Left-handed archers: Five things you should know about buying equipment

Left-handed archers live in a right-handed world. Actually, that’s not something confined to archery. It’s generally held that only 10 percent of the population is left-handed, and so the whole world tends to cater to righties.

In archery, the way you shoot should pertain to eye dominance, rather than hand preference – but that’s a topic for another article, which we plan to address in the future.

The world has nothing personal against lefties. It’s a matter of numbers. Here at Lancaster Archery Supply, for example, only about 15 percent of the gear we sell to both right- and left-handed archers is bought by the southpaws. And if you scroll through the shopping area of our site, you will notice that most images of gear that comes in right- and left-handed models depict the right-handed version.

Unfortunately, right-handed dominance can make life difficult when lefties go shopping for a left-handed bow and related equipment. Here are five things left-handed archers should keep in mind:

1. All bow manufacturers make right- and left-handed models. But your local pro shop probably doesn’t keep a huge selection of left-handed bows in stock, due to the comparatively few number of left-handed archers. (Of all the bows sold each year by Mathews, for example, only 8-12 percent are left-handed.) Call ahead to make sure they have the bows you want to check out in the proper size, draw length and draw weight.

2. Release aids for compound shooters all can be used by right- and left-handed shooters. Some simply swivel into position for use either way, while others require minor adjustments with tools to complete the switch. Those that have to be adjusted will always be packaged by the manufacturer for use by righties. So don’t freak out when all you see is a wall of right-handed releases. They can be converted for left-handed use.

Release aids

3. Some sights are made for right-handed or left-handed archers, while others are ambidextrous. That is, you can set up one sight for either left- or right-handed use. Be aware, however, this usually means the sight amenities will be “upside down” for lefties. For example, the normal configuration for most sights is to have the level on the bottom of the sight guard, and the light shining down from the top. Ambidextrous sights will be set that way for right-handed shooters. When set up for lefties, however, such sights typically have the level on the top and the light on the bottom.

4. Be prepared to special order a lot of your gear. Many pro shops simply don’t keep on hand the same selection of left-handed equipment as they do right-handed – especially the high-end, high-dollar gear. They’ll tell you they can get what you want, but you have to special order it.

5. Bowhunters often will find tree stands, stick ladders and other gear set by the manufacturer for right-handed archers. For example, ratchet straps often are connected to tree stands at the factory so that they must be tightened with your right hand. Usually, you can switch these straps at home for left-handed use.

What size recurve bow is right for me?

So you want to get a bow, and the first thing you noticed when checking out a few recurve models is they come in different lengths. And you asked yourself, “What size recurve bow is right for me?” If the target archer chooses one that’s too long or too short, you won’t be as accurate – or have as much fun – as you could with a bow that’s a perfect fit.

And let’s be clear here. We’re talking about recurve bows for the target archer – those who want to get into competitive shooting, or who want competition-style bows for recreational shooting. When choosing a bow for hunting or for traditional shooting, other criteria would apply.

Here’s how to determine the correct bow size for you. Stand with your arms extending out to either side of your body at shoulder height. Don’t stretch. Just extend your arms naturally. Now have a partner measure the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other. Take that number and divide by 2.5. This is your calculated draw length, which should be pretty close to your actual draw length, if it doesn’t hit that figure right on the head.

Optimized-measure photo

With your draw length in hand, you can now determine the length of the bow you should be shooting. That length, incidentally, is measured from tip to tip, following the curve of the limbs and along the back side of the riser, while the bow is unstrung.

Here’s a basic chart to follow:


14-16 inches……………….48 inches
17-20 inches……………….54 inches
20-22 inches……………….58 inches
22-24 inches……………….62 inches
24-26 inches……………….64-66 inches
26-28 inches……………….66-68 inches
28-30 inches……………….68-70 inches
31 inches and longer…………70-72 inches

What happens if you go too short? Well, recurve bows are designed for peak performance at the proper draw length. For example, the sweet spot for the 62-inch bow is going to be when it’s drawn 22-24 inches. The draw weight increases at a consistent curve up to those lengths. If you draw that bow 28 inches, you’re going past the peak performance point, and the draw weight will increase sharply. Accuracy will suffer.

Conversely, if you only draw a 70-inch bow to 26 inches, you’re never getting to the peak performance spot. That’s not as big a problem as overdrawing a short bow, but you’ll be sacrificing arrow speed, which is critical for target shooters.

(Below is a sequence of photos which show, from top to bottom, the tip of a recurve bow in the underdrawn, correct and overdrawn position.)

Optimized-length1 (2)Optimized-length2Optimized-length3

When it comes to determining the proper draw weight for your new bow, that’s going to vary from archer to archer. Physical strength, coordination and stamina all play a role. Selecting the proper draw weight is important. Too often, archers start with a draw weight that’s too heavy, which leads to the development of poor shooting habits. Call the Lancaster Archery Supply TechXperts at 1-800-829-7408 for help in choosing a proper draw weight – or with any other questions about choosing the right archery equipment – or ask a coach or your local pro shop technician.

