Basic Bow Stabilization

Bows and archery equipment have come a long way in the past 20 years.  Today's bows are extreme examples of engineering that are capable of efficiently transferring high levels of energy from the limbs to the arrow.  Despite the incredible designs of today's bows they still need to be fit to the shooter.  To accomplish a majority of this we must turn to one of the most underutilized accessories, the stabilizer.  There are many on the market today that are great and will fit every archer's style.  Each having their own purpose whether it be to reduce noise and vibration dampening or to balance and adjustability.  Some of the newer ones out today have elaborate designs for those who choose fashion over functionality.  Regardless what you choose, they all provide some benefit to the shooter and are more than capable to help the shooter's arrow hit behind the pin.  However, if you are looking to really take your shot to the next level you must consider the benefits of the ones that are completely adjustable to fit you.

When choosing a stabilizer, I look for ones that are really stiff and rigid as well as being light weight.  They also must be able to accept weights on the ends.  Noise dampening is important to me as well, but the adjustable weights is where I gain the most benefits.  I have shot several different styles over the years.  Each were made of different materials such as steel, aluminum and carbon.  Lately I had a chance to try out a stabilizer made of titanium.  After shooting them just a few shots I could tell that the titanium provided some really positive influences on my sight picture.  The characteristics of the titanium provided a very unique feel that allowed my pin to settle and recover faster than before.  The stabs are a product of Titanium Archery Products (TAP), you can check them out on their website at www.titaniumarcheryproducts.com.  We carry them in our shop and they can also be purchased here on our site as well.  They offer a variety of options to fit whatever need you are looking for.

When it comes to adding weight, one must consider the relationship between holding weight at full draw and the mass weight of the bow.  The only time I feel it is important to add weight to a bow is only to improve your shot.  A quick way to tell which direction you need to head here is while you are at full draw.  While aiming your pin takes really slow and long trips or sweeps off the X the mass weight of the bow is a little high.  This is also a symptom of a draw length that is a little too long, so this is assuming your draw is correct.  Here you would take weights from the bow or increase your holding weight.  If your sight picture with your pin is really choppy on the X it is a good indication to add weight to your stabs.  This is also a symptom of a draw that is a little too short.

Another way to gain full benefit of a stabilizer system is to add a side bar.  Almost every shooter will gain from shooting one on their bow.  This not only allows you to counter the weight of the sights and quiver on the opposite side of the bow.  They also provide more pin control.  When setting one up the bow must naturally level itself at full draw, this takes this responsibility off the shooter so they can focus more on aiming and executing.  It also allows their muscles to relax more while aiming and not constantly working to bring the bow back to level.

When it comes to choosing a length one must consider what they are wanting to accomplish and the conditions they will be exposed to.  Stabilizers are nothing more than a lever on your bow.  In other words a stabilizer that is 32" long with a 4 ounce weight will have the same effects on a bow as an 8" with 16 ounces of weight.  So if you prefer a lighter bow you need to look into longer stabs, however, a longer stab can be very inconvenient while hunting.  So there is a balance there as well as to what is more important to you.  

When adding weights to your front and rear stabs one could use this formula as a starting point.

Front bar length X front bar weight / back bar length = back bar weight.

This is a great place to start.  The rest must be fine tuned while at full draw.  If you catch your pin wanting to bounce up off the X simply add weight to the front and if it dips out of the bottom add to the back.  Another thing to consider is if you are a back tension push and pull type of shooter a little weight up front may help you keep the front of your bow calm during the shot.  Also, if your bow's cam stops off the limb a little weight up front can help there as well.  Also in a lot of cases the further down the riser away from the handle you can get the weights the faster the bow will calm down and level up. That's why you will see some shooters using a 10 degree quick connect on their front stab.  Also, you will notice one some of the newer bows the rear stabilizer mounts are lower on the riser.

The possibilities are endless and there are several benefits a good stabilizer system can provide the shooter.  Through some trial and error and a little patience one could really take their shooting to another level.  


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