with shorter brace heights tend to be less forgiving than those with longer brace heights, because the string is in contact with the arrow for a longer period. An archer therefore has to maintain perfect form for a longer stretch, until the arrow is in the air.

Feet per second (FPS)

This is a measurement used to determine how fast the arrow travels. It basically means how fast the bow is. Why is this important? For hunting this can be crucial, For the most part you would want a fast bow if you’re hunting. Some bows go over 300 FPS which is considered good.

Choosing a compound bow for beginners

Now that we now what a compound bow is and some of the terms used, it’s time to get down to business and start finding the right bow for you. Finding the right compound bow for beginners doesn’t need to be a difficult task, just follow the steps below.

Compound bows for women

There is some differences when it comes to gender, and I mean that in the sense of choosing the right bow. If you’re a female with a tiny frame, you should go for a bow which is shorter in height and also has a lower draw weight. Especially if you’re a woman completely new to archery, do not go for a bow with, lets say 70 lbs draw weight. It would more than likely be way to heavy to pull back unless you’re stronger than the average woman.

What’s your motive for buying a compound bow

Some people want a compound bow for hunting, other want one for target practice. If your goal is to hunt small game, than you need at least 40 lbs of draw weight. If you’re going to hunt large game than use a bow with at least 50 lbs of draw weight. Different states and areas might have different rules related to this topic, so check the rules for bow hunting where you’re going to hunt.

If you’re going to be shooting at a target than your requirements for finding a compound bow are not so strict. Just make sure the bow fits your frame and strengths.

Compound bow draw weight

With all this talk about draw weight you might be wondering how much resistance can you pull back if you’re a total beginner when it comes to compound bows. There is not perfect answer to this, but of you’re an average person, then 40 to 50 lbs would be a pretty good starting point. A person with normal strength would comfortably be able to pull that amount of force back and hold it for a few seconds without too much trouble.

The best starting point however, is to choose a bow with a flexible draw weight like we talked about earlier. Compound bows for starters are usually advertised with a flexible draw weight. Some start as low as 5 lbs and go all the way up to 70 lbs. In this way you can easily adjust the bow to your level as you get better without the need of buying a new compound bow.

Choosing the right draw length

Draw length is also a big factor when deciding a good compound bow for beginners. As mention earlier, you measure your arm span and divide it by 2.5 to find the right draw length. If you missed it, go back up and read about how to find the right draw length for you.

When you got your draw weight than use that as a criteria for choosing a compound bow.


By now you should have a general understanding about what a compound bow is and some of the terms used. You should also be able to find a beginner friendly compound bow which fits you by measuring your arm span and knowing for what purpose you want to use the bow for.

If you’re still unsure, go back to the top and take our quiz to find the right compound bow for a beginner as yourself.

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