Top 3 Kids’ Bow and Arrow Sets to Give as Gifts

Looking for the perfect kids’ archery set to give as a gift to that special young archer in your life? We’ve got you covered, whether you’re looking for a compound or recurve bow for a beginner or someone with a little experience.

Bear Titan Youth Recurve Set

Bear Titan Kids' Bow Kit
For an archery beginner, this is a great first bow set at an affordable price that has nearly everything your archer will need to shoot. Recommended for kids age 12 and up, the kit comes with a 60-inch bow intended for draw lengths of 22-28 inches and draw weights of 20-29 pounds, depending on how far the bow is drawn. The bow can be shot either right- or left-handed. You’ll also get a sight pin, two arrows, a quiver, an armguard and a finger tab.

DIAMOND INFINITE EDGE PRO WITH R.A.K.

Diamond Infinite Edge Kids' Bow Kit
Here’s a compound bow setup that is perfect for beginners or advanced archers. And it’s suitable for slinging arrows in the backyard, on the target range or while bowhunting in the woods. Best of all, the bow is one your archer can grow with. It’s a 31-inch bow, with an adjustable draw length from 13-31 inches and adjustable draw weight from 5-70 pounds. With those specifications, the bow can be adjusted to take an archer from pre-teen through adulthood. And it will perform for a beginner or an advanced archer. Besides the bow, the R.A.K. set also includes a 3-pin sight, peep sight, a full-containment arrow rest, a five-arrow quiver and a wrist sling. All you need to start shooting are arrows a mechanical release and a target.

GALAXY BULLSEYE 54 RECREATIONAL RECURVE BOW PACKAGE

Galaxy Bullseye Kids' Bow Kit
Let’s say you want to establish a program focused on archery for kids. You need equipment that doesn’t cost a fortune, yet can take a beating. This is the perfect kids’ archery set for that scenario. Available in right or left hand, the 54-inch Galaxy Bullseye recurve bow is ideal for kids age 7-12. You can choose between limbs that pull 15 or 20 pounds. In addition to the bow, the set comes with an arrow rest, single-pin bow sight, armguard, rubber finger savers for protection while drawing the string, three arrows, a quiver a bow stringer, two target faces and a bow case. Each of the youth bow packages listed above will be great options for the youth archer in your life. Didn’t find these youth bow kits fitting for the archer in your life? Check out our full selection of kids’ bow kits here.

How to Choose the Right Recurve/Longbow String

Getting the right size string for your recurve or longbow is critical to getting the best performance out of that bow.

To do so, you’ve got to get a string that’s the correct length for your bow, and has the correct number of strands.

LENGTH

When figuring out the correct length for your bowstring, you’re likely to come across the acronym “AMO.” This stands for Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization, and it represents a uniform system of measurement for recurve and longbow bowstrings.

Let’s say you have a 68-inch recurve bow. You might think, “Well, I need a 68-inch string.” What you need is a 68-inch AMO string, which will actually measure 64 to 65.25 inches long depending on the bow and the string material. 

According to AMO standards, the correct bowstring length for a particular bow is three inches shorter than the stated bow length. That is a good rule of thumb, but it’s not guaranteed to be optimal in every case.  The latest modern materials (such as BCY DF 97 or 8125 Dyneema) and string-building methods give us bowstrings that do not stretch nearly as much as Dacron B-50 or Flemish bundle-made bow strings. 

Dacron bow strings can measure up to one inch shorter untaught then they would under 100 pounds of tension, while a new material, such as BCY DF 97 or 8125, may only vary by a quarter-inch. 

Using the correct string length allows you to achieve the correct brace height to ensure quietness and maximum performance for that bow once it’s strung.

Brace height can be easily adjusted by increasing or decreasing the number of twists over a wide range in your bowstring.  For example, on a string for a 68-inch bow, anywhere from 20-60 twists will produce world-class results in order to get your bow’s brace height correct.

Usually, the bow will have its length measurement printed somewhere on it. But what if you have a bow that doesn’t indicate its length anywhere? You can measure it for yourself.

Set the unstrung bow on its side on a flat surface. Now measure a longbow from string groove to string groove on the belly (grip facing you) side of the bow. For recurves, your groove-to-groove measurement should follow the curvature of the top limb, run straight over the riser, and follow the curvature of the bottom limb.

That measurement is the length of your bow, and the string you put on it should have an AMO measurement to match it. Again, a 68-inch bow gets a 68-inch AMO string.

By understanding this standard, you can then match a string that doesn’t have an AMO designation with the proper bow. If a string measures 65 inches long, then you know it should be used on a 68-inch bow.

