Archery Terminology

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Have you ever wondered what the most common and useful archery terms are?

While the greatest part of archery is the act of shooting the bow and arrow, there are also other important things to consider. Learning how to communicate with other archers and knowing the names of the most important equipment and techniques is also going to be extremely important.

I felt that it was important to talk about the most important and useful terms in archery. I think this is similar to being a musician and leering the names of the notes and the chords o your instrument. This allows you to communicate properly with other musicians and to understand the process of making music.

This is the reason why I created this post to help archers who are getting started and want to understand the language that is used by archers.

A list of the most useful archery terms

A

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Aim

The process of pointing the arrow in any position or target that you wish to hit, is what we all know as the aim.

Aluminum

This is the material that most archers out there are using to make their arrows. There are also compound bows that are made with this material.

Anchor point

The position of your drawing hand when you place it near a specific place on your face.

Archer’s Paradox

The flexing effect produced by an arrow when it comes out of the bow.

Arm Guard

This is going to protect the bow arm from the slap of the bowstring when you take a shot.

Arrow plate

A material glued to the side of the bow in order to provide protection from the friction of each shot.

Arrow shaft

This is the body of the arrow and it is made out of wood, carbon, aluminum and a combination of both.

ASA

This is the Archery Shooters Association

ATA

This is the Archery Trade Association

B

Backed Bow

This is the name for a bow that includes a strip that is glued to the back to provide even more strength.    

Barbs

These are the arrowhead points that have a backward projection.

Barebow

This is the traditional style of shooting without a stabilizer or release aid.

Blunt

An arrow that has a point that has not been sharpened and is unable to penetrate targets.

Bolt

This is a projectile for a crossbow and it is also known as a quarrel.

Bow arm

This arm holds the bow when you take a shot

Bow reel

You attach a reel to a bow when you are planning to do any fishing.

Bow Sight

This device is installed to give archers more accuracy for aiming.

Bow Sling

A strap attached to the wrist of the archer and to the bow to keep the bow from falling to the ground.

Bow Stave

This is the name of the traditional piece of wood used to make bows.

Bow String

This string is drawn back to take a shot.

Bowyer

This is the name of a person that makes bows.

Brace Height

This is the distance between the pivot point and the string.

Broadhead

This is a sharp and very deadly arrow point used for the purpose of hunting.

C

Cam

The compound bow has a limb that comes with a pulley, that pulley is known as the cam.  

Cant

Holding the bow left or right is the cant technique.

Carbon fiber

A strong material used in modern archery for bows and arrows.

Cast

The power of a bow to send an arrow flying to a distance.

Center Serving

A material used to protect the string from wearing out.

Clout

A marker used to pinpoint the location of a long-range shot.

Cock feather

A fletch with a different color to signal proper arrow alignment.

Composite Bow

A bow made by laminating several materials together.

D

Dacron

A durable material to make bowstrings.

Dead release

This happens when the drawing hand stays at the anchor point after the release of the bowstring.   

Drawing

This is the process of pulling the arrow back with the bowstring to take a shot.

Drawing arm

This arm holds the bowstring and the arrow.

Drift

This is the deflection of the arrow caused by the wind.

E

End Loop

The part of the string that fits over the nock on the bow.

English Longbow

The most powerful medieval bow

F

Face

The side of the bow that is facing the archer. Also known as the belly.    

Fastflight

A powerful synthetic material used to make durable bowstrings.

Fiberglass

A powerful material to create bows and arrows.

Field archery

Outdoors shooting at targets placed at different distances.

Field arrow

A very strong and heavy arrow that is ideal for hunting purposes.

Field tip

An arrowhead used for practice as well as hunting for small targets.

Fistmele

This is the string height and you calculate this by the distance between the bowstring and the bow handle.

Flatbow

This bow is non-recurve and the cross section is rectangular.

Flemish String

A twisted string that uses to bundles of string that come in different colors.

Fletch

The attached of feathers, rubber or plastic vanes to any arrow.

Fletcher

Someone who makes and installs fletches on arrows.

Flipper rest

This rest is attached to the bow’s riser.

Footed arrow

Any arrow that uses two types of wood for the shaft.

Full Draw

Once the drawing hand reaches the anchor point, there is a full draw.

G

Glove

The shooting glove that protects the fingers.

Grip

The strength used to hold the bow in position.

Ground Quiver

A grounded device used to hold arrows and bows.

Gungdo

The art of Korean Archery

H

Handle

The center of the bow.

Hankyu

This is a short bow made in Japan.

Heel

The pressure exerted with the bow’s heel on the lower portion of the grip.

Horse Archer

An archer that shoots while mounting a horse.

I

Insert

The part of the arrow that is attached to the nock.

IBO

International Bowhunting Organization

J

Judo Points

A target with spring wired meant to find it with ease.

K

Kevlar

Strong material that is also lightweight and used for bowstrings.

Kisser

This button is used for proper location of your anchor point.

Kyudo

The art of Japanese Archery.

L

Laminated Bow

A bow with several layers of different materials.

Launcher Rest

The arrow that is most often used with compound bows.

Let Down

When you draw your bowstring and then return from the full draw without shooting.

Level

A small level to indicate the bow is in full vertical position.

Limb

When parts of the bow are bended above and below the riser.

Limb dampener

A rubber with the shape of a mushroom that reduces vibrations.

Limb Pocket

A slot in the top and bottom of the bow riser

Longbow

A very tall bow considered the true traditional archery bow.

Loop

A woven end on the bowstring that fits in the bow nocks.

M

Mass Weight

The weight of the bow

Matt

The backstop of a target.

Mechanical broadhead

An arrow with blades that open upon impact.

Mongolian draw

The art of drawing the bow with the thumb

N

Nock

The notch on the read end of an arrow.

Nock locator

A device used to indicate the location for the arrow on the string.

Nock Set

A small attachment to mark the nocking point.

O

Overdrawn

A bowstring that is too short for a bow.

P

Parabolic Fletch

A rounded shaped fletch

Peak weight

The peak draw weight of a compound bow.

Peep Sight

A metal or plastic device used to help aim your shots.

Pivot Point

The very center of a bow.

Point

The arrowhead or front end of an arrow.

Q

Quiver

The container used for arrows. It can be worn on the back, the waist and grounded.

R

Recurve Bow

A bow that has tips that curve away from the archer.

Reflex Bow

A bow with the handle and he limbs curving away from the archer.

Release

Firing an arrow

Release aid

A device that releases the arrow

Rest

A device that holds the arrow against the handle.

Riser

The section of the bow that you grip.

Round

The process of shooting a specific number of arrows at a target.

S

Safety Arrow

An arrow with a padded tip.

Scope sight

A bow sight that includes a magnifying lens.

Self Bow

A bow that is made with a single piece of material.

Snap Shooting

Instinctive shooting without pausing to aim.

Spine

The stiffness of an arrow

Stance

The positioning of your feet and body when taking a shot.

T

Tab

A patch made of leather that protects the archer’s fingers.

Tackle

The name given to archery equipment

Take-down Bow

A bow that can easily be taken apart and limbs detached.

Taper Tool

A tool that tapers wooden shafts for both nock and point.

Target

A general Term for the destination of an arrow.

Target face

The part of the target meant to be shot at.

V

Vane

A fletch made of any material other than feathers.

W

Windage

The adjustment of the bow sight

Windlass

A medieval device that pulls the string on a crossbow.

Y

Yabusame

A type of mounted archery practiced in Japan.

Final Thoughts

There are many terms related to archery, some are common and some are not, but as an archer, you must be familiar with most of them, there are some terms that will literaly change your life.

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