Adjusting the Draw Length of a Bow

Having the proper draw length for your bow is the most important aspect of shooting properly. Without the correct length you will be shooting inaccurately, and the bow will simply not be comfortable in your hands.

Below we’re going to talk about how to measure the draw length of the bow as well as what personal draw length is.

How to measure your Draw Length

If you’re new to using a bow you may not quite understand what a draw length is. The draw length is the distance from the nock point on the bow to the throat grip plus an additional 1 ¾”.

This measurement is how it is used at bow shops and is the industry standard way of measuring the AMO draw length. AMO stands for Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization.

To do this the uncertified way, self measurement can be done. To start stand with your back against a wall and and stretch your arms out so that the back of your palms also touch the wall.

Have someone measure from middle finger across to the opposing middle finger, subtract fifteen and divide that number by two. No one available to measure ? The local bow shop will be happy to do so.

Importance of Draw Length

Not having the proper draw length for your bow will greatly affect your shooting- from accuracy, to form, and also to comfort. In order to be a successful archer, or hunter, ensure all three of these are correct.

You might hear that certain bows will run short or will run long. This is where consulting the online forums or the tech at your local bow shop is needed  to determine if your 29” draw will match up properly with a bow that may run short.

How to get the Bow’s Draw length

Do not have someone measure the bow’s draw length while holding the bow at full draw. This can be incredibly dangerous for both.

The safe way is to either take the bow to a bow shop and have them check the length and adjust it if needed. To do this yourself, you will need to purchase or make a bow draw board.

This device will hold the bow at full draw while you’re able to accurately and safely measure the length.

Tweaking your Set-up

Ok, I realize we’ve just spoke about how important it is for you to have the proper draw length for your bow and how it can have all these negative effects on your shooting if you don’t match the number exactly.

Well, that is not 100% true. When first beginning archery stick to the number given learn the basics. Get the form down and learn how to properly shoot a bow, and shoot it well.

Once the form and the proper shooting is down, it is okay to experiment with the draw length. Say you have a 29” draw length and are shooting fairly well. It might be time to try shooting 28.5” or 28”.

Maybe a little extra bend in the arm which makes shooting more accurate and  more comfortable too.

Again, enlist a professional to help, do not start off experimenting. Stay at the number given and learn the basics. After that you can experiment with .5”-1” differences to see if that little difference feels better.

That’s the great part about hunting and shooting a bow in particular. You can bring your own style and individuality to the sport which makes the way you shoot a bow unique and could make you a better archer.


To wrap it all up, if just beginning bowhunting without friends or family that do so, then go to your local, Bass Pro, Cabelas, or bow shop for assistance in finding the proper draw length.

The pros will provide the direction needed to find the right bow. Most will even help you tweak your draw length to see which one is most comfortable.

Again, tweaking draw length is not something to do individually, let the professionals or an accomplished bow hunter help after learning the fundamentals of shooting properly.