How to buy your first archery kit online in two easy steps. 1) Go to Amazon and buy a Samick Sage. 2) Go on eBay and buy fiberglass arrows. Surely it can’t be that easy? Well, actually it can be, but there are
several traps you can fall into if you jump straight into archery like this.
Depending on your mileage this can either be a surprisingly simple
way to get into archery or the worst way you could possibly go at it. The thing of archery is that it’s actually
really easy and really cheap to get into, especially if you’re looking at budget-priced products. There are many budget brands out there
which are specifically marketed towards the inexperienced impulse buyer, and casual
shoppers typically don’t look for archery stores. Instead they go for sites like
Amazon and eBay. Because of this shopping habit, numerous sellers flood the market
with the cheapest priced equipment that a new archer needs.
This isn’t actually a bad thing. Many people start off with simple
recurve bows like the PSE Snake or something a bit fancier like the Samick Sage,
and there’s a lot of appeal to a bow like a Samick Sage. It looks nice, it functions well,
and they’re really affordable. On the compound side, you often
come across brand names like Atunga and Apex which provide simple,
functioning bows for a very low price. For the most part I’m not going to
disparage these bows, but, with some exceptions, you get what you pay for. Getting cheap bows
will offer a more limited experience and this may cloud your initial impression
of archery. The problem is when you start buying cheap arrows.
The common mentality is to find the cheapest possible arrows, for
two reasons: Firstly, you don’t invest as much into the sport just in case you don’t like it so it’s not as big loss. Secondly, you know you’ll break arrows.
You know you’ll lose arrows, so you’re tempted to buy cheap arrows, and you replace your
arrows with cheap arrows. This is problematic because arrows have
to be matched for your bow When you go on eBay, and you buy a set of 20 cheap fiberglass arrows, what you’re buying is a generic shaft
that is not rated specifically for your bow. While this isn’t dangerous, in all
likelihood the arrows will not fly very well. Most generic arrows are far too stiff for
a typical recurve bow, although with some compound bows, you’re
probably more likely to handle them a bit better. If your arrow is not “spined” correctly for your bow you will be frustrated when you realize
that your arrows flop around as if you’re shooting a crooked stick. The right way
to purchase arrows is to look up arrow selection charts. You need to know your draw length, your
draw weight, and usually the weight of the point. This gives you a spine rating which
you can then use to match up with the correct arrow shaft for your bow. Once you know what you’re looking for,
this gives you a much better match to your bow, and believe me, you will notice a
huge difference when you’re shooting. Also consider buying from archery stores
rather than Amazon or eBay. Archery stores not only have the experience in dealing with
new archers and setting up equipment, they have the parts you need. They will have numerous arrow shafts of all
the spine ratings, and if they don’t have it they can order it in. It’s much better and easier if you go
through archery stores and suppliers instead of blindly buying cheap parts
and arrows. I’ve noted several times in the past that archery stores typically
don’t stock the brands that you find as budget buys online. Additionally if you buy a budget compound bow, it’s very likely that it’s not set up to
be shot. Many compound packages come with a finger tab and no nocking point.
Most compound shooters will use a release aid, so you need to put a D-loop on, buy a release
aid, and so on. You need to make sure the cams are synchronized,
you need to get the draw length set just for you, and so on. Now, if you have no archery experience,
and you did a blind buy, you’re probably going to have to take it to a pro shop
anyway to get it set up. This is one of the frustrations that
clubs go through, and many clubs release memos and buying guides that, to
put it bluntly, tell people not to buy bows until they have consulted with the
club. Now, this isn’t because clubs are elitist and they want to dictate what you buy, it’s because so many people buy the wrong equipment. One of our recent visitors bought a
70 pound compound bow. That is *way* too strong, especially for a first
timer. Now, even though it’s a compound, it’s just way too heavy for someone who’s
never done archery before. Additionally, it is against the rules for a
target club to allow a 60-pound compound or above. Now, since he had no experience,
he was advised to learn on a recurve bow first, so he went out and
bought this beautiful traditional bow, but it was 50 pounds, which is still very
heavy for a recurve. It’s not something you can learn with. I felt bad
telling him that he should be learning on 20 pound club bows, but, look, clubs
and instructors know that downward spiral. Beginners with overpowered bows tend to
be overconfident. They risk injury. They find it very hard to hold the bow’s draw
weight, and they generally don’t shoot for long before getting really tired.
