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“Bent Vs. straight bow arm” shooting technique has always been a matter of debate among the archer community. We can find a number of experienced archers who support shooting with straight arms for better results.

But on the other hand, we get equal support for the bent arms method. However, the sport of archery is all about what works best for this shooter, and usually, the effectiveness of these tricks differs from person to person. 

Straight bow arm archery comes with an incredible number of benefits, and this is why experienced professionals recommend beginners to shoot with a straight bow arm technique. However, it totally depends on your preference in case you want to use the bent arm technique. Also, the outcomes of using both of these techniques vary significantly. In fact, knowing a difference will help you to select the most suitable position for you. 

In this article, we will be discussing different aspects of both of these techniques, advantages and disadvantages accordingly.

The article shares a table explaining, in brief, the dissimilarities between the two techniques. Further, we will discuss these differences in deep. So let us start with our topic.

A Quick Comparison: Bent Vs. Straight Bow Arm 

The majority of archery techniques, including bent and straight bow arm, follow the same principle and for a novice, they all might seem almost similar until they start practicing the sport themselves. 

Beginners in this field are usually keener to know everything about shooting techniques and if you are also among those, then knowing the difference and unique advantages of bent vs.  straight bow arm technique will be an exciting learning experience for you. 

So before we go any deeper into our topic, let us go through a quick comparison between bent Vs. straight bow arm shooting technique: 

Bent Arm TechniqueStraight Bow Arm Technique
It has a  comparatively shorter draw length.It maintains a longer draw length.
More muscle power is required to shoot arrows using this technique. The straight bow arm technique allows archers to perform well even after using minimum muscle power.
It is challenging to maintain consistency with this method. It is easier to have a consistent performance using this method.
Less risk of experiencing string slap. High risk of experiencing string slap.
Less inconvenience due to clothing and other factors with handling arrows. Long sleeve clothes can get entangled and cause interference with arrow handling. 

From the above table, hopefully, all your minor confusions and queries are cleared. So let us move ahead to explore an in-depth comparison of these two shooting techniques. 

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Bent Vs. Straight Bow Arm: Detailed List Of Differences

In this section, we will look into which technique surpasses the other in terms of different shooting aspects. 

Draw length

Every archer wants to have a greater draw weight. This is because a high draw weight tends to boost up the speed of the arrow. However, to achieve this, archers need to increase their draw length.

Both in recurve and compound archery, increasing the draw length ultimately increases the draw weight.

The concept behind this practice is when you increase the length of the draw, the bow will get the benefit to spare more time for accelerating the arrow. 

So here, when you shoot the arrow with a straight bow arm archery technique, it will allow you to have an increased draw length.

In contrast with the bent arm technique, a longer draw length is not possible. Furthermore, the bow’s power stroke depends upon the draw length.

Hence, unlike the bent arm method, due to the longer draw length in the straight arm technique, you will be able to attain a higher arrow speed in both compound and recurve bow. 

Muscle power requirement

When an archer strives to increase the draw length at the time of the shooting, they find it more challenging to draw the bow.

In the case of the straight arm technique, an archer will require to maintain less muscle energy for holding the bow.  This is because when our arms are in a completely straight posture, it becomes easier for us to keep our arms steady.

Furthermore, it also enhances your bone alignment, which is very important for archery.  Basically, the majority of bow resistance transfer takes place through your bones only.

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Hence, once you align all your upper body bones, you won’t need to use your muscle energy that much. Due to this, you will be able to shoot more steady shots. 

On the other hand, the bent arm technique requires you to maintain a totally different posture. This is why you will need to put more muscle power while shooting your shot with increased draw length. 


As a professional archer, it is very crucial to maintain consistency with your shooting technique with every other shot.

In fact, even a slide shift in your technique will significantly cause differences at your target spot. And the most challenging thing in archery is to have a constant draw length. 

With the straight arm archery technique, it is easier to maintain a consistent draw length in comparison to the bent arm method. 

String slap

String slap is one of the most unpleasant things that can happen to an archer, especially when they are shooting without wearing their arm guard. But in some cases, even the arm guard cannot save you from the painful experience as they might get ripped due to continuous string slaps.

However, it should be noted that string slap only occurs when the archer does not perform their technique correctly.

And it has been seen that majority of instances related to strings slap happen when an archer does a straight arm technique. 

On the other hand, the string will automatically be at a considerable distance from your arm when your arm is bent.

Hence, beginners or archers who do not have suitable protective arm guards must use the bent arm technique while shooting. 

Interference and inconvenience with the arrow

When you keep your arms straight, they are usually nearer to the string.  Aside from string slap, one more inconvenient issue that arises with the straight arm technique is your clothing causing necessary interference with the arrow.

If you are wearing loose sleeves clothes, then it can interfere with the string, which will not be comfortable for you. Moreover, it will also negatively affect your accuracy and can even be dangerous in some instances. 

This scenario is most likely to occur during winters when you’ll have to wear long-sleeve jackets. However, during summers, this issue might not arise. Moreover, if you choose to do the bent arm technique, then the whole issue is eradicated. 

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Key Takeaways

Regardless of which technique you use, not doing it properly can cause serious effects on both your body and your accuracy.

Even though from the above comparison we saw that straight arm technique is advantages in many aspects making your arms overly straight is not a good idea. 

When you try to stretch your arms as much as possible, your bones aren’t able to stay in contact with one another.  Hence, you will need to take up the entire draw weight using your muscles. It will cause excessive vibration, and you might lose control over your bow.

Additionally, it will cause ill-effects to your wrist and elbow. So, make sure to stay relaxed while shooting with a straight arm technique.

Aside from this, locking your elbows or raising your shoulder in the wrong way can cause adverse effects on your body and performance.

So it would be beneficial if you train yourself under an experienced archer to learn the best way to use these techniques. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I bend my elbow while shooting a bow? 

Yes, when you correctly position your arms before shooting, your elbow will bend slightly automatically.

What is the reason behind bending a bow? 

The main reason behind doing this is adding tension to the bow when it is strung. Also, more tension is equal to more acquisition of power. 

What is the term used for the straight bow? 

The most common term that the archer community, especially from the English side, use is the “longbows” for referring to straight bows. 

Can an arrow fly in the straight direction? 

No, it is not possible for an arrow to fly in a straight direction. When you release an arrow from the bow, it usually twists and bends throughout its path to the target.  Hence, keeping a perfectly straight direction is not possible. 

What is the most common bow that the Olympic archers use? 

The only bow that archers use in the Olympic Games is the recurve bow. 

Bottom Line

Now you know about the benefits and drawbacks of both bent and straight bow arm shooting techniques. This knowledge will help you to choose the best option for your archery practice.

Although most archers try to put one technique as superior to the other, but in reality, the skill of archery is all about how you work with it. So make sure to stay consistent with your practice and discover which technique is most favorable for you. 

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