What Is Let off On A Bow : Unraveling The Mechanics Secret

What is let off on a bow

Bows are one of the most popular and fascinating instruments for adventurous sports. where precision meets grace and focus meets skill, there exists a fascinating concept known as “let off” on a bow. As archers, we find ourselves drawn to this intriguing element that holds the potential to enhance our shooting experience and elevate our performance to new heights.

Imagine standing on a quiet range, surrounded by the hushed whispers of anticipation. The bow in your hands feels like an extension of your very being, a conduit through which your aim will find its mark. What Is Let Off On A Bow? And how does it influence our every shot? We will discuss and explore, exploring the facts and points that are related to the let-off on a bow throughout this article.

Key Takeaways

  • Let off not only benefits the archery performance but muscles as well.
  • Take notes of the benefits of let off along with technical knowledge.
  • The tips to select the perfect let-off for a bow are essential.

Let Off and Its Function On a Bow

Let off and its function on a bow
Let off and its function on a bow

The function of let-off in a compound bow is to provide a mechanical advantage to the archer. When the bowstring is drawn back, the cams or wheels rotate, causing the draw weight to increase until it reaches its peak. At this point, the cams rotate into a position that reduces the force required to hold the bowstring, resulting in a let-off. This reduction in draw weight allows the archer to maintain a steady aim for longer periods and execute a smooth release.

Reducing the draw weight at full draw, enables them to hold the bowstring more easily and comfortably. For example, if a bow has a 75% let-off, an archer pulling a peak draw weight of 70 pounds will only experience a holding weight of 17.5 pounds. This reduction in force helps archers focus on their aim and execute precise shots without straining their muscles.

How to let off effects draw weight?

Let-off plays a vital role in adjusting the effective draw weight of a compound bow. While the peak draw’s weight determines the initial force required to pull back the bowstring, the let-off percentage determines the amount of force needed to maintain a full draw. As the let-off percentage increases, the draw weight at full draw decreases. This reduction in draw weight makes it easier for archers to hold the bowstring and increases their shooting comfort and control.

The let-off percentage can be calculated by dividing the reduction in draw weight by the peak draw weight and then multiplying the result by 100. For example, if a bow has a peak draw weight of 60 pounds and a let-off of 80%, the let-off weight would be 48 pounds (60 pounds x 0.80).

The let-off percentage is influenced by various factors, including bow design, cam system, draw length, and draw weight settings. Different compound bows and cam systems offer varying let-off percentages, which can be adjusted within certain limits. Additionally, changes in draw length and adjustments to the draw weight settings can affect the let-off percentage of a bow.

5 Benefits of Let Off on a Bow

5 Benefits of let off on a bow
5 Benefits of let off on a bow

Here are a few major benefits of letting off on a bow that is must know for every enthusiast as well as other professionals who are just getting warmed up their feet in the world of the bow.

1. Reduced holding weight at full draw

One of the significant benefits of let-off is the reduction in holding weight at full draw. By decreasing the draw weight required to maintain the fully drawn position, archers can hold the bowstring steadier and longer, allowing for better aim and shot execution. This reduction in holding weight also minimizes muscle fatigue, enabling archers to maintain their shooting form more effectively.

2. Improved accuracy and precision

Let-off contributes to improved accuracy and precision in archery. With less force required to hold the bowstring at full draw, archers can focus more on their aim, breathing, and form, resulting in more consistent and accurate shots. The reduced tension in the bowstring also reduces the likelihood of torque or unwanted movements during the release, leading to tighter arrow groups and improved overall shot placement.

3. Increased comfort and reduced fatigue

Holding a high draw weight for an extended period can be physically demanding and lead to muscle fatigue. Let off alleviates this strain by reducing the holding weight, making it more comfortable for archers to maintain their draw position. This increased comfort allows archers to concentrate on their shot execution without distractions from muscle fatigue, leading to more consistent and controlled shots.

4. Extended aiming time

Let-off provides archers with an extended aiming time, as they can hold the bowstring at full draw without excessive strain. This additional time allows archers to analyze the target, adjust their aim, and make any necessary corrections before releasing the arrow. The extended aiming time afforded by let-off can be particularly advantageous when shooting at longer distances or when dealing with challenging shooting conditions.

5. Enhanced arrow speed and kinetic energy

Contrary to conventional expectations, let off does not reduce arrow speed or kinetic energy. In fact, the reduction in holding weight allows archers to execute a cleaner and more efficient release, resulting in faster arrow speeds. As a result, the arrow can cover greater distances in less time and deliver more kinetic energy to the target upon impact, increasing the potential for effective and powerful shots.

5 Phases of Draw Cycle and Let Off

The draw cycle of a compound bow refers to the sequence of events that occur from the moment the archer begins to draw the bowstring until the arrow is released. It consists of different phases, each influenced by the design of the cam system and the let-off mechanism.

5 Phases of draw cycle and let off
5 Phases of draw cycle and let off

1. Initial draw

During the initial draw, the draw weight gradually increases as the archer pulls back the bowstring. The let-off mechanism is not engaged at this stage, and the archer experiences the full draw weight until reaching a specific point in the draw cycle.

2. Peak draw weight

At a specific point in the draw cycle, typically referred to as the “wall,” the cams or wheels rotate into position, reaching peak draw weight. This is when the let-off mechanism comes into play, reducing the draw weight and making it easier for the archer to maintain the drawn position.

