Do You Need An Arrow Rest On A Recurve Bow?

If you use a recurve bow, you have probably wondered whether you need to use an arrow rest. You will likely have seen other archers utilising this piece of equipment, whilst some might be entirely against the idea. But what is the truth? Do you need an arrow rest on a recurve bow?

In this guide, we will be looking at the answer to this question as well as looking at some of the benefits are drawbacks of using an arrow rest on a recurve bow, giving you the option to make a more informed choice.

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What Is An Arrow Rest?

An arrow rest is a small attachment that can fit onto your bow and is used to offer support to the arrow while you get the bow to full draw. Many people use an arrow rest for the extra stability but also because you are almost guaranteed to get a straight and accurate shot every time.

Arrow rests, whilst all very similar may come in different materials, and the way that they attach to the bow may vary; other than this, there are no complex variations between products which is great news if you are looking to purchase one.

Types Of Arrow Rest

The only variation you will see between arrow rests is how they attach to the bow and the material that they are made from. However, it is essential to familiarise yourself with these as there are some advantages and drawbacks to each arrow rest.

  • Thick plastic arrow rests are great for beginners, and you will often see them being used at newbie archery events. Not only are they sturdy and offer an adequate level of stability for the arrow, but they are far less likely to break thanks to their durable nature. However, you should keep in mind that since they are much thicker, there is more chance that they will interfere with the arrow.
  • Alternatively, there is the thin plastic arrow rest which is ideal for more experienced archers. They are similar to the thick plastic arrow rests that we have discussed but are more delicate. You must ensure that when you attach the arrow rest to the bow, you do so precisely as these rests cannot be adjusted once they are in place. Furthermore, they are less durable and may break if you are not gentle with them.
  • Metal arrow rests are very common and come in two forms; stick on and screw-in. Naturally, they are much more durable and will last a long time and are fully adjustable. Screw-in metal arrow rests will fit into the second screw hole of your bow and are prefered since there is not the risk of them falling off like the stick on models.
  • Whisker biscuit arrow rests are incredible for short-range hunting since they can retain the arrow far better than other types. However, they do cause a lot of interference, so they are not a good choice if you enter archery competitions.

Do I Need An Arrow Rest For A Recurve?

Recurve bows are designed so that the shooter can fire the arrow off the shelf, so in short, you do not need to install an arrow rest. However, this is mostly down to your personal preference and using an arrow rest on your recurve bow is an entirely acceptable thing to do.

When we talk about shooting off the shelf, we are referring to releasing the arrow from the bow shelf; you will find this in the middle of the riser. This is how these bows were meant to be fired, but that does not mean that this method is without its problems.

In fact, shooting off the shelf might cause more problems than it is worth. For example, firing in this way will eventually cause wear and tear of the bow where the arrow brushes against it. This will take quite some time and quite a few shots, but it will become an issue at some point or another.

Furthermore, when you shoot without an arrow rest, there is no denying that your shots may not be accurate; this is particularly true if you are new to archery or do not have a steady aim.

Without an arrow rest, you may notice that there is a higher level of interference when shooting. This is because there is a tendency for the arrow to hit the bow and this can cause both damage to the vanes of the arrow but may also throw it off course, further reducing the accuracy of each shot.

Pros And Cons Of Using An Arrow Rest

It is clear to see that using an arrow rest is not a necessary part of using a recurve bow; however, many people would argue that it is undoubtedly advantageous.

But to further aid you in your decision as to whether to install an arrow rest on your recurve bow, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this small, yet effective piece of equipment.


  • Your accuracy is much improved. Using an arrow rest allows the arrow to be held firmly in place as you draw the bow. Once it is released, you will notice that your aim is almost always on target. If you are new to the sport of archery, using an arrow rest might be a great way to practice before moving onto a more freestyle type of shooting.
  • The cost of your recurve bow will depend significantly on the brand, craftsmanship and other factors and while you can pick up a bow for as little as $150, some prices can vastly exceed this, and go into the thousands. Either way, you will have invested some money into your bow, and you will want it to last as long as possible. When you use an arrow rest, this prevents the arrow from having contact with the bow and stops it from wearing it away and leaving unsightly marks.
  • You will also notice that the condition of your arrows is improved when using an arrow rest since the lack of contact with the bow will keep them intact more easily.


  • An arrow rest means adding another piece of equipment to the bow.
  • Some people prefer a more traditional method of shooting, and an arrow rest is not conducive with this.


It is not necessary to use an arrow rest with a recurve bow, and some people never use them since they like to shoot in a more traditional manner.

However, it is not difficult to see that an arrow rest provides a lot of benefits such as retaining the quality of both the bow and arrow as well as giving you a more consistent and accurate shot.

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