The different types of arrows for archery


The choice of bow and archery accessories is essential for any archer. Archery arrows are one of the most important accessories for archery. They are also called tubes or shafts in the jargon. They should not be chosen at random. So what are the different types of arrows for archery and which ones to buy to complete your artillery?

archery arrow


First of all, an archery arrow is made up of 4 inseparable components. Each of these can affect the flight of the arrow. What are these components?

  • The tube: this is the body of the arrow. It can be more or less rigid depending on the material with which it was made.
  • The notch: this is the plastic part at the end of the arrow. As the name suggests, it is used to notch the arrow to the bowstring before firing.
  • Feathers: These are glued to the arrow slightly in front of the nock. They help to balance the arrow so that it does not fly erratically.
  • The tip: this is the end that will come into contact with the target. It can be pointed, rounded or with a suction cup tip.


If we classify arrows according to their material, then there are four main types: wooden arrows, aluminium arrows, carbon arrows and aluminium carbon arrows. But there are also arrows made of fibreglass.

The wooden arrow

These wooden arrows are mainly designed for the traditional bow and the longbow. In general, they are made from cedar, pine, spruce or sitka spruce. The choice of rigidity is therefore very wide. These barrels can be customised and are often more aesthetic than others. But they are also more fragile.

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The aluminium arrow

The aluminium arrow is more accurate than the wooden one. It is also versatile as it can be used on all types of bows, including traditional bows and compound bows. The aluminium shaft is used extensively in indoor (or club) shooting, and sometimes in introductory shooting.

The carbon arrow

This is the most commonly used arrow among archers today. This material is very versatile and suitable for all disciplines: bowhunting, recreational shooting, sport shooting, target shooting, competition, etc. For nature or 3D shooting, it is best to use small diameter carbon arrows. For beginners’ shooting and learning, you can turn to more affordable shafts, such as those made of aluminium.

The aluminium carbon arrow

Considered to be top of the range arrows, they are especially popular with experienced archers and experts. When they have a small diameter, they are suitable for long distance shooting and low power bows.


Depending on the shooting discipline and practice, experts recommend different types of arrows:

  • For longbows: wooden and carbon arrows.
  • For recurve bows: wooden arrows, carbon arrows (especially for outdoor shooting), aluminium arrows (for indoor shooting) and carbon aluminium arrows.
  • For recurve bows: wood and aluminium arrows.
  • For compound bows: carbon (for target shooting), aluminium and carbon aluminium arrows.


In addition to the material, it is also important to select the right arrow size for the best shooting performance. For this, the archer’s draw length, power and spine of the bow are essential criteria to be taken into account.

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Draw length

When a shooter gets into a shooting position, the distance between the hand and the bow handle is called the draw length. It varies according to the shooter’s gender, age and height. It is usually expressed in inches. Knowing your draw length makes it easier to find the right arrows.


Every bow has a power rating, sometimes a power range, and this is normally marked on the limbs. You can measure the power with a scale, which is available in archery shops and clubs. It is also expressed in inches.

The spine

Power is closely related to the stiffness or spine of an arrow. It is also a factor that should not be neglected. If you are using a low power bow, choose a soft arrow with a spine of 1200. For a high-powered bow, you need a much stiffer arrow with a spine of 400.

How will this information help you? In reality, each manufacturer offers selection tables, guides or software according to the specificities of their products. The best known is probably the easton table. They tell you the ideal arrow size/dimensions for you based on these measurements.