Press ESC to close

What Is Barebow Archery?

Barebow archery is a thrilling sport that strips away all the fancy gear and gadgets, allowing you to connect with the very essence of archery. This traditional style of shooting offers a pure and authentic experience, where you rely solely on your skill and technique to hit the target. In barebow archery, there are no sights, stabilizers, or release aids; just you, the bow, and your steady focus. Whether you’re a seasoned archer looking for a fresh challenge or a beginner intrigued by the simplicity of it all, barebow archery is bound to captivate you with its raw and unforgiving beauty.

What Is Barebow Archery?

Definition of Barebow Archery

Barebow Archery is a style of archery that focuses on simplicity and minimalism. It involves shooting a bow without any sights, stabilizers, or other additional equipment that aid in aiming or stabilizing the bow. The objective is to rely solely on the archer’s skill, technique, and instinct to hit the target accurately.


The purpose of Barebow Archery is to challenge the archer’s ability to shoot accurately and consistently without the assistance of advanced equipment. It emphasizes the development of fundamental archery skills such as proper form, aim, and release. Barebow Archery enthusiasts appreciate the purity of the sport and enjoy the unique challenges it presents.


In Barebow Archery, the equipment used is relatively simple compared to other styles. The main components include a bow, arrows, and a few optional accessories. The bow used in barebow archery is typically a recurve bow, meaning that the limbs curve away from the archer when the bow is unstrung. It can be made of wood, fiberglass, or other modern materials. The arrows used are also typically made of lightweight materials such as carbon or aluminum.

Optional accessories may include finger tabs or gloves to protect the fingers, arm guards, and quivers to hold the arrows. Some archers also choose to use a leather or synthetic shooting glove to improve their grip and release.

Techniques and Skills

Barebow Archery requires the development of specific techniques and skills to shoot accurately. These include the shooting stance and posture, aiming, anchor points, release, and follow-through.

The shooting stance and posture are crucial for maintaining balance and stability throughout the shot. The archer must stand with a relaxed but firm posture, with the feet shoulder-width apart, and the body aligned with the target.

Aiming in barebow archery is done using a process called gap shooting or string walking. This involves visually estimating the distance to the target and adjusting the vertical position of the bowstring in relation to the archer’s aiming point to compensate for the arc of the arrow’s trajectory.

Anchor points are specific points on the archer’s face or body where the bowstring is consistently drawn to. These anchor points ensure consistent positioning of the bow and aid in maintaining accuracy.

The release is the moment when the archer lets go of the bowstring. In barebow archery, archers use a loose or relaxed grip on the bowstring to allow for a smooth release without disturbing the aim.

The follow-through is essential in barebow archery to ensure that the archer maintains proper form and doesn’t anticipate the shot. It involves continuing the shooting motion after the arrow is released, allowing the body and bow to come to a natural stop.

History and Origins

Early Beginnings

Barebow Archery has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Archery itself is one of the oldest known sports and has been practiced for hunting, warfare, and entertainment throughout human history. The earliest evidence of archery dates back to the Paleolithic era, and it is believed that early humans used bows and arrows as early as 10,000 years ago.

In many ancient cultures, archery played a significant role in warfare. Archers were trained to shoot accurately and efficiently from varying distances, which required a high level of skill and discipline.

Development and Evolution

As archery evolved, different styles and techniques emerged. Barebow Archery, as we know it today, has its roots in traditional archery practiced by various cultures around the world. Traditional archers used basic bows without the advanced accessories and enhancements we see in modern archery.

Over time, archery also became a popular sport and recreational activity, leading to the development of various styles, such as Olympic recurve archery and compound bow archery. However, there has always been a dedicated group of archers who preferred the simplicity and challenge of shooting barebow.

Differentiating Barebow from Other Archery Styles

Traditional Archery

Traditional archery is a broad term that encompasses various archery styles, including barebow archery. Traditional archers typically use bows that rely on the archer’s skill and technique, rather than relying on additional accessories for accuracy. Traditional archers often prioritize connecting with the historical roots of archery and may choose to use traditional wooden bows and arrows.

Olympic Recurve Archery

Olympic recurve archery is an internationally recognized archery style used in Olympic and competitive events. Olympic recurve archers shoot with highly specialized recurve bows that have adjustable sights and stabilizers. This style focuses on precision and consistency, with archers using a consistent aiming technique to hit their target accurately.

