If you know someone who loves archery then it stands to reason that you will want to get them an exciting archery gift when their birthday, Christmas, anniversary or any other special occasion comes around.
However, one of the problems that a lot of people face is that they do not know the first thing about archery and as such, find that choosing the right gift is next to impossible. But this does not need to be a problem any more.
We have put together a comprehensive guide on all the things that an archer needs and why they might find these gifts useful and exciting.
Things Every Archer Should Have
If you have never practiced archery, it might surprise you to learn that there is an incredible amount of equipment that an archer needs to maintain his or her favourite sport.
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that archers need nothing more than just a bow and arrow but this could not be further from the truth.
The type of equipment and the accessories that an archer needs will largely depend on several things including the type of archery that they do, where they shoot, the type of bow they use and of course, their personal preference. Sounds complicated, right? But it isn’t once you get to grips with all of the essential things that every archer should have.
So, if you are in the market for an exciting archery gift for someone you love, take a look at our top picks of the most important archery equipment.
It seems pretty obvious as a first choice that you might buy arrows for an archer and this is one of the most familiar pieces of archery equipment, even for those who don’t practice the sport.
But what surprises many people is that there is so much more to the arrow that first meets the eye. There are, in fact, several types of arrow and the type you select will vastly depend on the type of archery that is being practiced.
Furthermore, arrows come in different lengths. For example, if the archer takes part in bowfishing, he or she would need a much longer arrow than those used in bowhunting. What’s more, bowfishing arrows tend to be made from much more durable materials as they need to be stronger.
Bowhunters will typically use what is known as a broadhead arrow as these are far better for making a kill. In contrast, using these for target archery would likely cause a lot of damage to the target and so they are rarely used for this type of archery.
You should also look at the material of the arrow since they can come in a huge range. There are arrows made from fibreglass and carbon which tend to be very lightweight and tend to have a faster flying speed.
Archers that wish to replicate a more conventional type of archery might favour wooden arrows like those seen in the movies and in ancient times. For this reason, it is again important to be aware of what sort of archery your loved one does.
Read more: Great arrows for a 70 lb compound bow
Many people who do not typically take part in archery believe that firing a bow involves using the hand to pull back the bowstring and release the arrow and while it is true that you can do it this way, many modern archers do not.
Instead, the archer would use a small device known as a bow release. This is something that attaches to the bowstring and releases it rather than the archer having to use his or her fingers.
While it is not obligatory to use a bow release, many modern archers favour these devices as there are a lot of advantages in using them. For example, releasing the bowstring with the fingers can cause chafing and pain which can ultimately affect the overall performance of the archer.
But much more than this, you will need to think about the type of bow that the archer uses. In the main, archers use either a recurve bow or a compound bow. The latter is a mechanical bow which has only been around for the last few decades, whereas a recurve is a much more traditional type of bow.
Archers that use a compound bow are more likely to use a release but there are some recurve bow users that use them. For the most part, recurve bow archers will develop techniques for shooting that do not require the use of a release.
Conversely, the compound bow is often designed with a bow release in mind and many people will instinctively use these. However, some experts would not recommend these for beginners as they could prevent them from learning valuable shooting skills. Therefore, if the gift recipient is new to archery, this might be something that you get them on another special occasion.
There are two main types of bow sling; the wrist sling and the finger sling. There are hundreds of articles all over the internet detailing which one is better and which one might suit any given archer.
However, in a nutshell, a bow sling is a device that prevents the archer from dropping the bow. You will often see Olympic archers using this type of equipment so it can be very easy to assume that this is an essential accessory for all archers. You wouldn’t be wrong.
The reason that a bow sling is so important is because when the archer releases the bowstring, a considerable amount of force will cause the bow to move forward. If there is nothing stopping this, there is a chance that it could fall out of the hands.
Of course, nobody wants this, specifically because it would cause damage to the bow which could be costly to replace and there is a chance of injury.
Modern bow slings come in a range of styles but the most important thing is the comfort of the archer as well as giving them stability and accuracy. Accuracy is one of the most important parts of archery and every piece of equipment in an archers arsenal should have it as a priority.
Finger slings are typically used by competitive archers and these are what you would see in the Olympics. They are more likely used with a recurve bow. However, a wrist bow sling would normally be used by bowhunters and people using compound bows.
