Ever Wanted to Know How to Fire an Arrow? Learn How to Measure Draw Length

by | Jul 21, 2020

Measuring your draw length is not a difficult process, but it is one that requires patience and a willingness to learn to get right. Knowing how to measure your draw length will ensure that the bow you select for use is the right size for you and is comfortable to use.

If you get these things right with a bow, you’ll be able to enjoy maximum power in your shots, which will also help you get the most enjoyment out of using a bow.

In archery, there are two types of draw length: your own personal draw length and the draw length of the bow you’re shooting. Your own draw length is unique to you and is dependent on your physical size, and your draw length can change as you grow.

The methods we’ll lay out in this guide are very easy to follow, and all you’ll need is another person to help you out and a tape measure. Both of these methods can be followed if you’re a beginner archer or if you’re an experienced bowman.

How to Measure Draw Length at Home

Now you know some of the reasons why it’s important to measure draw length, let’s take a look at a couple of methods of doing it from the comfort of your own home.


Measuring the Wingspan

One of the most well-known methods of measuring draw length is known as measuring the wingspan, which makes sense as in using this method, you’ll be measuring the distance between your outstretched arms.

To do this, you’ll need to stand up against a wall, make sure your back is facing the wall and outstretch your arms to make a ‘T-shape’ and ensure that your fingers are also outstretched.

Have someone place a marker on the wall where your fingertips end and measure your arm span from fingertip to fingertip. This is best done with a tape measure, and this should give you an accurate result of the distance between your fingertips.

Make sure that you’re standing up straight and that your posture is good. When you have the measurement, you’ll need to divide it by 2.5. For example, if the measure you take is 56,” and you divide this by 2.5, the draw length would be 22.4″. Often it’s best to round the measurement to the nearest half a centimeter so the draw length, in this case, would be 22.5″.

This process is very simple, and you don’t need to overcomplicate it. With this method, you’ll just need to have someone who is willing to lend a hand and a tape measure, and with these two things, you’re ready to go!


The Pretend Draw Method

The second method of measuring draw length is the pretend draw method. This method is less commonly used than the first method we spoke about but will still require a tape measure and the assistance of another person.

For this method, you’ll need to stand as though you’re holding a bow. Draw one arm back, and as far as it will go and make a fist with your other hand. You may want to put your fist on a wall so that it doesn’t sag or drop. Make sure that your back arm is drawn back past your mouth as this resembles you pulling back a bowstring.

Keep your eye forward as if you are aiming and ask someone to measure the top of your fist to the corner of your mouth, and this measurement will give you the draw length.


Things to Remember When Measuring Draw Length

Both of these methods of measuring draw length are very simple to do. But there are some other things you should consider when measuring draw length. Let’s take a look at some of these things.



One of the first is posture, when you’re standing against a wall with your arms stretched, make sure your posture is straight, and your shoulders are pressed firmly against the wall. Keep your arms and fingers straight and hold your arms at right angles to your body.

If your shoulders are hunched over when you take a measurement, then the chances are the measurement won’t be accurate. Following these steps and keeping a proper posture will ensure the measurement of your draw length is accurate.


Double and Triple Check Your Measurements

As mentioned in the first method, you should also round the measurement to the nearest ½ inch; this will give you an indication of what size bow you need. When you take a measurement, make sure to double or triple check it to make sure it’s accurate. If you’re unsure about any particular measurement, then don’t hesitate to head down to a bow shop for further guidance.


Seek Professional Help

If you’re attempting to measure draw length and your running into some problems, then it might be worth taking a trip down to your local archery shop.

A professional will be able to help you take the measurements needed and clarify any questions you may have about draw length. They’ll also be able to give you recommendations on the type of bow that’ll be right for you and your experience level.

The good thing is that both of the methods laid out in this guide are very easy to follow. As mentioned above, if you’re new to archery, then seeking the advice of a professional may be necessary, but if you have a friend or family member or you know someone who already takes part in archery, then they should be able to help you measure the draw length.

Once you know your draw length, you’ll be able to make a decision on what kind of bow is right for you, and you get going on your archery adventure!

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