Home Forums Bows and Equipment Get a grip!

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    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Bow grip preferences are obviously a very subjective thing. As the interface between your hand and the bow, they might be the most personal part of a bow, period.

      With time and practice, I believe most of us can probably adapt to a lot of different grip styles. I find I’ve gone through quite the evolution in my bow grip preference over the past several years, from a time when I primarily shot recurves with a ‘high wrist’ grip and an open hand, to hybrids with varying degrees of locator grip, to what is now the grip style that feels more ‘natural’ to me than any other type of grip I’ve used previously:

      What’s surprising to me about this is that just from looking at this type of grip, I never thought it would be my preference, nor particularly comfortable/ergonomic. I also had it in my head that a locator grip ensured consistent hand placement more so than this type of ‘classic’ longbow grip did. However, I’ve found that this isn’t necessarily the case (at least for me personally) – my hand still goes to the exact same location every time, no problem.

      I’m truly amazed at how comfortable this grip is in my hand, and to shoot, and I think I’ve finally found ‘the’ grip for me. In fact, I picked up one of my hybrids the other day with a deep locator grip, and it felt really odd in my hand and took some getting used to in order to shoot it well again. All of the above, of course, is just stating my personal preference, and how it’s changed with time.

      So what’s your grip preference, and why? Broomstick? Deep locator? Do you prefer a bare wood grip? A leather wrap? Rubber/Posi-type grip? How many different grip styles have you experimented with in order to arrive at what you shoot now?

      (pics please, if possible :wink:)

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2361

      I too came to a dished straight grip as the best grip for me. It’s been about 2 years now.

      I used to put leather wraps on my grips, but over time gave that up. I spend a lot of time scraping/sanding the grip to get it “just right”. Why muck it up by adding a thickness of leather?

      I also add a contour for my index finger. That serves as my “locator”.

      Yesterday a friend who I haven’t seen since last year came over with his family for dinner. We went out to shoot and he took a look at my bow and said, “what a funny grip” I asked him if he wanted to try it and he said he would, but that he doesn’t like the idea of straight grips.

      He shot the bow and got a look on his face. Then he asked if I had another bow… I got him one, and he shot it the rest of the night. His reflex/deflex bow remained on the bow hook. He then asked if he could take it home to do a little more “testing”.

      I’ll be lucky to see that bow back, at least before deer season is over I expect 😯

      Nothing beats an american semi-longbow with a straight grip, imho.

      attached file
    • jason samkowiak
      Post count: 141

      I did the same as above. I have a traditional straight grip but added a very slight notch as a locator just so i know my hand is in the right spot each time.

      I have shot with many different grips or “holds” on the bow as well. In my early longbow days I shot with a death grip and heavy heal pressure. Then I went to a loose grip with high pressure on the webbing between finger and thumb with the pinky and ring finger loose. Now for the last year and a half I have been shooting with a firm grip with even pressure high and low.

      I think the grip on the bow itself as well as the way you grip it makes little difference once you get used to it and it become natural. But I have been shooting a traditional straight grip with a slight locator so long I would probably order any other bows the same just to keep the consistency.

      on all my bows I love a rubber grip. Started using them for bowfishing about 15 years ago to keep the grip dry. Love the feel, love the odor resistance, love the durability, love the stickyness of the grip. Also love that I can use a piece of stick as an arrow holder with a rubber grip. Still use and love a leather rest, but all my bows have a rubber grip now. The grip is actually bike tire innertube. It last about 10 years before it starts to break down. and 1 tube will make about 30 grips. not bad for 2 dollars! Even put the inner tube on my wife and kids recurves for winter so their gloves hold better than on the bare wood.

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      This is my favorite grip. I definitely prefer leather grips too. The straight handle doesn’t lend itself to ‘creep’. Meaning, my hand doesn’t move, or even want to slide up. It just stays put. I like leather for its warmth and its subtle grip when wet. (With all that said, the Elkheart I should have shortly will be WAY different: Wood handle and grip shape/angle. We shall see. πŸ˜‰ ) The “reversed handle” on my Northern Mist Whisper:

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Thanks for reviving this thread, Patrick. I hope to see more of people’s favorite grip designs, and hear why they like them.

