Does Bow Height Matter?

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When it comes to archery, there are a lot of factors that can affect your accuracy. One of those factors is the height of your bow. Some people believe that a taller bow will be more accurate than a shorter bow. The reason for that is that the “longer” bow will reduce the effect of any movement you make when you release the arrow. In other words, a longer bow will give you a more “forgiving” shot.

But does bow height actually matter? The answer is yes… but it depends. If you are a beginner, then a taller bow might indeed be more accurate for you.

Basically, there are two heights that matter: brace height and axle-to-axle (ATA) length. Both of these are very important to consider when deciding which bow to use.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what both of these things mean and how they can impact an archer’s shooting.

Brace Height

brace height on a compound bow

Brace height is one of the most important measurements to consider with bows. Quite simply, it’s the distance from the bowstring to the deepest part of the bow’s grip.

The average brace height will vary depending on the type of bow you’re measuring and how the archer has it set up but you can expect it to be around 5-7 inches in most cases.

It might not be obvious to a casual observer but brace height can actually have a massive impact on how an archer shoots.

For example, shorter brace heights (a smaller gap between the bowstring and the deepest point of the grip) will equate to a longer time the arrow remains in contact with the bowstring, hence giving you more time to mess up your shot.

Therefore, newer archers might not benefit as much from a shorter brace height.

How To Adjust The Brace Height Of A Bow

With a recurve bow, it’s pretty straightforward to adjust the brace height because you’ll often remove and replace the string anyway.

The bowstring on a recurve bow needs to be twisted a certain number of times to reach the perfect point of tautness. This depends on the bow, your draw length, draw weight and so on.

However, the side effect of this is that the more you twist the string, the closer the limbs of the bow will be pulled together.

This resultantly causes the string to move further away from the grip and increases the brace height.

Therefore, if you want to increase your brace height, twist the bowstring more. If you have never done that before, and/or are new to archery, then we recommend getting help from an experienced archer or a professional at your local archery store.

Brace height can not be adjusted on a compound bow. This is due to its design which has a set distance between the string and the grip.

Axle-To-Axle (ATA) Length

picture of a compound bow showing axle to axle length

The other kind of ‘height’ people might refer to when talking about bows is the ATA length. Quite simply, this is the measurement of the length of the limbs of the bow, from one tip to the other.

Again, this measurement will make a difference in how a bow performs for any archer. The main difference it makes regards forgivingness and accuracy, rather than arrow speed. Essentially, bows with a longer ATA measurement will potentially offer better balance and accuracy to the archer.

The extended limbs of the bow act as counterbalances, much like a tightrope walker would use, to make the center point of the bow (where your hand is positioned) much more stable.

With a longer ATA, every small movement made by the archer’s hand is masked somewhat by the greater balance of the bow. Therefore, user error and inaccurate shots won’t be nearly as bad as they would be with a shorter bow.

Finding the right ATA measurement for you is a matter of personal preference. There’s no wrong or right answer for every archer of every shape and size. Taller archers will likely find they benefit more from a longer bow.

Trial and error is really the best way to find what ATA measurement suits you. If you’re unsure, ask an experienced archer or professional at your local archery store for help and guidance on choosing the perfect ATA.

If you do want your decision to be a little more informed than that, a safer bet is to work out your draw length and go from there.


When it comes to bows, there are a few things to consider with brace height and overall bow length (ATA). Brace Height: Quite simply, it’s the distance from the bowstring to the deepest part of the bow’s grip. ATA: The measurement of the length of the bow’s limbs, from one tip to the other. In the case of a compound bow, it´s the length from one cam to another.

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

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