Target Archery in Mauritius and first-time Recurve or Compound bow buyer: a guide.
So you’re wondering how to get started in target archery, either because you’ve seen or tried it and want to go from archery beginner or fan to competitor. Or from observer to casual archer. Whether your plan is to shoot your bow in your backyard, ascend the podium in the Olympic stadium, or somewhere in between, there’s a place in archery for you.
Types of Bows:
There are two primary disciplines in archery: Recurve and Compounds.
- A compound bow : uses a system of pulleys or cams, and the string that passes through the pulleys or cams on each end multiple times. This system allows the bow to build up considerable force as it is drawn. It also produces a sudden reduction in the resistance, or draw weight, of the bow after the bow is drawn back to a certain point. The reduced resistance makes it easier for the archer to control the force generated by the pulleys or cams. The extra force allows arrows to fly farther than from a recurve or longbow.
- A recurve bow : is so named because the limbs, or ends, of the bow curve back inward, resulting in the string lying flat against the limbs at their ends. A recurve bow has only one string. The inward curve of the limbs helps generate greater force when the bow is drawn. It is worth noting that accessories such as magnified sight scopes, spirit levels and release aids are not allowed in the recurve bow category.
Archery Equipment for Beginners and Getting Started
So which type of bow should you shoot as an archery beginner? Local archery clubs provide a great opportunity to learn about and try different kinds of bows and archery equipment. The bow you choose will generally depend on two things: what feels good to you as an archer, and the type of archery you want to pursue.
Many coaches recommend starting on a recurve bare bow (that is with no accessories such as a sight or a stabilizer) to learn proper form, technique and safety on a blank target 10m afar. After two or three sessions, depending on the coaches’ advice, you may graduate towards an 18meter target or a sight. As a beginner, most clubs will provide you with a recurve bow, arrows and instructions.
Buying Archery Equipment
However to truly improve in archery one is highly recommended to buy his own gears. Archery equipment are highly specialised and archer-specific. Not two bows are alike nor are two arrows. The bow and the arrow are dependent on the shooter’s height, size, arm length, hand size, physical force and eye/arm dominance. Because club bows and arrows are generic, it is more than likely that they are not adapted to you physiognomy. In other words, you can’t just walk in a store and buy the first one you find cute.
Getting a sport license
It is highly advisable to seek a sport license from the Fédération Mauricienne de Tir à L’arc (FMTA) before ordering or buying your equipment. How? Here are the steps:
Get in touch with an FMTA registered club near you.
- https://www.facebook.com/archeryMRI/ and
- https://www.facebook.com/ArcheryMauritius are great places to start looking for one.
- Be an active member of the club for at least 4-6 months. Depending on the club, this period may shorten or extend.
- Get in touch with the federation through your club’s president or in person during the monthly national competitions and apply for the membership card.
What to Buy
One is easily overwhelmed by the number of equipment and combinations possible so here you will find a check list of what to buy. Feel free to customise the list according to your needs (if you do so, please ask your coach double check before ordering). The Brands to look for are an example of the brands providing these equipment. The list is not in any particular order and is not exhaustive. You will find other brands, some with equally good, if not better, products. The price range is based on our experience. Remember that archery can be cheap or can be a money pit. It’s up to you to devise a budget and stick to it. Also worth noting that not all items in this list is needed to get started. As always we advise you to get in touch with your coach to find what you really need.
Beginner Recurve Bow Set – Handle and Limbs (Bolt-On)
Bolt-on Riser & Limbs
Recurve Handle – Intermediate / Elite
The Riser – Also known as the handle. This is the heart of the bow. The one piece every other accessories bolt on. There are many types of riser: wood, magnesium, aluminium or carbon. Which one you choose depends on what you prefer. All have their pros and cons but in the end it all bogs down to the shooter’s tastes. What you should know is that there are 3 main types of riser/limb connection systems: the Bolt-on, the International Limb Fitting (ILF) and the Hoyt Formula. Again all have their pros and cons. simply be aware that only a bolt-on limb will work on a bolt-on riser, an ILF limb on an ILF riser and a Formula limb on a Formula riser. Size ranges from 23inchs to 27inchs. We recommend consulting your coach to find a riser size that suits your needs.
Brands to look for: Hoyt, Win&Win, MK Korea, Kaya, WNS, Samick, Cartel, PSE, KAP, Infitec, Core Archery, Kinetic.
Price range: Rs3000 – Rs45000
The Limbs – The muscle of the bow. The limbs are what stores energy and transfers it to the arrow. Limbs come in a variety of sizes and draw weights. Again we recommend consulting your coach on what size and weight to buy. Materials vary from wood to carbon fibre. Still as a beginner we do not recommend spending a lot of your budget on starter limbs since you will most likely swap these for higher draw weights as you progress. It is not rare for beginner archers to go through 2 or 3 pairs of limbs in a year. Again three main type of connection are available: Bolt-on, ILF and Formula. And as for sizes, limbs are typically available in 66inchs, 68inchs and 70inchs. Again your coach will be of valuable help here.
Brands to look for: Hoyt, Win&Win, MK Korea, Kaya, Core Archery, WNS, Samick, PSE, KAP, Core, Kinetic.
Price range: Rs2500 – Rs38000
Bowstring for Recurve
The Bow String – Not much to add here. A string is a string, right? Well not quite. First of all we have a choice of materials ranging from the inexpensive Dacron to the more exotic BCYs blends. Then we have the number of strands: 14 strands, 16 strands, 18 strands etc. Fortunately as a beginner you should really worry about 2 types: the cheaper Dacron and the slightly more expensive Fastflite string. The latter is less elastic than Dacron and thus is harder on the limbs. Usually not recommended for low end wood bows. Most ready-made beginner arrows being sold with a large nock (more on that later), 18 strands strings is usually the way to go.
Brands to look for: Kaya, WNS, Cartel, Flex Archery, BCY, Angel.
Price range: Rs150 – Rs1000
The Arrow Rest – the arrow rest is what support your arrows on the riser for shooting. Magnetic arrow rests feature a wire rest that flips out of the way when the arrow is shot and are very popular. They are mounted with a stick on pad or bolted on and some feature adjustable arms. It is worth noting however that some Olympians still use cheap plastic arrow rests.
Brands to look for: Shibuya, Hoyt, Spigarelli, Beiter, Mybo, Cartel, ARC.
Price range: Rs100 – Rs2500
The Berger Button
Also known as the plunger button or simply button, this piece of equipment works in unison with the arrow rest and is used to fine tune arrows to match the bow draw weight.
Brands to look for: Beiter, Shibuya, Spigarelli, Fivics, Decut, Cartel, WNS.
Price range: Rs500 – Rs3000
The Clicker – Usually used once you have arrows adapted to your bow and cut the right length, the clicker is a simple mechanism that lets the archer know when the have reached their designated draw length and ready to let go. Most clickers are simple blades that rest on the arrow then *click* was the arrow goes past the designated draw length. Magnetic clickers are also available and are useful if you arrows are still too long for your draw length.
Brands to look for: Beiter, Win&Win, Mybo, Cartel, Decut
Price range: Rs100 – Rs2000