Choosing & Fitting Your Bow: Draw Length

By outdoorpro •  Updated: 01/13/23 •  3 min read

To shoot well and comfortably, it is important to match the draw length of the archer with the bow.

When fitting a bow, hold it and see if the grip feels comfortable. The main criteria for having a good bow fit are making sure the bow fits your draw length and draw weight.

Draw Length

The draw length is the distance between the bow grip and the back of the arrow when it is at full draw. Once you know your draw length, match it with a bow of appropriate size.

You can determine your draw length in a couple simple ways.

Bow fitting methods

measure the distance of your arm span from tip to tip in inches, and divide by 2.5 to get your bow draw length
measure the distance of your arm span from tip to tip in inches, and divide by 2.5 to get your bow draw length

Another method is to stand straight, extend your arms to the front, and bring your palms together, using a yardstick placed between your palms and against your breastbone to measure the draw length.

Typical bow draw length for adults

For adult archers, draw lengths typically range from 28-31 inches, and it’s better to err on the longer side than using a bow that’s too small.

Other considerations for choosing a comfortable bow:

Draw Weight

Draw weight is the amount of force required to draw the bowstring back to the archer’s draw length. It is important to select a draw weight that is comfortable for the archer to pull and hold steady while aiming.

Bow Length

The bow length should be appropriate for the archer’s body size and shooting style. A shorter bow is more maneuverable, while a longer bow is more stable.


The bow handle should fit comfortably in the archer’s hand and provide a secure grip.


If the bow is to be used for target shooting, it is important to select a sight that is appropriate for the archer’s shooting style and level of experience.

Bow Accessories

Consider any additional accessories such as stabilizers, arrow rests, and quivers that will be needed.

Arrow Considerations When Fitting a Bow

It’s important to note that traditional bows can be drawn to almost any length and if you find yourself drawing past your comfortable and natural draw length, it may be a sign that your arrows are too short and should be adjusted.