What Is IBO In Archery?

Not another acronym! This time it’s ‘IBO’. But what does it mean? I spent some time researching to find out for sure. Here is what you need to know.

So, what is IBO in archery? IBO stands for the International Bow Hunting Organization. They have developed a system to test and define the speed a bow can shoot at, known as IBO speed. This essentially measures the power of a bow and can be used to compare and contrasts different bows.

Perhaps you’ve seen IBO marked on a bow, maybe a retailer has referenced the IBO listing speed on a product sales page.

Either way, its a good metric to know.

Besides, this test was developed by a reputable organization – created in 1984 by a dedicated group of bowhunters and active ever since.

And their mission has been simple.

To encourage, promote and foster the sport of bowhunting.

Doing so by:

  • Providing bowhunter education,
  • Functioning as a clearinghouse for essential bowhunter information
  • Adhering to the basic ideal of the unification of bowhunters

So, we can see clearly why they have developed standards for us to use.

Let us now take a closer look at the IBO speed; perhaps the most notable metric developed by the organization and how it pertains to bows.

What Is IBO Speed?

IBO speed is a calculation of how fast a bow shoots an arrow. It is considered a speed testing standard that uses a constant drawlength, arrow and bow weight to test speed.

In fact, there are some stipulations for the test.

These are:

  • The bow being tested will have a maximum pull weight of 70lbs (+/- 2 pounds)
  • The arrow will have a grain weight of 540 (9 grains of arrow weight per pound of bow weight).
  • The draw length will be set at 30 inches.

The IBO numbers for each bow are then recorded, and often referenced either on the bow itself, or on the product advertising pages.

And technically speaking, the higher the IBO number, the more powerful the bow.

How Is IBO Speed Calculated?

IBO speed is calculated at point range, as and when the bow shoots. A chronograph is used to take the measurement.

Chronographs are essentially a device that allows you to check the velocity of a projectile.

While bowhunters use them, so do gunmen with bullets and pellets too.

As a shot is fired, chronographs will provide an LCD reading of the measurement.

Of course, the IBO will have used state of the art and consistent chronographs as part of their testing.

Although, these are available for purchase and available to the general public.

You can see what they look like and even purchase one at Amazon here.

Are There Other Bow Speed Standards?

There are two other bow speed standards to be aware of and familiar with, these are provided by two other organizations – the AMO (Archery Manufacturing Organization) and the ATA (Archery Trade Association).

AMO Bow Standards

The AMO speed is obtained by

  • The bow being tested will have a maximum pull weight of 60lbs (+/- 2 pounds).
  • The arrow will have a grain weight of 540 (9 grains of arrow weight per pound of bow weight).
  • The draw length will be set at 30 inches.

ATA Bow Standards

The ATA speed is obtained by:

  • The bow being tested will have a maximum pull weight of 70lbs (+/- 2 pounds).
  • The arrow will have a grain weight of 350 (5 grains of arrow weight per pound of bow weight).
  • The draw length will be set at 30 inches + 1/4 inch

Chronographs are typically used for all tests, as is measuring the speed at point blank range.

But what measurement a bow manufacturer will use can vary.

Some use several standards, others will use only one.

What To Consider When Buying A Bow

If speed is the most important factor to you, then considering the IBO, AMO, or ATO measurements is going to be something to take a look at.

However, it can be pretty complicated.

Not all retailers, or bow manufacturers will list their bow speeds.

Some will offer IBO but not ATA and vice versa.

Some will offer both; which then can get confusing.

And just remember this; these standards are not generally enforced, so results will not always be 100% accurate nor entirely reliable.

So, while these tests can give you a general understanding, they should not be the only factor/feature you consider on judging a bow.

Instead, consider the:

  • Size of the bow,
  • Weight of the bow,
  • How quiet the bow is when it shoots,
  • How it pulls,
  • The quality of the bow.

Generally being able to see, hold, and test a bow before purchasing is best and advised.

That way you will know for sure whether it is right for you.

To Summarize

IBO is an acronym for the International Bow Hunting Organization – a recognized authority in the bowhunting space.

You can find out more about them on their site, here.

And while they are known for their national tournaments, crowning various champions over the years of different age, gender, and equipment classes; they are also known for introducing tests to measure the power and speeds of bows.

The IBO speed test is one that many manufacturers use.

It provides us with an indication of the penetration a bow can offer.

But just remember there are other speed tests, and factors to consider when finding the right bow for you.