When Is An Arrow Rest Necessary?

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Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.

When you are learning how to perform archery, it can be tough to know which equipment you need, and what purchases you can comfortably defer. This confusion has led many people to question when an arrow rest is necessary?  

You don’t need to use an arrow rest, as most bows will work well “off-the-shelf.” But there are a few reasons why you might want to consider using a rest. For example, it can help protect your bow from damage and improve your accuracy.  

As you can see, while not strictly necessary, there are still some reasons why you might want to consider using an arrow rest. Let’s take a closer look at this area, so you can find whether or not an arrow rest is right for you.  

What Does An Arrow Rest Do? 

Let’s start by looking at what an arrow rest is.  

An arrow rest is a place that the arrow can sit in before it gets fired. Typically, these are made from metal or plastic, though there might be some made from other materials, like wood.  

This is different from the off the shelf style of shooting the arrow. In most cases, the bow will come with a shelf built into the bow, above the handle. When you use this, you won’t need an arrow rest. However, as we’ll see, there are still some reasons why you might want to purchase one.  

Now that we know the difference between these two approaches let’s look at whether you need to pay for an arrow rest.  

Do You Need An Arrow Rest? 

Though you don’t need one to use the bow, it’s generally believed that you should have an arrow rest. Let’s look at some of the reasons why many people prefer to use an arrow rest.  

Added Stability 

When you use an arrow rest, you will have somewhere for your arrows to lie while you line up the shot. This will allow you to spend more time aiming, allowing you to increase your accuracy.   

It also makes it easier for you to draw back on the string, without knocking the arrow out of place.  

For this reason, it’s highly recommended that beginners use an arrow rest. This will let them spend more time focusing on their technique, rather than keeping the arrow in place.  

Protect Your Bow And Arrows From Damage 

Many people also prefer to use an arrow rest to make sure that they don’t accidentally damage their arrows or bow.  

If you don’t use one, shooting off the shelf, there is a chance that the fletches on the arrow will make contact with the shelf on their way through. If done enough, this can lead to scratching and damage on the bow. An arrow rest will prevent this.  

Even if you opt not to use an arrow rest, you should still make sure that you are protecting the bow from this kind of damage. The most common way of doing this is lining the inside of the shelf with the material, like leather or moleskin.  

An arrow rest can also be useful for your arrows. When they make contact with the bow, their fletches might be damaged. When this occurs, it can disrupt your arrow’s flight, decreasing your accuracy. An arrow rest will help prevent this.  

The exception to this is feather fletches, which are designed to work with the off the shelf shooting style.  

What Type Of Arrow Rests Are Available? 

If you want to use an arrow rest, there are a few different options for you to explore. The right one for you will often depend on the type of bow that you have, and what you are looking for in your arrow rests. Generally, most arrow rests fall into three categories. These are; 

  • Screw-In Rests 
  • Stick-On Rests 
  • Rest-Plunger Combo 

Let’s take a quick look at each approach.  

Screw-In Rests 

First, you will come across screw-in rests. These are designed to be screwed into the bow. However, these are limited to the bows that have a pre-drilled hole that will be able to accept this kind of rest.  

One of the most significant advantages of this approach is that it is securely attached. This can make it easier for you to aim, allowing you to improve your accuracy.  

In most cases, these rests are made from a combination of plastic and metal.   

Stick-On Rests 

Another popular type of rest is stick-on. Unlike the screw-in model, these are attached using an adhesive, such as double-sided tape. Because of this, they are compatible with every type of bow on the market.  

Stick-on rests are freely available, giving you plenty of options to choose from. This competition can also help to drive down prices, making them more affordable.  

However, the stick-on rests are typically not as secure as the screw-on models.  

Though there are several different options available, most will be made from either metal or plastic.  

Rest-Plunger Combo 

This is a rarer type of rest, used primarily by archers that want to take a traditional approach to the sport. In this case, you’ll need a bow that has a threaded plunger hole that you can attach the shelf too.  

In this model, a wire arm and plunger are used. The plunger allows you to cushion the movements by the arrow as it leaves the bow. This is designed to produce a straighter flight and improve your accuracy.  

However, because of the specificity of this approach, it’s not as widely utilized as some of the other arrow-rests on the market. 

Finding The Best Arrow Rest For You 

With so many different arrow approaches on the market, it can be difficult for you to find the right one for you.  

First, you should make sure that you choose something that is made from a durable material, like metal. These will last for a long time.  

Also, you should think about how complex you want the arrow rest to be. For example, more experienced shooters might want an arrow rest that will fall out of the way once the arrow has been fired. This is intended to reduce interference with the arrow.  

For most beginners, though, you will need a simple arrow rest.  

Using Your Arrow Rest 

Once you’ve found an excellent arrow rest, you can start using it. This will be relatively easy. You can lay your arrow on the rest. This will require a few minor changes to the way you approach archery. But you should get the hang of it within a few arrows.  

When you’re getting started, it’s recommended that you get used to this new approach by spending a few extra hours training on the range. When combined with a training routine, to improve your strength and conditioning, this can significantly improve your accuracy and aim.  

In Conclusion 

While you don’t need to use an arrow rest, it’s recommended that you use one. This will often allow you to improve your accuracy while protecting your bows and arrows from damage. Because of their popularity, there are many different models available on the market so that you can find the right one for your needs.  

Do You Need An Armguard For Archery?

When Is An Arrow Rest Necessary?

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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