STRAND COUNT

A bowstring is a collection of individual fiber strands bound together by serving. Generally, you’ll find recurve and longbow bowstrings with anywhere from 10-20 strands. The number of strands needed in a bowstring depends on the draw weight of the bow.

Modern bowstrings for recurves and longbows are generally made from one of two types of material – Dacron(Polyester) or Dyneema/Spectra (HMPE- High Molecular Polyethylene). 

If your bow was made prior to 1990, only use a Dacron bowstring to avoid damage.  Dacron is more forgiving on limb tips and string grooves as it elongates, or gives a bit, on each shot. Dyneema or Fastflight/Spectra bowstrings offer very little creep/stretch and higher arrow speeds on newer bows.

Dyneema materials such as BCY’s DF 97 and 8125 offer even less creep than Fastflight strings made of Spectra material. 

Bowstrings made of Vectran or Vectran/Dyneema blend are rarely used on recurves and longbows due to the harshness created by zero creep or stretch. 

The number of strands required for your bowstring can vary depending on string material and serving thread.  Be careful to check your arrow’s nock fit onto the center serving. It should lightly click onto the string, but not require more than a tap on the bowstring to dislodge.

Here’s the strand guide our recurve and longbow experts at Lancaster Archery follow:

For bows with draw weights from 10-30 pounds, use Dacron strings with 10-12 strands or Dyneema/Fastflight strings with 12-14 strands.

For bows with draw weights from 30-40 pounds, use Dacron strings with 14 strands or Dyneema/Fastflight strings with 16 strands.

For bows with draw weights over 40 pounds, use Dacron strings with 16 strands or Dyneema/Fastflight strings with 18-20 strands.

Finding the “perfect” bow string for your bow can make a huge difference with accuracy, quietness and performance.  The most important factors are brace height and proper nock fit on the serving.

Customizing your bow grip

“Man, I love this bow, but I just can’t get comfortable with this grip!”

Ever found yourself in this situation?

You’re not alone. And no, you don’t just “have to get used to it.”

If you find a bow that you like, but it’s got a grip that doesn’t suit you, there are lots of potential fixes on the market for both compound and recurve bows.

REMOVE THE GRIP

Perhaps the simplest fix is to remove the grip and shoot off the bare riser. This is going to be more for compound archers than recurve, but it’s a simple move that many target archers do when a grip doesn’t feel right.

Often times, the riser underneath a grip is flat and smooth and has a nice angle that fits how you like to position your wrist. Understand that when you remove a grip, you’re going to extend your draw length a bit.

AFTERMARKET GRIPS

There are many companies that make grips for different bows. Usually, these aftermarket grips are made to correct common complaints archers have about the stock grip on a particular bow. Too wide, too thin, too much angle, not enough angle, soft edge, hard edge. These are all issues that aftermarket grip manufacturers try to alleviate with their grips, and they might have just what you’re looking to put on your bow.

You will find many of these grips offered in low, medium and high varieties. These refer to the wrist position, with a low grip requiring the most bend in your wrist and the high grip requiring the least bend. The medium, is in between the two. Viewed from the side, a low grip will be the most vertical, while the high grip will have the greatest angle away from vertical, and the medium will be in the middle.

If you want a grip that fits your hand specifically, there are manufacturers who will make custom grips. These are popular among Olympic recurve and barebow recurve archers.

TAPE

Sometimes a grip issue can be fixed simply with grip tape. The most common tape is similar to what you’d find wrapped around a tennis racket or the handle of a baseball bat. It’s soft, warm and keeps your hand from sliding. Grip tape is what many archers put on their bows after they remove a grip to shoot off the riser.

Another common tape is traction tape, which has a gritty feel, kind of like sandpaper. This tape usually comes in strips, so you can put a single strip on the face of a grip, where your hand sits. It’s great for keeping your hand from sliding when it’s wet or hot and humid, but without the bulk that can be added by using the wrap-around grip tape mentioned previously.

MOLDABLE PRODUCTS

One way to customize any grip you have is to use moldable putty, rubber or glue. You can add this material to your grip to build it up in specific areas to fit your hand. Usually, the material is pliable when you apply it, then cures into the shape you want after some period.

For a full list of products that can help you get the grip you want, click here.

How to Match Limbs and Risers for Your Takedown Recurve Bow

Takedown recurve bows are favorites among hunters, target archers and backyard archers alike. They break down and pack easily. You can often get different weight limbs for different applications. They’re the Swiss Army knives of recurve bows.

