How to Properly Shoot a Compound Bow for Beginners

With your brand-new compound bow, you are sure to have loads of adventures and fun. The feeling of this is priceless that all you can do is to anticipate the technical experience. You may have purchased your bow for recreation or hunting, but this does not matter. However, most people love to have the feeling of hitting the bullseye consistently. 

Consistency of practice makes you much more familiar with the compound bow parts that need to be aligned to give the best shooting experience. In this post, you will be given the necessary information that would take you from good to great as an archer.


Best Youth Compound Bow

Before You Shoot

Having professional hands and eyes handle and check your compound bow is advised. It is excellent for you to make your purchase from a pro shop. However, if you get to purchase the bow from a friend, you should meet a pro to vet the variables.

Your compound bow needs professional handling to calibrate the variables and save you the stress. The calibration process involves attaching or installing the D-loop, peep sight, bow sights, and dialing it in. The primary role you have to play aside from taking it to a pro shop is to check the sights before leaving the shop.

Safety Set-Up

One rule of basic compound bow safety is to ensure that the area is free from anything that can be hurt when you shoot. There will easily be a diversion of the arrow if the D-loop of your compound bow breaks. Causing an injury to yourself or others around you is not a chance you will like to take.

Hay bales are highly recommended to set up behind the target when you want to shoot. The exact place you want to strike with your bow and an excellent target are two things to be considered when safety is in mind. Having hay bales that are broader than the target would help slow down stray shots or stop them completely.


Poundage is the level of difficulty involved in pulling back the bow in other to place it into a full draw. Due to each state’s different requirements for poundage, it is necessary to check your state’s regulation.

As you keep practicing and shooting, you will pull with greater strength; this means that you can increase poundage as you improve. It may seem much more challenging to draw on the bow with higher weight, but it makes your arrow fly flatter and better. 


It takes a while to perfect the art of shooting as well as adequately fine-tuning your bow. Consistency pays off as it sharpens you and helps you to adjust your bow’s variables properly. 

To achieve a greater consistency level, you need to make use of an archery release. The device is usually attached around your waist, generally containing metal jaws around the D-loop on the bowstring. The release has attached to it a trigger that opens the mouth of the jaw and lets you fire the string.

Seven Stages to The First Shot Set-Up

#1 – Nock the Arrow

Nocking the arrow is the most vital part of the setup of the first shot. Trying to draw and release the string with the absence of an arrow is not an option you might want to consider. The process of doing this is called “Dry Firing”. To prevent the breakage of your bow when you fire, ensure you always nock the arrow first. 

#2 – Look for Two Contact Points

Your arrow has to touch two points. In the space found between the D-loop, the nock must click onto the bow’s string while the arrow’s tip has to be sited on the rest. The release should be on your dominant hand’s wrist, and you should be ten yards far away from the intended target. 

#3 – Pull-On The String Into A Full Draw

The release surrounding your D-loop should be clamped and then pulled into a full draw. The hand with the bow would stay in a locked elbow position while the needle containing the arrow will be pulled towards your cheeks. Ensure that you avoid clamping the string.

Initially, it will be challenging to pull the bow backward, and at the position you have initially held the bow, it should appear like a valley. When you finally get to full draw, it is much easier to hold onto the bow after achieving a full draw. Here is the advantage of having your compound bow.

#4 – The Anchor

Creating a kisser point or an anchor point that has a release on your jaw or cheek is the next step in your first shot journey. Usually, the tip would make contact with your nose and make another anchor point automatically. Press it against your face after moving your hand till it is possible to see outside your peep sight.

#5 – Peep Sight Adjustment

The peep sight is a little hole on the string. At this stage, you should be able to view through it. With the peep sight, seeing the whole sight is possible.

Finding the peep sight on your string is usually a difficult task, and that is where the need for making adjustments comes in. Don’t restrict yourself; ensure to move all your anchor points until you can find this peep sight.

#6 – Pulling the Trigger 

Once the sight is now in view, pull the trigger after placing the top pin on the target. Sustain your hold on the finish after the target has been hit by the arrow because the arrow can veer off. 

#7 – Re-adjusting The Pin

After making a hit on the target, ensure to move backward by about 20 yards. If you miss, try to re-adjust the pin. If you have an arrow higher than the bullseye, it is a pointer to the fact you have to move the pin upwards. Re-adjusting the pin is a simple process of following the arrow; the process might seem like cheating, but in actual fact, it is not. 

