Bow Handedness: Do you need a left-handed or right-handed bow?

Bow Handedness is essential to shoot a bow accurately. Need help determining if you need a right or left-handed bow? How much do you know about bows, specifically the difference between a left-handed and right-handed bow? Let’s see.

The importance of bow handedness cannot be understated. Depending on the user’s  bow handedness, compound bows, recurve bows, and longbows are made slightly differently. Begin by determining your dominant eye, then follow our easy guide to choosing if you should shoot a right or left-handed bow!

Next, you need to figure out if you’re right-handed or left-handed. If you didn’t know, here’s how to tell if you’re left or right-handed.

Bow Handedness

Whether you are left-handed, right-handed, or ambidextrous can tell us a lot about you. ​You can tell which hand is your dominant one if it:

  • You write with
  • Works your computer mouse
  • Holds your toothbrush
  • Holds your tennis racket
  • You hold a cup with you when you drink
  • You get the idea…​

A rarity, some people in the world can use both hands interchangeably with equal ease–these individuals are ambidextrous. After you figure out which eye and hand are dominant, you can then identify your type of dominance.

Hand & Eye Dominance

  • A person who is left-handed and has a dominant left eye is considered to be “left-dominant.”
  • ​People who are right-handed and have their dominant eye as the right eye are considered to be “right dominant.”
  • If you are left-eye dominant and right-handed, then you are cross-dominant.
  • If you favor your right eye and are left-handed, you are also cross-dominant (sometimes called cross-eye dominant).
  • A person who is Ambi-ocular and left-handed typically has partial left dominance.
  • If you are right-handed and Ambi-ocular, you have partial right dominance.
  • If you are ambidextrous, you can pretty much choose to be dominant on either side. It’s up to you to decide which way is better for you and your shooting.

Deciding Whether to Use a Left- or Right-Handed Bow

Now that you know your overall dominance level, it will be easy to determine which type of bow is best for you.

Dominant HandDominant EyeDominanceHandedness of Bow
RightLeftCrossLeft (usually)
LeftRightCrossRight (usually)
AmbidextrousLeftPartial LeftLeft
AmbidextrousRightPartial RightRight

People with a dominant side or are partially ambidextrous should find the choice easy, as it will be based on the type of bow listed in the table.

Choosing a Cross-Dominant Bow

Cross-dominance gives you the option to choose what works better for you, depending on your age or personal preference. When you shoot, either your eye or hand dominance will have to be retrained, and it becomes more challenging to relearn fine motor skills the older you are. The better option would be to use your less dominant eye and choose a bow that corresponds with your dominant hand.

However, if you are young, you can explore the option of shooting with your non-dominant hand. Test both ways at an archery range to figure out what feels best for you. Keep the following in mind if you need help deciding which option to choose and need a clear predominance.

Left-Handed vs. Right-Handed Bow

If you are right-handed, hold the bow in your left hand and draw the bowstring back with your right hand. If you are left-handed, do the opposite: hold the bow in your right hand and use your left hand to draw back on the string. Some bows are designed for right-handed people and others for left-handed individuals, but many other items of archery equipment, like arm guards and quivers, can be used by both.

More people in the world are right-handed than left-handed. I love this fact. Being a lefty, I certainly wouldn’t feel unique if things were evenly distributed between right and left-handed people. There is less archery equipment available worldwide for left-handed people.

Many bow manufacturers create models of bows for both left- and right-handed people; however, a right-handed archer will find it easier to purchase from shop stock and trial display models as well as source items on secondhand sites, such as eBay. The chances are that if you want to try someone else’s bow at a shooting range, they’ll be right-handed. However, it is possible to find a left-handed bow…

Is it Possible to Shoot a Left Handed Bow Right Handed?

Though you can shoot a right-handed bow left-handed and with some accuracy, it isn’t recommended. The arrow rest will be on the wrong side, so you’ll have to make up for that in your aim unless you’re forced to, be sure to get a bow that suits your dominant hand.

Differentiating a Left-Handed Bow from a Right-Handed Now

The arrow rest should be located just above the grip on the handle of the bow, and when you hold it in front of you (with either hand) by the grip, the arrow rest will be on your left side if you’re using a right-handed bow or on your right side if you’re using a left-handed one.

Picking the right bow

After finding out your preferred handedness, look at our articles discussing the best recurve bow and compound bow. No matter your budget or use for the bow, we have an option for you whether you are a hunter, target shooter, or both!

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