What is Performance? 

A stickbow is really nothing more than a simple spring.  When the archer pulls the string back the spring is loaded and energy is stored.   At the loose, the stored energy is transferred into the arrow, propelling it forward.  We just defined performance! 

The two most important components of a bow’s performance are how much energy is stored when the bow is drawn and how much of that stored energy goes into the arrow instead of being lost in the form of waste energy.  Let’s discuss each component a bit more.

Stored Energy 

How much energy, measured in foot-pounds (ft-lbs), a bow stores is a direct function of its design.  This section will teach you about the following energy concepts:

  • Determining how much energy a bow stores.
  • Three different F/D curves for three different bow designs.
  • Common energy terminology you need to know.

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Dynamic Efficiency

The other very important variable in understanding a bow’s performance is its dynamic efficiency (DE).  DE for any particular bow is the ratio of the kinetic energy of the arrow after it leaves the bow divided by the stored energy, which was explained in Stored Energy. This section will cover:

  • Computing arrow kinetic energy.
  • Testing with a shooting machine.
  • Dynamic efficiency of various bow types.

Making Accurate Measurements

Every variable that can be minimized is important when comparing one bow with another.  Obviously when shooting a bow through a chronograph a shooting machine is required.  But what about the other things that can have an effect on a bow’s performance?  This section will cover:

  • Draw weight scales.
  • Arrow weight scales.
  • Brace height.
  • String weight.
  • Arrow nock fit.


The Importance Of Arrow Speed
What does it mean when you hear that a bow is faster than another?  First of all, you must remember that measurements that are not acquired using precise and accurate procedures, equipment and testing techniques are suspect at best....

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Summarizing Bow Performance

Okay.  We’ve discussed the two main components which control bow performance:  energy storage and dynamic efficiency.  Now let’s put together some real world examples and see how important bow performance really is.