The age old question "What is the Best Bow?"  I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me this question!

 

Archery is perhaps one of the most personal sports there is when it comes to equipment.  What works for one archer won't necessarily work for the next.  At last count there are about 30 major bow manufactures producing bows and about 200+ models to choose from yearly!  Let's break this down into the most basic fundamental list of 'needs' first, then we will go into the more complex list of 'wants' which should point you into the right direction to aid you in making an educated decision.

The biggest mistake I have seen made repeatedly through the years is falling for all the 'Hype' on (insert bow MFG's name and new model here) and blindly walking into a PRO-Shop and just saying I want 'THAT' bow!  Have you ever looked at the archery classifieds in the early part of the new year?  This is indicative of people whom have purchased that new bow on all the 'Hype' only to find it didn't fit their needs or worse yet didn't fit THEM!  If you want a great deal on the flavor of the year in new bows Late January through mid March is a great time to watch the classifieds for basically brand new bows!  With that said let's break this down into the reason this happens.

The most important apect of buying a new bow is does it fit YOU!  Walking into any archery shop and purchasing purely on 'hype' and impusle is BAD BAD BAD!  I would encourage you to shoot as many bows as physically possible before making any decision on plopping down over $1000 of your hard earned money!  If the PRO-Shop doesn't have any bows to try before you buy....well, then it's time to find a new PRO-Shop!  Let's face it, bows are expensive and not being able to try something in this price category before purchasing is just silly! 

While trying out bows be honest with yourself or you are doomed to making an impulse purchase that someone else will be purchasing from you on the classifieds in the very near future.  When you draw the bow back how does it feel?  Does it hold good?  Does it have a solid back wall?  Is it too heavy?  Is it too lite?  These are all things to make note of and categorize in your head.  Every new bow you shoot you should record these things and make notes of your likes and dislikes of each model.  When you find the right bow.....you will just KNOW it!  it's THAT simple!  Being in this sport of Archery over 40 years I can tell you with 100% confidence you will KNOW when you have the right bow in your hand.

Now you have decided what bow feels the best you have to decide if this bow will fill the bill of what you want to do with it.  The good news is....most bows manufactured today can be used for pretty much everything the average archer would ever want to do.  Obviously this doesn't apply for the PRO whom shoots for a living, but they get most of their equipment at highly discounted rates and multiple bows isn't an issue. 

Conratulations!!  you have found a bow that 'Fits' YOU!  THAT is the most important aspect of anything that you will encounter with it.  Now we'll move on to the secondary things such as finish, Length, type of Cam, brace height,adjustability and speed.

Does your new bow have the color and finish you desire?  I have actually seen poeple purchase bows based on the Camo Pattern!  WOW!  Serioulsy if you are THAT fixated on a color or Camo Pattern then have someone strip a bow that 'Fits' you and have whatever finish you desire!  Don't pass on a bow that feels right because the color is off!  I'm done with this topic.

The next items are physical properties of the bow and although important, aren't as important as the 'fit' issue.  The Length of the bow can be an issue, but let me start this off with this statement:  30 years ago ALL bows were about 40"++ long.  We sat in trees and blinds then too!  Did you catch that?  If your bow has an axle length of 36" and you you think it is too long for tree stand hunting or blind hunting you are just wrong!  The LONGEST bows made today (right around 40") are what the shortest bows were 30 years ago!  Trust me, your bow will be fine whatever length it turns out to be!

The type of Cam is somewhat of a point of argument.  Today you basically have three types of Cam systems.  Single Cam, Hybrid and true Double cams.  I'm not going to go into the differences between them.  Suffice to say you will find people who will promote one over the other and argue it until they cows come home.  Fact of the matter is this.....they ALL shoot just fine!  They are ALL tuneable and they ALL have pro's and con's.  The most important part of the cam selection already took place because the bow felt right to you!  Thats It for cam type. 

Brace height is the ONLY portion of this secondary 'wants' that I will cut some slack on.  Personally I think about 7" of brace height is the best compromise betweeen speed and forgiveness.  Extremely short brace height bows (less than 6") are more difficult to shoot period!  This isn't an opinion this is fact based on physics!  If you were honest in the actual bow selection process this should end up being a moot point however, because you would have already figured this out!!

The adjustability of your new bow is also a double edged sword.  Being able to easily adjust the cam for draw length might sway you to make it too long for you and ultimatley affect your shooting ability.  Quite frankly I am torn on this issue because if you have the descipline to get the draw length right and leave it there adjustable cams make resale much easier.  If you are a tikerbell who can't leave something alone a fixed draw length cam might be your best bet.  Once your draw length is set and comfortable LEAVE IT! 

SPEED.........how fast is fast enough?  I happen to know a little about the differences in speed!  Putting things into perspective lets discuss the ACTUAL difference between 250 f/s and 300 f/s.  With all things being equal aside from speed the difference in a sight tape between the two is only about 4mm at 50 yards!  Actual drop is is about 14 inches.  This sounds like a lot, but in reality it's really not all that important.  If you are overbowed or purchased a bow just for speed you will struggle with accuracy.  Now take a properly fit bow that feels 'right' even though it might be much slower you will hit more X's or 12's I can guarantee it!

In summary, The best bow is the bow that feels right to YOU!  Not the necessarily the bow with all the 'Hype'!