Best Archery Arm Guards

Updated November 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

36 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best archery arm guards

Staying safe while engaging in any sport or activity you love is a foundation for success. Shooting a bow and arrow may look easy, but not only do you need practice and dedication to thrive, you also need the proper protection.

Archery arm guards are used to shield your bow arm — the arm that holds the bow. When the arrow releases, your forearm is almost sure to be grazed by the bow string. The force at which a bow string releases an arrow is high, and if the bow string contacts your skin, it can cause scrapes, bruises, or a potentially serious injury. It only takes one snap back to cause harm, and repeated hits increase this risk.

Even if you’re an experienced archer unlikely to encounter such string hits, an arm guard is useful to keep you from flinching and ruining your form. Any slight movement or reaction as you release the arrow can cause your shot to miss. Arm guards are designed to be comfortable and durable, and they come in various sizes, designs, and materials. Our guide will show you what you need to know to select the best archery arm guard.
 

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While it’s possible to make a decent arm guard using fabric and tools at home, most arm guards are relatively inexpensive, durable, and worth the investment.

Key considerations

Length

The length of an archery arm guard is its most important dimension. Your forearm must be covered from your wrist all the way to your elbow. Archery arm guards typically range in size from 6 to 10 inches. They may also be available in youth sizes for young archers. If you don’t have the option to try on a guard before buying it, measure the distance from the inside of your elbow to your wrist.

Width

While width is less important than length, it’s still worth considering. Some arm guards wrap all the way around your arm; others only cover the interior portion, where you’re most likely to be struck by the bow strings. Guards that wrap completely around the arm are likely to offer more security and are less likely to move around. However, this type of guard could potentially grow uncomfortable over time.

Material

Arm guards are made with a variety of materials but typically fall into one of two categories: leather arm guards and synthetic arm guards.

Leather offers longevity and a high level of protection, but it may be somewhat heavy and limit breathability. Synthetic materials usually consist of a blend of materials and tend to be lighter and more comfortable. However, they may provide a slightly lower level of protection.

Note that some materials provide added benefits. For example, a mesh coating promotes airflow, and a waterproof exterior comes in handy when the weather changes.

Securing mechanism

The way in which an archery arm guard wraps around your arm can vary. Many guards have buckles with adjustable straps, which are easy to lock and unlock but may cause discomfort when pressed against the skin. Some guards have strings that must be tightened like the laces of a shoe. These provide comfort while staying securely in place, but they may take longer to put on and take off. Velcro is another option. Note that Velcro may wear down if used in inclement weather.

Wear type

Most arm guards are designed to be worn comfortably and effectively on either the right or left arm. However, you may come across some that are specifically designed for the right or left arm. It’s worth double-checking that the arm guard you’re considering can be worn on your bow arm.
 

Dyk1
 Did You Know?
Archers have a lot of terms for the contact between the arm and string once an arrow is released. You may hear it called string slap, string burn, or even bow bite, but they all hurt just the same.
Staff
BestReviews

Features

Color and design

Black and brown are the most common arm guard colors, but you may be able to opt for a splash of red or blue in some instances. If you’re hoping to blend in with the wilderness, look for an arm guard with a camouflage design.

Venting

Breathability can be an issue with some arm guards, as they may begin to feel warm and cause you to sweat. Some arm guards feature ventilation via holes, slits, or a more open design. These guards feel light and tend to be quite comfortable.

Thumb protection

Some archery arm guards have a guard that extends up to and over your thumb. Depending on the type of bow used, this may provide further safety and support.

Double-sided

Some arm guards that wrap entirely around the arm have two different sides that can be used for protection. Instead of one side of the arm guard always being fixed on the interior of your forearm, you can alternate sides. This effectively doubles the lifespan of the arm guard. Double-sided arm guards may be slightly shorter in length, and you may have to adjust the straps when you decide to switch sides.

Youth guards

Archery is an activity that welcomes all ages, and as such, you’ll find arm guards in all sizes. For children, there are youth guards that may be more colorful, lightweight, and breathable than other choices on the market.
 

Those who rely on stealth when using a bow and arrow may want to do a sound check on their arm guard. Some materials, especially leather, may make noise when moving around.

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Accessories
 

Archery bow: Genesis Bows Original Kit
A variety of bow styles exist, and the right one for you depends on your needs. For beginners, we suggest this option from Genesis that’s easy to use and includes a quiver, arrows, and an arm guard.

Archery protective gloves: Damascus Deerskin Shooting Glove
Protective gloves are to be worn on the arrow hand to relieve stress and prevent damage. This three-finger leather option from Damascus Protective Gear is durable and effective.

Archery nocks: Letszhu Lighted Nocks
The nock offers a secure connection point between the arrow’s end and the bow. We like these high-quality lighted nocks from Letszhu that work with a variety of arrows.

Archery quiver: Easton Flipside 3-Tube Hip Quiver
Another useful piece of archery equipment is the quiver. Whether you’re on the move or stationary, this durable option from Easton offers convenience and protection.
 

Fys2
For Your Safety
Arm guards are especially important for beginners, as they are going to be practicing their form and likely make mistakes when shooting. Without an arm guard, potential injury can deter aspiring archers.
Staff
BestReviews

Archery arm guard prices

Inexpensive: You can find decent archery arm guards for around $10. These will likely be lightweight with easy-to-connect straps.

Mid-range: Most arm guards run from $10 to $20. These will be either leather or synthetic and offered in different sizes and colors.

Expensive: Durable, high-quality arm guards often cost over $20. These products tend to be made of leather and allow for some ventilation.

Tips
 

  • Adjusting takes time. It's likely that you’ll need some time to get used to your new arm guard. Be patient. Eventually, you’ll perfect your form and adjust to the weight and wear of the guard.
  • Clean regularly. When used outdoors, your arm guard may get dirty or damp. Wipe it down after use, sterilize it if necessary, and let it air dry if wet.
  • Inspect often. With repeated use, arm guards slowly take a beating over time, likely in the same spot. Monitor the material to see if it’s starting to wear.
  • Always wear it. Chances are if you forget your arm guard once, you’ll be painfully reminded. Always take it with you and wear it to prevent an easily avoidable injury.
I2 
Arm guards aren’t just for protection. In most cases, getting hit with the string and reacting to it will throw off your shot.

FAQ


Q. What other safety equipment do I need?

A. In addition to an arm guard, wear a protective glove on your arrow hand. Repeatedly shooting arrows can damage your fingers. At first, you may develop blisters or bruises. Long-term problems can develop as well, like nerve damage.

Be sure to dress for the weather: you want attire that is comfortable but fitting, as loose clothing can sometimes cause a distraction when shooting.

Q. Does an arm guard work more effectively over bare skin or clothes?

A. You should wear whatever is most comfortable beneath your arm guard. Some prefer the breathability of a guard worn over bare skin, but it may grow irritating or uncomfortable over time. While clothing will likely offer more comfort when wearing the arm guard, you may find yourself restricted and starting to sweat. Avoid loose-fitting sleeves, as they can make securing the arm guard more tedious.

Q. Do all archers need an arm guard regardless of the skill level?

A. It’s certainly advised that all archers use an arm guard to protect themselves while shooting. However, advanced archers may not need a particularly large arm guard. Skilled shooters may be better off with a shorter option since there is less of a chance that poor form will lead to injury. Beginners will want more coverage as they continue to practice and train.
 

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