How To Determine Draw Weight for Compound Bow

What is Draw Weight?

Draw weight on a compound bow simply refers to the weight you’re pulling back. On a compound bow, you’re not pulling the entire weight through the whole motion. Once you reach the “let-off” point, the weight you’re required to hold back is significantly less.

For instance, if you have your bow set to a 60 lb. draw weight and the bow has a 75% let-off, you only have to hold 15 lbs. at full draw.

How Much Draw Weight Do I Need?

The answer is probably much less than you think. In fact, most states require only 40-45 lbs. of draw to legally hunt deer. Make sure to double-check that with your state’s guidelines though as it does vary by state.

As you’re learning to shoot, I’d highly recommend starting at a draw weight that is easy to pull back. You’ll gain confidence and accuracy much quicker this way and adjusting up is easy (will cover how later in the article).

A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to pull the bow back, while pointed at the target, without a lot of movement. This means that if you have to raise the bow to the air or really strain, the draw weight is probably too high.

Okay, but you still need a general guideline of where to start. has a great guideline that I’ll summarize below:

  • Men should start somewhere between 45-65 lbs. depending on build
  • Women should start between 25-55 lbs. depending on build
  • Kids should start between 15-35 lbs.

Don’t get too hung up on selecting the “perfect” draw weight right away though. Most modern compound bows have adjustable draw weights of 20 lbs. or more. In fact, there are several manufacturers that sell bows with adjustments in draw weight from 19-70 lbs.!

So go ahead and buy a bow, set it at a low draw weight, and progress up to weight that you can handle comfortably.

How to Adjust the Draw Weight on a Compound Bow?

As you’ll see in the video below, adjusting your draw weight is pretty simple. Do watch the video and read your owner’s manual before attempting to make the adjustments. Doing it wrong could hurt your bow.

Also, in the video, you’ll notice his bow has screws on the inside of the limbs that have to be loosened first. Not all bows have this. In fact, the bow I shoot is adjustable with just the one adjustment screw on each limb.

Without further ado, here is how to adjust the weight on a compound bow:



Closing Words

Hope you enjoyed this and make sure to also read How to Determine Draw Length for a Compound Bow.

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