How You Should Hold The Bow When Shooting 

Posted by Andy Ryan
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hand gripping the bow

There are numerous factors that go into making a great archer, but none is more crucial than precise bow handling. Essentially, a good bow handgrip will improve your aim in all areas. This eliminates the human impact or torque that would otherwise be required to steady your bow.

But, how should you hold the bow when shooting? Keep reading, as I cover the basics of the effective grip of an archery bow when shooting. You can check more here the archery basics.


Good Grip Placement


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The fundamentals of a good grip apply whether you’re shooting a longbow, recurve, or compound bow. You want a consistent grip that provides strong support while applying the least amount of torque. 

To get a good grip, place your bow on the thumb pad. It’s on the left area of your lifeline if you’re looking at your left hand. It is to establish “bone to bone” form, which means using the least amount of muscles. If you grip the bow fully with your entire hand, you will be crossing several muscle groups. That will add tension to your grip and potentially lead to inconsistencies in form and unwanted torque.

So, for proper bow placement, hold your hand out in front of you as if you were telling someone to stop. If your thumb and four fingers form the letter L, rotate your hand until they form the letter V. Then, you’ll notice that your lifeline is now vertical. After that, take your bow in that hand position and set it in the grip.

Tip: A small piece of tape placed on your hand can assist you in learning where to rest your bow’s grip when drawing it back.


Achieved a Relaxed Bow Hand Form


A relaxed hand and fingers are necessary for a strong grip position because they reduce torque. To do so, slide your hand as far up the grip as it will go. The web of your hand must be in the throat, which is the deepest part of the grip. 

Next, position your hand. Only the area between your thumb and your lifeline must touch the grip. At maximum draw length, your knuckles should be at a 45-degree angle to the bow grip, with only the pad of your thumb resting on the grip itself. Here’s how you can measure properly your draw length.

After that, point your thumb toward the target. Curl your fingers so that they rest on the front of the bow. If you are concerned that too much relaxation will cause you to drop the bow when shooting, use a finger or wrist sling. What it does is prevent the bow from dropping when you shoot. (1)


How Should you Hold the Bow when Shooting [Tip]


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If you’re still having trouble getting the proper hand position, you can use the training aid. To use it, slide it over to your first three fingers. It has a padded point that prevents you from squeezing your grip too tightly. Furthermore, the padded point allows you to position your grip perfectly in your hand. (2)


Correct Archery Grip


When archers first pick up a bow and walk to the shooting line, their natural instinct is to grab the bow with all their might. With that, they make the mistake of holding the bow with a death grip or gripping the bow too tight. 

If you grip your bow tightly, like holding a baseball bat or a pistol, it will twist side to side. That is known as torque, which will result in inconsistent shooting, usually with many left and right misses. Also, you’ll have less control over the arrow and bow string.


Two Main Reasons Why You Should Not Use a Death Grip


  1. The muscles in your fingers, wrist, hands, and forearm begin to shake when you clench them. And the harder and longer you clench them, the more they shake. The more they tremble, the faster your bow moves. These movements can affect the arrow’s path as it separates from the bow string and leaves the bow.
  2. If you clench the muscles I mentioned, the bow will wiggle back and forth after the arrow leaves the bow. And the bowstring will hit your inner elbow and give you an awful welt.

In other words, using a death grip can result in inaccurate shots and hurting yourself at the same time.


Protective Gear to Use


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To prevent injuries, you should use the safety accessories such as:

  • Three-fingered gloves or finger tabs – to protect the three fingers that draw the bowstring at draw length.
  • Mechanical release – also protects the three fingers. The shooting hand pulls back on it that snaps onto the string. To let go of the string, you will pull a trigger.
  • Armguard – as the string snaps back, it protects the inner part of the bow arm during release. If an arrow breaks during release, it protects the arm by preventing the bowstring from catching on loose clothing.

With this protective gear, you can execute proper bow grip and shoot arrows safely.


(1) relaxation –
(2) training aid –

Andy Ryan is the founder of ArcheryPower and has been in the archery industry for many years. He is an instructor and maintains a certification. His mission is helping more and more people each year with archery and bow hunting.

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