How to Measure Draw Length Without Being a Professional Archer

Compound bows make for really sleek weapons, but how do archers buy the right one? More importantly, how do they measure draw length? For every type of bow, there are different settings that archers need to take into account.

The bow’s draw length is just one of them. To have a more effective hold on the bow will require your own draw length. That’s why it’s important to take prior measurements before even making a purchase.


ow to Measure Draw Length

The aspect of how to measure draw length also takes into account not only the power of the arrow, but also its accuracy. I myself have often wondered how to do some measuring myself, and I’m guessing you’re wondering the same thing too, whether you’re a novice archer or someone who’s been doing it for quite some time.

Fortunately, the process is really not that complex! You don’t even need a bow to measure your own draw length and you can do it just about everywhere.

How To: Determine your Draw Length

So, are you someone looking to measure the right draw length before buying a compound bow? You don’t even really need to go to an archery shop for it. All you need are the following things.

  • A wide, empty wall where you can stand against and stretch out your arms for easier measuring
  • A tape measure to use when measuring the span of your arms
  • A friend to help you out in measuring your arm span
  • A calculator or some basic math skills to compute the draw length based on the measurements

Ready to learn how to measure draw length? Then, let’s get started with these easy steps.

Step 1: Stand Against the Wall

How to Measure Draw Length


Place yourself against the wall. Make sure you’re standing straight; don’t hunch or lean forward! You should also see to it that your elbows aren’t locked and that you’re leaning flat against the wall. Take into account that you shouldn’t have anything on you that restricts movement.

Some people would often say that you can just stand in a wide-open space, but in my opinion, it’s actually better to be standing against the wall, since it provides balance and stability, and therefore, more accurate measurements.

Step 2: Stretch Out Your Arms Sideways

How to Measure Draw Length

Credit : PSE's Bobby Vargas

Now, here is where you spread your arms to your sides, forming a straight line in the process. Your friend will help see to it that your arms are straight enough for measuring. Your arms shouldn’t go over your shoulders and should be placed against the wall to make sure you get the right measurements.

What I like is to do some stretching exercises so I can be more flexible. If you want to really stretch out your arm for measuring your arm span, then I recommend you do what I usually do. I’d also recommend wearing loose-fitting clothes that allow you to move freely.

Step 3: Have Your Friend Measure Your Arm Span

How to Measure Draw Length

You should then ask your friend to take the tape measure to determine your arm span accordingly. Your friend should determine the length in inches and the measuring tape should be fully stretched out. They should start from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other.

Some people want to have the back of their hands flat against the wall, while others would want to place them by their sides. This doesn’t really matter much, and I’d probably say that it depends on your preference. In my experience, the difference is utterly negligible.

Step 4: Take the Length and Calculate

How to Measure Draw Length

Credit :

Now that we’ve already taken the measurement in inches, it’s time for you to use that calculator. Take the measurement and then divide it by 2.5. So, if your arm span is at 64”, then your draw length is 25.6”. That number will help you purchase a bow based on its draw length settings.

Another way to calculate draw length with the arm span you’ve just taken is to subtract 15 from your span and then divide it by 2. If you find this method easier, then you can use it as you wish. Personally, I like the other method. The results are hardly any different.

Step 5: Double-Check and Measure Again

How to Measure Draw Length

It’s always a good idea to make sure you’re getting the right measurements, since numbers—especially in archery—can matter so much. Some tend to take their height in inches to see if it matches with their arm span. While they may not be exactly the same, they’re still extremely close and you could use that as a basis to see if you’ve measured your arm span correctly.

If you’re caught between decimal points, then I recommend you round down the number. For instance, if your draw length is at 25.6”, then you should round it down to 25. Be sure you get a bow that has its maximum settings a bit higher than your draw length just in case you measured incorrectly.

How to Measure Draw Length in 3 Steps ? 

Did you enjoy the tutorial? What have you learned in the process of measuring your draw length? In my case, it’s really handy that I’ve learned how to measure my own draw length, since it allows me to easily make a purchase at the archery shop.

I know for sure that there are tons of compound bow brands out there with different settings, so I’m a firm believer that knowing what I’m buying also entails knowing if it fits me perfectly. The same principle should apply to those who are out to purchase a compound bow.

Again, if you’re a budding archer or someone who’s been into archery for some time now, then you should already know the importance of knowing your own draw length, taking into consideration the settings of the bow that you want. The right draw length will allow you to shoot with more power, more accuracy. Making measurements beforehand will save you time and money.

What do you think should be included in this tutorial? Or did you like the process of measuring draw length? Don’t be shy—sound off in the comments below!

Share this :

You might also like:

Compound Bow Maintenance: How to Take Care of Your Bow the Easy Way

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: