All archers know that in order to get into the sport you need to have the proper bow, arrows, points, and a practice target. However, there is one piece of equipment that often gets overlooked is the arm guard.
In order to become proficient in this hobby lots of practice is required. With lots of practice, chances are the bowstring is eventually going to slap your arm.
Most likely leaving a mark and potential bruising if it happens repeatedly.
This is where the arm guard comes into play. It will protect the forearm from string burn and will allow shooting practice to continue as long as is needed.
Before we dive deeper into these products, it is important to understand exactly what an arm guard is and how it can benefit an archer.
What is an Archery Arm Guard?
An arm guard can be made of either leather or synthetic materials. They are attached to the arm of the archer (like an armband) with the use of velcro or elastic.
The main purpose of the guard is to be a protect the archer’s forearm and wrist from the string hitting the arm which can cause burns or bruising.
A string slap can be caused by either improper form or the archer’s anatomy. Some archers physical make-up might not allow them to hold the bow correctly, which can lead to painful string slaps.
However, this does not mean that the person cannot be a proficient archer.
What’s the Purpose?
One or two slaps might not be so bad, but a full hour of practicing with the string continuously hitting the arm could lead to serious bruising, and pain.
Because it protects the archer’s arm it allows beginning and more experienced archer’s alike who cannot help but be prone to the string abuse to practice while not being exposed to constant pain for the effort.
Do you need an Archery Arm Guard?
The answer is, yes and no. If your an accomplished archer that is able to hold the bow correctly, then you do not really need one.
But any archer could always benefit from the use of an arm guard as a piece of protective gear to limit the damage from the string and keep you shooting. New archers and others who have an issue with the hold of the bow should wear anytime they are shooting.
Types of Materials
When bows and arrows were first being used, the original arm guards were made mostly of animal hides and even stone. Luckily, today there is a wide array of materials effectively in use. The most popular materials are:
The composite material guard is going to be the most prevalent. These are found all over the internet and in retail stores that carry archery equipment. Although, all three offer great protection the the arm. It will come down to preference, to what feels most comfortable, and is the right price.
How to make an Archery Arm Guard
Arm guards can range in price from $5 to $40. If you prefer to not spend money on something like this, an arm guard can be made at home.
This can be accomplished by cutting a plastic water in half, then punching four holes, one at each corner. Then you thread the elastic straps through each hole and tie it off. Slide the guard onto the arm.
What to look for when Purchasing an Arm Guard
There are several different factors to look for when selecting an arm guard. Below, are key components to help judge which guard is best suited.
Is this something to wear at practice as well when you are bowhunting in the woods? If hunting with the arm guard used for practice determine if it makes noise when rubbed against clothing or skin, if it does, then a new arm guard will be needed.
To be in a tree stand with a deer 30 yards away and when the compound bow is lifted to aim the arm guard scratches against clothing it will most certainly spook the deer.
Try on the guard with the intended hunting clothing to be used. This could make all the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful hunt.
An arm guard is something that could be worn for only 30 minutes or if hunting, a full day. Therefore, it needs to feel comfortable on your arm.
Ensure it is not too tight and that it is not scratching against skin or clothing. While it should be obvious it is there, it should be comfortable..
The quality of the materials used in making the guard can determine how comfortable it is, its durability, as well as how useful it is. There are several different types of arm guards on the market and the majority of them work great.
Be wary of too deeply discounted models that price wise are in the single digits, but construction might lack durable materials resulting in a guard that could break easily. In the end you will be better off going with a traditional armguard from a reputable brand.
Most arm guards come in a one size fits most style. With arms that are either too small or too large for a regular arm guard a custom made guard might be required.
Seek out a store that allows you to take the guard out of the package in order to try it on before purchasing. This is the only way to judge comfort and proper fit.
The guard should be adjustable to allow for a snug fit, but not tight. It needs to stay put on the arm while practicing or hunting..
The appearance matters if the guard will be used for hunting. A dark color, preferably a camo pattern (like mossy oak), will work perfectly for hunting. Anything flashy or bright might be fun for a target archer.
Ensure the guard covers the area of the string slaps to prevent string burns and painful bruising.
Out in the woods every day of hunting season, or practicing multiple times a week, an arm guard that is is tough enough to withstand the use is necessary.
Luckily, most currently available arm guards are made to withstand hours of practice or hunting. Buy a quality, well-fitting guard to get a product with good overall durability.
Best Archery Arm Guard Reviews
Finally, the list to assist in determining the best archery arm guard for practice or for the upcoming hunting season. Check out these five products below.
This is the classic archery arm guard with three straps. Coming in at just over $10, this item will not break the bank, but will work exactly how it was intended. It comes equipped with vents which can help keep your arm cool on those hot days, and will prevent arm sweating.
It is 8” x 3” and thanks to the adjustable straps will fit any sized forearm. The guard also has a nice slick surface which allows the string to easily slide down without getting caught or pulling on the guard.
This product is similar to the SAS Arm Guard. It is an adjustable synthetic material guard that will fit most archer’s arms.It has a 9 inch length that should be long enough to cover even the longest of forearms.
It also features 3-strap buckles that allow it to fit most archers.