Compound Bow Archery

Compound bow archery is a modern style of archery that utilizes complex compound bows. These bows feature pulley systems that provide a mechanical advantage, making them easier to draw and hold at full draw. Compound bows also often come with adjustable sights, stabilizers, and releases, making them highly accurate and precise. Compound bow archery emphasizes accuracy over traditional shooting skills.

Advantages and Challenges of Barebow Archery


One of the main advantages of barebow archery is the simplicity and minimalism it offers. By eliminating the use of advanced equipment and accessories, barebow archers focus on the fundamentals of archery. This allows archers to develop a deeper understanding of the sport and hone their technique.

Barebow archery also provides a unique challenge to archers. Without the assistance of sights or stabilizers, archers must rely solely on their instincts and experience to hit their target accurately. This adds an extra layer of difficulty and excitement to the sport, making it more rewarding when archers achieve their desired results.


Barebow archery does come with its own set of challenges. Without the aid of sights or stabilizers, shooting accurately can be more challenging, especially at longer distances. Archers need to develop a keen sense of aim and learn to compensate for varying shooting conditions.

In addition, barebow archers may need to put in more effort to build strength and improve their physical conditioning. The absence of accessories like sights and stabilizers means that the archer’s body needs to provide the stability and control necessary for consistent and accurate shooting.

What Is Barebow Archery?

Equipment Used in Barebow Archery


In barebow archery, the bow used is typically a recurve bow. Recurve bows have curved limbs that give them extra power and speed compared to straight-limbed bows. They can be made from various materials such as wood, fiberglass, carbon, or a combination of these materials. The bow may be custom-made or purchased commercially.

The weight or draw weight of the bow is an important consideration. It refers to the force needed to draw the bowstring to its full draw length. Archers can choose a draw weight that suits their physical strength and shooting style.


Arrows used in barebow archery are typically made of lightweight materials such as carbon or aluminum. These materials offer durability, speed, and accuracy. The selection of arrows depends on factors such as the archer’s draw length, the type of bow being used, and personal preferences.

Arrows have varying spine stiffness, which affects how the arrow flexes when shot. It is important to select arrows with appropriate spine stiffness to match the bow’s draw weight and the archer’s shooting technique.


Barebow archery allows for minimal accessories, but there are a few optional items that can enhance the archer’s experience. These accessories include finger tabs or shooting gloves to protect the fingers from the bowstring, arm guards to prevent the bowstring from hitting the forearm, and quivers to hold arrows during shooting.

Some archers also choose to use a leather or synthetic shooting glove to improve their grip and release, providing a more comfortable shooting experience.

Techniques and Skills in Barebow Archery

Shooting Stance and Posture

In barebow archery, the shooting stance and posture play a vital role in maintaining balance, stability, and consistency. The archer should stand with their feet shoulder-width apart, the body relaxed but firm, and the shoulders aligned with the target. The grip on the bow should be relaxed to allow for a smoother release.


Barebow archers use a technique called gap shooting or string walking to aim. Gap shooting involves visually estimating the distance to the target and adjusting the vertical position of the bowstring in relation to the archer’s aiming point. This compensates for the arc of the arrow’s trajectory and helps the archer hit the desired target.

String walking is another aiming technique where the archer adjusts their grip on the bowstring, moving their hand up or down the string to achieve different aiming points for different distances.

Anchor Points

Anchor points are specific points on the archer’s face or body where the bowstring is consistently drawn to. These anchor points ensure consistent positioning of the bow, aiding in accuracy. Some common anchor points in barebow archery include the index finger touching the corner of the mouth, the bowstring resting against the side of the nose, and the knuckles aligning with the cheekbone.


The release is the moment when the archer lets go of the bowstring. In barebow archery, archers use a loose or relaxed grip on the bowstring to allow for a smooth and clean release. A tight grip can cause the arrow to veer off course or be less accurate.

Follow Through

Follow-through is a critical aspect of barebow archery technique. It involves continuing the shooting motion after the arrow is released, allowing the body and bow to come to a natural stop. A proper follow-through ensures that the archer maintains proper form and stability throughout the shot, increasing the chances of hitting the target accurately.

What Is Barebow Archery?

Competition Categories and Formats

Field Archery

Field archery is a competition format where archers navigate through a course laid out in a natural outdoor setting. The course consists of targets placed at various distances and angles, mimicking real hunting scenarios. Archers shoot at targets from marked shooting positions, using their skills to judge distance, angle, and elevation changes.

3D Archery

3D archery competitions simulate hunting scenarios by using life-sized foam animal targets placed in a natural setting. Archers move through a course and shoot arrows at the targets from various positions and distances. Scoring is based on the accuracy of hits on different designated scoring zones on the target, simulating shoot-or-don’t-shoot hunting scenarios.

Target Archery

Target archery is a widely recognized competition format in which archers shoot at stationary targets placed at set distances. The targets typically consist of concentric circles, and archers aim to hit the center for maximum points. Distance and target size may vary depending on the archer’s category and skill level.

Traditional Archery Events

Traditional archery events often have their own unique competition categories and formats. These events focus on traditional archery styles, including barebow, and may include competitions such as instinctive shooting, where archers shoot without aiming sights.

Training and Practice Tips

Strength and Conditioning

To excel in barebow archery, it is beneficial to develop strength and endurance. Building core strength, upper body strength, and stamina contribute to better stability and control while shooting. Exercises such as resistance training, push-ups, pull-ups, and core workouts can help improve overall fitness and archery performance.

Form and Technique

Consistent practice of proper shooting form and technique is crucial for success in barebow archery. Archers should focus on maintaining proper posture, grip, anchor points, and release. Practicing with a coach or instructor can help identify any areas for improvement and provide guidance on refining technique.

Mental Focus and Concentration

Barebow archery requires mental focus and concentration. Archers must train their minds to eliminate distractions and maintain a clear focus on the target. Visualizing successful shots, practicing relaxation techniques, and utilizing mental strategies such as controlled breathing can enhance mental focus during shooting.

Endurance and Stamina

Barebow archery competitions can require long hours of shooting, demanding physical and mental endurance. To prepare for the demands of competition, archers should incorporate endurance training into their practice routine. This can include activities such as jogging, cycling, or other aerobic exercises to build stamina and increase overall endurance.

What Is Barebow Archery?

Famous Barebow Archers and Their Achievements

Historical Figures

Barebow archery has a long history, and many historical figures have excelled in this discipline. Some notable names include Howard Hill, Fred Bear, and Art Young. These archers were pioneers in promoting traditional archery and showcasing their skills through hunting expeditions and exhibitions.

Modern-Day Champions

In recent years, several modern-day barebow archers have made significant achievements in various competitions. Names such as John Demmer III, Christine Harrelson, and Henry Bodnik have become synonymous with barebow archery excellence. These archers have demonstrated exceptional skill, accuracy, and consistency in their performances, inspiring and captivating barebow archers worldwide.

Getting Started with Barebow Archery

Finding a Club or Range

To get started with barebow archery, it is recommended to find a local archery club or range that offers barebow archery programs or instruction. These establishments often have experienced coaches who can provide guidance, offer training programs, and help beginners learn the fundamentals of barebow archery in a safe and supportive environment.

Obtaining Equipment

Acquiring the necessary equipment for barebow archery can be done through local archery shops or online retailers specializing in archery gear. It is essential to consult with knowledgeable professionals or experienced archers to ensure the proper selection of bow, arrows, and accessories based on individual needs and preferences.

Training and Coaching

Seeking professional training and coaching can greatly benefit beginners in barebow archery. Coaches can provide guidance on proper shooting technique, form correction, and offer personalized training programs to accelerate skill development. Regular training sessions with a coach can significantly improve an archer’s performance and understanding of barebow archery.

Joining Competitions

Once comfortable and confident with barebow archery skills, archers may choose to participate in local, regional, or national competitions. These events provide opportunities to test skills, meet fellow archers, and experience the thrill of competitive barebow archery. Participation in competitions also allows archers to learn from others, gain valuable feedback, and measure progress.

In conclusion, barebow archery is a challenging and rewarding style of archery that focuses on simplicity and skill. It requires archers to rely on their technique, instinct, and mental focus to hit the target accurately. With its rich history, unique challenges, and dedicated community, barebow archery offers a fulfilling and engaging experience for archers of all skill levels. Whether shooting for recreational purposes or aiming for competitive success, barebow archery provides a platform for personal growth and the enjoyment of this ancient and timeless sport.

What Is Barebow Archery?

Archery guy

Hi, I'm RJ, the author behind Archery Advantage. Welcome to our comprehensive guide to mastering the art and sport of archery. My mission is to provide valuable resources for archers of all levels, from beginners to experts. With beginner tutorials, bow comparisons, and advanced technique training, we've got you covered. Explore our collection of how-to guides, tips for perfecting your aim and stance, and insights into choosing the best arrows and bows. Join our passionate community to learn about archery safety, bowhunting essentials, and the latest industry trends. Embrace the lifestyle, hone your skills, and gain a true competitive edge with Archery Advantage.