A Glossary of Archery Terms


The place where the string hand ends up immediately before releasing / "loosing" the arrow.


What you shoot from the bow - most are made from aluminium tube but can be made from carbon fibre or a combination of both. It has four parts: the shaft, the fletches, the nock, the point/pile.

Arrow rest

An attachment on the bow on which the arrow shaft sits/slides.


What the target faces are pinned to - usually made out of straw but can also be made of layered foam.


The general area where targets are placed - "the butts" or individually, the place where a target stand sits.


What you use to shoot your arrows with - generally comes in three parts: a handle/riser and two detachable limbs.

Bow arm

The arm to which the bracer is attached, and lifts the bow - the same side as the bow hand.

Bow hand

The hand you hold the bow with - the left hand for most people.

Bracer / Arm guard

Fits on the arm that you hold the bow with, just above the wrist to protect it from the string.


An adjustable spring that acts as a shock-absorber for the arrow, fitted as close as possible to the Arrow rest.

Compound Bow

A type of bow which uses pulleys or cams at either end.

"Come Down"

A command to bring the bow back to its undrawn point, by letting your hand ease the string forward - do NOT release the string in the normal way.

Contact Point

Also known as the anchor or reference point - this is where the fingers holding the string contact the chin/jaw.


The act of pulling the bow string.

Draw length

The distance the string is pulled back until the anchor point is reached.


The number of arrows shot - usually three or six, (but sometimes four or five). Competition rounds are made up of a set number of ends.


Shouted so that EVERYONE can hear, to signal that shooting MUST stop immediatly - something has happened or been seen which makes it unsafe to continue shooting.


Also known as flights or vanes, attached to the arrow shaft to help control flight - usually made from plastic or feathers.


The point where you hold the bow in your bow hand - also known as the throat.


Flexible arms fitted to the handle of the bow and to which the string is attached.


The process/act of releasing the string, i.e. actually shooting the bow.

Nock (1)

The piece of the arrow which fits on the string.

Nock (2)

The ends of the limbs with the grooves for the string loops.

Nocking Point

The position on the string where the arrow attaches.


The front tip of the arrow - which can be an insert or an overfit, and is much sturdier than the shaft.


This happens when the fingers are pushed together when drawing so that they grip the arrow and may make it come off the arrow rest.


The handle section of the bow that the limbs fit on to.


This is the definition of a particular competion, such as the number of ends shot, at what distance and what Target Face. In the UK they normally have names such as Portsmouth, Vegas, Rosyth, York etc.

Recurve Bow

This is the type of bow that beginners learn to shoot with, and the most popular type of bow generally. So named because the tips of the limbs curve forwards.


This is the thread which is wound round the string to make the end loops and the centre where the arrow fits.


The main part of the arrow - usually a tube of aluminium, carbon-fibre, or a mixture, or of wood.

Shooting Line

This is the point from where Archers shoot. It must only be crossed when the range is clear and safe to do so - after the whistle or voice command has been given.


This is usually made of multiple strands, attaches to the limbs and propels the arrow from the bow.

Target Face

Normally these are coloured, concentric circles that Archers aim at - there are different sizes for different events, usually made from specially reinforced paper.

Waiting Line

A line that marks the edge of the 'safe-zone' - Archers waiting to shoot or collect their arrows must stay behind this line - it is usually 5m behind the shooting line and should be kept as clear as possible.