How to Measure Draw Length

Ultimate Draw Length Guide

Making sure that you have the correct draw length for your bow is essential when it comes to not only getting your best shot but ensuring the safety of yourself and everyone around you.

Although many archery stores have the capacity to measure your draw length for you in-store, we often find that measuring your draw length a few times using a number of different methods leads to a more accurate reading, and therefore leading you to your perfect bow.

Many archers would be tempted to add a few inches to their draw length as they are under the impression that this will give them a little bit of room for adjustment, but in reality they are compromising the accuracy of their bow’s shooting ability.

Today, we are going to be talking you through everything you need to know about draw lengths and provide you with a few quick and easy methods that you can use to measure and implement the correct draw length.

How to Measure Draw Length
Chapter 1

What is the Draw Length?

Whether you have been a keen archer for a while now, or have recently decided to take up the sport, coming to terms with the terminology can be overwhelming; so we’re here to help, and today we are going to be breaking down the draw length.

What is the Draw Length?

Your draw length is the distance between the nocking point of the string and the pivot point of the bow grip, plus 1.75 inches.

For a male of average height you could look to find a draw length of around 28.25 inches and for a woman slightly less at 25.50 inches, but everyone’s draw length is specific to them, so be sure to correctly calculate yours.

It is very important that you get your draw length measured either in an archery shop or done by yourself, not having it done can risk damage to your bow and potentially injure those around you, not only that it also helps with the accuracy and performance of your shots.

Chapter 2

How to Measure Draw Length

Measuring your draw length may sound daunting, but we have got a few tried and tested methods for you to implement that are quick and easy and will provide you with accurate readings.

How to Measure Draw Length

Method 1 – Measure Your Wingspan

Measuring your wingspan is one of the more common ways to measure your draw length and can be done in a few simple steps.

Step 1

Stand up tall with your back against a wall and stretch your arms out by your side in a T formation, ensuring that your fingers are also outstretched.

Step 2

You are going to need an assistant for this method, as next, you will need them to mark on the wall where your fingertips reach, once this has been highlighted you can then relax your position and measure the distance between the two markers with a tape measure.

Step 3

Once you have got the measurement from between your fingertips, you will need to divide this by 2.5 and then round this up to the nearest half an inch to obtain a more commonly found draw length.

Method 2 – Grip to Nock Method

Another method that is great for accurately measuring your draw length is the Grip to Nock method.

This method is commonly used by the Archery Trade Association (you may find it being called the AMO method, based on the Archery Trade Associations’ previous name; Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization).

This method will see you start at the throat of the bow and find the furthest point that this part reaches to obtain the pivot point.

Once you have established the grips pivot point, you will need to measure out to the nock point of where your arrow sits and then add 1.75 inches.

This will allow you to obtain what is known throughout the industry as the AMO certified ‘true draw length’.

Method 3 – The Pretend Draw

A quick and easy way to measure your draw length is to pretend you are actually drawing a bow.

Start by standing facing a wall and raise the hand you would traditionally hold the bow in up against the wall stretched out straight, then with your drawing hand pull back against your mouth as if you are drawing the bow.

Like the other methods, you are then going to need someone to assist you and measure the distance between the top of your fist and the corner of your mouth, this will provide you with your draw length.

Although an easy way to measure your draw length, the Pretend Draw Method is not as commonly used as it is seen to be less accurate than other certified methods.

Method 4 – Draw Length Calculators

If the methods we have previously discussed are a little too complicated for you a simple search online can provide you with a draw length calculator.

All that you will have to measure is your wingspan, and then you can enter this onto the website in either millimeters, centimeters or inches, the website will then crunch the maths to provide you with your ideal draw length.

Chapter 3

Are These Methods Universal?

As we are sure you are aware, there are a number of different types of bow available to purchase on the market, but not all of them will require you to utilize the above methods to measure your draw length.

Are These Methods Universal?

Compound bows incorporate a mechanical stop that will automatically prevent you from drawing the bow back too far and potentially damaging your bow or even yourself, so for these bows you will not have to manually calculate your draw length.

When it comes to recurve bows, this is where our measuring methods are most likely required.

