There are an endless number of accessories available, such as stabilizers, sights and release aids, which are discussed in more detail in my book "Archery for the Ages". Here, I will begin with the more basic accessories and then expand to some of the more exotic items that are available.
2) Beginning Accessories
Accessories that are considered essential are as follows:
Assuming you will be starting by using the fingers to draw the bow string. You'll need a finger tab, (a small piece of leather or heavy fabric to protect your drawing fingers from the bowstring) There are also archery gloves that fit over the first three fingers, index, middle and ring fingers. This type usually have one or more straps that connect the fingertips to a strap that fastens aroung the wrist. See illustration below.
You'll need a forearm shield. (sometimes called a bracer, which is a shield for the forearm of the bow arm, to protect it from being slapped by the bowstring)
From left to right
Release Aid: A release aid is a mechanical device basically like a trigger. Most commonly seen in use on compound bows with a D-Loop on the bow string. More on that later.
A quiver to hold your arrows will round out the essentials.
This is an example. The variety of quivers that are available are limited only by your imagination and the amount of money you want to spend on one.
Arrow Rests: Arrow rests come in many different varieties. There is the simple plastic rest that attaches to the side of the bow, or the bristle type rest that attaches to the bow shelf. Other types of rests include Shoot-Thru Arrow Rests, Containment Arrow Rests, Drop Away Arrow Rests, Pressure/Plunger Rests, and 3D & Specialty Rests.
Shoot-Thru Arrow Rests
The Shoot-Thru arrow rest is commonly called
a "prong" rest, and is a popular choice. They're
fairly simple to install
for most applications. A
Shoot-Thru rest typically has two prongs,
spaced about 2/3 of the arrow diameter apart,
creating a sort of cradle for the arrow. The
arrow sits on top, settling on the gap between
the two prongs. These prongs are usually spring-loaded,
allowing them to flex down and forward at the
moment of the shot to prevent flight disruptions
and permitting additional clearance for the
fletching as it passes by. After the shot, the
spring-loaded prongs automatically return to their
original position and you're ready to shoot again.
And finally, the biggest disadvantage of Shoot-Thru rests is the lack
of arrow containment. Once you nock your arrow into position, there's
nothing to keep the arrow from falling off the rest prongs. A strong
wind, a canted bow, a shaky drawstroke, or even a little buck-fever
could all cause your arrow to fall from the prongs of a Shoot-Thru
rest. One of the most common causes for this for begining finger
tab shooters is not trusting that the nock will stay on the string
when they draw the bow, so they grip the nock between the forefinger
and middle finger. The slightest twist of the hand forces the arrow
off the rest. For some users of Shoot-Thru rests, this is never
a problem. For others, it's a constant headache.
Containment Arrow Rests
Containment-style arrow rests are a favorite of many hunters,
as they totally eliminate the possibility of the arrow falling
from the rest. They are easy to install and very easy to tune.
Containment style arrow rests either totally encircle the arrow,
or simultaneously contact the arrow in 3 spots, rigidly holding
the arrow until it is shot. The Containment Arrow Rest is an
excellent choice for youth and new shooters too. Many new
shooters, especially those who are still wrestling with their
shooting form, quickly become frustrated with arrows that
fall from the rest. Containment Arrow Rests allow new
shooters to focus on their technique and the actual
shot, rather than worrying about the arrow rest.
Unfortunately, the containment rest isn't perfect either. The most common
complaint from Containment Rest users is fletching damage. Though not
all Containment Rests are designed to make contact with the arrow's
fletchings, the most popular of the Containment Rests (The Whisker
Biscuit) is designed this way. With repeated shooting, this type
of rest eventually wrinkles vanes and tatters the edges of feathers.
But since the rest makes equal contact with all 3 fletchings
simultaneously, the net effect on arrow flight is negligible - less
a tiny deduction in speed. On the other hand, Containment Rests with
3-point contacts (like the Bodoodle Zapper at bottom-left) are
designed NOT to make fletching contact. But they can be particularly
fussy about nock and fletching alignment, much like a Shoot-Thru rest.
Some of the 3-point Containment Rests are designed with fairly small
clearance gaps which cannot accommodate most offset and helical
fletchings. So a straight fletch may be required if you choose a
3-point type Containment Rest. All things considered, the Containment
Rest offers some significant advantages, especially for hunting.
Drop Away Arrow Rests
Drop Away Arrow Rests have been around for a while,
but they have really surged in popularity and design
sophistication in the last few years. Some people refer
to them as "fall-away" rests. But as either name suggests,
the Drop Away Arrow Rest is designed to drop out of the
way, and eliminate concerns about fletching clearance.
At full draw, a Drop Away Arrow Rest holds the arrow
firmly up into position, but when the bow fires - the
Drop Away Rest moves completely down and out of the path
of the arrow. This allows even the largest helical fletchings
to pass by the arrow shelf without the slightest bit of
contact. Most Drop Away Arrow Rests have large notches or
prongs that cradle arrows much better than Shoot-Thru rests,
so there's less chance your arrow will fall off a Drop Away
Rest. So theoretically, the Drop Away Rest gives you the
best of both worlds. Also, a Drop Away is essential if you
wish to shoot Fobs. A fob is a vinyl or plastic device that
replaces traditional fletching.
Arrow with Fob
Fobs have proven to be very stable and are less prone to
deviation in crosswind situations. Another advantage with Fobs
is that they pop off on a shoot through and can then simply
be re-attached in the field. No glue or wait time.
Pressure/Plunger Arrow Rests
The term "Pressure Rest" is practically synonymous with
"Finger-Shooter Rest". They're sometimes also called
"Shoot-Around" rests. This is a special type of rest
that "pushes back" from the side, to help counteract the
horizontal oscillation of an arrow released with fingers.
Finger shooting is becoming less popular, as more and
more shooters elect to use mechanical releases. But
fortunately, several manufacturers still make rests that
are specifically designed to accommodate the finger-released arrow.
Specialty Arrow Rests
We group all other miscellaneous arrow rests as Specialty
Arrow Rests. These may include:
• Specialty competition 3D rests (sometimes called Lizard Tongues)
• Flipper Rests for non center-shot cutaway and traditional bows
• Springy Rests for finger-shooters
• Bowfishing Rests for heavy fiberglass arrows.
• And all other miscellaneous arrow rests.
Whisker bisquit Arrow Rest
Octane Arrow Rest
Archery sights come in many different varieties. Pin type
sights have one or more pins that can be moved up or down to adjust
for distance, while the whole sight unit can be adjusted left or right
for windage. The following examples just scratch the surface of what
Alpha V3 Bow Sight
Trophy Ridge Outlaw Sight
Tru Glo Power Dot Red Dot Sight
A red dot type of sight is similar to those found on firearms.
The above examples are far from being all inclusive. They are simply illustrations of the different type products and do not represent an endorsement by Archery Resource for the use or reliability of the product.