These factors make it nearly impossible for them to learn how to shoot properly. What you then have is, effectively, a bow, or several bows, that you can’t actually use.
The most common piece of advice given is to try archery at a club first. Now, I know a lot of people don’t have access to a club, however, please bear in mind that archery isn’t just something you pick up and do right away. It’s not a hard sport to get into, but
it does involve fine motor skills, proper technique, and proper form.
The ultimate trap with impulse buys is that it’s very hard
to unlearn bad habits with bad equipment. A lot of people who get into archery on a
whim and buy the budget bows will spend hours, weeks, months of shooting, but
they have no training and have alarmingly dangerous technique sometimes.
The are people I’ve come across who are considered to be “accidents waiting to
happen.” It’s usually the compound shooters who are most at risk. This is because recurve beginners usually
know their limits, but compound beginners are often taken away by the power and
precision of their bow. Just the other day I came across someone
who was using our club targets, and apparently he’s been doing it for eight
months, and it’s the first time we’ve seen him. He was a pretty decent bloke unlike most others who abuse our club grounds, but as a lot of beginners, he had no
idea what he was doing, and he was never taught. So, he was a compund shooter, and
at his first shot we knew exactly what is level was. He had all the bad habits
of a shooter that’s never been trained. He had a very high, very tense shoulder. He was hunched over trying to get his head on the
peep sight, that death-grip on the bow. It looked disastrous. I’m surprised he hasn’t been injured yet.
Now, in good faith, I tried to show him better form, but I’ll tell you this. I’ve
never taught someone who had so much tension in their body. No matter what I
tried, I could not get him to relax the shoulder. Every time he pull the bow bac,k it was always up. It was always forward, I
could not move that shoulder. Even putting a bit of pressure on the shoulder to help him
relax it, it was like pushing on concrete. Now this is someone who’s been shooting
like this for nearly a year. He obviously had no one to show him.
It’s really, really hard to unlearn these habits. In the end, what you do with your archery is
up to you, but there are a few tips for those who are thinking about the
independent online pathway. Do your research. Ask around. Go to
archery clubs. Go to online archery forums. Look at reviews. At least get an
idea of what a beginner will be comfortable in using and enjoying.
You’ll find there are a few bows that many beginners are happy to choose from. At the very least, don’t buy blind.
Look for something that is specific for your needs. Invest in some decent arrows that
are matched for your bow instead of getting dozens of cheap Chinese fiberglass
arrows. Buy your equipment from archery stores instead of Amazon or eBay.
If you don’t buy from an archery store, you’re pretty much on your own. You can bring your
equipment to a store, and get it set up, but don’t assume that the equipment you
buy is in proper shooting condition. Do make an effort to learn how to shoot, whether
it’s through a club or coach or video tutorials online. Don’t assume that you can just pick
up a bow and pull it back. Not only will your archery experience be unfulfilling, you risk injuries they can end your interest in archery. I’m not saying this because I’m an elitist snob. So many people with no training and no
experience turn up with brand new budget bows, and they don’t come back and never use it. It doesn’t feel nice when you have to tell
people to put their brand new bow away because they can’t use it. Seriously, we get people who have never done
archery before turn up for the first time with an Apex compound bow, still in the plastic wrapping, and they
don’t even know what to ask us. They don’t know why they bought the bow. The biggest mistake is to assume that
you need a bow to experience archery, and you don’t. You can save the
money and experience archery through a club by using their “come and try” program,
their beginner program, or whatever they call it, for a fraction of the price of a bow. I occasionally get emails from
agencies that deal with refugees and asylum seekers, and I get this really heart breaking story about how this family fled their country, and they moved
to Australia. They’re trying to find work and find income,
and their child goes to school. Their child goes to a camp, they try archery there, they really really
enjoy it. So the parents buy them a bow, and now the agency is trying to find a
place for them to get a discounted membership and to be part of the team. I don’t want to say no,
but they didn’t have to buy the bow. That’s the worst thing. They could have
just saved the money. They could have gone to a club first and said
“look, my child likes archery, what can I do?” We would say
“spend $20 on a come-and-try session, and you can all the fun you would have wanted.” You didn’t have to spend hundreds of
dollars on bow equipment. Whatever the case, buy wisely and shoot safely. This is NUSensei. I hope you found this helpful,
and I’ll see you next time