Your Source for Daily Outdoor Inspiration
Heart for Outdoor uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more

What is brace height in Archery? Why it really matters?

Last updated January 21, 2021| Archery

A bow uses a multinational component to thrust arrows at their goals, and one important factor is brace height. Most nonprofessional archers will not know what this term really means, let alone how to verify or manipulate their bow’s brace height.

Brace height is actually the distance between the bow’s string at rest position and the deepest part of the grip, this is also called the pivot point or the throat. Most bows come with a set brace height, but the particular measurement matters more for longbows and recurve bows than for complex bows. 

Are you the one who is looking forward to learning more about archery, understanding the brace height on your bow and how it involves your shooting experience is a great place to start? If you’re new to bowhunting or just haven’t immersed yourself in the technical aspects of bows, we’ll uncover several important points regarding bow brace height. Follow along.

What It Is and How to Measure It?

The term “brace height” can be a little confusing since height is usually a vertical measurement. Keeping in mind the way that a bow is generally held, brace height is more of a horizontal measurement. The part of the bow’s frame that an archer holds is called a grip. Brace height comprises the distance from this point to the string, and it can run anywhere from about five to ten inches. In regard to the bow’s performance, brace height is not commonly the most important requirement to ponder. 

However, for experienced archers who know how to use this part of the bow to their benefit, brace height can make the difference between a missed shot and a bullseye. Brace heights are best measured with a tool called a T-Square. These are specially made rulers for calculating brace height, and yes, they do look like a T.

On many bows, this measurement is generally the same as the measurement from the center of the rest-mounting hole back to the bowstring. Most modern compound bows have a brace height of 6 to 7 inches, some slightly more or less. If your bow did not come with a particular brace height, the Easton T Bow Square is a best-selling T-Square.

How Brace Height Affects Arrow Speed

So, usually, brace height has the highest influence on two areas of a bow’s working. As per thumb rule, shorter brace heights are always found on faster bows. The shorter the distance will be between the grip and the string, the larger the amount of time the arrow stays in contact with the string. If you ever watch a slow-motion video of an arrow being shot, you will see that the arrow stays stuck to the string for a few seconds after the string becomes totally straight again. The arrow momentarily pulls the string along with it in the opposite direction of the archer until its impetus is too great, and the nock comes loose from its position on the string. Quickly after the arrow releases itself from the string, it begins to lose speed. That is why fast bows always have brace heights on the lower end of the scale.

The longer that arrow is attached to the string, the more energy is transported to it to fuel its flight. Bows marketed as having above-average fps are likely to have a brace height closer to seven inches. As compared to, bows with brace heights nearer to nine inches on average cannot compete with shorter-brace-height bows.

Even Though the science may not be precise, many in the archery community believe in the ratio of one inch of brace height to ten feet per second. This is to say that if you decline your bow’s brace height by one inch, you will be getting ten feet per second on your arrow’s speed. If you were to increase your bow’s brace height by one inch, your arrow’s speed would decrease by ten feet per second. Because speed is often more crucial to hunters and 3-D shooters, they will normally own a bow with a shorter brace height than most target shooters.

Still, bows with shorter brace heights and faster speeds are also usually louder than other bows. Because of the increased energy being released, the vibrations traveling through the bow’s frame are stronger. As any sound specialist will tell you, vibrations in the air are what create the sounds we hear. The greater the vibrations, the louder the sound. For huntsmen attempting to catch live game by surprise, loud noises are not something you want, although speed is essential to making the shot. Luckily for enthusiastic hunters, innovative minds in the archery community came up with a solution for this dilemma. Archers can add an accessory like these rubber vibration dampeners from I-Sport found online to lessen the amount of noise created when they release the string of their bow.

How Brace Height Affects Accuracy

Archers often refer to the level of correction a bow can give to an arrow’s flight path as “forgiveness.” Usually, a bow with greater forgiveness will shoot with relatively reliable correctness, offsetting for small mistakes made by the archer. We cannot say that you can shoot a forgiving bow anyway you want and still hit a bullseye, but for a beginner who is still trying to iron out their skill, these bows are ideal. Brace height has a considerable effect on forgiveness. In contrast with speed, you want to increase your bow’s brace height to boost forgiveness. The greater the brace height, the faster the arrow will leave your string.

