It’s Dangerous NOT to Know Your Correct Arrow Length!

Correct Arrow Length

It’s actually quite dangerous not to know your correct arrow length.

An arrow that’s too long can destabilize during flight and literally end up anywhere.

A short cut arrow could hit the riser and end up through your hand or forearm, or fly abnormally causing damage to property or injuries to those around you.

Not the desired result in any event!!

Arguably arrows are the most important item in an archer’s kit.

On the other hand, some say the bow is the most valuable piece of gear but, it’s the arrow’s responsibility to fly straight and true so it hits the target where it should.

When the correct arrows for the job are selected and they’ve been prepared to perfection it really provides the archer with every opportunity to do his best.

When getting your arrows ready for the the shoot there is one critical component that needs to be addressed and that is, your arrows must be the correct length.

And that begs the question that many beginner archers ask, how do I know what the correct arrow length is? 

Although this may be a sizeable stumbling block for many, the answer is so simple it’s embarrassing… it’s simply a measurement and estimating it takes no time at all.

All seasoned archers have listened to a similar question to this countless time – if my draw is 27 inches what length should my arrows be?

Does Arrow Length Make a Difference?

It’s of significant importance that arrows are trimmed to the correct length to address safety and bow efficiency issues.

When an arrow has not been trimmed and is too long, the additional weight in the extra length destabilizes the arrow in flight which can have a negative impact on its flight path.

It’s generally accepted that it’s way better to leave an arrow at maximum length than to risk an injury and retain a safer shooting environment. 

Short cut arrows are a bigger worry as they present more safety issues.

These short cut arrows present the probability of hitting the riser on the bow or even the hand of the archer following release.

This situation can result in the arrow flying abnormally and causing injuries.

Calculating the right length of your arrows is important but it’s certainly not a complex task by any stretch of your imagination.

Here we’ll talk about the basics of calculating the right arrow length for your bow, measuring up your arrows and cutting them to the right length.

Here’s what we’ll cover ~

  • Calculating the Correct Draw Length
  • How to Measure Up Your Arrow
  • Making the All Important Cut
  • The Safety Considerations

How to Measure Draw Length the Easy Way

To start this exercise you need to find out what your draw length is. There is no set draw length for longbows or recurve bows, theirs can literally be any length from zero to how far back you can draw the string.

Compound bows however are different, they have a set length which means that as you draw back the bow the action stops when the maximum draw length is reached.

The easiest and simplest way of estimating your draw length is to get a friend to measure your arm span from finger tip to finger tip, with your arms stretched horizontally, and divide the result by 2.5.

It’s important that you’re not straining to get your arms to the maximum span, just relax them a little.

This exercise will provide you with a workable result from which a compound bow draw length can be set.

How to Measure Arrow Length

OK, we now have your draw length and from here, we can measure up and cut the arrows. 

This is an exercise that you can also do this yourself and I’m sure you’ll find it somewhat satisfying to do although you will need to assistance of an offsider.

Next, an arrow needs to be nocked and drawn back to your predetermined draw length

Ask your offsider to position him/herself to the side of you with a sharpie or similar felt pen and mark the arrow 1 inch in front of the rest, grab a rule or a tape measure and measure the distance from where the bow string actually contacts the nock to where you have marked your arrow.

It’s important to get this bit right so your arrows are the correct length for you.

Also, you need to allow for broadheads if you’re using them as well as field tips to ensure there’s enough distance from the rest for them to perform effectively and in a safe manner.

Arrow Length vs Draw Length

Although arrow length and draw length are intrinsically connected and work in conjunction with each other, they are actually two entirely different things.

That said if you get your calculations wrong and not have the correct lengths, you’re asking for trouble and possible serious injury.

Arrow length is the distance between where the bow string sits in the nock and the actual end of the arrow. including the tip or arrow head.

Draw length is the distance between the bow and the bow string when the bow is fully drawn. 

As mentioned above the draw length of a longbow and a recurve bow is infinitely variable given that you pull pull the string back as far as you with.

With a compound bow however the draw length is a fixed measurement.

How Long Should My Arrows Be?

So, your arrows have been measured up and you’re super confident you’ve done it correctly, it’s now time to… 


Don’t be nervous. Trimming your arrows the right way is critical and needs to accomplished with the use of a sharp electric saw. At all cost do not use a hacksaw or a manual timber saw, you will not get a clean enough cut using either of these tools.

Safety Considerations… What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You!

When arrows are not treated with the utmost respect, nasty accidents or even death can occur. It’s so important that when calculating arrow lengths and cutting them, that arrow is not cut short.

An arrow that has been cut too short is extremely dangerous as, when the bow is drawn, it can fall off the rest and result in you shooting the arrow into your hand or forearm.


Prevention is way better than cure.

Double check everything you do and ask your offsider to check what you have done. Maybe even cut one arrow a little longer and try it out before cutting all you arrows. Better to be sure than sorry.


arrow lengthThe following measurements are from the bottom of the string cutout in the nock to the end of the arrow point.

For a compound bow the length of the arrow can be the same length as the draw length.

“What are the feathers on an arrow called?”

  • These are referred to as fletching and can also be made from plastic. Their job is to create a spin on the arrow so it remains stable therefore improving accuracy.

“What’s the Right Arrow Length for 22 Inch Draw?”

  • 23 inches

“What’s the Right Arrow Length for 26 Inch Draw?”

  • 27 inches

“What’s the Right Arrow Length for 28 Inch Draw?”

  • 29 inches

“What’s the Right Arrow Length for 29 Inch Draw?”

  • 30 inches

“What’s the Right Arrow Length for 30 Inch Draw?”

  • 31 inches

“What’s the Right Arrow Length for 32 Inch Draw?”

  • 33 inches

Notice the consistency… all arrow lengths are 1 inch longer than your draw.