If you don’t know much about archery, it will probably surprise you to learn that archers also have to apply ‘cosmetics’ to their bowstring in order to keep them in tip top condition.
Bowstring wax is something that no good archer can live without and although the bow string doesn’t need replacing for around two to three years after it is installed, in general, this doesn’t mean that good maintenance is not required.
This wax is applied along the length of the bowstring to keep it supple, smooth and flexible. Over time, and as the string is drawn repeatedly, it will lose its quality but using a bowstring wax can improve the lifespan of the bowstring.
But just as surprising as the fact that bowstring wax exists in the first place is the fact that there are some which might do more harm than good.
There are some low-quality bowstring waxes on the market that could leave a nasty residue on the string and cause it to wear away more quickly than it otherwise would.
You must also think about the scent of the bowstring wax. If you are buying a gift for a bowhunter who will be stalking wild game, a scented bowstring wax could be enough to deter his or her target.
Animals have an incredible sense of smell and even the most delicately fragranced waxes could see them running in the opposite direction.
A bow stand is a piece of essential archery equipment for anyone who uses a compound bow. When the archer is out target shooting or bowhunting, it is vital that he or she has somewhere safe and secure that they can place their bow when they are not using it. Furthermore, in between practice sessions, it is imperative that the bow is hung properly, otherwise there is a chance that it will become damaged.
These are expensive pieces of equipment and an archer would not want any damage to come to their bow.
The bow stand works by attaching to the limbs of the compound bow. It has legs which can be adjusted and rest on the ground, fully supporting the weight of the bow and keeping it off the floor.
While a bow stand would typically be used with a compound bow, there are those that are made with a recurve bow in mind. However, when you are shopping for these, it is important to check whether the design is compatible for the type of bow the archer uses.
A bow stand is probably one of the more useful gifts that you could buy for an archer. Primarily because not all archers will own one and will have to dismantle the bowstring to store the bow in its case, which is a bit of a nuisance.
What’s more, these pieces of equipment come in varying price ranges so you can be sure to find something to fit your budget.
An arrow puller is a tool that all archers need but something that they often wish they didn’t have to have. But without these small devices, the archer would spend a lot more money on new arrows.
In the most simple terms, an arrow puller is used to pull arrows that have become lodged in a target or anything else in the surrounding area.
Quite often, when an arrow misses its target, it may become lodged in a tree or other nearby object. It can be quite difficult to remove it without damaging the arrow and this is where an arrow puller is invaluable.
What’s great about these tools is that they are extremely compact so they can be taken out on archery adventures without the need for the archer to be weighed down. After all; he or she will already have a lot of equipment to carry with them.
An arrow puller doesn’t just work in one way, while this is a small accessory, it is one that is very powerful. To begin with, the arrow puller will get an excellent grip on the arrow shaft so that the archer can use his or her own force to remove it. When grabbing an arrow by hand, there simply is not enough grip.
Furthermore, the arrow pulled will prevent the arrow from becoming damaged as it is removed. When you attempt to remove an arrow by hand, there is a very real chance that it will bend or in the worst case scenario, snap entirely.
A bow sight is a small piece of equipment that uses a system of pins and allows the archer to sight in on their target. There are archers that prefer not to use a sight but this is rare and more often than not, modern archers will always use a bow sight.
This accessory attaches to the bow and the archer can look through it. Whereas sights on a rifle might use a magnification aspect, bow sights do not; this is where the pins come in. As the archer looks through the bow sight, this enables them to get a much more accurate aim on their target. As we have already discovered, accuracy is one of the most important parts of this sport.
However, you cannot merely head to an archery shop or look online for any old bow sight; it is important to choose the correct one.
In the main, there are two different types of bow sight, one that uses multiple pins and a bow sight with a single pin.
A multiple pin bow sight must be sighted in by the archer before heading out to shoot. Each pin will be set at a different distance; this is typically ten yards, twenty yards and forty yards but this will vary from person to person.
Conversely, a single pin bow sight features just one pin which the archer can adjust as they go along, moving it according to the current distance they are shooting.
Read more: Best single pin bow sight
If you are looking for an arm guard, you may notice that they are sometimes called bracers. While the name may be different, these are essentially the same thing. You will find this a lot in archery, many pieces of equipment can go by many names so it is important not to let this confuse you.
