Arrow Speed: Complete Guide For Bow Making

man shooting recurve bow

Most archers seek the fastest arrow speed they can achieve. And whether you are a traditional archer or strictly use modern equipment, understanding what arrow speed is and how it impacts your shooting will dramatically improve your archery skill.

After reading this article you will know more about arrow speed than almost every other archer out there, and that alone will set you apart from the lazy archer who just thinks that faster means better.

Why Arrow Speed Matter

There is no doubt about it, speed matters. The speed at which you send your arrows has a tremendous impact on how your arrows fly.

A faster arrow offers three primary effects, a flatter flight path. This leads to easier aiming at more distances. A faster arrow also provides greater penetrating power which leads to the third benefit. Faster arrows are harder for a living target to dodge your shot.

Generally speaking, to get faster arrows use a stronger bow. The problem with this overly simplistic solution is that there are limits to the size of bow any particular archer can effectively shoot.

Because of this bowyers have strived to devise bow designs to maximize the arrow speed achieved per pound of draw weight.

It is important to understand that not all bows with the same draw weight will produce the same arrow speed. The quality of the bow design significantly impacts just how fast your arrow will fly.

When gauging this disparity we are referring to a bows efficiency. A more efficient bow will create a greater arrow speed at the same draw weight. And ultimately you are concerned with how fast a bow shoots per pound of bow weight.

What Determines Arrow Speed

Two factors impact the speed of your arrow. The total amount of energy transferred to your bow when drawing your arrow and the amount of variables that impede that transfer of energy.

The total energy transferred is comprised of your bow’s draw weight, the draw length, your string height, and your bow profile.

Impediments to the transfer of energy come from string weight, the string stretch, limb mass, the mass placement, and the internal friction of the limb.

Draw Weight: A higher draw weight leads to greater arrow speed when all other factors are equal.

Draw Length: A longer draw length leads to greater arrow speed when all other factors are equal.

String Height: Lower string or brace heights generally leads to greater arrow speed.

Bow Profile: A bow’s profile effects how much energy it can store and transfer to your arrow.


The important thing to remember is that a greater draw weight does not necessarily equal greater arrow speed. Whether you are purchasing a bow or building your own, there are multiple factors you must keep i mind when looking to increase your arrow speed. Read the following articles on how bows and arrows are constructed for more information before you buy or build your next bow.

Written by Fred

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