Equipment rules

Our bows and arrows are subject to some strict rules at competitions. You can shoot whatever you like for fun, but when it comes to scoring and competitions you have to be careful about what you use. Some general guidelines based on World Archery (for Recurve and Compound bows) and Archery Australia (for Longbow and Barebow) are listed here, but if you’re going to an important competition you might like to double check the latest rules (see buttons at end of page). If you’re keen to see the whole Archery Australia Constitution and Shooting Rules, check their website under ‘About Us’ or this link; for the World Archery Constitution and Rules, check the World Archery website under ‘Rules’.


Recurve Bow – Target Archery (World Archery; Book 3, Chapter 11.1)

  1. A target archery style Recurve Bow of any type may be used.
  2. Only one additional attachment is allowed on the bowstring after the nocking point locators, such as a ‘Kisser Button’. The centre serving on the bowstring must not end within the archer’s vision at full draw and there must not be any visible marks on the bowstring within the archer’s vision at full draw. A ‘peepsight’ is not permitted.
  3. An adjustable arrowrest is permitted as well as a pressure button and clicker or other draw length indicator. They must not be electronic and they must not provide any additional aid in aiming. The pressure point (arrow rest) can be placed a maximum of 4cm (over-draw) from the pivot point of the grip.
  4. Any type of bowsight is allowed provided it does not have a prism, lens, magnifying lens, level or electronic device. It may only provide one sighting point. Fibre optic sight pins are allowed.
  5. Any type of stabilisers are allowed, provided they do not serve as a string guide.
  6. Any type of target archery arrow is allowed up to the maximum allowable size of 9.3 mm diameter; the point may be 9.4 mm. (Broadhead points are not permitted.) The arrows used by the archer must be a matching set. They must all have the same colour and pattern of fletches, nocks and cresting, if used. Arrow wraps may not extend longer than 22 cm from the nock hole to the end of the wrap. The archers name or initials must be marked on the arrow shaft.
  7. Any type of finger tab, finger stalls or glove is permitted, provided it does not have any device to help to hold or release the bowstring. An ordinary glove or mitten may be worn on the bow hand, but may not be attached to the grip of the bow.
  8. Ordinary spectacles, shooting spectacles and sunglasses are permitted. They must not be fitted with any markings of any type which may assist with aiming.
  9. Binoculars and telescopes are allowed to be used on the shooting line for spotting arrows. They cannot be left on the shooting line though, they must be removed at the completion of shooting each end.

Compound Bow – Target Archery (World Archery; Book 3, Chapter 11.2)

  1. Any type of Compound Bow is permitted. The maximum peak draw weight allowed is 27.216 kg. (60 lbs.)
  2. The bowstring may be fitted with a peep sight and a peep sight aligner.
  3. The arrow rest, pressure button and clicker rules are the same as for recurve bows. Launcher type arrow rests are permitted and must comply with the same rules. The exception is that the pressure point (arrow rest) can be placed a maximum of 6cm (overdraw) from the pivot point of the grip.
  4. Any type of bowsight is permitted. For compound bows only, a lens, magnifying lens, prisms and level are permitted. Electronic sighting devices are not permitted.
  5. Any type of stabilisers are allowed, provided they do not serve as a string guide.
  6. The rules for arrows are the same as for recurve.
  7. For compound bows only, a release aid of any type may be used.
  8. Ordinary spectacles, shooting spectacles and sunglasses are permitted. They must not be fitted with any markings of any type which may assist with aiming.
  9. Binoculars and telescopes are allowed to be used on the shooting line for spotting arrows. They cannot be left on the shooting line though, they must be removed at the completion of shooting each end.

Longbow (Archery Australia; Chapter 8.2)

  1. The bow should be a traditional form of a long bow which means that, when strung, the string may not touch any other part of the bow but the string nocks. Take-down bows are permitted. For women, cadets and younger classes the bow must be greater than 150 cm; for other divisions the bow must be greater than 160 cm. Measurements are made on an unstrung bow.
  2. Conventional arrow rests are not permitted, but the bow may have a shelf that is used as an arrow rest.
  3. There must be no protrusions, sight marks, marks or blemishes which could be of use in aiming.
  4. The unstrung bow must fit through a hole of 12.2 cm inside diameter.
  5. Arrows must be identical (fletch, crest, shaft, point) and must have the archer’s initials or name on them. The maximum diameter is 9.3 mm; the point maximum diameter is 9.4 mm.
  6. Only natural feather may be used as fletching.
  7. String silencers or vibration dampeners are permitted, provided they do not end within the archer’s vision at full draw.
  8. Ordinary spectacles, shooting spectacles and sunglasses are permitted. They must not be fitted with any markings of any type which may assist with aiming.
  9. Binoculars and telescopes are allowed to be used on the shooting line for spotting arrows. They cannot be left on the shooting line though, they must be removed at the completion of shooting each end.
  10. The finger tab may not have an ‘anchor plate’ or ‘shelf’.

