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Getting the right archery finger tab size is an important part of accumulating proper archery gear. A finger tab (or archer tab) protects the archer’s fingers from the bowstring, which can cause painful finger blisters and worse.
The benefit of using a finger tab in archery is that it’s generally more comfortable and convenient than a glove. Therefore, it’s recommended to get the right archer tab size when participating in archery.
So, is there an easy guide for how to get the right archery finger tab size?
When looking for the right size of archery tab, an archer should consider the width of the hand/fingers, level of shooting, and shooting technique. Finger tabs tend to fit big so if you normally wear a Large size winter glove, start with a Medium size finger tab.
Most archery shops and outdoor retailers have sales representatives that can help find the right archer tab size. However, this is an easy guide for those who want to know how to get the right archery finger tab size online or if assistance isn’t available.
Beginner archers are eager to get bow-and-arrow equipment and get started shooting. Unfortunately, there are other important items of archery gear that need to be acquired before safely taking the bow and arrows to the range.
With a little research, preparation, and information, archers can ensure they have all the necessary equipment to start shooting. This article provides an easy guide to getting the right archery tab for protecting those shooting fingers.
What Is an Archery Finger Tab?
In archery, a finger tab is a small patch of leather or synthetic material that attaches to an archer’s hand in order to protect the fingers from the bowstring.
The finger tabs usually have a “retaining loop” on the back that fits over the middle finger to keep the tab attached to the archer’s hand when the string is “loosed” (let go).
There are simple tabs with a single patch placed between the fingers and bowstring, and more complex tabs that are split between some of the fingers. The type of tab used by an archer depends on their method of “draw”—in a sense, the grip they use to draw the bow.
Finger tabs are generally less expensive and cumbersome than archery shooting gloves. This makes them an important part of archery gear for all levels, from beginning recreational archers to professional competitors.
Why Are Finger Tabs Necessary?
Finger tabs are necessary for archery to protect the shooter’s fingers from the bowstring.
Bowstrings are made of fibrous material such as linen or hemp that are under tension when strung. The harsh friction between the fingers and string that results from an archer drawing and loosing the bow can cause blisters, open cuts, and even nerve damage in serious cases.
Archery finger tabs protect against this friction and prevent such injuries. They are considered an essential piece of equipment in archery for safety reasons.
Some archers opt to use shooter gloves, which would replace finger tabs. Archery gloves are generally made of leather-based material and can be used on both hands. These gloves provide protection for fingers, secure wrist fastening, and claim to enhance an archer’s grip.
However, most archery enthusiasts prefer finger tabs due to the following reasons:
- Cooler temperature
Besides safety, another reason that archers find finger tabs to be necessary is level of accuracy in shooting. When an archers’ fingers are protected, they can repeat their draw and release shot sequence to become more consistent.
Shooting gloves offer protection, however, their material is often thicker than archer tabs which can interfere with the interaction between fingers and bowstring.
Finger tabs help archers get a better feel for their bowstring and release, which improves their performance and level of accuracy in shooting.
How Do I Find the Right Finger Tab Size?
Like most sports equipment, there are many variations, brands, and sizes when it comes to archery gear. This is true of finger tabs as well. It can be intimidating for beginning archers to know how to find the right finger tab size. This guide will help make the process easier.
Archers should look for good leather material in finger tabs to allow the fingers the best interaction possible with the bowstring. They should also consider their level as an archer and shooting technique.
Most beginners would want a simple archer tab, whereas expert shooters may choose a more complex tab for higher-level grips and draws.
Archer tabs generally come in sizes small, medium, and large, and occasionally extra-small and extra-large.
It is important for the finger tab to cover the full breadth of your finger span from the outside of the index finger to the inside of the ring finger.
If the finger tab does not properly cover the width of the shooting fingers, the archer is at risk of pain or injury.
