Choosing equipment

If you are reading this, chances are you have recently purchased a new bow and are interested in setting it up with some accessories. Most accessories made today are going to get the job done. There are very few pieces of archery equipment that do not perform as advertised. With that being said, there is a variety of price ranges to take into consideration. Inexpensive equipment will get the job done, but in some cases you get what you pay for. The great news is that there is something out there for all types of budgets and uses that will meet the shooters needs.

1 Release aids

The overwhelming majority of compound archery shooters use some type of release aid. If you are not using one, you may want to look in to making the switch over. The consistency in the release of the string is far superior in comparison to the string rolling off the shooters fingers.

1.1 Trigger release aids

There are two major styles of release aids. The first and perhaps most popular style is the more traditional "trigger" release. If you are planning on shooting a "D" loop, which is highly recommended by many bow technicians due to less stress on the string, chances are you will be using some type of caliper release. A caliper release has two jaws that close around the "D" loop where after squeezing the trigger, the jaws hinge open releasing the arrow. Shooters will have the option for a finger trigger or a thumb trigger, which will boil down to preference and personal feel. If you are not planning on shooting with a "D" loop, there are also single caliper trigger releases available. These simply clip directly to a nocking point on the string and have one jaw instead of two.

After selecting the release aid, the decision is only partially finished. Shooters will then have to decide which style wrist strap they are interested in. Again, there are two choices. The first choice is a buckle style wrist strap that works much like a belt buckle. Some shooters prefer this style because it can be attached consistently in the same position. The second option is a Velcro strap. Shooters prefer this style for the ease of use.

1.2 Back tension release aids

The second style of release aid is known as a back tension release. Although this release is typically associated with target shooting, it is designed to give the shooter a "surprise" release. Shooters hold this release in their hand and the aid fires after the pull arm comes to rest. Although this release is primarily used by more advanced shooters, the form it promotes benefits shooters using any style of release aid.

1.3 Price considerations

Release aids vary greatly in price and can range from $40-$200 depending on the style. Back tension release aids are typically more expensive than a trigger style rest. The best way to decide which release is best for you is to try out a few of them. See where you like the trigger position, close to the jaws or away from the jaws. See if you like a stiff trigger or one that does not take much pressure to release. Most archery shops will have a few you can try out to see what works best for you and your shooting style.

2 Arrow Rests

Deciding which arrow rest to use can be a difficult decision. Although there are many different brands of arrow rests, there are two main options to take into consideration, and it seems like both sides are very passionate about their choice.

2.1 Dropaway rests

The first style is a dropaway rest. These rests use some type of finger that holds the arrow in alignment while at full draw, then "drops" as the string is released causing no contact with the arrow after being released. When these rests first came out, the major downside to many shooters was the lack of full containment. This means the arrow at rest, was not held in place. Upon drawing the arrow, the arrow would come to rest in the center of the finger, but while sitting undrawn, there was no containment keeping the arrow in place. Many companies have corrected this issue, and there are now full containment dropaway rests that work very effectively.

Pros: There are several pros to a dropaway rest. Although the biggest advantage, and probably the most important one, is that the rest has no impact on arrow flight. After the string is released and the arrow is sent into motion, the rest has no contact with the arrow or vanes. This helps improve accuracy especially long-range accuracy.

Cons: The biggest downside to this style rest is the actual function of the rest itself. Due to the moving parts inside the rest and the setup required, there is always a chance of failure. Bringing the bow into the tree may damage the string used to operate the rest. There are also horror stories about a Boone and Crocket deer standing at ten yards quartering away and the rest does not fall. Although these rests are reliable, keep in mind there is always a possibility of something going wrong when you add moving parts in to the equation.

2.2 Full containment rests

The second style rest is a full containment rest that does not fall away. These rests are usually made of some type of bristles that hold the arrow in place at rest and full draw. After releasing the string, the arrow and vanes pass through the bristles before making its way downrange. Despite what some argue, this only impacts the speed of the arrow 3-5 feet per second. Many opt for this choice because of price and ease of use. There are also rests designed to not make contact with the vanes and simply contact the arrow through the release as well. The bristles are essentially removed from where the vanes pass through the rest.

Pros: The major advantage to this type of arrow rest is that it has no moving parts. It is very simplistic and after initial set up, requires no maintenance unless the bristles wear out (which takes a lot more shots than one would think.). For shooters wanting to keep it simple and eliminate some potential for mechanical failure, this type of rest is a great option.

Cons: There are two main complaints with this style rest. The first complaint is that the arrow and its vanes have to completely pass through the rest. This friction is said to cause problems with long-range accuracy and slows the arrow down just a tad. The second major complaint is the little bit of noise the arrow makes while being drawn. Although it is not very loud, there are horror stories of deer spooking after hearing the shooter drawing their bow on a quiet morning.

The arrow rest is obviously a crucial decision to make when setting up your bow, and regardless of which one you choose, there will always be an argument against it. Prices for arrow rests range from $50-$150, with dropaways typically being more expensive than the bristle style rests. Make a choice that you can be happy with it, and forget about the negative talk.

3 Sights

When looking at sights, there are typically two styles to choose from. The options are single pin sights, and multi-pin sights. Each archer has their own decision to make, but these are the two most popular styles available. Regardless of which sight is chosen, chances are the pins will be fiber optic to increase brightness in low light conditions that hunting often offers shooters.