An arm guard is exactly what you might imagine it to be; a guard that fits on the arm, the forearm to be precise.
These archery accessories can come in many forms, typically being made from leather, stone or plastic. When you think about traditional archery, you might imagine the archer wearing an arm guard as these are often part of the Hollywood costume for actors playing the role of an archer.
In reality, they are not as common as other pieces of equipment as not all archers will use them but those that do realise the importance of them. The arm guard, or bracer is used to serve two main purposes; to protect the arm from string slap and to keep any long sleeves or other loose clothing from interfering with the shot.
When we talk about string slap, this is where the bowstring grazes the forearm as the archer takes the shot. This can be very painful and when it happens repeatedly, the area can become quite sore. That being said, a lot of archers still don’t realise how beneficial these can be and as such, you will find a lot of information online about why you should use a bracer.
If your archer friend or family member isn’t using an arm guard at the moment, you might consider this as a gift.
Targets come in so many different shapes and sizes and they are one of the most essential parts of archery practice. Without a target, the archer would not be able to practice their aim, ready for when they go out hunting or take part in a competition.
However, you should think about the type of archery that the person takes part in. This is because the targets that a bowhunter might use will be vastly different from those that a target archer would use.
Bowhunters might use 3D targets which come in the shape and often size of an animal, this allows them to have a realistic practice in their own backyard. However, someone who takes part in competitive archery might use the type of target that you would initially think of when asked to picture an archery target.
These often feature a series of concentric circles with varying points for each one. You will often see these used in Olympic archery. The main types of archery targets are as follows:
- Bag targets are large, heavy filled bags that sometimes come with targets printed on all sides. These can easily be moved around and are extremely durable. While they may be the most basic form of archery target, they are certainly one of the most practical.
- Cube or block targets are great for experienced archers and while most of these come with a six-sided design, there is one, the Rinehart 18-1, which has 18 sides. This is great for anyone who needs to practice shooting from awkward angles and from different vantage points.
- Paper targets are exactly that, targets made from paper. However, you wouldn’t typically use them on their own. The paper target would normally be attached to a bag or wooden target.
- 3D targets, as we have discussed, come in the shape of animals that a bowhunter would typically stalk. However, it is worth keeping in mind that these can be slightly more expensive.
A quiver is a container that an archer stores his or her arrows in and allows them to take a series of arrows out into the field without having to carry them individually. This piece of archery equipment dates back almost to the dawn of archery itself and while back then, they would have been made from animal skin, modern quivers are much more diverse.
Quivers come in two main forms; those that are worn on the hip and those that are worn on the back. Much of the decision into which one will work best is based on the personal preference of the archer, but there are other things to consider.
For example, target archers will generally go for a hip quiver and there are those that are designed specifically for target archery. These quivers allow the archer to see their arrows and sort through them easily whilst also being able to quickly remove them, when they are ready to use them.
Conversely, a bowhunter might like to use a back quiver as they do not get in the way while walking through the woods.
There are also quivers which are freestanding and are often used by target archers who will be in one spot for the duration of the competition. The advantage of these is that the archer does not need to wear them so they are not having to carry any additional weight.
Read more: How many arrows fits in a quiver
Lessons In Archery
Whether an archer has been practicing for many decades or is just beginning to understand the sport; there is always something to learn.
Archery is not something that you can just do as and when you feel like it. It is a sport that requires lifelong commitment and ongoing practice. But without professional instruction, it is easy for an archer to pick up on some very bad habits.
If you know an archer who has every accessory and piece of equipment available then treating them to a course of archery lessons might be a gift that is very well received. But you don’t need to make them feel as though you are questioning their ability. There are many archery lessons that can be extremely fun.
According to the National Field Archery Association of the USA, there are many benefits to having archery lessons. These include helping the archer to improve their focus, working on hand-eye coordination and improving strength.
What’s more, attending archery lessons or perhaps an archery experience will allow the person to meet others who have similar interests.
Once a person begins practicing archery, it won’t take long before it has taken over their life and they will want to spend every waking moment with their bow. One thing is for certain about archers; they are dedicated.
But this dedication means that they must have a lot of accessories and pieces of equipment; and we are not just talking about a bow. While many people may mistakenly think that archers need nothing more than a bow and arrow and a good aim, there is an endless selection of equipment that would make the perfect archery gift.