How to Measure Draw Length

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.

What is the Draw Length?

Archer firing an arrow

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. 

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.

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. 

Young man firing an arrow

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.

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