Tips and trick

How To Measure Draw Length All By Yourself

How To Measure Draw Length All By Yourself

When you go out to shop a bow for yourself, what do you usually check? Most people settle with the build, quality and material. However, the most important thing that almost everyone forgets is the measurement. To remind you, this is not just any sort of sizing, but the size of the bow according to your dimensions. If you can relate to being one of these, read on to find how to measure draw length so that shooting becomes easier.

What is draw length?

Draw length is an important factor despite the type of bow you use. It is the deciding factor for the length and size of the arrow as well as the size of the bow. It is important for the compound bow archers essentially. The reason behind this is that the compound shooters have to set the draw lengths.
Sadly, most the newbies just get a bow and try to fit themselves according to the bow. This happens usually due to lack of knowledge. This affects the performance quite severely. It decreases the accuracy, the comfort and can even lead to injuries with constant use. Therefore, experts recommend you to fit the bow according to your body. Now, since bows come in so many sizes, it is best that you start with a bow that fits you the best.



This brings us to our next topic, that is, how you can determine draw length.

How to determine draw length

There are two ways to achieve this. First, we will discuss the standard ATA method, followed by the one that needs body calculations.

Standard ATA method

In this method, we talk about the ATA draw length standard. ATA stands for Archery Trade Association. It helps to establish measurements and standards for the archery community. According to ATA, the draw length is the distance when the archer pulls the bow to the maximum extent, starting from the nocking point, to the pivot point of the bow grip, plus 1 ¾”.
Confused, right? Don’t worry. Read on and all your doubts will be cleared about how to measure your draw length.

  • Archer pulls the bow in the proper anchor position.
  • The assistant takes a measurement. The starting point is the apex of the string, which is also called the Nock Grove. The measurement ends at the Pivot Point of the bow grip.
  • Next, add 1 ¾ inches to whatever measurement you get.

And that’s it. Now, modern day bows come with the distance of 1 ¾ inches already between the two end points that we used for calculation. This makes it easier as now you need to only take the measurement from the nock grove to the back side of the bow when it is fully drawn.
Well, if you are not sure what the nock grove is, it is the part of the arrow which meets the bowstring. However, if it extends beyond the string, which is not added to the calculations.


Calculated draw length

This is a fast process and works great for recurve as well as compound archers. There are two steps to check the draw length.

  • Measuring the arm span
  • Dividing it by 2.5

This is commonly known as measure and divide method. The archery community has been using this method for years and it is quite effective as well.

Things you need:

  • Tape measure
  • Some simple calculations
  • An expert to measure for you



You don’t need to be an expert or a pro to do this. All you need is someone to assist you in measuring. Here are the steps to calculate it.

  1. Stand in such a way with your arms spread like you are making a ‘T’ with your body. Stretch out your palms open and facing forward.
  2. Your shoulders should be straight and not scrunched up. The chest should remain at a considerable level. Do not over expand it.
  3. Stand in a relaxed manner. Do not over do anything.
  4. Tell your assistant to measure using a tape. Start from the tip of one middle finger and extend it up to the other. Alternatively, you can stand with your back resting against the wall. Your assistant will mark the ends where your middle fingers end. Now, just measure the distance between the two markings.
  5. Whichever way you measure it, this is called the arm span.
  6. Next, divide this by 2.5.

This is your calculated draw length. Now, if it comes as a decimal, we would recommend you to round it off to the nearest half inch.

girl shooting


And that’s it! You have the two best methods to calculate the draw length. Now, that you know how to calculate draw length, let us look at some of the important tips related to it.

  • Both these methods tell how to measure bow draw length. However, none of these are going to be effective or correct if the archer does not know the proper shooting form or lacks one. Improper full draw and anchor position will lead to confusing results.
  • When taking the measurements, the archer should not scrunch or fold the arms. Every part of the body must be properly aligned with the arrow shaft. If this does not happen, you will definitely get wrong readings.
  • In case you are a beginner, you should not load an arrow when using any of these methods. Also, do not dry fire in the bow. Dry fire means pulling and releasing the string without an arrow. This will damage the bow and can even result in injuries.

Now, when you are out to buy a bow, you might find many websites which use two charts to tell the bow size. However, they simply overlook the first step. So, it is recommended that you make a thorough check before all of it if you do not want your bow to end up in a dingy corner of the house.

man shooting



Having read both the steps above, it must have been clear to you how to determine bow arrow length. We hope it made things clear to you and that you will take care when you are out to buy a bow. As you know, getting a perfect size is important else the bow will be a useless thing and will cause more damage than good. Do let us know in comments how you found these steps to be. Also, if you need any clarification, you can query that too. Lastly, it is up to you how you buy the perfect bow for yourself.

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