But not all takedown recurve bows are built the same. That is, you need to know what kind you have if you want to get multiple sets of limbs for the different games you play with your bow.

ILF

Arguably the takedown recurve bow with the most options for limbs is an ILF bow. The ILF stands for International Limb Fitting. It’s a uniform attachment system that allows limbs from many manufacturers to be matched with risers from many manufacturers.

ILF riser and limb

As long as you have an ILF-compatible riser, you can use any ILF-style limbs. Hoyt makes a series of ILF-compatible risers and limbs under their Grand Prix name.

On an ILF riser, you will see a limb bolt and a dovetail receiver. ILF limbs will have a U-shaped end that fits under the riser’s limb bolt, and a detent assembly that fits into the dovetail receiver.

FORMULA

Formula limbs and risers look similar to the ILF versions. They are not compatible with each other, however, since the distance is longer between the limb end and the detent on Formula limbs. 

At left is a Formula limb, while at right is an ILF limb.
Notice the difference in distance from the limb bolt to the dovetail between the Formula riser at top, compared to ILF riser below.

BRAND SPECIFIC

There are several manufacturers that make their own risers and limbs, which are only compatible with one another.

The Galaxy Sage, for example, is one of the best-selling takedown recurve bows on the market. It employs a screw-in bolt to connect the limbs to the riser. Only Galaxy Sage limbs will work with Galaxy Sage risers.

Galaxy Sage limb, riser and connection bolt

Cartel is another manufacturer that employs a unique limb-bolt connection system. Only certain Cartel limbs will work with certain Cartel risers.

Manufacturers of takedown bows with unique limb-connection systems will tell you which limbs work with which risers. Stick to their information to be sure you’re getting the right gear.

What’s the difference between a target bow and a hunting bow?

What’s the difference between a hunting bow and a target bow?

Maybe you’ve wondered this on a recent trip to your local archery pro shop when you eyed up the selection of hunting recurve and compound bows in one area and those labeled for target archery in another.

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Except for the muted colors or camo that dominates the hunting selection, versus the bright colors of the target bows, they sure look the same, right?

They are, to a certain extent. But there also are some very calculated differences. Let’s start with compound bows.

Target compounds are going to be longer than hunting compounds. Target bows commonly measure 38-40 inches from axle to axle, while hunting bows usually fall in the 28-34-inch range.

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This target compound bow measures 38 inches long.

The longer bows offer an archer a better chance at precision shooting, because the string angle at full draw is not as severe as it is on a shorter bow, brace heights are often bigger 7-8 inches – and the bows tend to be very “forgiving.” A forgiving bow is one that allows an archer to make tiny mistakes in form, but keeps the arrow going where the archer wants it.

Hunting bows are built shorter so bowhunters can navigate through thick brush or hunt in the tight quarters of a ground blind or tree stand. Maneuverability and portability are the main features of hunting bows. Also, short brace heights of 5-6 inches – which are not very forgiving – help generate lots of arrow speed. Fast-shooting bows can minimize poor hits caused by animals moving before an arrow gets to them.

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Hunting compound bows need to be maneuverable.

Though not always, most target compounds offer the archer the option to reduce the amount of let-off – to 60-75 percent – which increases holding weight at full draw. Many target archers like that increased holding weight because it gives them more control of their bows and it makes it easier for them to activate their release aids.

Bowhunters, on the other hand, often prefer a lot of let-off – 80-90 percent – to minimize the holding weight. A bowhunter might have to hold a bow at full draw for an extended period waiting for a game animal to offer the perfect shot opportunity. The less weight they’re holding for that period, the longer they can hold it and stay still.

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Target compound bows are built for precision accuracy.

With recurve bows, you’re also likely to see target bows generally being longer than hunting models. Full target recurve bows used by adult men tend to run 66-72 inches long; women will shoot target bows 64-70 inches. Hunting recurves usually are anywhere from 50-64 inches.

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A recurve bow built for target archery is long and forgiving.

Again, the difference is precision accuracy versus mobility and arrow speed. The target archer wants a long, forgiving bow with an open string angle. For recurve archers, the open string angle is more conducive to a clean release of the string drawn with fingers. The sharper string angle of a hunting recurve makes it more difficult to get a clean release, because the drawing fingers can get squeezed by the string.

But the hunter only needs to hit an area the size of a pie plate from 20 yards away or less to score a quick killing shot. The target archer might be trying to hit a 10-ring the size of a coffee can lid at 70 meters.

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A recurve bow built for hunting is short, maneuverable and is very powerful.

