All You Should Know About Dry-Firing With Bow

Basit Ali Chaudhary

Dry-firing means releasing a drawn string without an arrow. It can be interpreted as firing a bowstring without an arrow.

An empty draw and release of the bowstring puts immense strain on the bow, particularly when done in succession. 

It should be avoided at all costs – doing so can cause significant damage to the bow. 

Simultaneously, an improper release of an arrow from the string during a shot can put excessive force on the bow limbs as well, potentially leading to costly repairs. As such, it is always wise for all archers to remember and never try to dry fire with a bow.

In extreme cases, a bow may even explode or break from the intense release of energy, potentially leading to an unfortunate injury

Even for experienced archers, it’s always safer to only fire with arrows in place.

What happens if you dry-fire a bow?

1-Chances of injury

The quick release of power can cause bruises in an archer’s muscles as well as danger to those in the vicinity. 

When you draw a bowstring full, you will bring the bow close to your eyes and lips, and if the bowstring snaps, you could hurt your eyes, lips, or your chin.

2-Damage to your bow

Dry firing your bow can cause potential damage as well, along with minor damage. Not only are bows damaged like derailed strings and bent cams, but there’s also an even bigger danger lurking as well. Especially dry-firing crossbows and compound bows can just act as an explosion!

Impact of dry fire on the compound bow

With compound bows, as they have more moving parts like cams and pulleys, the risk of dry firing is even higher. 

What’s more, the higher a bow’s draw weight is, the greater it’s potential for experiencing damage from dry firing it. 

This can apply to any type of bow-the tension puts increased strain on every part of the structure when held at full draw without an arrow in place, which can lead to several issues ranging from broken cables/strings to snapped limbs or risers. 

Today’s bows are sturdier and more rigid than their predecessors, so it’s rare for injuries to be caused because of dry firing. 

However, you should still take extra care and make sure never to dry fire without an arrow. Due to their design, the cams can easily be damaged by dry firing, and even the draw stop can have disastrous results – cracking the limb or other vital components – if an arrow isn’t present. 

How to prevent dry fire?

Dry fire often happens far too much among inexperienced shooters. 

Beginners just aren’t used to the strength required to properly draw and hold back a bow, so they unknowingly pull the string too hard and can’t keep their grip on it, resulting in a dry fire. 

It’s essential that new archers get proper instruction before they attempt to fire an arrow since the consequences of a dry fire can be both costly and dangerous. 

It is important to note that dry-fire events can also be caused by factors besides poor draw form. Using arrows that are too light, too short, or have damaged nocks can all cause them as well. 

Therefore it is essential that you not only watch your form but inspect your arrows every time you load them to ensure they are up to the task at hand. 

Taking measures like seeking out a decent teacher or even getting properly fitted for your first bow are surefire ways to begin in archery.

Safety Tips

  • Inspect your arrows before shooting.
  • Make sure that you are not using too short arrows.
  • Use an appropriate bow that suits your muscle strength. 
  • Inspect the cams of your compound bow and make sure that they are not bent.
  • Don’t allow others to use your bow unless they are well-known to archery.
  • If you accidentally have misfired, immediately inspect your bow.
  • Don’t unnecessarily draw the bow unless you want to fire.
  • It is recommended to keep your fingers away from the trigger in case you are using archery release in order to prevent your finders from hitting the trigger.
  • Check the nocks of your arrow and make sure they are not weakened or damaged.

What To Do After Dry Firing A Bow

Dry firing can bring the bow to bad shape, or it can literally explode the bow as well.

When you dry fire a bow consistently or too often, this weakens the structure and can make it less stable each time you draw it back. It is important to visit an archery shop for regular checkups and, if necessary, repairs or maintenance of your bow. 

They have skilled professionals who know exactly what to look for when performing inspections, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that your equipment is in good hands. 

What damages can be caused to bow if you dry fire?

A number of possible things can happen if you dry-fire a bow. First, it can shatter in pieces or simply explode. This is not very common as bows nowadays are well-built. But still, there is a possibility.

Secondly, your bow’s cam can become misaligned, as it is common for cams to get twisted as a result of dry fire.

Third, string derailment is also very common after dry firing a bow. This means string will come off the cams or can even break. 

Dry firing a bow can result in serious damage to the limbs as well. It’s possible they could be bent or cracked due to the shock of releasing the string at full draw without an arrow. 

The connection point between the limbs and the riser can also be affected. 


How to inspect cracks in the bow after a dry fire?

First, have a close look to see any visible damage.

If there are cracks in your bow, you can check them by using cotton balls. Just simply rub the cotton balls on its limbs, riser, and length surface. You will feel some stiffness or pulling in the cracks area. And hence you can track cracks in your bow. But this method works for wooden bows normally.

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