3.1 Single pin sights

The first style sight is the single pin sight. Single pin sights eliminate pin congestion, and make the target more visible in the sight picture. Most single pin sights have some type of adjustment; whether it is a slider or a dial, in order to easily change for different yardages. Adjusting the yardage moves the sight housing allowing the shooter to use only one pin at all possible shooting distances. The downside to this is that if the intended target moves to a different range, or you forget to slide the pin to the correct yardage, shooters will miss their mark. However, shooters can slide their sight to shoot distances that would typically be between pin gaps on a multi pin sight. With the ever increasing speed of today's bows, this is a nice option for some shooters since the pins of multi pin sights often become congested or too close together.

3.2 Multi-pin sights

The second style of sights offered is a multi pin sight. Sights are available in three-seven pins. Shooters will have the option to decide if they want the pins to be the same color of different colors as well depending on their preference. Despite the number of pins and the color shooters settle with, the reason behind the decision is the same. Those shooters using multi pin setups like having all their distances when they come to full draw. If a target moves, they are able to make the adjustment without letting down to slide their pin to the correct yardage. The downside to this style of sight is that the pins restrict what the shooter sees while taking aim. The shooter also has to be certain they are looking at the proper pin before pulling the trigger.

3.3 Pin diameters

After making the decision between single or multi pin sights, shooters will be able to choose their pin diameters. The most popular diameters available are .010, .019, and .029. The smaller the pin, the smaller the spot you are aiming at. This should increase accuracy in most cases. However, smaller pins are also more difficult to see. There is still one choice left to be made, and that is between a vertical pin alignment, a horizontal pin alignment, or a diagonal pin alignment. This decision is based on shooter preference and comfort as well.

3.4 Price considerations

There are many great quality sights available to archers today, and all of them will perform as advertised. Sight prices can range from $30-$300 for target sights. The large price difference seen with sights typically has to do with: ease of adjustment, micro adjustability, durability, and workmanship. Those sights that offer micro adjustment are going to be easier and quicker to dial in at the beginning. However, they are also going to be more money. Sights with aluminum housing and pin guards are also going to be more expensive than plastic housings without pin guards. Shooters will have to decide if the ease of set up is worth the additional money.

4 Stabilizers

Stabilizers serve two main purposes. The first purpose is to offset the weight of the sight and to balance the bow while adding a little extra weight for stability. The second reason for a stabilizer is to help eliminate some vibration causing noise after the shot. There are tons of options available in terms of length and weight. Typically speaking, target shooters use longer stabilizers from the 10-30 inch-range. Hunters usually stick between the 4-8 inch range. The best thing to do is try out different weights and lengths to see what feels balanced with your particular rig. Stabilizers also come with an option to be mounted offset to the side to further balance the weight of the sight both top and bottom and side to side. Stabilizer prices range from $15-$200.

The most important thing to remember when looking for accessories is to choose what works for you. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything you buy, and what works well for one person may not work as well for someone else. For example, buyers will have to consider if the ease of setting up a sight is truly worth the extra cost. Remember that most available accessories are going to perform as advertised. Try to be open-minded when looking at various accessories and make a decision based on your needs, not those of other people.

5 Quivers

Quivers are an important piece of equipment that offers you two great options depending on your preference. The two options available are a one-piece quiver and a two-piece quiver.

5.1 One-piece quivers

A one-piece quiver offers shooters the option to remove their quiver and shoot without it being attached. Although the one-piece quiver mounting systems are all slightly different, they all utilize some type of quick detach that allows for the removal of the quiver and arrows. Look for a mounting system that securely fastens the quiver to the bow and free of rattles. These are great quivers and very versatile, but the downside is that when shooting with the quiver attached they are a little more noisy.

5.2 Two-piece quivers

A two-piece quiver has two mounting brackets and is not able to be removed from the bow. Shooters wanting constant access to their arrows will find this to be a great option. These quivers are more silent after the shot due to the mounting system used, but they add quite a bit of weight to the side of the bow. The side weight may be enough for shooters to have to compensated for with their grip of a counter weight.

Both are wonderful options depending on the shooters preference. Expect to spend between $30-$120 depending on style and brand. Quivers also come in a variety of finish options sure to match the camo option of most bows. The arrow hood that houses the type of the arrow varies slightly, but a common option is foam or a solid plastic mold. Make sure this will hold the arrow securely without much noise after being shot.

6 Peep

Peep sights are an important component to accurate shooting. Using a peep sight gives shooters another anchor point, which improves accuracy and shot consistency. There is a variety of sizes offered in terms of hope diameter. Theoretically, the smaller the peep sight hole diameter, the more accurate the shooter will be. The downside of shooting a small peep is that less light is allowed to pass through making them very tough to see the target in low light conditions. Larger peep sights allow for a wider target view with more light. However, some argue larger peepholes are less accurate when compared to the smaller diameters. A 3/8-inch peep diameter is a good starting spot for most archery hunters.

There are two main style peep sights are a tube sight and a tubeless peep sight. The tube sight helps with peep alignment when coming to full draw. However, it is slightly louder as the tube vibrates after being shot and it does slow the arrow down just a little bit as well. The tubeless style peep is a bit quieter and does not affect arrow speed as much. However, there is a chance the peep may not twist back in the right position at full draw. Both designs work very well and the decision really comes down to personal preference.