Mongolian Draw Versus Mediterranean Draw: Differences Explained

The bow draw is a name for the method that people use to nock and release their arrow from an archery bow. There are many different styles, but the Mediterranean draw is the most common target archery today. However, people also use the Mongolian draw and the pinch draw and methods using release aids and other devices.

The Mediterranean style is used in Olympic-style target shooting, and people use three fingers to draw the arrow. The Mongolian draw is also called the thumb draw because it uses only the thumb. It is used primarily in Asian countries, while the Mediterranean draw is used all across Europe and the Middle East.

Mongolian Draw Versus Mediterranean Draw: Differences Explained

This article will examine the differences between these two draws, and it will explore a few other draws as well. Also, it will cover the reasons people use the different draws. Continue reading to learn all about how you draw your bow in archery.

What Is an Archery Draw?

The draw in archeryOpens in a new tab. is when you pull the bowstring back. It is fairly straightforward in that you simply draw the bowstring back toward the side of your face. No matter how you draw the string, you need to keep your head up straight, relax your shoulders, keep your wrist flat, and keep it smooth. The skill is in the details associated with the draw. 

There are different ways to draw the bowstring, and each type of draw has its own name. The details are in which fingers you use to draw the bowstring. Some styles use three fingers, some use two, and some use the thumb. There are different ways to position the fingers as well. Some styles are more common in Asia, while others are more common in Europe. Take a look at some of the different methods to draw the bowstring.

What Is the Mongolian Draw?

The Mongolian draw started on Mongol bows that were used initially in Mongolia. They were designed to be drawn using a thumb to draw the string. This is called the Mongolian draw or the thumb draw. 

The thumb is the strongest digit on your hand, and it grasps the string. You use the index finger and the middle finger to reinforce the grip. It will give you a more narrow grip on the string because you only use one digit, and it can help avoid string pinch in shorter bows. Mongol archers often wore a thumb ringOpens in a new tab. for protection, which comes as a cylinder made of bone or stone or a rigid tab.

This draw is best for recurve bows that can easily drawback 34 to 36 inches. The other tip is to keep your nails cut short because this release will remove them for you if you don’t. 

What Is the Mediterranean Draw?

In countries across Europe and the Middle East, the Mediterranean draw is the most popular method used both to draw and release the arrows. For this method, people use the forefinger on the string above the arrow and the middle and ring fingers on the string below the arrow. You will place the arrow on the left side of the bow if you are right-handed and on the right side if you are left-handed. 

Some variations call for two fingers instead of three, one of which is called the Flemish release. This variation is used widely in Eastern Europe, where it is also called the Hungarian draw. The Mediterranean draw is what they use for Olympic-style target shooting.

What Are the Three Fingers Used to Draw the Bow?

When you use the Mediterranean draw, you will use three fingersOpens in a new tab. to pull back the bowstring. You use the pointer finger, the middle finger, and the ring finger for the draw. Your pointer finger goes above the arrow, and when you place your middle and ring fingers below it. You should place the first joint of the fingers over the bowstring. Your pinky finger is not involved at all, and your thumb stays relaxed and down. 

Some archers will use a “three under” draw, where all three fingers go under the arrow. It is also known as the Apache draw. This is a more advanced draw, so you want to save it for later after you have some experience.

What Is the Advantage of Using the Split Finger Draw?

The split-finger draw, which is also the Mediterranean draw, places the index finger above the nock, and the middle finger and ring finger go below the nock. This drawing style is what people use when they do long-range shooting, such as Olympic target shooting. 

When you use the split-finger method to draw the bowstring, it places the back of the arrow lower down than the point. This provides a simpler sight picture for the arc of the arrow. The advantage is that it is easier to shoot longer distances with this draw method. People use this method when they are hunting with a recurve bowOpens in a new tab.

Why Do People Use the Mongolian Draw?

The Mongolian draw is often used on horse bows. It’s the traditional method for shooting this kind of bow because they are short and yet designed for a long draw. When people try to use three fingers to draw this kind of bowstring, they end up pinching their fingers, but this isn’t a problem with the thumb draw because they only need to hook one thumb around the string.

It is important to tape the thumb with this draw method, or you can use a thumb ring. For the thumb draw, the arrow goes on the other side of the bow, and it rests on the thumb’s knuckle. You need to be careful not to grip the thumb with your index finger because it can hurt you and cause an injury. 

The way to do it is to curl your middle finger, ring finger, and little finger as if you are making a fist. Then, you can make an “L” with your thumb and index finger. Then, your thumb curls around the string. You can press the tip of your thumb against your middle finger knuckle. This takes muscle from the bottom of your thumb, which you may need to build over time. This is the right draw to use with a Mongol bow.

How Did Mongolian Archery Start?

Mongolian archeryOpens in a new tab. started in ancient times. The Mongols were nomadic tribes, and they used archery for hunting, protecting themselves, and invading China. This dates back to the third century BCE, and in fact, their skill in archery was strong enough that it led to the building of the Great Wall of China. 

Children in this region learned archery when they were young, and Genghis Khan used this form of archery to build a huge empire. They were so skilled that they would time the arrow’s release with the moment their horse’s feet were off the ground.

Pros and Cons of Using the Thumb Draw

People who use the thumb draw find that there are many advantages. First, it is faster and easier to nock the arrows, which is great for shooting fast. Also, the arrow is more stable when it is held against the bow. You can move around without losing your arrow. This makes it ideal for horseback archery.

When you use the thumb draw, you can shoot several different arrow spines, and you can drawback further without worrying that the string will slap you. It is also easier for your forearm and wrist, and you don’t need to worry about finger pinch. You can shoot it from different directions because it is less restrictive. It allows faster arrow speed and a clean release. 

There are a few cons as well. It is hard to learn how to use the thumb draw. It is also hard to shoot accurately and be consistent. This means that you have to work hard to master this style of shooting.

Final Words

People often want to know the differences between the Mongolian draw and the Mediterranean draw. They have questions about whether they are interchangeable or whether they each have their specific uses. The bottom line is that they are two different methods for drawing the bowstring, and they developed differently.

The Mongolian draw originated in the Mongol region as early as the third century BCE, and the Mongols were highly skilled archers. This method works well for horseback archery, and it is faster. The Mediterranean draw is used in Olympic shooting, and it offers accuracy and consistency. 

The main difference is that the Mongolian draw uses the thumb, while the Mediterranean draw uses three fingers. The three fingers can be split, or all three can go together under the arrow. Most beginners start with the split-finger draw. It is easier to learn and offers greater accuracy and consistency when you are starting. More practice is the answer to how long it takes to get good at either one.


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Hi, I'm Sam! I used to work as a caregiver, and now I'm in medical school. My blog is about helping people get healthier through fun activities like archery, hunting, and powerlifting. If you like one of my articles, please share it with your friends and family so they can be healthy too!

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