Interesting Facts About Right Handed Compound Bows is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

People are often confused about the ins and outs of using a right-handed compound bow. How does it differ from a left-handed bow? Is it possible to be a left-handed person and still use a right-handed bow?

What if you’re ambidextrous? Are there any benefits to using a right-handed version over a left-handed version? The list of questions is often confusing for new archers and people looking to decide which type of bow is right for their hunting needs.

What is a right-handed compound bow?

A right-handed compound bow (read.. Diamond Archery Edge Pro Bow) is one that is set up for a hunter to hold in their left hand and shoot arrows with their stronger right side. We each favor either our left eye or right eye and this affects which side one should focus on when hunting.

How do you hold a right-handed compound bow?

To hold a right-handed bow, one should be right eye dominant. Your right hand will be used to draw the bow back ready to fire off an arrow. The bow is held with the other hand, and you pull with the right hand.

The reason for holding the bow this way is because it’s best to use your strongest, dominant hand (which usually matches your dominant eye) to aim and fire the arrow for greater accuracy. That is in most cases your right hand.

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Most compound bows weigh around 3-4 pounds which isn’t too much to hold in position for a reasonable period of time. It’s also possible to hold it in one hand at the waist level or to wear it over your shoulder in a harness or a special hunting pack when not in use.

How to shoot a right-handed compound bow?

Pulling back on the bowstring using your left hand with the arrow slotted into position makes you a right-handed bow user. Use the stabilizer to steady the bow for the most accurate shot.

Look through the peep sight using your right eye (but with your left eye still open) to check whether you’re firing on a target. When you’re ready, release the arrow to set it on its path.

There are different types of peep sights. Some twists on the string and need to be lined up properly to get used. Rubber donut-shaped ones are more basic, stretch as needed, and avoid twisting uncontrollably.

Once the arm has been fully extended to maximize the draw, the let-off is often around 80 percent for most bows. This means that far less tension is required to keep the full draw in position while finalizing your shooting position and targeting.

Right-handed bow setup?

A bow is setup based on the dominant eye, not the dominant hand

This is a common misunderstanding with bows. With a compound bow, the right-handed version changes where the visual alignment is setup. The side that the arrow is drawn on being the opposite depending on your setup.

Any new sights that are attached to the compound bow will also reflect which eye is supposed to be the dominant one and be placed on that side reflecting that.

In the case of a right-handed bow, they’re held by the left hand and will draw from the right hand. Subsequently, both the arrow and the sights the hunter looks down at are situated on the left side of the bow (read.. Hoyt Alphamax 32 for Sale).

The bow stabilizer will also be positioned on the left side where the arrow will be. The arrow rest will also be located on the left position ready for when the arrow is fully drawn.

Check our article about the best drop away arrow rests

Furthermore, sights that help judge distance can be noticed on the left side too.

Who can shoot a right-handed bow?

Technically, it is possible to shoot a right-handed bow using your other hand. The reason this is not often done is that the entire configuration of the bow is set up for a right-handed bow hunter.

Everything from the sights to the arrow rest and stabilizer will all be on the incorrect side for you.

In terms of shooting using the correct form, it’s not possible to adopt the proper stance or shoot properly and consistently when having to work around the misconfiguration of a bow for your use.

When finally buying a bow package that’s appropriate for your dominant eye, it’ll be like having to relearn how to shoot accurately all over again which for a then experienced hunter will be pretty annoying and disheartening.

Therefore, it’s best to learn the right way from the beginning to avoid making life more difficult than it needs to be.

Looking for Left-Handed Compound Bows?

Read.. More about best left-handed compound bows here

How To Tell if a Compound Bow is Left or Right Handed

For those who are new to the sport of archery, choosing the right bow can be quite intimidating. The process of making such a decision is often tedious and filled full of factors that must be carefully considered. One such decision is that of whether to purchase a right hand or left-handed bow.

Physical Differences in Bow Design

When trying to decipher whether a particular bow is right or left-handed, there are several visual cues that can be of assistance.

Many of these cues relate to how a bow’s accessories are positioned in relation to the bow’s riser.

  • On a right-handed bow, accessories such as arrow rests and bow sights will be positioned to the left of the riser. Right hand archers hold the bow in their left hand.
  • On left-handed bows, these accessories will be positioned to the right-hand side of the riser. Left-hand archers hold the bow in their right hand

Even on the best compound bow, a slight variance in the shaping of a bow’s riser can also be noticed.

