Speed Demons: Analyzing the Impressive Speeds of Archery Arrows

Archery is an ancient and fascinating sport that has evolved over time. From medieval warfare to modern-day competitions, archers have always strived to shoot their arrows with maximum speed and efficiency. The velocity of an arrow depends on various factors, such as the draw weight and length of the bow, the type and weight of the arrow, as well as the skill and technique of the archer. In this article, we will delve deeper into the impressive speeds of archery arrows, how they are measured, and what makes them so swift.

What is Arrow Speed?

Arrow speed refers to the velocity at which an arrow travels through the air after being released from a bow. The speed of an arrow is measured in feet per second (fps) or meters per second (mps). The higher the fps or mps, the faster the arrow. It is essential to note that the speed of an arrow can vary depending on several factors, such as the draw weight of the bow, the length of the arrow, and the weight of the arrowhead.

The average arrow speed for a recurve bow is around 170-190 fps, while a compound bow can shoot an arrow at speeds of 300-350 fps or even higher. Longbows and traditional bows have an average speed of 150-170 fps. However, many factors can affect the arrow’s speed, making it challenging to determine a universal speed for all archers and bows.

Factors Affecting Arrow Speed

Several factors affect the speed at which an arrow travels, making it impossible to achieve the same speed for every arrow. The following factors can influence arrow speed:

Bow Draw Weight – The power of a bow is measured by the force required to draw it. The draw weight of a bow determines the amount of energy that is transferred to the arrow during release. The higher the draw weight, the more energy is transferred to the arrow, resulting in a faster speed.

Length of the Arrow – The length of the arrow affects the arrow’s weight and speed. A longer arrow has more drag and is heavier, making it slower. On the other hand, a shorter arrow is lighter and has less drag, allowing it to travel faster.

Type and Weight of Arrowhead – The type and weight of the arrowhead affect the arrow’s balance and speed. A heavy arrowhead results in slower speed, while a lighter arrowhead results in faster speed.

Arrow Spine – The spine or stiffness of the arrow affects its trajectory and speed. A stiffer arrow will travel faster, while a more flexible arrow will travel slower.

Types of Bows – Each type of bow has its unique characteristics that can affect the arrow’s speed. A compound bow, for example, can shoot arrows at higher speeds than a traditional bow due to its design and mechanism.

Archery Skills and Technique – The archer’s skill and technique in drawing the bowstring, aiming, and releasing the arrow also play a vital role in the arrow’s speed.

Measuring Arrow Speed

To measure the arrow’s speed, several tools and devices are used, such as chronographs and radar guns. Chronographs are the most common and affordable way of measuring arrow speed. A chronograph consists of two sensors located at a certain distance apart in front of the target. When an arrow passes through the two sensors, the chronograph measures the time it took to travel between them, and it calculates the arrow’s speed in fps or mps.

Radar guns are more accurate and can measure the arrow’s speed at different distances. However, they are also more expensive and complicated to set up and use. Typically, radar guns are used in professional archery competitions and by manufacturers to test the speed of their bows and arrows accurately.


Q: What is the fastest arrow ever recorded?
A: The fastest arrow ever recorded was shot by the Danish archer Peter Andersen in 2015, with a speed of 422.16 km/h or 263.19 mph.

Q: How can I increase my arrow speed?
A: You can increase your arrow speed by using a bow with a higher draw weight, a shorter arrow, a lighter arrowhead, a stiffer arrow spine, and improving your technique and skills in archery.

Q: Is arrow speed essential in archery?
A: Arrow speed is important in archery as it affects the arrow’s trajectory, accuracy, and penetration. However, it is not the only essential factor in archery. Other factors, such as aim, technique, and consistency, are equally important.

Q: How can I keep track of my arrow speed?
A: You can keep track of your arrow speed by using a chronograph or radar gun, and taking note of the fps or mps measurement for each shot. You can also ask a coach or fellow archer to watch and help you measure your arrow speed.

Q: What is the average arrow speed for a beginner in archery?
A: The average arrow speed for a beginner in archery is around 150-170 fps, depending on the type of bow and arrow used, and the archer’s skills and technique.


In conclusion, the speed of archery arrows is an essential aspect of the sport, affecting an arrow’s trajectory, accuracy, and penetration. Measuring arrow speed can be done using a chronograph or radar gun, with several factors influencing the speed, such as bow draw weight, arrow length, arrowhead weight, arrow spine, bow type, and archery skills and technique. As an archer, improving your technique, using the right equipment, and regularly measuring your arrow speed can help you shoot faster, more consistently, and with greater accuracy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *