How To Measure Brace Height On A Compound Bow

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
an archer practicing at an indoor range

The distance between the deepest section of the grip and the bowstring is the brace height of a bow. Bows with shorter brace heights shoot arrows faster than bows with taller brace heights.

It’s crucial to know how to measure the brace height of any bow so that an archer can fine-tune it for better accuracy. In this article, I will shed light on the process on how to measure brace height on a compound bow.

What is Brace Height?

Brace height is the total length in a straight line between the string and the deepest portion of the grip when you are not pulling the bow. Measuring brace height is definitely handy. This is a good method of determining the amount of pressure on your bow.

Basically, the bow is under a bunch of pre-tension if the brace height is long. The bow is under minimal pre-tension if the brace height is short. Furthermore, the design of the riser can have a significant impact on the bow brace height. Thus accurate comparisons of brace heights between different compound bows are impossible.

What Are The Implications on Bow Performance?

Measuring brace height is vital since it significantly impacts the arrow’s wider range and speed offer. As a result, you’ll want a consistent brace height that suits your archery needs.

When you use a shorter brace height, it results in increased arrow velocity. It is because, at rest, the bowstring is nearer to the bow grip, so you should pull the bowstring much further to meet the user’s draw length. For example, an archer with a 30-inch draw length and a 5-inch brace height should pull the bowstring 25 inches. Here’s how to measure your bow’s draw length.

However, if you increase the speed, it will also cost tolerance. The arrow stays linked to the bowstring for longer during the shot cycle because it drags the bowstring further. That implies any flaws in the bow or archer amplify during the shooting sequence. Factors like bow torque or a poorly tuned rest will enormously impact arrow flight, lowering accuracy.

I’m not implying that a bow with a low brace height will perform poorly. It simply means that great tuning and shooting form is required to get the most precision from a compound bow with a short brace height.

Depending on the cam mechanism, bows with higher brace heights often shoot slower than bows with shorter brace heights. However, there is an apparent advantage to giving up speed.

A longer brace height separates the throat of the bow grip and the bowstring. You should not stretch the bowstring as far to reach the shooter’s draw length as a result.

For example, a shooter with a 30-inch draw length shooting a bow with a 7 1/2 inch brace height will draw the bowstring 22 1/2 inches. This implies that the arrow will leave the bowstring sooner throughout the shooting process, allowing for more receptive arrow flight in the event of tuning defects or bad shooting form.

The Recommended Brace Height Ranges

The chart below shows the most frequent permissible brace height range for bows is between 58 and 70 inches in the chart below. As you can see, there is around a 3/4 inch adjustability range. However, following the manufacturer’s instructions is the most straightforward approach to knowing where to set your brace height.

Bow Length Brace Height
587.25 – 8.0
607.5 – 8.25
627.75 – 8.5
648 – 8.75
668.25 – 9
688.5 – 9.25
708.75 – 9.5

Brace height is less complicated on a compound bow, and as long as you follow the manufacturer’s advice, you’ll be alright. But don’t be hesitant to tweak or adjust your draw length, even if it means adjusting your brace height slightly.

Remember that the brace height is a crucial factor since it significantly impacts the arrow’s speed. As a result, you’ll want a consistent brace height that suits your archery needs.

Long Brace Height vs. Short Brace Height

Some archers may disagree, but I’ve concluded that brace heights of 6 inches or fewer can be characterized as short and accommodating in my years of shooting bows. Anything longer than 6 inches is considered better.

Brace heights greater than 7 inches, of course, yield the most compassionate results. However, with advances in bow technology, I see no reason why a good shooter couldn’t shoot just as well with a six 1/2-inch brace height as with a 7-inch brace height.

String Slap

Bowstring interaction with your arm or sleeve is a possible concern with a bow with a small brace height. The bowstring is closer to your inner forearm because it starts closer to the grip. When you throw in some heavy hunting gear, the chances of bowstring slap rise.

Bowstring slap is not only uncomfortable, but it also significantly affects the arrow flight. Bowstring slap is more likely to occur when some archers grasp their bows incorrectly. They usually clamp their bow hand tightly in the grip, basically what we call a death grip. If that’s the case, I’d recommend switching to a bow with a higher brace height or changing your grip so that only roughly a third of your palm is in touch with the grip.

The cause of bowstring conflict isn’t always the brace height. Firing too long of a draw length can also cause a bowstring slap. If you’re unsure about your draw length, consider getting fitted by a professional. Not only will you become steadier, but it will also reduce the chance of bowstring slap.


The standard brace height of your bow is both crucial and valuable for tuning. It’s vital to measure the brace height when installing a new bowstring and cables. If it doesn’t have the standard brace height measurement, it’s generally a sign that you need to add certain twists or remove them to get the bow to the standard brace height.

How to Adjust Brace Height

Follow these steps to adjust the brace height on your compound bow:

  1. Place the bow in a bow press.

2. Release the stress from the limbs by tightening the bow press.

3. To raise the brace height, add twists to both cables, and reduce twists to lower it.

If you have two cables, make sure they each have the same amount of twists added or removed. Otherwise, the cams may become misaligned, causing your arrow’s flight path to shift.

Raise the brace height to increase the draw weight of the bow, just like a recurve bow. Take care not to raise the brace height too high. Otherwise, the limbs may be overstretched, which would shorten their lifespan. (1)

It’s probably best to get a new compound bow if you wish to adjust the brace height by more than a 1/4 inch. Compound bows are adjusted more than recurve bows; hence the brace height can’t be increased as much.

Why You Can’t Adjust the Brace Height on Some Compound Bows

Since some compound bows have parallel limbs, you won’t be able to adjust the brace height. As a result, twisting the string does not affect the brace height.

Compound technology continues to advance. The alignment of the limbs is a recent improvement. The limbs of older compound bows were inclined at roughly 45 degrees. The limbs of the most recent compound bows are parallel, which implies they are horizontal. (2)

Parallel limbs have the advantage of vibrating less than angled limbs. The vibrations will balance out since both limbs move in different directions.

A downside of parallel limbs is that you can’t adjust the brace height. The string and cables will remain in the same place if the tension on parallel limbs is changed.

When the limbs are parallel, they are dragged inwards rather than back. As a result, you can’t change the brace height on these compound bows.

Final Shot

So now we’ve covered the essentials of bow brace height, it’s time to figure out what works best for you. Both have tradeoffs, as we’ve already addressed. If speed isn’t important to you, a 7-inch-or-longer brace height is usually optimal. 

If you’ve been shooting a couple of times now and want to get some extra speed, a shorter brace height could work well as long as the bow grip suits your hand well, you have good shooting technique, and the bow is correctly tuned.

(1) lifespan –
(2) technology –