Do You Need An Armguard For Archery?

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Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.

Archery can be a potentially dangerous sport, so you want to make sure that you are taking the proper safety precautions. But, do you need an armguard for archery? 

While you don’t have to use one, it’s good practice to have an armguard when doing archery. This serves a few purposes. It allows you to conserve the momentum of the arrow in case you make a bad shot. It also makes sure that your clothes don’t get caught in the string and mess up your release.  

Though you don’t need one, armguards do play an essential role in the world of archery. Let’s take a closer look at what they do and why you should get into the habit of using one.  

What Is An Armguard? 

An armguard is a piece of fabric fastened onto your forearm. In most cases, it is made of leather or some other form of cloth.  

Often, there will be ties on the back of the guard. You will need to slide your arm through these and tighten them up accordingly. This will ensure that your armguard is attached securely and can provide full protection. In most cases, this process will only take a few seconds.  

Why Do People Use Armguards?  

As we said, you don’t need to use an armguard to do archery. But there are some reasons why you should consider wearing one, especially if you are attending a competition. Let’s look at some of these.  

Protect Yourself From Injury 

When you are holding the bow correctly, it is improbable that the string will hit your forearm.  

However, there is still a chance that this will happen, especially if you are getting comfortable with the bow. In this case, the string can strike your arm and bounce off.  

Often, this can result in welting to your skin, even causing you to bleed or develop a bruise. As you can imagine, this can be a very unpleasant experience. It’s also one of the most common injuries that beginners receive.  

For this reason, it’s common for experienced archers to wear an armguard, even though they have perfected their technique.  

This also underpins how vital this piece of equipment is for beginners, who will have an increased chance of hitting their arm. Also, they haven’t had the opportunity to improve their strength and conditioning. Once you do this, you can start to focus on your technique.  

Make Sure That Your Clothing Doesn’t Get Caught In The String

An armguard will also make sure that your clothing doesn’t accidentally get entangled with the string. Though this is very rare, this can be a big problem.  

First, having your clothes ripped by the force of the string can be a very hurting experience. It can also hurt your pride, primarily if this occurs at a competition.  

The additional strain on the string can be a big problem for the bow as well. It isn’t built to handle this kind of force, and it might mean that you need to replace the string.  

A simple armguard will be able to protect you from this kind of damage.  

Competition Requirements 

Even if you don’t have any desire to practice with an armguard, you should still purchase one. They are a requirement at many competitions.  

This is often to make sure that the organizers comply with safety regulations. Because of this, if you don’t have an armguard, you won’t be allowed to compete.  

You might also find that some archery ranges might require you to wear armguards. If you don’t have one, you might not be able to use their services.  

Because of this, most people will have on in their kit, even if they don’t usually wear it.  

Make Up For Poor Shots 

Finally, there is a reason why many professional archers use an armguard, even though they have perfected their technique, are dressed in the right clothing, and the odds of the string hitting their arm are very low. It’s because the armguard can help them salvage a poor shot.  

When you hold the bow incorrectly, there is a chance that the string will bump into your arm, as the arrow is released. Though this is very rare, it does occur, even on the professional level. This is why you’ll see Olympic athletes wearing arm and chest guards.  

When you make a poor shot, the string will glide off your armguard. This can help make sure that the arrow doesn’t deviate too far from the course, allowing you to save the shot.  

How To Find The Right Armguard 

If you’ve decided the use an armguard when doing archery, you will need to make sure that you are using the right one for you. With so many options on the market, you should be spoiled for choice. There are a few things that you should be looking for when selecting your optimal armguard. These are; 

  • Fit 
  • Comfort Level 
  • Experience 
  • Climate 
  • Material 

Let’s briefly look at each of these elements. 


First, you should make sure that it fits properly. Too small and it won’t offer any protection. Too big, and it could interfere with your range of movement.  

To make sure that you get the right fit, you will have to measure up your forearm. This will tell you the size that you’ll require.  

Comfort Level 

You should have your armguard on every time you are using the bow, for your protection. For this reason, you need to choose something that feels comfortable for you. This can mean that you might want to select a few different armguards.  

During a practice session, you might want something that has a little more padding, so you feel comfortable.  

When attending a competition, you might want a sleeker model, so it doesn’t interfere with your shooting.  

Experience Level 

You should also make sure to consider your experience level. When you are just starting, you should make sure to get a cushioned version. This will take some of the stings out of the impact if you accidentally slap your forearm.  

For more experienced archers, you might want to consider a thinner option. 


In some cases, you might want to consider the conditions that you intend to shoot in. For those living in winter climates, it might be wise to have two armguards; one for the summer months and a bulkier one for winter. This will be able to go over your clothing, so you can stay warm while you’re practicing.  

Type Of Material 

Finally, make sure to think about the kind of material that you are using. Something like leather will offer protection while allowing the string to slide off your arm. 

Remember that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a great arm guard. In most cases, you will be able to pick up a reliable one for around $10 to $12. So, there’s no reason not to have one, even if you decide not to use it.  

In Summary 

You don’t need to have an armguard to do archery. However, it’s recommended that you use one. This will save you the pain from hitting your arm and help you correct any poor shots.  

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Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. He has been hunting and fishing since a child, and has over 20 years of experience in the outdoors. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.


Hi, I'm Sam, and I love archery! I used to work as a caregiver, and I'm in medical school now. I started this blog to help people like my parents get healthier in fun and exciting ways, more than just going to the gym. If you like one of my articles, I'd appreciate it if you share it with your folks and help them get healthier too!

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