Draw Length Vs Arrow Length: What’s The Difference?

Draw length and arrow length aren’t equal. Each signifies different things. Most importantly, they determine your archery performance.

Today I’ll draw the end of the draw length vs arrow length debate.

Draw length Is the distance from the deepest grip of the throat to the nock point plus 1.75″ at full draw. On the other hand, arrow length is the distance of the arrow shaft. Arrow length is measured based on draw length.

But here’s not the end. There are many more factors involved. Let’s break them.

Are you ready?

What Is Draw Length?

Draw length is the measurements of the full draw of your bow. It is generally measured from grip point to anchor point. But there are other ways to measure it. Moreover, the process of determination varies from bows to bows.

Click here to learn more about how to measure draw length?

Each kind of bow has its unique draw length. For instance, the draw length of a compound bow will not be the same as a recurve bow.

Conventional bows have a more possible range of draw lengths, whereas compound bows do not because you can draw compound bows back to a certain extent.

Another important thing to know, draw length wouldn’t be the same for everyone despite having the same bow. This means draw length varies from person to person.

What Is Arrow Length?

Arrow length is the distance of the arrow shaft. It is measured from the back of an arrow to the broadhead.

Finding an arrow length is a bit confusing at first glance. Because there’s a difference between arrow length and arrow sizes. (more on this in next section)

Arrow length is an important metric regarding the archer’s success.


Because incorrect arrow length leads to imperfect, less powerful, and unforgiving shots.

If your arrow is too short, it may create potential health risks such as “arrow through hand,” which is tearing.

So, finding an appropriate arrow length is not only crucial for accurate shooting but also your safety. 
There are a couple of ways to measure it. Learn more about how to measure arrow length?

Arrow length vs. arrow size: What are the differences?

So, what is the difference between arrow length and arrow size? What made it so confusing.

Well, not much. There is a clear difference between arrow length and arrow size. But, for the most part, beginners mess with the two words “length” and “sizes”.

Let’s end it.

Arrow is the distance of the arrow shaft as a whole.

On the other hand, arrow size refers to the stiffness of an arrow spine. What exactly stiffness stands for an arrow spine?

Well, stiffness is a measurement of an arrow spine that determines how stiff your arrow spine is. And how much it can prevent flexing.

Here are the factors that determine arrow spines-

  • Arrow length
  • Arrow weight
  • Point weight

Can Draw Length Change over time?

Yes, your draw length may change over time.


The answer lies in two folds.

  1. First, your draw length can change from bow to bow. The draw length of different types of the bow is different.
  2. Your draw length will change if you are at a growing age or going through serious injuries.

In contrast, another question may pop into your head, “can I change my draw length”?

The answer is yes. You can change your draw length if you’ve got an adjustable bow.

Are Longer Or Shorter Arrows better?

The answer is subjective.

Shorter or longer arrows, which one is better, will be determined based on your preference.

In detail, the answer lies in two folds.

  • The answer lies in two folds.  One is safety, and another is speed. Shorter arrows are dreadful and create serious injuries like “arrows through the hand.” And secondly comes the length. Arrow length impacts its stiffness. Stout bows require stiffer arrows because of the archer’s paradox. The ideal length of an arrow is long and has no excess length.
  • The shorter arrows are lighter and will depart faster from the bow, On the other hand, longer arrows are heavier, but they will retain the velocity of an arrow and give an accurate shot.

How Draw Length Affects Arrow Speed?

This question claims a quick recap of the definition of draw length.

Again, draw length is the distance of the draw of your bow at full length.

As soon as you draw your bow back, it stores potential energy, which triggers the arrow when released.

So, if you partially draw your bow, it won’t store as much potential energy as a full draw.

The lower the potential energy, the lower the arrow speed will be.

That said, arrow speed is directly correlated with draw length.

Optimum arrow length will give you enough strength that will enhance its forgiving capacity. And obviously, accurate shooting.

Do shorter (or longer) arrows fly faster?

Generally, shorter arrows are lighter than longer arrows. So, short arrows fly faster than long arrows.

Also, shorter arrows are often stiffer than longer arrows which power the arrow with high speed. (I discussed the technical stuff about this in the previous sections).

But, short arrows are not quite stable as long arrows. Short arrow requires more FOC to be as stable as long arrows. In case you don’t know what’s FOC in archery, refer to this article.

Is there any relationship between draw length and draw weight?

At first, let me clarify what draw weight is all about.

Simply put, draw weight is the force needed to pull the string back to its anchor points. You might have heard, this is a 45-pound bow. As an archer, a 45-pound bow means you will need to apply 40 pounds of force to draw the bow back to the anchor point.

And, you already know about draw length.

Draw length is the distance from the anchor point to the grip point.

That said, there’s no direct relation between draw length and the draw weight.

Draw length is fixed and unique to individuals.

But, isn’t there any relations?



Let’s say you got a bow, which is over-bowed. For these instances, it will be very difficult for you to draw your bow at full draw length without skying bow positions.

So, guess what?

Higher the draw weight, the lower length you can draw your bow back.


Hope I cleared up all of your confusion about arrow length vs draw length, if not at least a little.

If you’ve any query regarding this, leave a comment, you’ll get an instant answer.


How much longer should arrows be than draw length?

As a general rule of thumb, your arrows should be 1 or 2 inches longer.

Is draw length the same as arrow length?

No, draw length, and arrow length aren’t the same. Draw length is the length of the full draw of your bow.

Can an arrow be too long?

No, your arrows should be too long or too short.

How heavy should my arrow be?

Your arrows shouldn’t be too heavy or too light. Either way has its own disadvantages.

What is the average length of an arrow?

The average arrow length is 30 inches.

How do I make my draw length longer?

Get an adjustable bow to make the draw length longer.

Does a release change draw length?

No. the thumb release doesn’t change draw length.

Hi, I am Brandon smith! I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I discovered my passion for archery at an early age.. Archerytipscentral is my blog where I share those tips on archery which I've learned along my archery journey.

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