If you've recently taken up archery and are doing some beginner classes, then you've probably been advised to NOT rush out and purchase a bow - this is good advice!
All too often we see beginners who have impulse-bought a bow, and it is almost always the wrong size, too heavy, inadequate, or just the wrong type of bow. We recommend that the right time to buy a bow is around the time when you join an archery club that provides you a safe place to shoot, and can give you some guidance on developing a budget and building a shopping list of the correct equipment within your budget.
However, this doesn't mean that you can't kit yourself out with some of the essential archery accessories right away! There are a few essential bits of kit that you can purchase to take along to your beginner classes and proudly call your own.
A finger tab is an essential piece of gear which has the following functions:
Protects your fingers from the string
Allows a clean release from the string
Prevents you from unintentionally 'pinching' the arrow when fitted with a spacer
Encourages consistent finger placement and 'hooking' of the string
You can pick up a decent finger tab without breaking the bank. You can pick up a finger tab with leather backing for less than $30, whilst a higher quality cordovan backing will cost about double for the same tab and might be overkill for a beginner.
Some recommended tabs for beginners:
Avalon Classic Prime Tab ~$20
Krossen Xenia JM2 Tab ~$25
SF Premium Tab ~$25
W&W 360 Cordovan Tab ~$50
Fivics Saker 2 Tab ~$70
It's important to ensure that you get the right sized tab. If it is too small it will not cover your fingers correctly, and if it is too large the plate will protrude from the hand and often impacts your ability to achieve a correct anchor position. As a guideline, you can use the below sizing chart.
You can pick up a basic hip quiver such as the Infitec Starter Quiver for around $10, but if you'd like some storage pockets and extra arrow tubes then you can pick up a Legend XT 320 Hip Quiver for about $25 which is excellent value. There are many variations from other manufacturers, so feel free to pick the quiver that suits your personality!
Unless you enjoy the old sweat and sunscreen smell that comes with a borrowed arm guard, you'll be wanting your own. The good news is that you can pick up a basic arm guard like the Cartel Hunter 101 for around $6.
If you're looking for something a little bit more fashionable, then you can buy the Infitec AL 60 of the ever popular Beiter Arm Guard for around $15.
A finger sling is a simple, but important accessory as you progress in your archery skill. It loops around the bow on your front hand to catch the bow at the moment of release. This allows you to shoot with a properly relaxed bow hand, and avoid applying the grip of death.
Many professional archers make their own finger slings out of a piece of shoelace or nylon cord, but you can buy a ready made one for only a few dollars when you're just starting out.
A chest guard is a nice-to-have on this list, but if the bow string is commonly catching on your clothing when you shoot then it is a must have. It prevents loose clothing from interfering with the bow string, and is a good bit of kit to include on your order!
There are several makes available, and you can expect to spend between $15-30.
Where to buy?
Any reputable archery retailer will be able to supply all of these items (or variations of the models pictured).
There are large online archery retailers such as Alt Services and Lancaster Archery, or your local dealer will be able to assist. In Australia there are several reputable dealers such as Eliza Archery, Urban Archery, and Pats Archery.
P.S. If you are unsure if you are ordering the correct equipment, send me an email with your completed shopping cart and I will happily review it.