Most sellers in the market are don’t know about the bow which they sell. Have you ever heard of a right-handed or left-handed bow? Did you ever know they both exist? Must be wondering what they look like and what is the difference between both?
Almost 10% of the earth’s population is left-handed whereas 18% of the right-handed people have a left eye dominant. Since 1950 dual shelf bows are made by many manufacturers but the left-handed archers were completely ignored by the manufacturers who made only right-handed models.
Some of these manufacturers required a special order for left-handed bows while others charged extra for the left-handed version.
But today bows are manufactured for both right-handed people and left-handed people differently although other equipment used with the bows can be used for both.
Still, the manufacturers offer a larger variety to right-handed people than the left-handed ones due to the majority of right-handed people in the world. Compound bows these days are no doubt quite an investment so obviously, every archer wants to purchase the one which would go perfect for him.
Usually, draw hand determines the bow direction. Well a general perception is that you are a right-handed hunter/archer if you pull the string of the bow with your right hand and hold the bow itself in the left hand whereas you are a left-handed hunter/archer if you pull the string of your bow with your left hand and hold the bow itself in your right hand.
This orientation of the bow is selected based on the hand which draws the bow and not the one which grips/hold it. But things aren’t that simple here as they seem to be as you can easily misunderstand them.
Difference between a left-handed and right-handed bow
Here in this article, we will easily break down the difference between right-handed and left-handed shooters as it might seem confusing to many of you.
Grasp the bow with your left hand and draw the bowstring backward with your right hand if you are a right-handed person but wait! Is your grip comfortable? If no, switch it to your other hand and check now?
Determining either You need a Right-handed or Left-handed Bow
Now let’s find out how to determine you need a left-handed or right-handed bow. This is a common question bumping in many minds once you go to buy a bow.
Well, there are two things you need to know about yourself here. The first thing you need to determine is to know your dominant eye and the next thing you need to know is your handedness.
Every person usually knows either he is right-handed, left-handed or ambidextrous. Your dominant hand is usually the one with which you eat, write, brush your teeth, hold a cup of tea, etc.
Some people can easily do everything with both their hands, such people are known as ambidextrous.
Archery equipment being in direct correlation to the dominant eye should be selected. Though the role of eye dominance is taken for granted by people in everyday life, still you need it when you get involved in any shooting sport. The tendency of receiving visual input through your right eye or left eye is referred to as ocular dominance or eye dominance.
Your dominant eye is also known as power eye. You need to find out your dominant eye first. This eye will provide you a better vision and if this eye correlates to your dominant hand it gives you an edge.
Almost two-thirds of the archers are right eye dominant while the remaining one-third are left eye dominant. Determining your dominant eye is easy. Just think which eye you will use instinctively if you want to look through a microscope or a telescope.
If you think you are still confused, you can perform a porta test. Make thumbs-up gesture and center your thumb on an object which is placed at least 20 feet away. With your left eye closed, observe if your thumb is centered on the object in the same way or no? If yes, you are right eye dominant. If you feel your thumb has moved, you are left-eye dominant.
So it is really easy in a way that if you are left-eye dominant, you need a left-handed bow and if you are right eye dominant, you need a right-handed bow. But sometimes you are cross dominant where your dominant hand doesn’t match your dominant eye.
Many people among us are even cross dominant, meaning their ocular dominance is on the right side but they are left-handed and vice versa. In such a situation an archer can only shoot well if he can align the bow with the dominant eye and then coordinate it with the dominant hand as providing muscle memory to the dominant hand is much easier than changing the line of vision.
Being cross dominant you can easily choose your handedness through age and personal preference. Even with no dominance, the choice depends on your personal preference.
People who are left-handed and are partially left dominant are known as Ambi-ocular. Similarly, those people who are right-handed and are partially right dominant are also known as Ambi-ocular.
A person who has a strong skill to use both hands with equal comfort all the time is ambidextrous. If you are Ambi-ocular and ambidextrous, it’s your choice of which one is your dominant side.
Bow Selection based on Dominant Eye
Many archers are comfortable to shoot with one eye closed but they are less inclined and stable while maintaining their balance. It is advised to shoot with both eyes open to receive light and peripheral input continuously. In this way, you can account for greater parallax.
It is recommended to select a bow based on the dominant eye rather than dominant hand because you can easily adjust your muscles and handedness with some practice but if you ignore your eye dominance, you will end up missing your shots.
If you want to select your bow based on your dominant eye, remember that the compounds which are left-handed are designed based on dominant eye instead of dominant hand.
Bow Selection based on Dominant Hand
If you select a bow based on your dominant hand, the horizontal point of aim needs to be adjusted for making up the difference. You need to aim either to the right or left instead of aiming straight ahead. Thus practicing with non-dominant hand is easier and wiser, to get rid of the small adjustments again and again.
Age factor matters a lot here. If you are young, you can easily learn using your non-dominant hand for shooting a compound bow. Determination and practice will make it easier for you to keep your dominant eye focused on the target every time.
Is it possible to shoot a left-handed bow with your right hand?
Well yes, you can even do it accurately. The only problem which may arise will be that your arrow rest will be on the opposite side which may affect your aim. With a little time and determination, you can even switch from left hand to right hand.
Even the youth with cross dominance can easily switch their handedness side to their dominant eye. But as adults are more resistant to change, it will take them longer to settle.
Figuring out the left or right-handedness of a bow
To find out if a bow is left or right-handed, simply check the area of the handle above the bow’s grip where the arrow rest is located. For a right-handed bow, the arrow rest is on its left side whereas, for a left-handed bow, the arrow rest is on the right side.
On a compound bow, even the riser itself is a clue which helps you figure out either it’s a right-handed or left-handed bow as it has a specific shape which must be held in a particular way.
For a right-handed bow, the sights are placed at the left side of the bow and vice versa.