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How to Measure Draw Length on a Bow? – 5 Simple Steps!

How to Measure Draw Length on a Bow
Written by Catherine Weeks
Last Update: August 11, 2023

Let’s face it. Most beginners often ignore the importance of measuring the draw length on a bow. It is a common misconception that every bow and arrow is the same, but they are not.

Choosing a proper bow and arrows can have a great impact on the accuracy of the archer.

This is why you must know how to measure the draw length on a bow so that you can choose the bow and arrow that fits you. If the bow is slightly larger or smaller than what fits you, you may have to apply more pressure to pull the arrow. This might be strenuous and can reduce the flexibility of each shot.

On the other hand, If you choose an arrow that is longer than your arm span, it might come into contact with your clothes and may hamper your shot.

That’s why today we’re here with an in-depth guide on how to measure draw length by yourself. It’s a pretty straightforward process.

To measure the draw length, you will need to start by measuring the distance between your back and front anchor points while drawing the bow with a full draw. You can also measure the distance from the string to the nock of your arrow when it is drawn. The length you measure should be your draw length. 

Now, let’s dive in deeper.

How to Measure The Draw Length on a Bow? In-depth Guide

What is draw length

What is a draw length?

The modern bows are designed in such a way that these can’t be drawn further after a certain distance. The distance that the archer pulls the string of the bow before it stops is known as the bow’s draw length.

After the bow length is reached, the string can’t be pulled any further, so any try to further pull the string is a futile effort.

How to measure bow draw length?

Although knowing the proper bow draw length is a fundamental concept, many people just don’t know how and end up using a lot of effort to pull the bow.

Measuring the draw length is very easy, and you can do it all by yourself.

To let you get a better understanding of how to measure the draw length of the bow, we’ve come up with a step-by-step guide that you can follow anywhere. Here’s how to determine draw length effortlessly: 

Step 1: Locate a wall

Find a wall that you can use for measuring your draw length.  You can use any wall as long as you can mark two points on it.

Step 2: Put a marker

The next step should be putting a marker on the middle fingers of your hands.

You can use ink, pencil, sticky notes, or anything else as long as you can accurately mark the length of your arms. You can also use a measuring tape and a friend to do this.

Step 3: Stretch your arms

Now, move closer to the wall with your head facing toward the wall. Slowly stretch your arms to get the accurate length of your arm span.

Make sure that you are not overstretching the arms. Keep them straight and relaxed.

Step 4: Mark the length

With the tips of your middle fingers, mark the length of your arms. As mentioned earlier, don’t overstretch.

If you’re taking the help of a friend, make sure that they measure the length of your arm from the tip of one middle finger to the other.

Step 5: Calculations

Draw Length Calculations of the Bow

You must repeat the four steps twice or thrice to get accurate results. After you’ve found out your arm span, the next process is very simple.

Note down the length and divide the number by 2.5. This is your draw length. If this number comes in a decimal form, you can round it off to the nearest whole number.

Choose a bow that has the same draw length as yours.

You can also determine the draw length of the bow using your height. The picture shows the draw lengths that you should choose according to your height. See? Measuring draw length isn’t that hard!

Some other things to keep in mind

When choosing your bow, you must also consider the draw weight of the bow. It is essentially the amount of force that is needed to pull the string up to the draw length.

Knowing the draw weight will make the bow drawing a lot easier. If you choose a bow with a larger bow weight, you’ll need more force to pull it.

If you choose a bow with a smaller bow weight, you’ll need less force to pull, and you’ll still have the scope to increase the speed of the arrow.

If you’re very strong, you can use a bow with a higher draw weight. If you’re using a rangefinder, you should know how to sight in a bow properly.


Archery can be a fascinating outdoor sport. It is one of the easiest ones as well. However, many people just don’t understand how to draw a bow properly and end up using a lot of effort while doing so.

The fundamentals of a bow should be providing comfort to the archer when he/she takes a shot.

Knowing the draw length of the bow, or how to measure draw length is something that all archers should know to make their bow drawing experience a lot better.

If they choose a bow with a higher or lower draw length, they’ll have to exert much energy to pull the string, and it can reduce the accuracy of their shots.

Just like I said in the beginning, learning how to measure the draw length on a bow is really simple. You’ll just need to find a wall, stretch your hands and measure the length of your arms.

Then by dividing the arm span by 2.5, you’ll be able to get the accurate draw length, and yes, it’s that simple.


How Do I Know if My Draw Length Is Right?

First, measure the distance between your neck and the back of your hand when holding the handle of the bow with a relaxed grip. This is your “draw length”. Now, compare the distance you measured with the recommended draw length for your bow. If it’s a match, then the draw length is likely correct.

Is My Arrow Length My Draw Length?

No. The ideal arrow length is usually 1-2 inches shorter than your draw length to ensure that the arrow will not hit your arm when you shoot. You can also adjust the nock point of the arrow to fine-tune it with your draw length.

Does the Bow Draw Length Include the D Loop?

No. The draw length measurement should be taken without the D loop in place since the loop will add an extra inch or so to your draw length.

About the author

Catherine Weeks

Cathy believes that hunting is not about downing an animal; rather, it’s about enjoying the purity of this challenge and making a connection with nature.

She loves country music, horses, shooting, and hunting; and spends her weekends in the great outdoors with her husband and two kids.

Though Cathy has hunted most of her life, it was not until her partner gave her a bow that she realized she had finally found her passion.

She is always determined to share her missed opportunities, dedication, emotions, and small details that people often forget to mention when they talk about their hunting experiences.

Cathy also works to promote wildlife preservation and protect natural resources. She thinks “patience” is the most important thing that can make a big difference.

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