Adult men shooting target recurves generally have bows with draw weights in the 35-50-pound range, although top competition archers will pull a little bit more. Competitive women general draw 30-45 pounds. Their sole purpose is precision accuracy in shooting at paper or 3-D targets.

Bowhunters typically use bows with 45-55 pound draw weights. Depending on the game, some states require bowhunters to use bows that draw no less than 45 pounds. The hunter’s goal is to shoot a heavy arrow with enough force to pierce hides and break bones.

What’s a bow square, aka, T-square?

Every archer needs a bow square. It’s just one of those tools that archers should have on hand to help out with a number of tasks.

Also called a T-square because of its shape, a bow square is a measuring device that can be clipped to the bow string. There will be measurement lines on both the vertical and horizontal bars of the square. On some squares the long ruler is rounded, on others it’s flat. Compound archers tend to prefer the rounded squares, while recurve archers opt for the flat ones.

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Setting the nocking point.

Recurve archers are going to use a square in multiple ways. They will use it to set their nocking points. They will clamp the square to the string, set the ruler on the bow’s arrow rest or shelf and then refer to the vertical ruler that’s against the string to set their nocking points. There will be a mark letting the archer know where dead center or “zero” is located, and then lines measured in sixteenth inches above and below that zero.

Recurve archers shooting ILF or Formula bows also will use a square to check tiller measurements for their top and bottom limbs. The tiller measurement is taken from the belly of the limb, just above or below the riser – depending on whether you’re measuring top or bottom limb – to the string on a level plane.

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Measuring tiller of the top limb on a recurve bow.

The tiller measurement affects how the bow sits in your hand. If the tiller is not set correctly – to your shooting style and preferences – then the bow might lean forward or backwards. Tiller also makes sure both limbs work in unison. Some archers will want the tiller measurements to be the same between the limbs and the string, while others might like one to be longer than the other. Tiller adjustments are made by turning limb bolts in or out.

Arguably the most frequent use of a bow square for a recurve archer will be to measure brace height. Brace height is the distance from the deepest part – throat – of the grip and the bow string. For consistent shooting, that distance must always be the same, yet it has the potential to change almost every day.

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Measuring brace height on a recurve bow.

Every time you string and unstring your bow, you should measure the brace height. As you shoot a bow repeatedly, you also should periodically measure brace height.

If you measure it and it’s a bit longer than normal, unstring the bow and take a few twists out of the string. If it’s below normal, add some twists to the string.

Compound archers will want a bow square primarily during initial setup to help position their nocking point. As mentioned, compound archers often prefer the rounded square because the cylindrical, long ruler imitates an arrow shaft. The “shaft” sits on the arrow rest, and the other end is clipped to the string. There are lines on the vertical ruler indicating where nocking points – usually D-loop material on compound bows– should be placed to surround the arrow.

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Setting the D-loop position on a compound bow.

Some archers like to nock their arrows a bit above dead center, and so they can use a bow square to set their nocking points at a specific measurement above the center.

Guide to Olympic Archery Arrow Rests

In this video, LAS TechXpert, and former U.S. national champion archer, Dan Schuller runs through the different types of arrow rests for Olympic recurve bows.

Olympic recurve archery – as the name suggests – is the only archery featured in the Olympic Games. So this is the highest level of competitive archery with a recurve bow in the world. And yet, the arrow rests are surprisingly simple.

Schuller shows a few different models – a bolt-on rest, stick-on rests with wire arms and a stick-on rest with a plastic arm.

Schuller describes the variations among these rests and how they’d be installed, and also suggests why an archer might choose one over the other. All are used by every level of archer, from beginner to Olympic champion.

Guide to Traditional Archery Arrow Rests

Traditional archers are known for their simplicity. Everything about their gear is uncomplicated.

The rests they choose for their bows are no different. They’re simple, but functional.

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Before you start to pick a rest, take a look at your bow’s riser. If it’s bare above the shelf, with no holes in it, your rest choices are more limited than if it is drilled and tapped.

Here’s your guide to traditional archery rests.

SHELF RESTS – These are perhaps the simplest of the traditional bow rests, and are widely favored by traditional bowhunters. They are designed for archers who shoot their arrows off the shelf. That is, their arrows simply rest on the riser shelf, above the handle.

Shelf rests commonly are made of felt, leather, feathers or hair. Some are flat pieces of material that simply cover the shelf wood, while others are slightly raised to hold the arrow a little above the shelf.

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Shelf rests are intended for archers who shoot arrows fletched with feathers. The down feather folds flat as the arrow slides across the shelf rest. A plastic vane would jump when it hits the shelf, causing erratic arrow flight.