It is the same process that should be undertaken when the arrow is at a lower level compared to the pin after making a low shot. The method also applies for arrows that veer off either to the right or left. The aim is to get the top pin to around 20 yards.

The next aim is to re-adjust the next pin till it can be consistent at around 30 yards. In other to achieve this, keep moving backward by 10 yards until you make use of your last pin.

Major Causes of Inconsistencies

Mastering the art of hitting the target, consistency, and even dialing requires the factor of time even for the most experienced archers. Even the pros are not immune to variables that tend to bring in inconsistencies in their shots. When inconsistencies are noticed, it is best to find out variables or habits that must have caused them to occur.

Unreasonable Goals

Distinguishing a great shot from a bad one is a fact that may be hard to accept by the archer. The primary determinant of this fact is the distance from the target. In other to measure the spread of your shots, it is highly recommended that you make use of the paper cup, bowl, and plate. 

A paper cup should measure the spread for 20 yards, a bowl should measure that for 50 yards, while a plate should estimate the 80 yards shot spread. Making use of a dot for the aim is highly recommended because the smaller the purpose, the smaller the miss. 

Sights That Are Not Lined Up Properly

Not properly calibrating the sights with the peep sights is another problem. The focus is to perfectly fit the sights to the same view as the peep sight. If for any reason, it gets off, there sure would be an inconsistency. Also, many sights emerge with a leveler bubble. 

The leveler bubble should always be leveled at any given time you want to shoot. For even the slightest of angles present, there is bound to be a veering off of the aim. 

Tightly Gripping the Bow Unnecessarily

The best thing to do after pulling the string to full draw is to make your fingers relaxed. Having to grip the bow too tightly can give rise to an inconsistency. Your fingers should not hold them firmly to the bow after a full draw as they can produce a torque, which would be problematic. 

An Issue with the Bow

While you keep shooting, be observant of any changes that may arise from the bow. If there is a problem of inconsistency, you can always go and get it checked in a pro shop and fix it if necessary. The pro shop is the saving life-line as the problem of the bow could be complicated and unclear to you. 

Adjusting Your Face to Make It Fit

When you decide to adjust your face in other to fit the anchor points instead of the usual way, there sure would be inconsistencies. It is a severe issue for most amateurs and beginners as they are found to move their faces into anchor points. They also make the mistake of putting their hands on their cheek.

The best thing to do is to attend to keeping your face in the right position, and then on your cheek, set your hands. Practicing this movement often is highly recommended.

A Bow That Was Poorly Designed

The absence of a backstop is the greatest challenge every bow has, and this is the most common issue that brings inconsistencies. The backstop is the limit of the bow, where the bow cannot be pulled back further. If there is absolutely no backstop, the level of consistency will crash.


A little jerk as you are about to pull the trigger release is a significant problem of inconsistency for even the most experienced shooters. It is commonly called flinching, and it becomes a less common experience when you are given to constant practice.

One sure way to avoid flinching is by pulling on the trigger release slowly instead of rapidly. You can also get at 20 yards and make someone else squeeze the trigger after lining it up. When you do this, don’t inform them as the tendency to cringe is lesser when you don’t.

You will ultimately become much better after taking on many shots and have a reduced tendency to flinch.


You are not a machine; you are human; after five shots, even without being conscious of it, your arms and even your body gets tired. The outcome of this is that more rushing shots, compensating shots, and even sustaining shots for long would be observed. It has been discovered that having to hold shots for so long causes inconsistencies much more than having a quick shot.

Dropping the Arm

A common error most shooters make is to drop their arm after making a shot, and they do this to see the arrow’s direction correctly. In other to avoid inconsistencies, it is best never to drop your arms after shooting. Even after two decades of archery shooting, it still seems hard to resist the urge to drop the arm. 

Other Fundamental Issues

Other basic problems that may arise:

  • Lack of practice
  • Debris and dirt on the arrow
  • Making use of the wrong yardage
  • Making use of the wrong pin for the yardage
  • Having loose pins and sights in between adjustments
  • Arrows of different weights or mismatched arrows

Check the Arrows for Damage To Avoid Serious Injuries

Hairline fractures are quite common with carbon arrows today; during a shot, these arrows could get shattered. The way to shield yourself against this is to flex test every arrow before taking a shot, mostly after missing a target. To do this, hold each end of the arrow and lift it to your ear while you bend it.

Cracking sounds indicate that there is a need for further inspection; never make a shot with a bad arrow.


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