3. Let off

Following the peak draw weight, the cams or wheels continue to rotate, further reducing the draw weight. This is the let-off phase, where the archer experiences a significant reduction in holding weight while still maintaining the full draw position.

4. Holding

The holding phase occurs once the let-off is engaged. The archer can comfortably hold the bowstring at full draw with reduced force, allowing for increased stability and aiming control.

5. Release

The release occurs when the archer releases the bowstring, and the arrow is propelled forward. The let-off mechanism disengages and the energy stored in the limbs is transferred to the arrow, propelling it toward the target.

3 Adjusting Tips for Let Off on a Bow

Modifying the let-off percentage of a compound bow can be achieved through several methods:

3 Adjusting tips for let off on a bow
3 Adjusting tips for let off on a bow

1. Changing the cam modules

Some compound bows allow for the adjustment of let-off by swapping out cam modules. These modules have different shapes or sizes that alter the cam’s profile, thereby affecting the let-off percentage. Consulting the bow’s manufacturer or a knowledgeable archery technician can provide guidance on available cam modules and their impact on let-off.

2. Adjusting draw length

Altering the draw length of a compound bow can indirectly affect the let-off percentage. Increasing or decreasing the draw length may influence the position of the cam’s rotation, thus changing the let-off percentage. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional assistance to ensure proper adjustment.

3. Altering the settings

Some compound bows feature adjustable draw weight settings. Changing the draw weight can have an impact on the let-off percentage. Higher draw weights generally result in higher let-off percentages, while lower draw weights reduce the let-off percentage. It’s crucial to consult the bow’s manual or seek professional guidance when adjusting draw weight settings.

Important Considerations When Adjusting Let Off On A Bow

When adjusting the let-off of a compound bow, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

  • Different compound bows have varying cam designs and systems, which influence the let-off characteristics. Understanding the specific features of your bow and its cam system is crucial when making let-off adjustments.
  • If you participate in competitive archery, it’s important to be aware of any regulations regarding let-off percentages. Different archery organizations or events may have specific limitations or requirements that dictate the allowable let-off percentage.
  • Adjusting let-off should be based on your shooting style, preferences, and physical capabilities. Consider factors such as comfort, stability, and overall shooting performance when determining the optimal let-off percentage for your individual needs.

Tips Choose let off on a Compound Bow

When it comes to choosing the let-off on a compound bow, it’s important to consider your specific archery purpose. Whether you’re a target archer or a hunter, the let-off percentage will play a significant role in your shooting experience. Here are some guidelines to help you make an informed decision:

1. Archery

If you primarily engage in target archery, opting for a lower let-off and a higher holding weight is generally recommended. A let-off percentage of around 65% is often preferred by target archers. This choice provides increased stability and control when holding the bowstring at anchor. With a lower holding weight, you will feel less back tension, but it also means you have less control over the shot execution. However, in target archery, stability and consistency in holding the bow at the full draw are critical for precise aiming and shot execution.


2. Hunting

For hunters, a higher let-off percentage of around 75-85% is typically more suitable. This choice allows for a lower holding weight, which is beneficial when you need to hold the bow at full draw for extended periods while waiting for the right moment to release the arrow. Hunting scenarios often require patience and the ability to remain still, as any sudden movement during the draw can potentially scare away your prey. Higher let-off percentages reduce the holding weight and help minimize muscle fatigue, enabling you to maintain the drawn position comfortably for longer durations.


Percentages for Let-off levels on a Bow

It all requires one more thing to note down and that is the percentages of both high and low let off. If you consider high let-off, then it will be easier to draw a full length for a long period of time. It will increase stability and aim control along with relaxation in muscles. But it’ll require too much effort for this task.

On the other hand, for low let off you’ll get increased control over the shooting with high arrow speed that gives you fine adjustment and tuning options. However, the reverse is, your muscle will get tired since it requires a lot of tension.

Ultimately, the choice of let-off percentage will depend on your specific archery goals and preferences. Consider factors such as shooting discipline, desired stability, holding duration, and the level of control you want over your shot. It’s also beneficial to try out different let-off percentages during practice sessions to determine the option that feels most comfortable and effective for your individual shooting style.


What is the best let-off for a bow?

The best let-off for a bow depends on your archery purpose. For target archery, a lower let-off (around 65%) is often preferred, while hunters tend to opt for higher let-off percentages (75-85%).

What does 85 let-off mean?

An 85 let-off means that when you reach full draw, the bow’s weight is reduced by 85%. This allows the archer to hold the bowstring with less force, resulting in reduced fatigue and increased stability.

Does bow let-off affect speed?

Yes, bow let-off does affect speed. Higher let-off percentages typically result in lower arrow speeds due to the reduction in stored energy. Lower let-off percentages can potentially lead to higher arrow speeds as more energy is retained in the bow’s limbs.

Final Thoughts

Understanding let-off is crucial for archers as it directly impacts their shooting experience and performance. By comprehending the concept of let off and its implications, archers can make informed decisions regarding equipment selection, adjustments, and shooting techniques. This knowledge empowers them to optimize their shooting potential and achieve their goals in various archery disciplines, whether it’s hunting, competitive shooting, or recreational archery. So take notes and follow the steps along with the implementation of the techniques to ground up your fundamentals of letting off on a bow to shine up your hunting and archery experience.

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