Is It Time for a New Compound Bow?

The author reviews three scenarios to help you decide if it’s time to upgrade to a new compound bow.

Is It Time for a New Compound Bow?

Having a bow with the correct draw length is critical to archery accuracy.

Compound bows can last indefinitely if you care for them, and make sure they’re regularly inspected and repaired by expert technicians at archery shops.

Blake Shelby, vice president of sales and marketing for PSE Archery, said bows are stronger and more reliable than ever, but they can fail if neglected. In addition, archers can outgrow their setups or simply lust after a new bow’s high-tech features.

Let’s review a few scenarios to help you determine if it’s time to upgrade.


Physical Growth = New Bow

“If a bow doesn’t fit you properly, you won’t shoot it well,” Shelby said.

It’s that simple. Specific bows match different abilities and body sizes. To be an ethical, efficient and effective bowhunter, your bow must fit your draw length.

If your bow’s draw length is too short or too long, your form will suffer because you’ll feel awkward or uncomfortable while shooting. The result? Inconsistent shots. If your compound bow becomes a misfit, it’s time to replace it or adjust its draw length.

Another factor is the bow’s draw weight, aka its poundage. Higher draw weights generate faster arrow speeds by transferring more energy from the bow’s limbs to the arrow. Likewise, fast-flying arrows generally have flatter trajectories and penetrate deeper into targets, which increases the likelihood of pass-through shots when bowhunting.

If your bow is easy to pull back and hold, you might want to increase your draw weight. Some bow weights can be adjusted over a 50-pound range, but others offer only 10 pounds of adjustment. If your bow can adjust as your strength increases, great! If not, it might be time for a new bow.


Mental Growth = New Bow

Some people start shooting archery and find themselves attracted to different disciplines. For example, some start shooting recreationally and then dabble in 3-D archery before switching to bowhunting. Others sign up for leagues and shoot competitively. And still others might set their compound bow aside after growing curious about crossbows or traditional bows.

Whatever the case, an archer’s first bow might still fit them, but their shooting and equipment interests changed. Shelby said an archer’s capabilities often surpass a bow’s purpose or performance. If that happens to you, buy a bow that better suits your skills or interests.

A compound is sized to your exact measurements, so if you find yourself gaining muscle and can pull your draw weight easier, you might need to step it up.
A compound is sized to your exact measurements, so if you find yourself gaining muscle and can pull your draw weight easier, you might need to step it up.

Better Technology = New Bow

Lastly, many people upgrade their archery setups because they want to take advantage of new features and advancements in equipment.

“The technology that goes into bows grows leaps and bounds every year,” Shelby said. “It’s kind of like a computer. If you have a bow that’s more than 5 years old, it’s probably outdated because we’re always advancing. New bows are faster, easier to shoot, and more accurate and efficient. Plus, they have good let-off and outstanding forgiveness.”


Choosing a New Bow

Few bows fit everyone. Make sure your next bow matches your body, budget, competitive or bowhunting needs.

For bowhunting, do you want a lightweight model for backpacking through mountains while chasing elk? Do you want a fast bow that’s more accurate at farther distances? Or, perhaps you want a bow with a good let-off so you can wait longer at full draw for the ultimate shot.

No matter your choice, you must study your options while working with qualified professionals at nearby archery shops to find the best bow for you. Tell a retailer your goals and budget, and then ask them to set up different bows to shoot. Testing multiple brands at different weights will help you make educated decisions.

Additionally, having different bows for different activities is OK. Shelby, for instance, owns three compounds. Just be smart with your money, and decide what’s best for you. Keep saving for your dream bow, or buy what you can afford today.

Visit for more how-to bowhunting information.


Photos courtesy of Archery Trade Association


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.