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A local archery dealer measured my draw length to 29". He told me that this is not the same as the length of my arrows.

I wonder how long an arrow has to be?

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Short answer:

31"


TL;DR answer

The answer is pretty simple for the general rule: take your draw length and add one to two inches.

You do that because you might draw a little bit further than your actual draw length. This is pretty dangerous cause the arrow might penetrate the hand which holds the bow!

I would recommend to generally add 2 inches for an absolute beginner. This would be 31" in your case. Why?:

  • You might have a bad form yet and thus your draw length might extend a little bit as soon as you get better
  • It's safe (in terms of "slip off and hit the bow hand" at least)
  • You'll need a lot of arrows in the first few months (especially if you are a 3D shooter). In case your arrow breaks, you have a chance that there'll be only 1" missing: you still have a 30" arrow :) (Note: Only reuse the arrow if the other rest of the shaft is still absolutely perfect and you use carbon arrows)
  • You might want to use another anchor in the future which could result in an extended draw length

From learn-archery.com

Credits: http://www.learn-archery.com

Later on you want to "tune" your arrows. It's a process of "taking a little bit off the shaft" and "shoot the shaft". In that case you have a very individual arrow length for a particular setup (setup = bow + arrow + shooter).

This is how you do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiSoF8grd3w

However, it's not worth worrying about this topic as long as you don't group safely in the size of tennis ball.

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