A Glossary of Archery Terms

3m Line

A line in competition that marks the difference between a dropped arrow versus an arrow that is officially judged to have been shot. A dropped arrow can be ignored as far as scoring is concerned, but an arrow that falls past the 3m line counts as a 'Miss'.


The place where the string hand is placed immediately before releasing / "loosing" the arrow.


What you shoot from the bow - most are made from aluminium tube but can be made from carbon fibre or a combination of both. It has four parts: the shaft, the fletches, the nock, the point/pile.

Arrow Rest

An attachment on the bow, which the arrow shaft sits on/slides along.


A particular style of arrow-point characterised by a long, very thin tip. Designed to pierce armour, they are generally not allowed for target archery.


What the target faces are pinned to - usually made out of straw but can also be made of thick foam.


What you use to shoot your arrows with - generally comes in three parts: a handle/riser and two detachable limbs.

Bow Arm

The arm to which the bracer is attached, and lifts the bow - the same side as the bow hand.

Bow Hand

The hand you hold the bow with - the left hand for most people.

Bow Press

A device used by Compound archers to pull their limbs together for maintenance. Similar in theory to the stringer used by Recurve archers.

Bracer / Arm Guard

Fits on the arm that you hold the bow with, just above the wrist to protect it from the string.


A particular style of arrow-point characterised by a wide, barbed tip. Designed for hunting, they are generally not allowed for target archery.


The general area where targets are placed - "the butts" or individually, the place where a target stand sits.

Centre Shot

A slightly mis-leading term used to describe part of the set-up of a Recurve Bow. For various reasons, the pressure button should be set so that the arrow is NOT pointing perfectly straight, this is done by "adjusting the centre shot" of the bow.

Chest Guard

A special outer layer of protective clothing (worn by both men and women) that both protects the archer and prevents the string snagging.


A small device that is fitted to recurve bows, and adjusted so that an audible click is made when the arrow is drawn back to full draw.

Compound Bow

A type of bow which uses pulleys or cams at either end.

"Come Down"

A command given by an instructor, when they want you to bring the bow back to its undrawn point, by letting your hand ease the string forward - do NOT release the string in the normal way.

Contact Point

Also known as the anchor point or reference point - this is where the fingers holding the string contact the chin/jaw.


Some archers who shoot Traditional bows or Barebow style move their fingers up and down the string to adjust elevation/distance. The amount the fingers are moved is known as a crawl.


The act of pulling the bow string.

Draw Length

The distance the string is pulled back until the anchor point is reached. Your arrows need to be slightly longer than this measurement.


A rubber device fitted to a long-rod to absorb vibration.


The number of arrows shot - usually three or six, (but sometimes four or five).Target Archery Competition rounds are made up of a set number of ends.


Shouted so that EVERYONE can hear, a signal that shooting MUST stop immediately - something has happened or been seen which makes it unsafe to continue shooting.


Also known as flights or vanes, three or four are attached to each arrow shaft to help control flight - usually made from plastic or feathers.


The point where you hold the bow in your bow hand - also known as the throat. With some risers, the actual grip is replaceable.


International Limb Fitting - the style of recurve limb that clips into place.


The kind of arrow rest used on a Compound Bow.


Flexible arms fitted to the handle of the bow and to which the string is attached. For recurve bows, the majority are either bolt-on or ILF (clip-in) though there are also proprietary types that only fit one make of riser.

Limb Gauges

Simple devices that temporarily clip onto the inside of the limbs of a recurve bow. Markings on these guides make it easy to see when the limbs are in line with the limbs, and adjust the limbs when necessary.


The process/act of releasing the string, i.e. actually shooting the bow.

Nock (1)

The piece of the arrow which fits on the string.

Nock (2)

The grooves for the string loops at the ends of the limbs.

Nocking Point - Singular

The position on the string where the arrow attaches, identified by a pair of brass or fibre markers.

Nocking Points - Plural

The pair of markers, either side of the 'Nocking Point'. Sometimes made of brass, but more commonly made of cotton or dental-floss.


The front tip of the arrow - which can be an insert or an over-fit, and is much sturdier than the shaft.


An issue that happens when the fingers are pushed together during drawing so that they accidentally grip the arrow which may make it come off the arrow rest.

Pressure Button / Plunger

A small spring in an adjustable holder that acts as a shock-absorber for the arrow, fitted as close as possible to the Arrow rest.


Usually made of rubber, this makes it easier to grip an arrow, when pulling it from the Boss.


The handle section of the bow which the limbs fit on to.


This is the definition of a particular competition, such as the number of ends shot, at what distance and what Target Face. In the UK they normally have names such asPortsmouth, Vegas,Rosyth,York etc.


A tube-like device, worn either on the back or on the hip, and used to temporarily hold arrows while shooting. A Ground Quiver does a similar job outdoors, but is 'planted' in the grass instead of being worn.

Recurve Bow

This is the type of bow that beginners learn to shoot with, and the most popular type of bow generally. So named because the tips of the limbs curve forwards.


This is the thread which is wound round the string to make the end loops and the centre section where the arrow fits.


The main part of the arrow - usually a tube of aluminium, carbon-fibre, (or a mixture,) or of wood.

Shooting Line

This is the position from where Archers shoot. It must only be crossed when the range is clear and safe to do so - after the whistle or voice command has been given.


This is usually made of multiple strands, attaches to the limbs and propels the arrow from the bow. Materials vary, from linen for some traditional bows, to various types of plastic for modern bows.


Usually made from a length of nylon webbing, this simple device applies tension to a recurve or traditional bow to allow the actual string to be fitted/removed.

Target Face

Normally these are coloured, concentric circles that Archers aim at - there are different sizes for different events, usually made from specially reinforced paper. The exact details vary according to the rules of the specific shoot.


A device (usually primarily made of synthetic leather) that takes the pressure off an archers fingers, preventing blisters and callouses.


Latin word meaning 'the study/practice of Archery'.


Usually found in pairs (though Compound often only fit one bar). Also known as a short-rod, since it does the same basic job as a long-rod but is much shorter (6 to 10 inches), and is fitted to point outwards and rearwards, instead of directly forwards. As with a long-rod, a V-Bar is usually fitted with a relatively heavy end-weight, partly to counter-balance the long-rod, and partly to provide lateral stability.


A small block, usually steel, that attached to the bow between the riser and the long-rod, which also provices attachment points for a pair of V-Bars (short-rods). Most models have a fixed angle, but others allow for adjustment of the angle, though most Archers find this to be unnecessary.

Waiting Line

A line that marks the edge of the 'safe-zone' - Archers waiting to shoot or collect their arrows must stay behind this line - it is usually 5m behind the shooting line and should be kept as clear as possible.