How To Tell If A Compound Bow Is Left Or Right Handed (Guide)

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
woman aiming her bow

For you to correctly determine whether a bow is left or right-handed, you can look for a few key things. While some of these signs may vary with the type of bow you use when shooting, they will all affect the way you hold and use the bow. The arrow rest orientation and the location of the targeting sight are the main ones to check.

The right-handed or left-handed nature of a bow affects its operation when shot. It is important to know the orientation of a bow so that you can use the appropriate hand setup while drawing it as well as holding it. Our article will share some tips and tricks for determining the orientation of a compound bow.

Compound Bows can be left or right-handed. Here’s how to tell.

Compound bows use the following points for orientation:

  1. Compound bows use the dominant eye rather than the shooting hand. Your left eye should dominate your hand if your right eye dominates.
  2. Strings are held in a right hand while bows are held in a left hand.
  3. Alternatively, you can hold the string with your left hand and handle the bow (and fire the arrow) with your right hand.
  4. Therefore, you should use a left-handed bow if you have a dominant left eye. Left-hand holds the bow, while the right-hand holds the string (and the arrow). People with right eyes alternate their hands.

You must adjust the sight and the arrow holder on a right-handed bow in order to use these devices. Consequently, opposites matter.

Find the Compound Bow’s Sights

Compound bows are marked with small pegs that indicate to which hand they are suited. Left-handed compound bows will have sights on their right side, right-handed bows will have sights on their left.

This site is available as either left- or right-handed, as are most sights. Choosing the right hand is essential.

Find the Arrow Stabilizer of the Compound Bow

You can also determine how to orient a bow based on its arrow stabilizer, which is located in the riser. Contrasts are important. Right-handed bows have their risers on the right side. Compound bows with a left-hand riser are right-handed!

Find the Arrow Rest of the Compound Bow

Right-handed arrow rest – they are often adaptable to both sides. Right-handed arrow rests are often available on both sides.

An arrow rest for a compound bow is no different. Arraignment involves placing the arrow end in the arrow rest when the bow is drawn. If the arrow rests on the right-hand side of the bow, it’s left-handed. It’s a right-handed compound bow if it has an arrow rest on the left side! Sights tend to be more complex than arrow rests.

What would you do if you didn’t know which compound bow to use? Let’s find out more in the sections below.

Know Your Dominant Eye

A dominant eye normally tends to be the more active one.

Finding the right compound bow for you depends on which of your eyes is more dominant. Taking aim tends to involve using one of your eyes. Let’s find out which eyes are dominant:

  1. Globally, two-thirds of the population is right-eyed dominant.
  2. The left-eyed dominant population accounts for one-third.
  3. Few people are born with no dominant eye!

Try these simple tests to find out which eye is dominant.

Testing Your Eye

The following tests will help you determine which eye is dominant.

Instinctive Testing

Using a telescope, for instance, do you use your left eye or right eye? Most likely, your dominant eye would be the one you use. (1)

The Miles Test

  1. Lie on your back, with your arms extended straight ahead.
  2. Make a circle with your fingers.
  3. Focus on an object far in the distance.
  4. Close one eye and stare into the circle with your other.
  • Close your left eye. Is the object in the circle now outside the circle or has it moved? Yes? Well, it’s the left eye.
  • Close your right eye. Is the object in the circle now outside the circle or has it moved? Yes? It’s the right eye!

Please don’t stare at an object too intensely. Your vision could be distorted by the intense gaze. (2)

The Porta Test

The thumb and an object on the ground are an easy way to test eye dominance.

See the Miles Test for more information. Rather than making a circle with both arms, you are doing the following:

  1. Spread your arms wide.
  2. Are your thumbs pointing in the direction of the object you want to focus on?

Using the Porta Test, you can determine which eye is dominant:

  1. Close your left eye. When you hold the object towards your thumb, your dominant eye will be your right one.
  2. You can close your right eye now. You are seeing the object only through your left eye if your thumb is still aligned with it!
  3. Not sure which eye you have dominating? It is most likely you’re Ambiocular!

Now that you’ve determined your dominant eye, you can check out your shooting hand!

Know Your Dominant Hand

Hand dominance is also known as handedness, and it is determined by the individual’s dominant hand. Some people will already know which hand is their dominant one, while others will utilize both hands for different tasks.

Your dominant hand is the one you use to:

  • Assemble with
  • Keep your toothbrush in your hand.
  • Make use of a computer mouse.
  • Unlock a door, and so on.
  • However, your hand dominance will not determine which bow you purchase or how you wield it. Some persons have neither dominant hand nor dominant hand, and they can use both hands interchangeably.

For those of you who are ambidextrous, eye dominance will be the decisive factor in which bow you purchase.

  1. Compound bows are commonly confused with dominant hands. You don’t need to use your dominant hand to hold the bow!
  2. Using your dominant hand, you might also do other tasks. Drawing a bow exerts more effort than gripping one!
  3. Additionally, if you are able to do things with either hand, you are probably ambidextrous.

Total Dominance! Dominant Eye & Dominant Hand Combination

Knowing your own dominance (both eyes and hands) can help you get into the proper shooting stance. Understanding what gives a compound bow left or right-hand orientation can help you choose the proper gear for you.

You’ll be a superior archer if you combine both!

The following points can help you get started:

  1. A left-handed person with a dominant left eye is a left-dominant person.
  2. You are right-handed and have a dominant right eye.
  3. Cross dominant refers to someone with a dominant left eye.
  4. A left-handed person with a dominant right eye is called a cross dominant.
  5. Having both right and left eyes, you are partially left-handed.
  6. It is possible to be right-handed and Ambi-ocular at the same time.
  7. If you are both ambidextrous and Ambi-ocular, choose whichever side feels most natural to you!

The Crucial Part: By Charting Your Dominance You can Choose a Compound Bow

Dominant HandDominant EyeOverall DominanceThe Compound Bow’s Hand Orientation
AmbidextrousRightPartial RightRight
AmbidextrousLeftPartial LeftRight
AmbidextrousAmbiocularNo DominanceLeft


How Can I Find the Best Compound Bow for Me If I’m Cross Dominant?

If you are cross-dominant, you have an option, which can be based on personal preference or age. When shooting, you will need to re-train either your eye or hand dominance; the older you become, the more difficult it is to re-train your fine motor abilities, so the logical decision is to utilize the less dominant eye instead and choose the style of bow that corresponds to your dominant hand.

  • Focus on Your Dominant Eye

If you are unsure, use your dominant eye as a guide! After retraining, everything will soon fall into place.

  • Motor Skills Training

Make sure you train on both sides. You will adjust your body to a specific orientation the more often you shoot with that side.

 Can I Shoot a Left-Handed Bow Right Handed?

Of course, you can! If you are accurate, but the arrow rest is on the wrong side, your aim will be off, so you should avoid doing this regularly.

Yes, you can shoot a right-handed bow left-handed, and you may be accurate, but the arrow rest will be on the incorrect side, and you will have to compensate for this in your aim, therefore it is not recommended that you do this on a regular basis.

Unless you have no other option, get the appropriate bow for your handedness.

Your awareness of your own dominance of eyes and hands will help you to choose the right shot stance. The gear you choose will depend on understanding why a compound bow has either a left- or right-handed orientation. This will improve your skills as an archer.

(1) telescope –
(2) vision –