Read More: What is the difference between all types of Bows? Traditional Bow vs Recurve Bow vs Compound Bow

Arrows that leave the string early will have decreased speed, but they will also have less time to be affected by the archer. The longer the arrow is attached to the string, the more time it has to absorb nearly invisible movements by the archer and vibrations of the bow, all of which will influence the arrow’s flight path. The correctness of your shot will be enhanced by a longer brace height for another reason. The position of your hands on the bow and on the string respectively create what physicists and bow technicians call “vertical torque.” 

In layperson’s terms, vertical torque is the downward angle that is created by the position of your hand on the grip and your fingers on the string. Definitely, your grip hand cannot be at the same height as your string-holding hand, or you would shoot yourself through the hand. 

To prevent this from happening, the grip is placed just below the nock point string, and the arrow rest sits just on top of the grip. So, while the arrow is theoretically traveling in a straight line, the off-center position of the archer’s hands creates a downward force on the arrow. When you have a shorter brace height, that downward angle becomes tougher and more amplified, while a longer brace height settles it out more. A larger brace height also decreased the chances of your wrist being slapped by the string when you release it. Not only does a wrist-slapping string hurt, but it may also affect with your exactness.

How Do I Adjust Brace Height on my Bow?

If you are not convinced with your bow’s factory-set brace height or if your old string needs restoring, you can maneuver the brace height by simply twisting the string while it is unstrung. The more twists you add to the end of the string, the shorter your string becomes, which, when reattached to the bow, will pull the bow’s limbs down and increase the distance between the riser and the string.

If you want to reduce the brace height of your bow, simply undo a few of the twists in your bow’s string. To do this yourself, you will need a bow stringer like the SinoArt Leather Recurve Bow Stringer available online. Actually, you will need one of these if you have a recurve bow or longbow anyway, so do yourself a favor and get one before you start playing with brace height. If you have a compound bow, you will probably need to take your bow to a pro shop in order to do this. It is best to experiment with a few different brace heights at once to get a feel for what is going to work best for you. As you twist and untwist the bow’s string, mark down what you feel at each height.

If you are worried about noise while hunting, let your friend stand close by to listen to the sound of the release as you will be too close to the string to have a clear picture of how much perceptible noise it is making.

What is Brace Height? – Final Shot

Now that we have unraveled the important points regarding bow brace height, it is time to decide what is right for you. As we debated, there are certain compromises to both. If you do not care about speed, then going with a 7-inch-or-longer brace height is perhaps best. If you want to attach some extra speed and have been shooting for many years, you could shoot very well with a shorter brace height, so long as the bow grip fits your hand well, you use great shooting form and the bow is properly tuned.

Recommended reading

Chaco Z Cloud vs Chaco Z Volv Sandals: 2022 Comparison

Chaco Z Cloud vs Chaco Z Volv Sandals: 2022 Comparison

ContentsWhat is the difference between Chaco z/cloud vs. z/Volv?Chaco z/Volv 2 Review and Features :Chaco z/cloud Review and Features:Performance comparison Chaco Z/Cloud vs Chaco Z/VolvWrap up: Which Chaco Should you Choose? Many people in the...

The Best Climbing Harnesses for Children in 2022

The Best Climbing Harnesses for Children in 2022

In this more dedicated guide, we will look specifically at the best climbing harnesses for children.

The Best In-Ground Trampolines for the Summer (2021)

The Best In-Ground Trampolines for the Summer (2021)

Investing in these best in-ground trampolines is the best way to guarantee your kids loads of joy and excitement, while still making sure they are safe.

How to Pick the Right Climbing Shoes in 2022: Buying Guide

How to Pick the Right Climbing Shoes in 2022: Buying Guide

In this definitive guide, we will cover everything you need to know when buying a (new) pair of climbing shoes!


Join others with a heart for the outdoors!

We want you to love the outdoor life as much as we do.
Our email content is full of value, void of hype, tailored to your interests whenever possible, never pushy, and always free.