Archery | Left or Right?

Hey guys, this is a very quick video covering a very common beginner question when buying a bow. And that is the question of whether you get left- or right-handed equipment. This usually pops up because there are various items and accessories which go on the left side for example but are labelled as right-handed. Thus, causing a bit of confusion. This video will not talk about whether or not you should shoot right- or left-handed – that’s a different video. But rather, if you have chosen which hand to shoot with which accessories should you be buying. The first thing you have to recognise is, are you a left-handed or right-handed shooter? This is based on the hand you pull the string with. So, in my case, I draw the string with my right hand. I hold the bow in my left hand, but I shoot with my right hand. This makes me a right-handed shooter. And, likewise, if I pull the string with my left hand I am a left-handed shooter. It is not based on which hand you hold the bow with. So, if I hold the bow in my left hand, I am a right-handed shooter, not a left-handed shooter. This is where most people get it confused, because I’m holding with my left hand, am I a left-handed shooter? No. It’s the hand you pull the string with, this is your shooting hand, or your string hand. Everything you get, will be based on this hand. So for me, as a right-handed shooter, pulling the string with my right hand, all my accessories, all my components, will be labelled right-handed. The first and most important example, is the bow. This is a right-handed bow, or in this case it’s a riser. I shoot with my right hand and I hold the bow in my left. So, I need to buy a right-handed bow, this is what it looks like. Bow in left hand, shooting with the right – right-handed riser or bow. Now this is a common question, can I shoot a right-handed bow, left-handed? So, I don’t know why people do this, there are various reasons, some people say its for speed shooting, or some people feel more comfortable shooting the opposite side. Generally, its so uncommon and unorthodox that people don’t suggest this. Coaches won’t suggest this, shops won’t suggest this. If you are in to traditional or speed shooting methods, you may want to get an ambidextrous bow or otherwise a traditional bow. That’s what the technique is based off. You wouldn’t really want to be using a traditional hunting bow like the Sage or an Olympic bow with the opposite hand – it’s just so strange. To me, is like asking, you know, I like wearing my shoes back-to-front, or like, wearing my boxing gloves in reverse. It may be your preference, but there are a lot of things which don’t work because the way the bows are made. So, the left and right hands aren’t interchangable and there are a few reasons why. Firstly, the shape of the grip is moulded for the correct hand. This will depend on the model that you are using. Some models are more ergonomic than others but you can see in this right-handed model I am holding in reverse here, that it is actually shaped to fit my left hand perfectly. So when I hold it, from this angle, you can see it sits nicely along my thumb. You can see from this angle, or from this angle even, when I put my hand on the grip, it’s meant to be a comfortable feel. It sits nicely because it is shaped for my left hand. Now can I hold this right-handed? Well, I can. But it just doesn’t fit right, because for example, the big bulging part which is supposed to sit on the meaty part of the hand, it’s not there. So, I am going to have a very different feel and balance. So, its not going to feel right. I could, and I can’t see why I can’t do this, but it would feel very strange. I’m not going to grip the bow correctly. You can build this up, people might use like, tape or some kind of polymer to build it up. But, I don’t know, I would rather be shooting the correct hand. Rather than trying to re-shape the grip to shoot opposite hand. Another reason why you can’t shoot opposite handed is because the window of the riser is cut out on one side. So you can only place the arrow on one side. So, as a right-handed shooter, this makes sense to me because everything I’m looking at, is inside this window which is on the correct side of the bow. If I shoot opposite handed, it’s on the wrong side. The arrow goes here, my face is here, I’m lining this way. I can’t see the arrow and all the things are in the wrong place. Again, if you shoot traditional style, like Korean or horsebow style, you are meant to put it on the opposite side. But, you shoot with a different technique. These things don’t translate very well to Olympic style archery, so if you using one of these bows, the Western style bows that do have a sight cut-out I generally don’t recommend you use these if you are shooting an unorthodox side. So if you are doing a Lars Anderson, these bows aren’t very well suited for it. If you are doing speed shooting of any sort, or traditional Korean archery, you should use the bows these were designed for. This doesn’t work too well. In regard to the accessories you use for your bow, some are ambidextrous, for others, are specifically made for left- or right-handed shooters. In regards to sights, some sights – especially cheap ones – are ambidextrous because their mounting block can be turned on either side of the riser. Whereas other sights, like the Shibuya Ultima, are machined for a particular side. So, as a right-handed shooter, I do have to pick the right-handed model and only then will the mounting block and the sight bar be correctly configured for me. If you are using an elevated arrow rest, most of these are based on hand. As a right-handed shooter again, a right-handed rest goes on the left side of the bow. Cheap ones like the Hoyt Super Rest and many of the low mid-range magnetic rests are specified for your shooting hand. Whereas some of the high end ones, like the Shibuya Ultima which I am using right here. These aren’t rated for particular hand because they can be flipped around and placed on the other side. So, one of these, can be used ambidextrously. Plungers have no sides. Clickers have no sides. Finger tab is quite obvious, it goes in the hand you are shooting with, so in my case, I am right-handed, I should be using a right-handed finger tab. Arm guards don’t have a hand, they go in either direction, so they are easy. Alright, quivers. Quivers go on the side you shoot with your hand. So for me as a right-handed shooter, I’m using a right-handed quiver and this clips on, over my right hip. So, this is the side I shoot with. Now, some people and a very small minority do this, they choose to put the quiver on the same side as their bow. There’s nothing wrong with this, It’s kind of clumsy because it might get in the way. You have to reach across your bow to get arrows. Whereas, having the arrows on the same side as your shooting hand means it is much easier to get arrows and load. So, normally your quiver is the same side as your hand. Right-handed, right-handed quiver. Finally and probably the least intuitive piece of equipment, is the chest guard. This is a right-handed chest guard. It goes over my left chest. You might be thinking, why is it a right-handed chest guard? It’s because it is based on the hand you shoot with. So for me, I shoot right-handed, the string comes across my left chest, so therefore, I need a right-handed chest guard. So, while some things may seem a little confusing. Remember, to simplify things, you only use what you label yourself as. If you are a right-handed shooter, all your accesories are right-handed, be it a sight, an arrow rest, a quiver or a chest guard. You don’t have to worry about left side or right side, it’s just your shooting hand. Anyway, don’t feel bad if this was one of your embarrassing questions, this is something which does puzzle some people and it’s nice to know. Anyway, this is NUSensei, I hope you have found this helpful. Thank you for watching and I’ll see you next time.

