Determining The Best Arrow Length

How Arrow Length Impacts Your Shots

Choosing the proper arrow length is crucial for any aspiring archer. To safeguard against misconceptions and missteps, this article will teach you exactly how to select the right arrow length for your needs.

More often than not, beginners tend to disregard this detail. This can end up being detrimental to their hunt or target practice. We bet that even veteran archers spend their entire careers hunting without this valuable knowledge.

You may be surprised to hear that arrow length plays a significant role in your success as an archer. Not only will you be more accurate with your shots with the correct arrow length, but excellent results will come much easier.

Conversely, using the wrong sized arrows for shooting can be detrimental to your efforts, and perhaps even dangerous to you, those around you, and your weapon. Measuring arrow length is paramount for a high-quality experience.

When I had just started doing archery, I familiarized myself with the importance of the right bow size for my training. However, I would pick my arrows at random; a gross misjudgment.

You might do the same, choosing to pick a handful of arrows at your local store and have done with it. Alternatively, you may be cutting your bolts too short or going for the wrong size altogether.

Sadly, one arrow size will not fit everyone, and we’ve undertaken a ton of research to save you the time. Fear not, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and put together this comprehensive and informative guide to help you get familiar with the basics.

So, let’s take an extensive look into arrows, how they work, and how to pick the best one for yourself. By the time you’re finished reading, you should be well equipped to make the right decision for you! Archery Edge has you covered.

Parts of an Arrow

If you are at the very beginning of your archery journey, you should understand arrow anatomy before determining your ideal arrow length.

Familiarizing yourself with the terminology will make you feel more confident about your next trip to the shop as well. So let’s take a look at the essential parts – nock, fletching, shaft, and point.

Archer aiming at targets


The nock is the part of arrow closest to you when you shoot. It enables the bolt to sit back into the bow instead of slipping off.

Nowadays, nocks come in plastics, and you can repair and replace them quickly. On traditional wooden arrows, though, they come carved into the material.


Fletching is the name used for the feathers on the back side of your arrow. They allow for proper arrow flight, and also serve to indicate that you have nocked your arrow correctly.


The shaft is the component that you measure to determine the length of the arrow. It is a long piece of material from the tip to the nock.

It is the base of your arrow, and you connect your point and the nock to it.

Shafts come in traditional wood, durable aluminum, and some are even manufactured from top-shelf carbon, although these come at a premium price. Most arrows you encounter will be made from aluminum, as it offers the best balance between quality and affordability.


The arrowhead comes to the end of your shaft. It is the part that pierces into your target or game you’re hunting.

It’s basically the tip of the arrow, and there are three basic arrowhead types: field tips for normal range sports, blunt end for small-scale hunting and broadhead for traditional bowhunting.

Choosing Your Bow and Arrows

You may think that selecting the proper length will be as easy as accessing an arrow length chart. Although these are a useful point of reference, there is a bit more to it.

Firstly, you need to determine your draw length. This step is critical for your future success, and every successive part leans directly on this one.

Knowing your draw size enables you to pick a bow of the correct size. Only then can you start thinking about your arrow length and comprehend how these factors relate.

Draw Length

The draw length depends solely on your anatomy and physical build. There are several methods to determine it, but the simplest one is the ‘Measure and Divide,’ which most archers use.

For beginners, this method is sufficient. What you need to do is measure your arm span, and then divide it by 2.5 – that’s it!

Bonus tip: if you get a result of, say 20.5 inches, round it up to 21 inches for extra safety and convenience.

Bow Size

This very straightforward step could make or break your performance. Having determined your draw length, you can check a bow size chart to see which bow size will work for you.

Especially if you’re a beginner, this is crucial for developing proper form and a high level of skill. Be sure to test the feel of the bow.

Draw Weight

If you go for a set that is too heavy, this will more likely than not lead to poor form and back issues, lessening your enjoyment.

Your strength and endurance will keep increasing as you practice, but if you start with too heavy a bow (some call this being ‘overbowed’), things can be pretty painful in the short term.

Again, you can access charts for a straightforward calculation, and these are based on your age and type of bow you’re using. Remember, a lighter bow is a much safer option.