Compound Barebow (Archery Australia; Chapter 8.3)

  1. Any bow can be used as per the Target Compound rules above, except that no shoot-through riser types are permitted.
  2. The bow must be bare without: protrusions, marks, sight-marks, or blemishes which could be of use in aiming.
  3. Multicoloured risers, trademarks located on the inside of the upper limb, limb savers, and wind indicators on the string are permitted.
  4. One Torque Flight Compensator fitted with one straight single rod stabiliser is permitted. The maximum protrusion must not exceed 305 mm.
  5. No sight, draw-check indicator or other stabilisers are permitted.
  6. A cable guard may be fitted to the sight attachment holes if there is no provision for them. If there are provisions, then the low cable-guard position must be used.
  7. The arrow rest may have a pressure button, pressure point, or arrow plate. It may be of the shoot around, shoot over or spring loaded style, but must not have a drop-away action.
  8. Release aids are not permitted. Finger stalls or tips, gloves, shooting tab or tape are permitted, as long as they do not have a hold/release aid. An anchor plate/shelf is permitted.
  9. Arrows must be identical (fletch, crest, shaft, point) and must have the archer’s initials or name on them. The maximum diameter is 9.3 mm; the point maximum diameter is 9.4 mm.
  10. Ordinary spectacles, shooting spectacles and sunglasses are permitted. They must not be fitted with any markings of any type which may assist with aiming.
  11. Binoculars and telescopes are allowed to be used on the shooting line for spotting arrows. They cannot be left on the shooting line though, they must be removed at the completion of shooting each end.

Field Archery Equipment Rules

  1. In addition to the above Target Recurve and Compound equipment rules, the archer’s arrows must be numbered on the arrow shaft near the archer’s name or initials. The numbers must be in numerical order.
  2. Binoculars and telescopes may be used at any time to spot arrows, provided that they do not have any kind of scale or device for measuring distances. Archers shooting in the Standard Recurve Bow and Standard Compound Bow divisions are not permitted to use binoculars or telescopes to spot arrows.
  3. Rangefinders or distance measuring devices or any other means of estimating distances are not permitted.
  4. Any written memoranda is not permitted, except for notes concerning the archer’s normal sight settings and recording of personal scores. (This includes any notes regarding angle of shot and estimating of distances, etc.)
  5. Any electronic storage device is not permitted onto the Field Course. ( I think this also includes a Global Positioning System (GPS) device.)

Clout Archery Equipment Rules

  1. In addition to the above Target Recurve and Compound equipment rules, attachments to the bowstring are permitted.
  2. A bow sight can have prisms, lens, magnifying lens, levels and mirrors fitted.
  3. A bowmark is permitted to be used on the bow. It must either be a single mark made in pencil, tape or any other suitable marking material or a plate/tape with distance marking mounted on the bow as a guide for marking.
  4. A point of aim marker on the ground is permitted. The marker may have a maximum diameter of 7.5cm and must not protrude above the ground more than 15cm. It should be positioned in such a way that it may not be accidentally dislodged.

Flight Archery Equipment Rules

  1. Any type of Recurve Bow is permitted, including “shoot-through” or “keyhole” style risers.
  2. Any type of Compound Bow is permitted.
  3. Any type of mechanical or electronic release aid is not permitted. The traditional style one piece release aid, such as a flipper or strap, ring, block or hook is permitted.
  4. In the Freestyle Bow Division, any type of bow may be used, including the ‘Foot Bow’, provided the archer does not receive any outside assistance to draw and release the bow.
  5. Each arrow must be marked with the name of the archer, numbered in numerical order and the bow weight class in which it is to be used. The minimum arrow length is 356mm
  6. Each archer shall compete in the recognised weight classes for Flight Archery. The draw weight of the bows will be weighed immediately prior to the event. The bows will be weighed to the point where the longest arrows for that event would drop off the rear of the arrow rest. The draw weight for compound bows will be measured at their peak weight during drawing.

World Archery Constitution and Rules 2012: Chapter 11 – Athletes’ Equipment Archery Australia Constitution and Shooting Rules, March 2013 Edition: Chapter 8: Athletes’ Equipment. (Longbow and Barebow only)

Author: Graeme Jeffrey
This page last revised: 2013-03-29