      This is my other favorite grip – a low-wrist locator from Big Jim. In fact, I like it so much that when Jim built a new bow for me, I had him do it the same specs as the Thunderchild I already owned:

      It fills the hand nicely (I’m not a fan of really narrow grips), allows for good palm contact while maintaining a loose grip, and a positiven hand location every time:

    • StixStix
      Member
      Post count: 170

      I find that as long as I have a thumbrest, I can adapt to any grip. I just ordered a new Maddog prairie predator long bow with a locator grip, but I am having a thumbrest put on it. It gives me consistent grip on the bow.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Steve – do you have a pic with an example of the kind of thumbrest you’re talking about?

    • StixStix
      Member
      Post count: 170

      Notice how these thumbrests noticably protrude from the grips. This forces a consistent grip by putting your thumb in the same location every time

      attached fileattached file
    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Smithhammer wrote: Thanks for reviving this thread, Patrick. I hope to see more of people’s favorite grip designs, and hear why they like them.

      You could call me a revivalist. I like to bring back old threads…well, relevant threads. I think the time and space in between posts can add a lot of dimension to them. This one just didn’t get enough attention for some reason. I’m hoping to see a bunch as well.

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2361

      Glad to see you back on here regularly Patrick! Your voice was missed.

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Steve Graf wrote: Glad to see you back on here regularly Patrick! Your voice was missed.

      Thanks, Steve! I’m glad to be back. Post number 1000! 8)

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      “Get a grip,” indeed. Yesterday I had a little light bulb go off with this.

      I’ve shot bows with more pronounced locator style grips for years, and a loose grip, with most of the pressure in the webbing between my thumb and forefinger, and my lower fingers hardly even touching the bow, works well. On the other hand, since I started shooting ASLs, like the one in the original post above, I’ve frequently heard and read that they require a different approach – more heel pressure and a more firm grip on the bow. And I always thought I was doing this, but last evening’s session I realized I wasn’t doing it anywhere near enough. Not sure what posessed me, but for some reason I decided to change my grip and really get ahold of the bow with my whole hand, more firmly than I ever have in the past (though not a “death grip”) . More like this:

      And as soon as I did this, the difference was immediate – my groups tightened up considerably.

      Now, I know some will disagree that different styles of bows should be gripped differently, and believe that you should shoot all bows the same, and I think I used to be more in this camp. But something definitely clicked when I changed my grip last night, and I thought I’d share the experience. There are so many things to love about this sport, but one of them for me is that there is always more to learn…

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      One thing that I can’t quite wrap my head around is that I still use the same “grip” on my bows as I always have, or at least I feel I do. With that said, when I messing around with a Shrew Classic Hunter for a week or so, about 3 years ago, I had a heck of a time getting used the grip. I was used to my Northern Mist Whisper, and it felt like my hand wanted to slide up and jam itself into the “throat” of the handle (maybe I’m using the wrong word). I was worried about the same issue when I got my Elkheart, but I didn’t have ANY issues with switching between the two bows and their very different handles. πŸ˜•

      By the way, I use a very light grip. Basically, only enough so that the bow doesn’t fly out of my hand when I release the arrow. Since I use a very light grip, I would suggest NOT using a very light grip. πŸ˜†

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2361

      If you really grip an ASL like a snake, it thumps more (just like a snake would too I bet).

      It will be interesting to hear how it go’s over the next couple weeks. Whenever I do something new, it usually works well for a while, and then the benefit fades a bit.

      I heel my ASL and put the lifeline sort of on the left edge of the handle. I break my elbow just a little bit. I think people overdo the broken elbow. Just break it a bit. I loosely wrap my fingers around the grip. Not tight. Just enough to keep it from getting away from me. And I really try to keep the push/pull thing going so that the bow arm isn’t being lazy, and my release hand snaps back (just a bit) on release. I don’t like a dynamic release and tend toward a more dead release. Freshly dead. Still twitching.

