Are you a beginner at practicing archery? Amateur or experienced, you must know that brace height is one of the most significant factors for this sport.
So, what is a bow’s brace height, and how does it affect your target?
The brace height of a bow is the distance between the center of the string and the grip’s throat. It can considerably impact your shooting technique. Most essentially, a bow’s brace height affects the maximum distance up to which you can draw the bowstring. It is called the power stroke.
That is not all. There is more to brace height and its influence on your overall performance in archery. Worry not. This article will give you a detailed insight into the brace height of a bow and how it impacts your game.
What is Brace Height?
Height usually refers to the tallness of a specific object (or person). However, it is the horizontal gap between a bow’s body and its string when it comes to the brace height. The deepest part of its body is called a pivot point.
Alternatively, you can refer to the area of a bow’s frame from where you clutch this equipment. It is called the grip. The measure of the gap between the pivot point or the grip to the string is the brace height. It is usually between 5 to 10 inches.
Though it is not the only factor that can determine your performance, it is certainly one of the most significant ones. The brace height can affect your power stroke in a negative or a positive way. Therefore, it is essential to understand its significance to ace your archery performance.
How to Measure the Brace Height?
Several modern bows have all their specifications written in their descriptions. However, many of them may not have it pre-specified. Do not worry. You can measure the distance between the pivot point and your bowstring with a T-Square.
It is a special T-shaped measuring instrument used to determine a bow’s brace height. It is like a ruler to check the distance, easily found at online or offline stores.
How does Brace Height Influence Archery Performance?
So far, you know what brace height is and that it can influence archery performance. But how exactly does that happen? The brace height of a bow can impact your shooting technique. It affects the speed of the arrow, and as a result, the accuracy in touching the target.
Let us learn about the effects of brace height in detail.
Brace Height Affects the Speed of Arrow
Professional archers would choose a bow that has a low or short brace height. That is because of the smaller the brace height, the faster the arrow.
When you release the arrow, it is in contact with the string even after the string is straight. This is because the string also travels in the opposite direction of the archer along with the arrow. That is, due to the high momentum of the arrow. The velocity of an arrow starts to decrease after the release.
Even after its shot, the arrow will remain in contact with the string for longer if the brace height is low. As a result, the energy transferred to the arrow will be higher. This makes it cover a larger distance in a short period, resulting in an increased speed.
Due to this reason, manufacturers make bows with a shorter brace height. Such bows are known as fast bows and may have a brace height of around 7 inches.
Connection Between the Brace Height and Speed
Several experienced archers say that every inch of brace height impacts the distance covered by an arrow by ten feet in a second. If your bow’s brace height is reduced by 1 inch, your arrow can travel extra 10 feet in 1 second.
Alternatively, if you increase the brace height by 1 inch, the arrow will cover 10 feet less. Again, this is the distance covered in 1 second.
That said, you must know that a bow with low brace height or a fast bow makes a high amount of noise. Though professional shooters may prefer a fast bow, it may not be helpful for a hunter. That is because the game would then be aware of the hunter’s presence.
The increased speed and energy of the arrow cause stronger vibrations, resulting in a louder sound. You need not worry. If you are a hunter and still prefer a fast bow, you can add a rubber tool. It will help absorb the noise, making it easy to hunt.
Brace Height Affects the Vertical Torque
When you pull the arrow backward, it needs to pass above the grip or the area where you are holding the bow. This creates a vertical torque. It is the measurement of the space between the grip or your hand and the area from where the arrow will pass.
The angle at which you pull the string determines the amount of vertical torque. If the brace height is short, this angle will be greater, and so will be the torque. Thus, the brace height becomes a crucial factor in your performance even if your shooting technique is correct.
That said, if your draw length is short, the vertical torque will be lower even if the brace height is less. An archer with a longer draw length may face a higher vertical torque with the same bow. Thus, it can be said that the power stroke or the draw length also affects the forgiveness of the arrow.
Brace Height Affects the Accuracy of Target
The bow affects the flight path of the arrow. If this effect is positive, it is referred to as higher forgiveness and vice versa. It means, if the level of forgiveness is high enough, the shot will be accurate. It is not rocket science.
Thus, a bow needs to have a high forgiveness level. If your bow is forgiving, the small errors will be compensated for, resulting in an accurate shot. Still, even with a forgiving bow, getting an accurate shot would be a little challenging for a new archer.
You must know that the brace height of a bow influences its forgiveness. So far, you know that while a low brace height helps in improving arrow speed, it would also increase the virtual torque. When it comes to forgiveness, here too, a higher brace height is better.
If the brace height is more, the arrow will leave the string earlier. Though it may result in decreased speed, it also means that the archer’s influence on the shot will lessen. The archer’s body movement will affect the accuracy of an arrow if it is connected to the string for an extended time.
Thus, if you opt for a high brace height, your shot will have greater forgiveness and consistent accuracy. Additionally, it will also reduce the chances of a wrist-slap from the string.
What is the Solution to Speed and Accuracy in Archery?
The vertical torque can be decreased by lowering the arrow rest and bringing it nearer to the grip. In recently-manufactured bows, you will see that the distance between the throat of the bow and the arrow hole is less.
Whereas, in older bows, this distance will be comparatively higher. A lower vertical torque helps in a better shot.
Lower brace height means higher speed, which is why manufacturers have changed this aspect. New bows have decreased brace height resulting in fast bows that are loved by every archer.
The bow’s overall design also helps to improvise the speed and accuracy of your shot. The latest bows are designed to be fast, smooth, and consistent, with less vibration. It is achieved by innovative construction and the use of better materials.
