Archery has been around for thousands of years and remains a fun and challenging activity today. Whether for sport, competition or hunting, knowing how to load, aim and shoot with the bow will make the difference between a weak shot and an accurate arrow.
Method 1 of 3: Shooting with a Recurved Bow
Step 1. Align the body perpendicular to the target
When you're ready to fire and you've drawn an imaginary line from where you are to the target, line up so that line crosses your feet. If you use your right eye to aim, hold the bow in your left hand, pointing your left shoulder at the target and wielding the bow's arrow and string with your right hand. When aiming with the left eye, all steps are reversed.
Step 2. Stand straight and keep your feet shoulder-width apart
Bring your buttocks together to bring your pelvis forward. Keep your back straight so your arms and shoulders form a “T” as you pull the string. The posture should be comfortable enough to support yourself for long periods of time, but it should also be firm and alert.
Step 3. Point the bow down and place the arrow on the string
Aim the bow towards the ground and place the arrow shaft on the rest. Fit the back of the arrow to the bowstring using the small grooved plastic component called an arrow stop or nock. When the arrow has three spears, direct it so that one of them points out of the bow. Then place the arrow below the sights (if you have two sights, place the arrow between them).
Step 4. Use three fingers to lightly hold the arrow on the string
When shooting with a crosshair, place your index finger above the arrow, as well as your middle and ring finger below it, this method being known as a Mediterranean pull; when firing without sight, place all three fingers under the arrow, bringing it very close to the eye. Use your index finger to support the back of the arrow and keep it straight.
Step 5. Aim the bow towards the target
With your fingers on the string, raise the bow and hold it in the direction of the target. The inside shoulder should be parallel to the ground and the bow always vertical. When the bow is held correctly, you will see a straight line just above the back of the arrow.
Step 6. Use three fingers to pull the bowstring towards the face
Use your back muscles for strength and let your arm be as relaxed as possible. Continue pulling until the bow is taut, using your chin, ear, or other body part as a reference point. That way you'll always be able to pull the rope to the same place.
- Try to pull the rope as much as possible as this will increase accuracy and reduce the effect of wind and gravity.
- When pulling the rope back, lift your elbow to use shoulder muscles instead of arm muscles.
Step 7. Aim at the target
Most casual archers will use a technique known as instinctive shooting. In this method, simply aim the bow so that the arrowhead is aligned with the target. When you want to improve your sight, try buying an adjustable sight that attaches to the front of the bow. When shooting the arrow, it is possible to close the non-shooting eye or keep both eyes open.
Step 8. Shoot the arrow by releasing the force of the fingers on the string
The goal is to get a clean shot, meaning the arrow should come out of your fingers with as little deceleration and interference as possible. Although it sounds simple, the way you release your fingers from the string can have an impact on the arrow's flight, where any hesitation or involuntary movement can deflect the course of the shot. After shooting the arrow, wait until it hits the target before lowering the bow.
- Do not move your hand forward if you intend to “boost” the arrow. Stand still to take the best shot possible.
- Pay attention to the recoil or following of the bow, as it may indicate a problem with your posture.
Method 2 of 3: Shooting with a Crossbow
Step 1. Pull or cock the string to cock the bow
When using a hand crossbow, place your foot on the stirrup in front of the crossbow, pull the string back until it cocks, and make the string as level as possible. For crossbows with a crank, connect the crank to the device (if necessary) and simply rotate it until it clicks.
Step 2. Charge the crossbow with an arrow
After cocking the crossbow, place an arrow in the barrel of the device and align the remige with the entry of the barrel. For safety, carry the arrow over the device, keeping your hand away from the main chamber and the front of the crossbow at all times.
Step 3. Bring the crossbow to the shoulder
Similar to a rifle, bring the crossbow to the dominant shoulder and lock the haft into the shoulder gap or rest it over it. Then place your non-dominant hand under the crossbow to stabilize it, keeping your fingers away from the main chamber. Don't shoot with just one hand, as the shots can go out without precision or pose danger to anyone nearby.
Shooting with one hand means using only the hand that is on the handle and the trigger, without the support of the other hand
Step 4. Shoot using an iron or telescopic sight
When the crossbow has a telescopic sight, look through the lens and align the crosshairs with the target. Don't forget to read the sight manual to find out the meaning of each reticle. If the crossbow does not support a telescopic, use the crossbow's standard iron sight or other alignment device.
Step 5. Fire the crossbow
When you're ready to fire, hold the crossbow steady and double-check the crosshair you're using. Pull the trigger like a firearm and when the arrow is fired, you'll hear a slight click on the trigger.
Method 3 of 3: Equipping Yourself
Step 1. Define the dominant eye.
In archery, eye dominance is more important than hand dominance, as the eye will handle the crosshairs and interpret distances. To find out which is dominant, point your finger toward a distant wall or object and close one eye. When the finger is covering the target, you have uncovered the dominant eye.
Step 2. Buy a bow that fits the dominant eye
Most equipment is marked “right-handed” or “left-handed” to refer to which hand draws the bowstring. When the dominant eye doesn't line up with the dominant hand, buy equipment for the weaker hand. Although the hands take some time to adapt, choosing eye-based gear will increase shooting accuracy.
You can use crossbows in either hand
Step 3. Choose the arrows that will accompany the bow
For crossbows, look for arrows that fit the size, density, and stop recommendations provided by the manufacturer. When dealing with curved bows, buy arrows that are about 2 inches longer than the length of the draw. If possible, buy high quality arrows made from carbon fiber, aluminum, fiberglass or wood.
- When planning to shoot targets, acquire field-tipped arrows; when hunting, use broadhead, blunt or judo-tipped ones, which have small wires that attach to the prey.
- To find out the length of your pull, pull the rope as if you were going to shoot. Ask a friend to measure the distance between the front of the bow and the back of the string.
Step 4. Buy protections
Some pieces of equipment are essential to ensure safety and a fun shooting experience. Here are some protections you can purchase: a brace to protect the hand holding the bow and prevent the string from “whipping” the arm; a chest protector to prevent the rope from burning the chest region; gloves or a finger to protect the hands from possible injuries caused by the rope and a quiver for the arrows.
The finger cot or glove is the most important item. Without it, you can take permanent nerve damage even using a 30-pound bow. Trying to be tough isn't a good option, even if you got jaded playing guitar or something
Step 5. Buy targets and other training equipment
In archery, the best way to train is with a personal target. They come in a variety of forms: bags, which work well with single-point arrows; foams, which withstand broadhead and cracked tips; and 3D targets, which can have images of all kinds (wild animals, zombies, etc.). Along with the targets, buy other things like:
- Strength training bars.
- Elastic for pulling training.
- Bows for training.
- Do push-ups, high pulls, and other exercises to strengthen your arm before you start shooting. With strong arms, you will be able to hold the bow more easily.
- Seeing a trainer is the best way to learn, as you will always have an incorrect posture that is difficult to correct on your own. With someone watching you, it will be easier to be corrected.
- Do not fire the bowstring without an arrow as this can create micro-fractures in the bow.
- Never aim at something you don't want to shoot.
- Always place a shield behind the target if you miss an arrow.