Archery kit explained

A beginner's guide to archery equipment

For newcomers to archery, the purchase of the kit can prove a daunting experience without the right guidance. Archery equipment can prove expensive and disappointing if it has been selected without the help of qualified coach or experienced archer. It is recommended that a six-week beginner’s course be completed using the equipment provided, before considering any major purchase.

However, as a guide, the cost of basic equipment (including bow, arrows, armguard, fingertab and quiver), will be approximately £100 to £150. Second-hand equipment can provide a significant saving, but should only be considered after expert advice.

Here’s our handy guide to the main archery equipment and a few terms to help the newcomer to archery hit the target:

Armguard for archery


A guard on the arm to provide protection from abrasion when an arrow is released.


As if you don’t know! It’s the missile shot by an archer from a bow. Arrows have a maximum diameter of 9.3mm (0.36in), and are usually distinguished by being marked with a competitor's initials, or with distinctive colours and patterns on the arrow fletching (feathers).


The projectile weapon consisting of a shaft with the two ends joined by a string to shoot arrows.


The string of a bow used to transfer the energy to the arrow. Most strings are made of a hydrocarbon product called dyneema.


Usually made of plastic or leather, chestguards are intended to keep clothing out of the way and to protect the body against a bowstring at release.

Finger tab for archery

Finger tab or shooting glove

A flat piece of leather worn as a guard to protect the finger on the arrow’s release.


A container for holding arrows.


The attachment on the rear of an arrow that holds it in place on the bowstring.


A device placed on the bow to help the archer take aim.

Targets in archery

You should know this one too! It’s what the archer takes aim at. The target is 1.22m (4ft) in diameter, with the centre (bullseye) standing 1.3m (4.3ft) above the ground. The bullseye is 12.2cm (4.8in) in diameter.

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