Unlike the compound bow, recurve bows do not have a mechanical stop system in place meaning you have the ability to draw the bow back as far as you desire, which in turn could lead to instances such as you snapping the string, damaging the bow itself or even injuring yourself.

If you have chosen to go for the less common and more old fashioned longbow, you will also be required to do some measurements to find your perfect draw length, but it is worth mentioning that it will most likely not be the same as your measurements for a recurve bow due to the fact that longbows are much bigger in size.

Chapter 4

Handy Tips

Once you have chosen your ideal arrow and established the methods in which you need to practice to obtain your perfect draw length, we have a couple of handy tips that you can use going forward to again improve the accuracy of your measurements.

Handy Tips

Get in the Mindset

No matter which method you choose to implement to help measure your draw length, it is important to get in the correct mindset and imagine that you are actually drawing a bow as this will allow you to retain the correct posture and obtain accurate measurements.

Having the correct posture during the measurement process can ensure that you are in a natural and comfortable position leading you to purchase a more suitable archery bow in the future.

Measure Using a Few Methods

We believe that the methods we have suggested above are all simple and easy for you to carry out, so why not try a few to ensure you are getting the most accurate results.

If once you have tried out a few of the methods you are coming out with different results, something is going wrong and you may have just prevented yourself from purchasing a bow with the wrong draw length.

If after carrying out a few different ways to measure your draw length your results are coming out the same, you can be confident that you have correctly measured and can proceed to purchase a bow that is truly suited to you and you only.

Measure a Few Times

If you have chosen to stick to just one of the methods we have provided above, be sure to take your measurements more than once, this way you can be sure that you have accurately calculated and have more chances of obtaining results that are perfect for you and your future bow.

Even if you have chosen to implement a number of the above methods to measure your draw length there is no harm in conducting the measuring process a few times to ensure the utmost accuracy, after all, you don’t want to get it wrong and end up purchasing an unsuitable piece of equipment and potentially costing yourself a small fortune.

Seek Help

As already suggested, the majority of the methods we have discussed will require you to have a helping hand in obtaining your measurements, so make sure someone is nearby to assist.

If you are still struggling to measure your draw length or have tried a few methods and your results are varied, why not seek help a little further afield.

The likes of archery clubs and hunting accessory stores will be able to assist you in accurately measuring your draw length and may also be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to purchasing a suitable bow.

Whilst this is all said and good, be sure to seek the opinions of a few experts and don’t feel obliged to purchase products that you may be able to get a better deal on elsewhere just because they have helped you during your measurement process.

Don’t Overcompensate

Although on some of the methods we have discussed it was suggested that you should round your measurements up to the nearest half an inch, don’t overcompensate, and think that adding a few inches will make your bow more versatile, as this will actually have the opposite effect.

By adding a few inches to your draw length you are actually reducing the accuracy of your bow and your ability to draw the bow back to its full draw length which in turn will reduce the arrows speed and strength when it leaves the bow.

Do Your Research

Although we have provided you with a number of methods and tips when it comes to measuring your draw length, there is no harm in conducting some extra research.

If you are struggling we highly recommend checking out the likes of YouTube for step-by-step video guidance that will give you a first-hand look at how to correctly measure for your bow.


Entering the world of archery for the first time is an exciting but often overwhelming experience, as you want to be sure that you are suitably equipped to handle yourself out on the field, this is just one of the reasons why we have composed this guide on how to measure your draw length.

As discussed accurately measuring your draw length is a vital step when it comes to starting out in archery.
Using a bow that has not been precisely chosen with your draw length measurements in mind can not only lead to damage of the bow but the potential damage to yourself and overall a much less powerful and accurate shot.

We have provided you with a number of different methods that you should implement to help pinpoint your ideal draw length, whether you pick one or choose to test out all of them for a more accurate measurement, we are sure that with our help you will be able to get out on the field in no time.

Once you have measured your draw length using our handy methods and purchased a corresponding bow, you may be tempted to allow others to use your bow but remember that this has been specifically purchased to adhere to your measurements and allowing others who may have a different draw length measurement to use your bow could pose potential harm and damage to your equipment.

We hope that we have been able to provide you with some useful information when it comes to how to measure your draw length and the importance of it.

Be sure to let us know if you have found this post helpful and share it with your fellow archers!

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