The Zen of a Perfectly Balanced Bow
By Patrick Meitin
Balance is everything in archery, from pure physical balance, to matching bows with ideal accessories to balance needs particular to specific conditions faced in the field. So with that in mind, let’s delve deeper into balance and how it can help you shoot better and enjoy increased bowhunting success.
A bow that balances perfectly in the hand, while at rest and full draw, is essential to top-notch accuracy. Your bow must sit up straight when cradled loosely with an open hand (I don’t like the term “grip,” because gripping is exactly what you want to avoid), a wrist sling like TRUGLO’s CENTRA SLING PRO alleviates the fear of dropping your bow on release.
You should not have to manipulate your bow in any way while aiming. This normally starts with the right stabilizer. Not all compounds are designed alike, meaning the perfect stabilizer for one bow can be poison to another. One bow might prefer, for instance, TRUGLO’s 6-inch TRU-TEC CARBON PRO with minimum weight added (4-7 ounces), while another behaves better holding an 8-inch model with maximum weight (5-8 ounces). Auditioning many models, looking for that just-right feel, is important here.
Adjustable systems give you more options in this quest. TRUGLO’s TRU-TEC CARBON PRO, for instance, comes in 6- and 8-inch models; the 6-inch including adjustable 4-7-ounce weights, the 8-inch 5-8 ounces. The brand-new TRUGLO CARBON XS (which comes with a wrist sling) is offered in 7- and 9-inch models, with 5-7-, and 5.8-7.8-ounce weight adjustment, respectively.
Finding a perfect balance sometimes requires a stabilizer to the rear of the riser, many bow companies now including standard rear-facing taps. Short stabilizer models such as the 4.6-inch, 4-ounce TRUGLO DEADENATOR XS can prove ideal here.
Physical balance is often influenced by added accessories. As an example, while a milled-aluminum, mover design like TRUGLO’s RANGE-ROVER PRO might balance one bow perfectly, another might do better wearing a feathery carbon-composite CARBON XS XTREME. Also keep in mind micro-adjust, tool-less features can come at the cost of added weight, basic dove-tail designs, like the new TRUGLO CARBON XS XTREME, typically lighter. While each has a distinct advantage, they should be viewed separately in terms of philosophy of use, and treated differently in terms of physical balance.
Arrow quivers have a big effect on bow balance—side weight that can tip balance off kilter. Two options: choose a quick-detach model with hanging loop that’s removed but kept handy while on stand, or an altogether lighter and better-balanced quiver. I recommend something like TRUGLO’s TRU-TEC LT quick-detach quiver with hanging loop for the former, TRUGLO’s CARON XS ultra-lightweight carbon composite quiver with vertical adjustment and back-set mounting bracket for the later. The other option is to simply tote fewer arrows. Full four arrow quivers—TRUGLO TUF-LOC and LOC-DOWN quivers—weigh less than hauling five or six arrow setups. And how many arrows do you realistically expect to shoot in a single hunt?
A balanced bow rig can also include matching actual needs with conditions most often encountered in the field. For example, let’s say your whitetail/tree-stand bow holds a TRUGLO RIVAL FX or CARBON HYBRID MICRO 5-pin sight. But you very rarely take a shot past 30 yards. Why add to the confusion when a simpler RIVAL HUNTER or TSX PRO SERIES 3-pin or single-pin PENDULUM SERIES sight would better suit your needs? The same can be said of limiting yourself with minimal aiming options. If you’re intent on taking shots beyond 40 or 60 yards—even if just during off-season practice—why “pin stack” or use “Kentucky windage” with pins sighted at shorter ranges, when you can choose a TRUGLO RANGE-ROVER mover good for pin-point aiming out to 100-plus yards? Each style has its own playing field. Using the appropriate sight for your hunting setup can maximize your hunting capability and efficiency.
Another common problem comes with release aids. Do you engage your release directly onto the bowstring serving beneath an eliminator button? Or do you use a string loop? Choosing the correct tool for the job increases efficiency and means you never have to take your eyes off the target. Translated this means caliper releases for direct-serving hookup, like TRUGLO’s NITRUS or more economical SPEED SHOTs, open-sear or claw design, like TRUGLO’s DETONATOR, for string loops.
Likewise, the arrow rest you choose should be dictated by the type of shooting hunting conditions demand. Full-containment, drop-away arrow rests like TRUGLO’s UP-DRAFT (limb driven), DOWN-DRAFT or CARBON XS (buss-cable driven) are wonderfully accurate, but do you really need that degree of precision when shooting nothing more than whitetail deer standing beneath stands at less than 27 yards. For long-range Western game, go with one of the drop-aways. Tree-stand hunting? You’re likely better served by a simpler full-capture rest like TRUGLO’s CARBON XS or STORM Full-Containment Arrow Rests, which are also easier to set up and maintain.
Finally, is the peep you use best suited to the shooting conditions you regularly face? For instance, a 1/8-inch TRUGLO CENTRA PRO-SERIES or CENTRA PEEP XTREME might provide precision on the summer 3D range, but at the edge of legal shooting hours, perched in a dark tree, a 3/16- or ¼-inch peep is a more practical choice, allowing you to aim confidently in poor light. The choice between 3/16- and ¼-inch really comes down to details like sight-extension length and string angle (short bows automatically move the peep farther from the eye) and maintaining a tight concentricity between peep and highlighted sight-aperture ring. In other words, a sight aperture ring that fits perfectly inside the peep can provide just as much accuracy as a single pin centered in a smaller peep. Better yet, TRUGLO’s VERSA-PEEP allows you to switch between 1/8-, 5/32- and 3/16-inch peep apertures (and three colors) as needed.
Everything worthwhile requires balance, often literally, more often figuratively. A bow that sits level in the hand automatically helps you shoot better. While choosing accessories best suited to your specific bowhunting needs assures efficiency and deadly effectiveness.