63 thoughts on “Archery | Left or Right?

  1. I am a Left hand recurve shooter, and now Im moving up to buy my own bow im getting a right hand compound bow, to me the only problem seem to be that im not used to using my left hand to hold the bow up but otherwise it seem fine.

  2. i have always been intrigued by archery and i think im ready to finally give it a try. I have zero interest in tech and want to keep it as natural and intuitive as possible. what would you recommend for a left handed beginner? any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hey man i am new to all this archery thing and i am a left handed. But i am comfortable holding the string with my right hand. So should i buy a right handed bow or a left handed bow?

  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to make this video, you cleared up all the LH/RH questions. I am curious though is there any way to overcome an eye/hand conflict? My strength is in my right arm but my right eye is blind. Is there any way to set up a right hand bow so I can aim with my left eye?

  5. Hello, so im thinking on getting into archery with my father, but he is left handed and im right handed, is there a bow that can be used by both of us? sorry for bad english

  6. I've looked at two different bows, both of which I really like. one of them is the jaguar elite by Martin archery. the other is a ATROPOS-163 pro. I'm having trouble finding a left handed version of these bows. it's been hard finding any manufacturers that give the archer the option to choose a right or left handed riser. the only recurve bow I've found that has this option is the sage and a couple other wooden bows but that's not what I'm looking for. do you have any suggestions?

  7. +NUSensei, I have a question about which handedness to choose. Firstly, I'm right handed and fire scoped rifles right handed. I am usually left eye dominant when I test myself, though sometimes right eyed, and I can switch my eye dominance back and forth while looking at an object with a bit of concentration.
    I know there are some simple and effective methods of training eye dominance. Would you begin training right handed/right eyed, or choose left handed equipment if you were in my position? I'm also on a tight budget because this is just a new side hobby for me. Thanks in advance for your insight.

