Pro Tips For Improving Archery FPS Performance

September 05, 2020

What Affects Bow Speed and FPS

Pro Tips for Improving Archery FPS Performance


Deer season is a much anticipated event for most hunting enthusiast and properly managed hunting serves as a vital resource to helping control rising deer populations in most parts of the U.S.  With archery season quickly approaching in approximately ten days (Kansas - Sept 14th and Missouri - Sept 15th), hunters are preparing for that early season "draw and release" opportunity.  As you head to the field this month, we wanted to share a few pro tips to help improve your archery performance by understanding the elements that affect arrow speed and accuracy.  

Speed vs. Accuracy: it goes without saying that accuracy is the most important factor to a bow shot. Regardless of how many feet per second (FPS) you can develop with an arrow, if you miss the target you’re still not eating venison that night for dinner. Compound bows are specifically designed to improve an archer’s performance with lighter weight, less draw resistance, improved design technologies, etc. Everyone will agree that accuracy is critical, but dead-on accuracy over extended distance requires more FPS.   


Arrow Speed: There are uncontrollable elements that affect arrow speed and accuracy, such as (wind, rain, elevation, obstruction, etc.). We will focus however on five (5) controllable elements that affect the feet per second (FPS) of an arrow in travel. They are (draw length, draw weight, arrow/broad head weight, additional equipment, release method). Let’s talk about these in more detail.


Draw Length: this impact on the delivery speed of a bow can be measured by the following calculation. If a standard bow has a 30” draw length, it is calculated that for every 1” of reduction in said draw length you can expect to lose around 10 FPS of arrow speed. For example, based on the 30” standard principal, if your bows draw length is 28”, then you have already reduced your arrows speed by 20 FPS.


Draw Weight: is directly tied to the amount of weight or torque it takes to draw the bow string to a point of “let off” at the end of the draw. The affect or impact on a bows FPS is measured by calculating a loss of 15-20 FPS per every 10 lbs. of draw weight reduced. Most beginners will not initially set their bows up with a 70 lbs draw weight, but rather start with a lighter draw of let’s say 60 lbs. This reduction of 10 lbs. less in draw weight would equate to a reduction of 15-20 FPS in arrow speed.


Arrow Weight: is going to directly affect the speed (velocity) of a bow. Not only the weight of the arrow but the tip or broad head it is carrying is also going to be calculated in the measurement of loss. Beginning with an industry standard calculated weight of 350 grain arrow, per the International Bow Hunting Organization (IBO), every extra 5 grains of weight will reduce approximately 1.5 FPS. It is estimated that most bow hunters will carry arrow / broad head combinations weighing a minimum of 425 grain, which is 75 grain more than the IBO weight. This would reduce the speed by an estimated 22 FPS.   


Additional Bow Equipment: there are so many extras that hunters put on their bows and strings these days. Things like the D loop and peep hole sight, silencers, vibration dampeners, etc. All of this causes friction and adds weight to the bows limbs, string, etc. For example, the D loop and peep hole which is pretty standard on today’s bows weights around 15 grain and can reduce a bows speed around 5 FPS.  


Method of Release: believe it or not the method you use for release is not as friction free as the IBO testing process. The release method used in IBO tests are conducted with an automated shooting machine that releases the string the same way every time and is considered to be done with perfection. A human is not capable of the same type of consistent release accuracy as a machine, so for this reason we need to reduce another 2 to 3 FPS from the initial IBO rating.


The information found on Compound Bow Source website is deemed to be accurate and we appreciate the writings of their authors. Please check out their website and good luck with your bow hunt this season.