Here are steps to finding the right finger tab size for archery:
- In-store: If you are shopping in an archery shop or outdoor retailer, you can consult with a sales representative to find the right finger tab size. Most businesses will let customers try archer tabs to get the best size and fit. Depending on the level of expertise and service, the sales representative may also be able to professionally trim the finger tab to fit more precisely.
- Online: If you are shopping online for archer tabs, the process for finding the right size may be a little more complicated. Since you won’t be able to test out finger tab sizes in person, most experts suggest measuring the hand.
- One method is to extend the hand flat and use a measuring tape to wrap around the hand just below the knuckles and fingers, and above the thumb. This can give some indication of what size is needed.
- Another method is to measure your hand against online diagrams for size, although the accuracy of these diagrams may be less than ideal.
- Veteran archers suggest that you compare the size of your hand to others and assess whether it would be small, medium, or large and determine the size of the finger tab you need based on your judgment. It’s best to err on the side of larger since most archer tabs can be trimmed.
Another important thing to know when buying archer tabs is that many come with an over-sized surface, which can be cut down or trimmed to fit an individual archer’s fingers for personalized comfort and protection.
Where Can I Get Archery Tabs?
There are several places to get archery tabs, both in-store and online.
The most reliable place to purchase archery finger tabs would be a reputable archery shop or outdoor retailer that carries known archery brands and has excellent reviews.
If you are shopping for archery tabs in-store, make sure to visit reputable businesses and compare prices, return policies, and merchandise.
Inform the sales representative of your skill level and what you are looking for in a finger tab.
Insist, if possible, on trying out a few finger tabs to check the quality, size, and comfort. Be sure to resist any over-zealous purchasing of unnecessary accessories or higher-level archer tabs than what you need.
If you are shopping online for archery tabs, make sure to order from a reputable site. Do research to compare sizes, quality, return policies, and cost.
Online shopping can be overwhelming due to the number of web retailers, brands, and merchandise. One effective way to find the best finger tab as well as the best deal is to consult product reviews. Generally, consumers are very honest when they rate their experience with a product and/or retailer.
Archery blogs, forums, and websites are also great resources for finding the best places to get archery tabs.
Right or Lefthanded Archery Tabs?
Another important consideration in getting the right—or in this case, correct—archery tab is handedness. Most archery finger tabs are made for righthanded shooters, and they are not interchangeable for those who are lefthanded.
If you are lefthanded, and you plan to shoot as a lefthanded archer, you need to make sure that you buy archery tabs made specifically for lefthanded shooters. These lefthanded archery tabs are pretty much as easy to come by as righthanded ones, in stores and online.
However, lefthanded archers should be aware that the default “hand” for archery finger tabs is the right. Lefthanded finger tabs should only be purchased if they are specifically labeled as such.
Man, Woman, or Child Archer Tabs?
Both traditional and modern archery are more popular than ever, and many people are taking it up as a family activity. One of the best things about archery as a sport and pastime is its inclusivity.
Archery is enjoyed by people of all ages, sizes, abilities, and genders. However, different groups of archers may require different safety equipment and this can depend on gender and/or age.
When it comes to archer tabs, gender and age don’t really matter. The size, specifically width, of the hand and shooting fingers is the relevant factor.
Therefore, finger tabs shouldn’t necessarily be marketed as “male” or “female.” Children’s sizes would be distinguished only as extra-small or extra-extra-small.
Archery is a growing industry, attracting more archers every year and generating more products and equipment to enhance the sport and protect the players.
Most new and beginning archers are eager to focus on buying bows and arrows so they can start shooting and honing their skills right away.
However, it’s important for all archers regardless of skill level to consider safety and protection. Archery is statistically a very safe sport. However, injuries can happen—especially to an archer’s fingers if they are not protected from the bowstring.
Finger tabs, for this reason, are an equally essential part of an archer’s gear as the bows and arrows.
Archer tabs protect the shooting fingers from blisters, cuts, or worse resulting from the friction of drawing and loosing the bow. These small patches of leather fit the fingers as a safety measure, and they are used by a majority of archers, recreational and professional.
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.