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What is a Bow Stabilizer and Why Do I Need One?


When it comes to archery the stability of your bow is vital especially as you take a shot. A stable bow will increase your chances of hitting the target which is the goal of everyone who participates in archery. All along in history those attending in archery whether as a sport or for war had to master the art of stabilizing their bows.

But this is no longer the case in our times.

The recent developments in the field of archery include the introduction of bow stabilizers. Before we go further we need to ask, what is a bow stabilizer and why do you need one?

A bow stabilizer is a weighted rod mounted on a bow that reduces movements of the bow during aiming increasing shot precision. Bow stabilizers also absorb the vigorous vibrations that are generated when you release the bowstring. This vibration reduction contributes to the consistent launch of the arrow. You need a bow stabilizer in order to take your archery skill to the next level.  A great stabilizer length for all-around archery is 10 inches since it is compact enough for bowhunting and still helps shrink down group sizes.

What are the benefits of a bow stabilizer?

Generally, a bow stabilizer will give you a winning edge whenever you are taking a shot. The fact that most archers who are professionals use bow stabilizers is enough evidence to prove this point. The following are some of the reasons why you should consider using a bow stabilizer.

#1: A bow stabilizer will increase your shot’s stability

Bow stabilizers add forward weight to your bow. These will balance the bow in your hands and absorb any vibrations that will result as you shoot. For optimum stabilization, you may have to consider increasing the weight of the stabilizer as well as the length. The more substantial, the more the chances of remaining on the target.

#2: A bow stabilizer helps you get more accurate shots

When you make your shots, more stable increases your chances of having more accurate shots. This advantage is most obvious if you take your shots from a long distance. When you are shooting at targets that are at a long distance (70 yards or so), even the smallest twitch can send your arrow way off target.

Having a stabilizer decreases those very small movements.

Next time when you are taking a long shot consider using a stabilizer to increase your rate of accuracy and consistency. If you happen to remove the stabilizer from your bow, you will often find it hard to have an accurate shot since you will not be steady. Besides your chance will be affected by vibration and hand shock that results as you take a shot.

#3: A bow stabilizer absorbs the vibrations that produce from shooting

Vibrations often happen in your hands when you are releasing the arrow towards your target. Tension will result when you launch your bow. Energy discharges from the arm guard area, this energy is the one that will cause vibrations. A bow stabilizer will absorb this energy that results when you draw a bow backward before taking a shot and when you release it. This reduction of vibrations will save your hands from having a sore. Most importantly the noise would be reduced as well which is such a priceless thing especially when you go hunting.

#4: A bow stabilizer helps you reduce noise

Every bowhunter knows that silence is golden.

Deer especially have an extremely acute sense of hearing so you need to do your best to reduce noise. If the deer hears anything unusual, it will start moving lightning fast and they will have moved 2 -3 feet before your arrow even reaches them. As you may already know it always proves very hard to hit a moving target so a stabilizer is such a handy tool to reduce bow noise and increase your chances of making a clean shot.

#5: A bow stabilizer helps manage bow rotation

In this, we are considering the “moments of inertia.” The general rule is that to reduce the moments of inertia you will need to use a small weight on a long rod.

Notably, long objects that are narrow and long objects like bow risers will have small moments of inertia in which small forces will result in rotations about the axis. Stabilizers counterbalance any small forces that might cause movement and this helps you to have an accurate shot.

What are the drawbacks of a bow stabilizer?

There are some minor drawbacks to using a bow stabilizer. We have to come up with ways to deal with these challenges if we want to enjoy the full benefits of bow stabilizer. The drawbacks are as follows.

#1: Stabilizers add extra weight

Now, if you are not ready to bear the additional burden, then a bow stabilizer may not be your best option. Adding a bow stabilizer to a bow will mean increasing the weight of the bow anywhere from 2 oz (74 g) to 12 oz (340 g). The extra weight may make the entire experience of hunting difficult for the archer especially when you have to hold the string back for a long time waiting for that perfect shot.

The key is to practice, practice, practice so that you are comfortable in all scenarios with your bow.

#2: You may not be able to camouflage if you have a long stabilizer

Some bow stabilizers can be up to 30 inches long and can sometimes expose your hiding outs. Even as much as bow stabilizers reduce noise their length if not well handled can expose your hiding outs. Instead of using a 30-inch stabilizer for hunting, choose one that is 8 inches or 10 inches. You still get the accuracy benefit without the cumbersome length.

#3: You start to lose the Feel of Traditional Archery

Traditional archery identifies itself with skills of mastering how to get an accurate shot without the use of all the modern accessories. This sense of raw skill that is at the heart of Traditional Archery can make some archers fell like they’re “cheating” by adding a stabilizer to their bow. The use of stabilizers has, over time, made many archers depend on bow stabilizers.

#4: False Sense of a “Quick Fix”

If you are an amateur in archery, a bow stabilizer will not make you better than the skills that you have. A bow stabilizer does not increase your rate of success; it just helps you fine-tune the skills you already have. If your archery form is bad, there is no archery accessory in the world that make you better. It’s important to remember that these are only tools.

What is the best target archery stabilizer length?

For centuries target archery has remained as the most common type of archery. In target archery archers shoot at stationary targets placed either in the same or varying distance away. Target archery can either happen indoors or outdoors.

The length of the bow stabilizer that you will need for target archery will depend on the distance between you and your target. More length also gives more stability, therefore, a 30-inch bow stabilizer is best for this purpose.  A very good starting option for a target stabilizer is the Bee Stinger Competitor Stabilizer (link to Amazon).

What’s the best bow stabilizer length for hunting?

If you are considering bowhunting, you will want to have a bow stabilizer that is shorter since you have to able to move through the bush without getting hung up of twigs, branches etc. You also need to be able to move around as much as possible when you’re sitting up in your tree stand. And since most bowhunting shots are taken from well under 50 yards, your accuracy ability should be good enough that you won’t need the precision of a 30-inch target stabilizer. I recommend a 10-inch hunting stabilizer for this purpose. The Bee Stinger Sport Hunter Xtreme Stabilizer (link to Amazon)in a 10-inch length is an excellent option.

Are stabilizers allowed in barebow archery?

Barebow archery is a style of archery that does not involve sights, no marking on the bow and no clickers to help you aim. Even the kind of arrow rest you are allowed to use is very strict. The idea is to rely on your individual skill as an archer.

Many organizations do permit the use of a stabilizer in barebow archery but only with very specific and limited lengths and weights. Other barebow organizations do not allow stabilizers at all.

Peter Sontrop

I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy field archery and target shooting with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.

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