STICK-ON RESTS – Any traditional bow can receive these rests. Like their name implies, they stick to the riser above the shelf, usually by way of double-sided tape.

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These rests will have an arm built into them, which is meant to support the arrow. Arrows bearing vanes or feathers can be shot from these rests.

SCREW-IN RESTS – These rests are limited to those bows drilled and tapped to accept them. They have arms to support arrows, and they bolt into place through the riser mount. They function just like the stick-on rests, but they are more secure.

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REST-PLUNGER COMBO – This is the most advanced of the traditional rests, and it’s not as widely used as the others. It’s primarily favored by traditional archers who shoot competitively. It can only be used with bows that have the threaded plunger hole mounts above the shelf on the riser.

The rest employs a wire arm, and it’s used in concert with a cushion plunger, which sits against the arrow. The plunger cushions the flexing of an arrow as it leaves the bow to promote consistent arrow flight.

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A guide to bow stands for 3-D archery

The 3-D archery course can be a rough place. Mud, rocks, grass, pavement, greenbriers – you never what you’ll have to deal with.

Encounter any of these conditions and you’ll wonder, “Where can I put my compound bow?” The thing you don’t want to do is set your bottom cam and/or limb down on anything that might affect your string, the limb or the cam itself.

Fortunately, there are portable bow stands to fit just about any bow, that you can carry in your quiver or shooting stool. But you have to pick the right one to fit your bow and your equipment setup.

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The style that’s arguably the most popular is a folding stand that clamps to your bow limb. These stands hold onto the bow pretty well, and you can pick up your bow without worrying about the stand falling off.

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Limbs come in all different sizes, so be sure you choose a stand that is made to fit the limbs on your bow. For example, the Mathews Halon 32 has a much wider limb system than the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro. The same stand would not fit both bows – unless it’s an adjustable stand.

The Pine Ridge Kwik Stand introduced for 2017 has adjustable jaws to make it fit just about any compound bow limb. The legs also are adjustable, so you can customize how your bow stands up.

Another common type of stand slides onto the limb from the side. Some models fold up when not in use. Others don’t.

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Typically, these slide-on stands fit nearly any bow, so you can use one with several different bows.

Depending on the shape of your limb and the way your bow balances, you’ll connect your bow stand up near the riser or back by the cam and then rest the bow on its stabilizer.

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This system will work on any compound with a stabilizer 12 inches or longer. If you’re shooting in a hunter class, and your stabilizer is shorter than 12 inches, this rigging might not work.

In that case, try clamping the stand to your top limb. The stand and your stabilizer should support the bow and keep all other parts off the ground. If your sight bar is longer than your stabilizer, however, it won’t work.

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Recurve 3-D archers don’t often carry bow stands with them. They usually lean their bows up against a tree or they have hooks on their belts to hold their bows.

But there are stands made for their bows, and some archers do use them. The recurve stands are nearly all the same, with minor variations in construction. They feature legs, a center upright post and a padded, U-shaped rest where the bow handle sits.

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Don’t set your precious bow in the mud, sand, snow, etc., and risk damaging it or throwing something out of line which could cost you the tournament. Get a bow stand for your next 3-D shoot.

You can check out all of the bow stands available for this season by clicking here.

Selway Archery quivers and a youth movement in traditional archery

Traditional archery is enjoying an infusion of young blood, according to Drew Kohlhofer of Selway Archery.

“I’m seeing an influx of guys coming in that are in that 20-40 age bracket,” he said.

Kohlhofer shares his observations on the youth movement, and talks about the unique quivers his company makes for traditional archers, with LAS TechXpert P.J. Reilly at the 2016 Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous in northcentral Pennsylvania.

This is the largest gathering of traditional archers in the U.S., where people of all ages come to shoot their sticks with strings, camp, eat, share hunting stories and just have a good time in the mountains of Potter County.

LAS sent a video team to the 2016 event to gather information and create content about traditional archery and its passionate fans.

Selway is indicative of the type of company that works in traditional archery. It’s family owned; the owners are avid traditional archers themselves; and the product line emphasizes customization over volume.

Selway produces high-quality leather quivers that attach to recurve bows and longbows. They are handmade and hand stitched, and have that traditional look and feel.

Kohlhofer said he believes the recent influx of younger people in traditional archery is the result of compound archers seeking new and bigger challenges. They’ve accomplished much with their modern archery gear, and now they want to “go back in time” and try to find success as legends like Fred Bear did.