Archery is a popular and timeless activity, one requiring practice and patience in order to succeed; it also calls for proper protection. When you release the arrow, the bow string snaps back and will brush against your arm in doing so, causing irritation and potentially leading to painful damage.
An archery arm guard keeps your arm safe while still allowing you to comfortably hold the bow. Arm guards are made in various sizes and designs, and from a variety of materials. To learn more about which is the best for your needs, keep reading our guide, which includes reviews of a few of our favorites at the end. Our top pick, Huntingdoor Archery Leather Arm Guard, is ideal for the serious adult archer.
The most important aspect of an arm guard is the size: You want the guard to fit snugly so it doesn’t move, but not so tight that your arm feels restricted or uncomfortable. Arm guards typically run from 6 to 10 inches in length and should span from your wrist to your elbow.
Check out the width as well: some guards cover the entire arm, offering more security, but these may grow more uncomfortable over time. Conversely, some arm guards may only cover the forearm where you would make contact with the string.
Most arm guards are made from either leather or synthetic, man-made alternatives. While leather is typically more durable and protective, it’s also heavier and traps in heat. Synthetic alternatives are lighter, though they may not last as long. Some arm guards may feature additional materials or extra layers, such as a mesh coating to increase breathability or a waterproof exterior to protect against weather.
Evaluate the way in which the arm guard straps into place. Buckles are simple to use, but may pinch the skin or clothing when secured tightly. Others may be affixed by tying strings, which offers security but takes time and effort. While Velcro is another option, you'll want to keep in mind that it makes a lot of sound, which may not be ideal for some archers.
While most arm guards are either black or brown, you may find some more colorful options, especially those geared for youngsters just starting out. For those who want to remain hidden in the wilderness, camouflage arm guards are available as well.
Sometimes the arm guard can get stuffy, especially on hot, humid days. Some will feature slits or holes to allow for increased airflow and breathability, making the arm guard more comfortable.
As mentioned, most arm guards simply go to the wrist. However, some may offer protection for the thumb, and extend up the hand. Whether or not this is a useful feature may come down to personal preference.
Some arm guards are designed for a specific arm, but most can be worn on the right or left arm. Those arm guards that wrap around the entire arm may be double-sided allowing you to rotate the guard so that both sides of it get exposed to the string, in effect doubling its value and longevity.
Most arm guards cost between $10-$20. These will be made of either leather or synthetic materials, though more durable ones with added features will cost more.
A. Whether you wear the arm guard over a shirt or on your bare skin will come down to personal preference and comfort. You may want to try out the arm guard in both situations, especially if you’ve been using it in changing weather conditions.
A. If using the arm guard outside, be sure to wipe off any dust, dirt, or other debris it may have picked up. If it has become damp from the weather or sweat, you should sterilize the guard and then let it air dry.
Our take: High-quality and stylish arm guard that offers security and comfort.
What we like: Leather-made black and brown arm guard. Closes with an adjustable strap and laces. Lightweight and durable.
What we dislike: Pricey. Lacks breathability.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Our take: Light, comfortable, and airy arm guard designed for youngsters working on form.
What we like: Mesh arm guard covers just the inside of the arm, allowing for more comfort and air flow. Features soft, adjustable straps. Low price.
What we dislike: Not meant for adults.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon.
Our take: Durable yet breathable arm guard that offers protection and stealth for serious archers.
What we like: Camouflage guard that covers only the foreman. Features air holes. Straps adjust easily and comfortably.
What we dislike: Plastic buckles are flimsy, may wear down over time.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon.
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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.