      I shoot with more of a closed style. Say 90% closed.

      The most important thing that I do is I only make a good shot once in a while. mostly I like to keep the arrows sticking out of the target in all sorts of strange places / angles. Otherwise I might not be the wonderfully humble bloke that I am πŸ™„

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Steve Graf wrote: Whenever I do something new, it usually works well for a while, and then the benefit fades a bit.

      Ditto! It’s a sure, but temporary, cure for my blankety blank target panic! πŸ‘Ώ

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Steve Graf wrote:

      I heel my ASL and put the lifeline sort of on the left edge of the handle. I break my elbow just a little bit. I think people overdo the broken elbow. Just break it a bit. I loosely wrap my fingers around the grip. Not tight. Just enough to keep it from getting away from me. And I really try to keep the push/pull thing going so that the bow arm isn’t being lazy, and my release hand snaps back (just a bit) on release. I don’t like a dynamic release and tend toward a more dead release. Freshly dead. Still twitching.

      I shoot with more of a closed style. Say 90% closed.

      That’s a pretty accurate description of what I’m doing now as well, Steve. I’m not gripping the bow tightly, but I have dropped my wrist more, and I’m getting all of my fingers on and around the grip, which I never used to do with my more pronounced, D/R bows. Though I think I’m a little more centered in the fleshy part between my lifeline and my thumb than it sounds like you are. And yeah, continuous pushing with that heel pressure is key.

      Agreed about the overly-exxagerated broken elbow as well.

      As I release, my string hand moves back against my face slightly, but only as a result of the release of tension – not a a big sweep backward past my ear, as I see some do.

      And man, do I love shooting this bow. It’s as comfortable as an old pair of jeans, lighter than my hat, and delivers an arrow with authority.

      Steve Graf wrote:

      The most important thing that I do is I only make a good shot once in a while. mostly I like to keep the arrows sticking out of the target in all sorts of strange places / angles. Otherwise I might not be the wonderfully humble bloke that I am πŸ™„

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2361

      What a great picture! There is something magical about an ASL…

      Hard to say from the picture angel, but I think I cant my bow a bit more and try to bend my head forward to get it over the arrow better so my right eye is more aligned with the arrow. Which helps, assuming my eye is open.

      There are those like Paul Comstock that claim a vertical bow is best as it is easier to come to anchor (which is true in my experience, the anchor part). And there are those like John Shultz who claim the bow must be canted to get the eye over the arrow correctly, which is equally true in my experience.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      I’m more in the Shulz camp. I usually cant about 15-20deg. or so – I think it’s just the perspective in the pic above that makes it look more vertical. Here’s a head-on view of my normal cant:

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      Patrick wrote: [quote=Steve Graf]Whenever I do something new, it usually works well for a while, and then the benefit fades a bit.

      Ditto! It’s a sure, but temporary, cure for my blankety blank target panic! πŸ‘Ώ

      Ditto, ditto on the blankety blank. It bit me this past Sunday.

      Not a hint of it with no other folks around.

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      Here’s the old hickory selfbow and it’s grip. Between the two it lets my old wounded hand know it’s an old wounded hand I guarantee:

      The shadow is that of one good looking young feller that I know. πŸ™‚

      He was once upon a time anyway.

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2261

      R2, it’s good to know you’re still making shadows! Dc

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      Happy too! Be somewhat worried though if my shadow starts turning gray. πŸ˜‰

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2361

      Smithhammer wrote:

      Don’t shoot! Whew, scared me 😳

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Steve Graf wrote:

      Don’t shoot! Whew, scared me 😳

      For a variety of reasons, I tend to go through a lot of cameras…

    • RalphRalph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2544

      All the cameramen in Idaho pitched in for a tripod methinks

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