  8. Hey #nusensei I want this bow in link, I have been shooting a Hungarian Asiatic bow so no arrow rest, the site says arrow rest side, if I shoot right handed on my asiatic bow with the arrow rest on my left finger and hand on the left side, with this bow I would also choose left arrow rest or left hand side even though I shoot right handed correct?

  9. I find all these awesome good cheap bows but none are for left handed. I don't want a recurve bow with a wood riser. Dose anyone know a good cheap recurve bow that's let handed???

  10. so this is weird for me. im right handed but using bows im a left handed shooter. i couldnt do it the other way around. same with eating with fork and knife. people say you should hold the fork in the left hand. but for me its always in the right. im weird

  11. I found this weird, I'm a righty, but I get used to hold a bow on my right and draw the string with my left, I'm I doing it wrong?

  12. I wanted to ask, first generation of bows doesn't have arrow rest (CMIIW), so how do they keep the arrow aim steady?

  13. hiya i am a righ handed person generaly but with the bow i am a lefty so the question is i put the arrow on the right in the raiser and i put the arrow feathers in the inside of the raiser and i am quite accurate like that, is that correct? if you know what i mean.
    thank you i love your videos they are funny and easy to understand.

  14. Ive been a left handed bowhunter for 20 years until i damaged my left eye due to high blood pressure. Ive recently started shooting my righted handed PSE and I've found myself wanting to close my right eye instantly. Even though when it happens i get frustrated and then i switch my eyes. Its been frustrating and its like training myself all over again.

  15. Thank you, this cleared it up for me with regards to which hand to get. I wasn't sure what was the requirement that makes a bow left or right handed. So it's the hand you draw the bow and not the one you hold it with.

    (Just looking to get into Archery)

  16. right handed, left eye dominenta dn using a bow right handed feels so uncomfortable for me, but with guns grip and stock right sided, my body hates me

  17. +NUSensei I LOVE YOU, MAN! lol
    I just bought a Mandarin Duck Recurve bow and it said "right hand."
    I REALLY wanted that bow, so I was practising on how to hold the Riser with my right hand
    What a relief!
    You are the greatest, brother!

  18. Very useful video !! My right eye is amblyopic, the shop had only right-handed bows, and no staff was able to tell me that a right handed bow is held with the left hand while you pull the string with the right hand, which is not ok for me, because in that case you use the right eye. Thanks …

  19. NUSensei, I have heard or read that a bare shaft arrow will rotate in a different direction when shot from different bows. I can imagine this might occur under certain circumstances, i.e., user induced, but will a well released arrow have a natural tendency to rotate?

  20. Im naturally left handed but have a stronger right arm (pull string)so id be right handed, but I'm blind in my right eye. So I would have to learn to shoot left hand ? I shoot a gun left hand trigger.

  21. +NUSensei I’m left eye dominant but right handed when shooting a bow and arrow. But my dad says i’m ambidextrous. With baseball i turn to the left side and hold the bat with my right hand down the bottom of the bat and my left hand up the top of the bat, this feels most comfortable. With table tennis i am right handed, I also kick a football or soccer with my right. Sooo… baseball is the only one that’s different… Can you tell me if left EYE dominant people who hold the bow in their right hand have trouble shooting ? Do i need an ambidextrous bow ?

  22. Thank you Brother. That really clears up some things. My arrows were hitting the target so cock-eyed in keyholes to the right.. I am a Lefty, I was trying to shoot RH. 🙂

  23. I'm dominant left and some bows are only available in right, so I feel like I could be the Jimi Hendrix of archery. Okay I'll get my coat…

  24. As a beginner you just answer the question I had in my head but was afraid to sound stupid to ask anybody else but thank you sir you answered my question and now me and my family could eat when the apocalypse comes. ..

  25. My predominant eye is my right one but I feel more comfortable holding the bow with my right hand and drawing with my left. I reckon I'll have to try both sides to see which I'm more precise with.

  26. I'm a left handed shooter that uses a right handed bow because left handed bows and gear are insanely expensive. I still hit the target more oft than not, so it works for me.

  27. I'm a right handed but I feel more comfortable with my left hand pulling the string. What do I do????

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