You’re new to archery and eager to improve. You’d love to practice at home, but you’re not sure where to start. What kind of equipment do you need?
When practicing archery at home, you can choose between indoor or outdoor practice. For indoor practice, you’d need a homemade range. Outdoors, you can practice in your yard. You’ll need archery targets, plenty of arrows, a good beginner’s bow, and a sight to improve your accuracy.
This guide will delve into all the aspects of practicing archery at home whether you want to do so indoors, outdoors, or even a little bit of both. We’ll cover the pros and cons, legalities, equipment you need, and more, so make sure you keep reading!
Practicing Archery at Home – Indoors
Like any skill, archery requires practice and repetition to improve. If you shoot arrows more often, you’ll get better at it faster.
Practicing at home is thus very conducive to bettering your skills. The first decision you’ll have to make when it comes to at-home archery practice is where you’ll shoot arrows.
Indoor practice is convenient for a multitude of reasons. If it’s raining, snowing, hailing, or windy outside, you don’t have to worry about the weather affecting your shots.
In the winter, when daylight disappears quickly, you can turn on the lights inside and continue your practice after dark.
You also don’t have to deal with freezing cold temperatures or heat and humidity. You can stay inside in a temperature-controlled environment.
As great as indoor archery can be, it has its downsides. You will need to build an indoor archery range, which is something we’ll get to later in this guide. Be sure to check that out!
Converting your basement or attic to an archery range will be an undertaking, and you’ll have to spend a decent amount of money to make the space functional.
That’s another downside – you truly are limited in where you can practice if you want to do archery indoors. It’s not like you can convert your dining room or living room into an archery spot. You could shatter a chandelier or destroy your new flat-screen TV and all the good china.
Practicing Archery at Home – Outdoors
Although most archers would love to have their own indoor archery range at home, for many of them, it’s just not an option. They don’t have a spare room, or their basement or attic is already being used for other purposes.
That leaves you with outdoor archery practice.
Although you’d imagine that since it’s your property, you can use it for almost whatever you wish, that’s not always the case. In some cities and towns across the country, rules may restrict you from practicing archery in your backyard.
You’ll have to research your local laws before you should even set up a paper target in your yard. Should you break the law, one of your neighbors can call and complain. You could then get in hot water.
Even if you can legally practice archery in your backyard, the above weather-related concerns are still a concern. You can’t shoot arrows in inclement weather, which can leave you unable to practice for days on end.
Extreme cold and heat can affect your concentration and thus your accuracy, which can make for some frustrating practice sessions.
Plus, when you’re just learning, you have to be extra careful that you don’t shoot an errant arrow onto your neighbor’s property or up in a tree in your yard where you know birds are nesting.
Most archers who practice will do it outside though, so learning archery outdoors will make the transition easier than going from indoors to outdoors.
The Equipment You Need to Practice Archery at Home
You’ve weighed the pros and cons of practicing archery indoors or outdoors at home. Now that you’ve decided where you’ll practice, it’s time to gather the equipment you’ll need. Here is an overview.
When hunting or just shooting for fun, real targets don’t have bullseyes on them. Even still, archery targets are a great way to get your bearings with your bow and arrow and improve your accuracy.
As a complete beginner archer, you might practice with paper targets. We quite like the Southland Archery Supply paper targets on Amazon.
Each paper target has 10 rings for ultra-precise shooting. Designed for recurve and compound bows and more, you get 12 paper targets to a pack. You can also select from two sizes, 17-inch rings or 24-inch rings.
When your arrow penetrates the paper target, the hole size is not overly large. Southland Archery Supply, which is a premier name in archery equipment, designed these paper targets that way intentionally. Smaller holes allow you to use the paper targets for longer.
Once you get used to shooting paper targets and hitting more bullseyes, you’ll eventually work your way up to more realistic targets.
We wrote a great post about inexpensive 3D archery targets that you should read if you missed it. We included 10 targets shaped like woodland coyotes, bears, turkeys, boars, raccoons, groundhogs, deer, and even a woodland imp thrown in for good measure.
Most of the targets are made of foam that can handle penetrative arrow shots again and again without showing signs of wear and tear.
You can’t practice archery without a bow, whether that’s indoors or outdoors. With nearly an endless selection of bows to choose from, you can easily get overwhelmed when trying to decide which one is right for you.
The Southwest Archery Spyder takedown recurve bow is excellent for beginner archers. This compact bow is 62 inches and is known for its speed and accuracy, two things that matter when you’re just starting out.
Designed for lefties and righties alike, the Spyder is made of naturally-sourced wood so the recurve bow is lightweight for easy handling. The draw weights are available between 20 and 60 pounds. You can adjust the weight in five-pound increments.
The threaded bushings come preinstalled so you can add stabilizers, quivers, sights, or mechanical rests as you wish.