S.A.F.E. Archery is a big hit at Lancaster Barnstormers game

Lancaster Archery Supply employee Justus Leimbach “threw” the ceremonial first pitch at the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game against the York Revolution June 19, 2015, at Clipper Magazine Stadium in downtown Lancaster. Naturally, Leimbach did it LAS style, using a S.A.F.E. Archery bow and arrow to deliver a strike over the heart of the plate. LAS videographer Silas Crews captured the whole thing on video.

Afterwards, scores of kids got the chance to try the Students and Families Experiencing (S.A.F.E.) Archery equipment for themselves in the Lancaster Archery Academy booth. The S.A.F.E. arrows have large foam tips, making them safer to shoot than standard arrows. They can be shot indoors without special netting or anywhere outdoors. The S.A.F.E. Archery gear is perfect for introducing kids to the sport of archery.

Lancaster Archery "first pitch"

Lancaster Archery employee Justus Leimbach draws his bow to “throw” the First Pitch at the June 19, 2015 Lancaster Barnstormer’s baseball game.

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

John Wert, head of the TradTech division of Lancaster Archery Supply, is a big fan of the Samick Sage takedown recurve bow. In this video, he explains in detail why it’s one of the best selling recurve bows in the world.

In simple terms, the Samick Sage is well designed, well built and it’s affordable. Who doesn’t appreciate that?

Hoyt Prodigy RX

Lancaster Archery Supply TechXPert Dan Schuller discusses the features of the Hoyt Prodigy RX recurve riser. Schuller describes all the parts that come with the riser in the box and how they can be used to customize the riser to your liking.

Schuller also takes a few shots with a full Olympic recurve setup featuring the Prodigy RX riser, and describes what he likes about the riser’s performance. One thing Schuller likes about the riser is the variety of adjustments it includes for the limb pockets, limb bolts and clicker plates, which all allow an archer to really dial in the bow to that person’s specifications.

Lancaster Archery Supply 2015-16 Archer’s Wishbook is here

The LAS 2015-16 Archer’s Wishbook is 412 pages of archery excitement. And it’s available now.

Whether you’re into target archery, bowhunting, traditional archery or simple recreational shooting, you’ll find what you need in this year’s catalog to get you in the game. But the Wishbook is more than just a catalog. Within its pages, you’ll find a comprehensive selection of charts for choosing the right arrows for your bow and your style of shooting.

Call 1-800-829-7408 or visit us at www.lancasterarchery.com to request your free catalog today.


USA Archery dress code

Lancaster Archery Academy instructors Heather Pfeil and Laura Reed discuss tournament dress code for USA Archery events.

Trent Cole and Blitz TV stars to appear at Lancaster Archery Supply on May 16

Leola, PA, May 14, 2015– Due to a last-minute opening in his schedule, Trent Cole, NFL Star and host of the outdoor show Blitz TV, will be appearing at Lancaster Archery Supply on Saturday May 16 from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Cole will be joined by co-host Richie Elam and the crew from Blitz TV. The staff from the popular bowhunting show will be working with the bow technicians at Lancaster Archery Supply prior to a weekend hunt in New Jersey.

During their appearance at Lancaster Archery, Trent and Richie will sign autographs and meet with the public. All are invited to stop by.

Cole, a linebacker popular with Central Pennsylvania football fans, played with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2005 to 2014. He is now playing for the Indianapolis Colts.

WHO: Meet and Greet – Trent Cole and Richie Elam, Blitz TV
WHERE: Lancaster Archery Supply, 2195A Old Philadelphia Pike, Lancaster, PA
WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

About Lancaster Archery Supply, Inc.
Since 1983, Lancaster Archery Supply has offered the world’s largest selection of top quality archery equipment for shops and archers shooting 3D, target, bow hunting, and traditional archery. The company specializes in products and services for all forms of archery, including Olympic Recurve, target and field archery, traditional, 3D, bow hunting, and youth or recreational archery. Lancaster Archery Supply’s staff shoots every form of archery with a deep passion and love of the sport. Their technical archery experts, TechXPerts™, provide exceptional customer service and help customers select the equipment that best meets their needs. For more information, visit https://www.lancasterarchery.com.

May 2015 New Archery Product Introductions

Lancaster Archery Supply’s Eric Yoder walks through several new products to hit the market in May 2015. The products featured are the TruGlo Bow Jack, which helps a compound bow stand upright when the jack is attached to the lower limb; replacement cordovan leather tab faces for the AAE Elite and KSL tabs; T.R.U. Ball AccuTouch Slider HD single-pin sight; and the Flying Arrow Tom Bomb broadhead for hunting turkeys.