How to Determine the Brace Height According to the Types of Bow?
Brace Height in Recurve Bow
In a recurve bow, the limbs are curved, which makes it different from the other bows. A recurve bow is designed such that it stores high amounts of energy.
The extra curves of this equipment help the archer shoot the arrows farther away, too, with higher force. When you draw a recurve bow, its limbs will be curved away from you.
A recurve bow usually has the brace height between 7 to 10 inches. If you want to change it, you can do so up to 0.5 inches. That is, you may increase or decrease the brace height in a recurve bow by 0.5 inches.
Changing the brace height in a recurve bow will make a difference in the sound made while you shoot. Additionally, it will also affect the amount of vibration caused due to the force applied while releasing an arrow. You can adjust the brace height to increase or decrease these factors.
Brace Height in Compound Bow
Most of the compound bows that are newly-constructed come with a pre-determined brace height. The manufacturers allot a specific brace measurement according to the model. To enhance the speed of a bow, most of them come with a short brace height.
That said, the brace height in a compound bow does not make a lot of difference. Due to its complex nature, these bows have various aspects that work on speed, power, and accuracy.
Brace Height in Longbow
Longbows are one of the most simple and traditional ones. A longbow is made of one single piece of wood without any separate limbs. These bows are quite big and can be as long as 5 feet or more.
Longbows are made of elm, yew, or other types of wood and are quite strong. However, you will need to practice a lot to gain precision with such a bow.
The brace height in a longbow must be 1/12th of its total size or length. If your longbow is 72 inches long, its correct brace height would be 6 inches.
Brace Height in Crossbow
A crossbow is the most modern type of bow. In this equipment, you need not draw the string as it requires a trigger to shoot the arrow. All you need to do is latch its significantly small arrows by pulling the string and press the trigger. It may be a recurve or a compound bow.
The brace height in a crossbow is considerably different from other bows due to its unique design. Here, the distance from the string to the intersection of the riser and rail is the brace height. As a preset, it will have two lines engraved at the deck surface.
You must maintain the height between them. Try to keep it short. You can also set a brace height according to your preference, but it is recommended to start at 1 inch.
How to Adjust the Brace Height in a Bow?
If you want to change your bow’s brace height, you can easily do it with your string. By twisting the string, its length will decrease, and the brace height will increase. When you attach a shorter string to the limb, it will recline downwards, causing the riser to go farther away.
As a result, the brace height of your bow will increase. If you want to improve the forgiveness level or reduce the vertical torque, you can increase the brace height. Also, it may assist in diminishing extra noise and vibration.
Alternatively, to reduce the brace height, you can undo or open the twists in your string. It will help in enhancing the arrow speed.
You may require to adjust the brace height if you own a longbow or a recurve bow. Though you can take professional help for the job, doing it by yourself is also possible. Getting a bow stringer from one of the online or offline stores will prove to be helpful here.
The best way would be changing it by 1/8 inch every time and noting down the difference. It will help you to keep track of the required brace height. You can let one of your friends stand next to you to make a better observation of the resulting change.
Note: If you own a compound bow, you must consult a professional to adjust the brace height.
What to Consider While Adjusting the Brace Height?
Though adjusting your bow’s brace height may seem pretty easy, you must keep a few things in mind. The very first being, knowing the type of string. Flemish strings, for example, require higher precision while twisting and untwisting.
The design of a Flemish string is a little tricky. It is made of opposing twists. If you do not be careful while untwisting, it will come off and get ruined. Though you can tie it back, it is challenging work. Moreover, it may not result in accurate construction.
Another factor that you need to consider is the stretchiness of a string. Some strings may stretch a lot with time. That is why you must put on the string and leave it overnight to fit in place.
Alternatively, you can shoot a few arrows to let the string stretch enough and then measure its brace height.
Apart from that, you must know that a short brace height may influence the balance of your bow. It may increase the top-heaviness of the bow, making you automatically bend forward. You can purchase a balancing device to deal with this issue as it may affect the shot accuracy.
What is the Ultimate Brace Height for Your Bow?
You need to weigh several aspects to determine the correct brace height for your bow. Here are the important ones.
Purpose of Shooting
The first and foremost deciding factor is what you are using the bow for. If you bought a bow for hunting, you must go for a higher brace height as it reduces the noise. Alternatively, if you are 3D-shooting, you can opt for a short one to gain more speed.
Skill and Experience
What you must remember is a short brace height may improve your speed but affect the accuracy of your shot. Be true to yourself and do not give in to the temptation of speed. You must try to make do with the preset brace height if you are a beginner.
Your way of shooting may be different from your friend’s. Though taking advice is useful, it is up to you to imply it. Do not play with the brace height in someone’s influence. Make the decision based on your performance and requirements.
Note: The brace height may differ according to models and types of bows.
If you still want to change your bow’s brace height, here is a list of the accurate measurements.
|Length of the Bow (inches)||Brace Height (inches)|
|48||6 – 6.75|
|52||6.5 – 7.25|
|56||7 – 7.75|
|60||7.5 – 8.25|
As you may have understood, the brace height of your bow can significantly impact your performance. From the speed and accuracy to the vertical torque and forgiveness, this measurement is paramount.
You can seamlessly determine the correct brace height for you by knowing your personal experience’s essential factors. Ask yourself questions like is speed more significant or the noise and vibrations? Or do you want to improve your game and achieve a higher level of accuracy?
Be clear about what you want and take the shot!