If you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss about brace height is, this clip from Levi Morgan might set you set straight.
Like any sport, over time archery has developed its own vocabulary. If you are new to the sport, terms like axle to axle, cam modules, arrow spine, and IBO speed might be perplexing. It takes time to learn what the different terms mean and what they mean for your archery setup. One term you may have been hearing tossed around is brace height. Understanding what brace heigh it, how it impacts your accuracy, and what it means for you, is an important factor when setting up your shooting rig.
First off, brace height refers to the distance from the belly of your bow to your string when the bow is at rest. Brace heights on compound bows vary widely, but most fall within 6 to 8 inches. Traditional bows allow the archer to change the brace height by winding the string more or less, but still have a sweet spot where the bow shoots well.
What does this mean for a shooter looking to purchase a new bow? Generally speaking, bows that have longer brace heights are seen as more forgiving bows. This is because after the release, the arrow stays on the string for a shorter distance. The less the arrow is on the string, the smaller the chance we have to disrupt the shot. On the contrary, bows with shorter brace heights are generally faster bows. This is because the arrow travels on the string longer and gets added propulsion.
While these rules generally do prove true, there are exceptions. One exception to the idea that a larger brace height is more forgiving is challenged by world champion shooter Levi Morgan. Give this video a watch if you have the time.
As you can see from the video, brace height will have a different impact on archers of different sizes. People with shorter draws may not benefit as much from a longer brace height than someone with a longer draw. The reason is they have already decreased the distance the arrow travels on the string through their body’s frame. Shooters with longer draws may experience more benefits of shooting longer brace heights because their body gives them a disadvantage. The advantages will still be there either side, but may not have as big an impact.
When buying a new bow you will certainly want to take brace height into consideration. Many hunting bows come with short brace heights that generate high arrow speeds ideal for hunting situations. On the other hand, tournament bows tend to lean more toward longer brace height for the increased accuracy. In the end though, your body size may give you a natural advantage one way or the other.