A reinforced limb tip makes the Spyder an excellent choice for bowfishing or even hunting deer.
Included with your purchase are an adhesive bow rest, a 14-strand Dracon string, matching lower and upper limbs, and instructions.
Also great for beginners is the Samick Sage takedown recurve bow, which is a best-seller on Amazon for archery recurve bows.
This recurve bow is also made for righties or lefties. Constructed from durable but light fiberglass with metal and maplewood features, the Sage also features an ergonomic grip and brass bushings.
The bushings are compatible with archery accessories such as a quiver, sight, stabilizer, or brass plunger.
In the box are an arrow rest, a 14-strand Dracon string, and dual laminated fiberglass limbs. Those limbs feature an adjustable weight draw from 25 to 60 pounds.
For more of our top recommendations of bow and arrow sets for beginners click here!
Another must-have accessory for beginner archers is a good pair of archery gloves.
When you’re wearing gloves, you can protect both your bow hand and your drawing hand from abrasions that are a lot likelier as a beginner.
Plus, the sore fingers that can occur can eventually lead to nerve damage if you practice archery long enough. It’s simply not worth it to forego wearing archery gloves!
If you’re shopping around for a pair, we wrote an extensive buying guide on archery gloves on the blog that you can check out here. Regardless of your budget, you should be able to find a well-fitting pair of archery gloves on that list.
The last piece of equipment a beginner archer needs is a sight, especially a peep sight.
Many compound bows include peep sights by default, but not all models do. Other types of bows outside of compound bows might lack a peep sight, which is why buying one separately is a good idea.
A peep sight attaches to your bowstring in the center and looks like a hollow ring or circle. By looking into the peep sight, you can hone in on your target and focus enough to make an accurate shot.
Peep sights come in a variety of sizes and are typically tubeless.
Beginners will often use a peep sight with a bow sight. A bow sight has a series of pins that you can calibrate according to the target you want to shoot.
By aligning the two sights as applicable, beginners can enjoy a high degree of precision and accuracy with each shot.
Do you need a peep sight or even a bow sight, per se? Not at all. However, for beginners who are practicing archery, we’d recommend at least a peep sight if not a bow sight as well.
Just be careful to keep your sights clean. The more you use them, the filthier the sights can become. Then they’re not useful to you until you wipe them down.
Your peep sight can also twist on the line, which will require you to stop what you’re doing (such as aiming your bow), fix the sight, and then try to get back into an optimal position.
Also, we should note that in dim conditions such as very early morning, dusk, and in fog, peep sights aren’t super handy.
You can use a peep sight with a bow sight as you first get started, but you’ll eventually want to wean yourself off relying on the sights. Experienced archers rarely use peep sights due to their reputation as being a beginner’s accessory.
How to Build an Indoor Archery Range
Are you eager to practice archery indoors? As we said we would, here are the steps to follow to build an indoor archery range.
Step 1 – Choose Your Spot
Yours is a single-person archery range, maybe for two if you have a fellow archery buddy over from time to time. Thus, you don’t need a large spot that replicates what you’d find at your local indoor shooting range.
The room you choose should be spacious and comfortable. You should be able to maneuver your body without bumping into things, and you should definitely be able to hold your bow and cock it back without hitting the wall.
An important consideration is having a door for your indoor archery range. You should be able to close and lock that door so your family members or pets can’t accidentally walk in when you’re shooting arrows. That can be very dangerous for them!
Step 2 – Add Bag Targets and/or Foam
You might only be firing in your basement, but even still, you don’t want a room with walls full of pockmarks and holes, right? What if you decide to move? Your home’s resale value could go down due to the condition of the basement.
That’s why many archers who build an indoor archery range will cover the walls with bag targets and/or foam blocks.
Hurricane bag targets are a popular choice among archers since they come in sizes between 20 and 28 inches and are relatively inexpensive.
If you’re looking for foam blocks, Black Hole’s 18-inch archery targets stack on top of one another. These are costlier though at just under $50 per block.
Step 3 – Consider Soundproofing
At this point, between the large foam blocks and the bag targets, you could spend close to $1,000 on your indoor archery range. Even still, it might be worth spending a little more money to soundproof your basement.
Archery isn’t an overly loud sport, but whizzing arrows and hit targets do make sounds. Your family won’t have to hear you practicing archery if you soundproof the basement, nor will the neighbors.
Step 4 – Replace Equipment
It will take years before your indoor archery range parts need replacing unless you practice in your basement every single day. Then you can burn through the bag targets and foam targets faster.
Once your targets have gouged holes, it’s time to upgrade. Those holes make it easier to shoot right through your wall.
Practicing archery at home is a great way to develop skills and eventually become comfortable enough with your bow and arrows that you could confidently go hunting. We hope the information and product recommendations in this guide help you improve your archery game!