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It’s a feat that would make an unbelievable party trick. It’s also one that many of us may have considered at some point or other. But is it actually possible to catch an arrow? What would it take and has anyone ever achieved it? Here is what you should know.
So, can you catch an arrow? Very experienced individuals who have particularly fast reaction times have been known to catch an arrow. Although, this is a very rare feat and typically only possible when particular arrows, shot from weaker bows, are used. The average person cannot, nor should not, attempt to do so.
Of course, there are many different factors involved which impact whether or not this is ‘possible’.
And of course, its potentially very dangerous.
So first and foremost, do not try this at home.
Nevertheless, let us now take a closer look at the feat – if anyone has actually achieved it and if so, how.
Is Catching An Arrow Possible?
Catching an arrow is possible, although in very particular circumstances and cases. The average person will not be able to catch an arrow shot from your average bow.
Besides, if it were not possible, how would you account for this, around the 3 minute mark:
But Lars Anderson is not your typical, average person.
And in reality, it would take many hours of both mental and physical training to be able to achieve.
Besides, you will need both confidence, and hand-eye coordination in able to pull it off.
You need to be able to literally grab the shaft of the arrow. And you have an incredibly small window of time to achieve this.
Of course, this has a lot to do with the force output of the bow, and the types of arrows used.
Has Anyone Caught An Arrow?
People have been known to catch an arrow, with Lars Anderson being perhaps the most notable. His YouTube channel includes a video of him successfully doing so.
And then there are ‘arrow-catchers’ that you often see performed as stunts.
But one thing to consider here is that in the context of a stunt, many of these individuals purposefully set up in a way that enables them to be successful.
For instance, they use particular arrows. Those that are designed to rapidly slow down mid-flight and lose some of their initial velocity.
Equally, they tend to work with weaker bows; considerably less than those used for hunting or other archery ventures.
And lastly, stuntmen meticulously plan the shot. They set up the stunt to know exactly when the arrow will be fired and where. This will always be off-centre.
For the stuntmen, it’s then just a matter of timing. Which they have more of due to the type of arrow/bow.
Either way, this is still by no means an easy feat nor always achieved.
There are plenty reports of incidents where even trained professionals have seriously injured themselves during this stunt.
How Fast Do You Have To Be To Catch An Arrow?
You have to be incredibly fast to catch an arrow; although the specific time will vary depending on the bow/arrow used.
Although, we can make some basic estimations based on the average speed of an arrow.
Now, arrows will typically travel at between 100-400 feet per second.
Assuming that the average arrow is 30″ long, you would have about 8-12 milliseconds to recognize the tip of the arrow has passed your hand and then close your hand on the shaft before the tail end passes through.
Now, it is believed that the reaction time of the average person is around 250 milliseconds.
So, you can see that the average person is some way off, especially if your average bow and arrow are used.
But, you may be able to find a way to make it more likely by using a tool like an arrow speed calculator.
That’s probably what the stuntmen, or pro’s have used at least.
Catching an arrow.
Is it possible – perhaps.
But only in very specific circumstances when certain equipment is used.
For the average person, its mostly out of the question.
Mostly from a safety standpoint.
This is not something you should ever attempt or try.
Its best left to the professionals.
And even then, its not a feat you will see being done very often.
And there is a reason for that.
This is what makes the Lars Anderson video so special.
So admire it for what it is.
In the meantime stick to shooting your arrows at a target.
I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy indoor and 3D archery with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.