This variance will come in the form of an indented shape, in roughly the same location as the bow’s sight will be mounted.

This indented area will recess inward on the left side of the riser for right-handed bows and the right side of the bow for left-handed models.

Choosing A Bow That Fits You

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When choosing a bow for purchase, it is important to carefully consider hand/eye dominance and to understand what role these factors play in your decision-making process: Which hand is your dominant hand and if you´re going to use the right hand or left hand to hold your bow?

Well, just to be clear – if you purchase a right hand bow, but find out later that you´re more comfortable holding the bow with your right hand … You´re screwed…

There are cases of people having cross dominant hands/eyes but that’s more the exception

The most important thing to remember, however, is that no one is excluded from the sport of archery based upon hand or eye dominance.

A nearly infinite number of both right and left-handed bows are available on today’s market, providing ample opportunity for all who wish to begin their archery journey.

In order to make a determination in this regard, you must first understand how to tell if a compound bow is left or right-handed.

Likewise, a determination must also be made as to whether the shooter in question is left or right hand/eye dominant.

Although a significant number of shooters are right-handed, those who are left hand or eye dominant are also taken care of – A vast number of left-handed compound bow models are now offered, which makes it easier than ever before to find the perfect bow to suit your needs.

The Bow Direction is Determined By Your Draw Hand

When speaking of the differences between how a left-handed shooter and right-handed shooter handle a bow, one is simply referring to the hand with which an archer draws their bow string. This can be confusing to some, as many assume the contrary to be true.

For example, a right-handed archer actually holds the grip of his or her bow with their left hand, while drawing the bow string with their right. Likewise, a left-handed archer holds their bow’s grip with their right hand, while drawing the bowstring with their left.

A right-handed archer holds his bow with his left hand, a left handed archer holds his bow with his right hand

An archer draws a bow with their dominant hand due to the extra control over the draw cycle which this provides.

An individual’s dominant hand/arm is naturally stronger than that of their non-dominant side, which aids in one’s ability to smoothly and effortlessly complete the draw cycle.

Find Your Eye Dominance

Although many new archers instinctively assume that their choice of a left or right-handed bow is based solely on which hand is dominant, there is much more to this equation.

Your eye dominance is, in fact, far more vital to bow selection than hand dominance.

How To Test Eye Dominance

Every individual has one particular eye which offers a greater degree of input to their brain’s visual sector.

This is referred to as one’s dominant eye.

It is very important for an archer to distinguish their dominant eye, as this eye will provide a more direct line of sight when aiming.

In general, the vast majority of archers are right eye dominant. However, approximately ⅓ of archers are instead left eye dominant.

For those unsure as to which eye is their dominant eye, there is a simple, yet highly effective test which you can conduct.

The Porta Test

The Porta Test allows you to distinguish eye dominance in a matter of seconds. Simply hold your thumb or index finger upright in front of your field of vision.

You will then focus on a distant object while closing one eye at a time. Whichever eye can be closed without making your finger appear to have moved outside of your center of vision, is your dominant eye. 

Another simple way to test for eye dominance is to hold both hands out in front of you, forming a diamond shape with the index fingers and thumbs of each hand.

You will now look through this diamond and focus on a distant object. While remaining focused, bring your hands toward your face, while observing which eye your hands naturally drift toward.

This eye will be the most dominant.

For more on eye dominance testing, be sure to check out this video.

If the results of these tests indicate that you are right eye dominant, then a right-handed bow will be needed. Likewise, if you are found to be left eye dominant, then you should consider the use of a left-handed bow.

Occasionally, cross-dominance can become evident during such testing.

Cross-dominance is when your dominant eye and dominant hand do not match. In these cases, it is highly recommended that an archer selects a bow based upon their eye dominance, as opposed to their dominant hand.

In the case of cross-dominance, extensive practice will help develop the muscle memory required for accuracy, despite being forced to draw a compound bow with your non-dominant hand.

However, this is still much simpler than attempting to visually compensate for the distorted line of sight provided by the sole use of your non-dominant eye.

Last update on 2021-03-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Alexander Knobloch
Alexander Knobloch
Hi. Alex here. I'm the founder of I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors.

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