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Archery is not a one-size-fits-all sport because each archer uses different tools to hit the mark. This includes what kinds of barebow arrow rest they might use, which is arguably the key component to great barebow archery.

A barebow arrow rest can make a difference in how you shoot your arrow, so we want to go over the different types. Hopefully, you can conclude which one may be right for you.

But firstly...

What is Barebow Archery?

Barebow archery is a division of competitive archery where archers shoot recurve bows without using aids like a stabilizer or sight.

In effect, this type of shooting is the ultimate combination of “man and machine” and a true test of the shooter’s technique.

This is a method of aiming and it has been used for hundreds of years, right up to the more recent times when the modern bow sights were introduced and accepted by archers. 

While you won’t have any aiming aids attached to the bow you may use other archery accessories such as tabs, armguards, gloves. 

The only attachment to the riser is an arrow rest.

Barebow archery prohibits anything that helps the archery gauge the shooting distance, such as custom marks on the riser. The archer may attach fixed weights to the bottom of the riser to help with stabilization, but nothing else is allowed.

Barebow has a precise shooting method. 

Rather than using the chin or mouth as an anchor, a barebow archer will attach their arrow between two fixed nocks on the string, eliminating the need to hold the arrow in place with their fingers. They will also look straight down the arrow at eye level.

Types of Barebow Archery Arrow Rests

Many successful archers have become extremely proficient taking things right back to basics and forgoing the arrow rest altogether. 

This practice is known as shooting off the shelf and is the alternative to using an arrow rest. There are some interesting arguments between shooting off the shelf or using an arrow rest.

However, because we are concentrating on the arrow rests you might use when practicing barebow archery we will take a look at the options.

Two arrow rest types are used for barebow archery: a stick-on arrow rest and a wrap-around arrow rest. Both have pros and cons, so we shall look at those in detail below.

Stick-On Arrow Rests

A stick-on arrow rest is exactly what it sounds like: an arrow rest that adheres to the bow.

Pros

  • Stick-on arrow rests are easy to install
  • Affordable
  • Good for bows without screw-in arrow rest adaptability
  • Consistent with both vanes and feathers
  • They come in plastic or metal depending on your needs
  • Stick on any way you like

These arrow rests simply stick onto the bow with a bit of pressure and a piece of adhesive tape. Sometimes they attach with magnets.

Stick-on arrow rests are quite simple in design, so they are pretty affordable. Bear Archery, for example, will sell you a stick-on arrow rest for about five dollars.

Some recurve bows have holes that allow screw-on arrow rests, but stick-on arrow rests work for bows without that function.

Archery arrows use either vanes or feathers to help them fly, and depending on the rest you use, your shooting might become inconsistent. Most stick-on arrow rests are compatible with either feathers or vanes.

As mentioned before, no archer is the same, so that you may need a different material of arrow rest from another. Stick-on arrow rests come in either plastic or metal.

People starting in archery usually go with plastic, but metal works well for anyone. Metal rests have a little more flexibility and often make a smoother alternative since plastic can easily dent and break.

You can also stick the arrow rest on at the angle you like. If necessary, the arrow rest can go on perfectly straight or even at an angle.

Cons

  • Double-sided tape does not last forever
  • Little room for adjustment after sticking on

The biggest con about stick-on arrow rests is that they usually stick on with tape. Although tape can be strong, it does not attach as firmly to the bow and risks coming off if you jostle the bow. Again, some models use magnets, so you might be able to avoid the stickiness problem.

For the most part, stick-on arrow rests stay in place once you apply them to your bow. If you need to adjust it again, you will have to be especially careful taking it off your bow.

Wrap Around Arrow Rests

Also available in plastic and metal, wrap-around arrow rests work for almost any bow and skill level.

Pros

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Adjustable

Wrap-around arrow rests literally wrap around the bow, so the chances of them breaking off are not as high. A wrap-around arrow rest adjusts to any size bow, and you can adjust the tension around it to your liking.

Cons

  • May require other adjustments over time

Sometimes wrap-around arrow rests require trial and error to determine where it fits you. For example, you might need to trim some wires or adjust the tension several times before finding the perfect fit.

Why Choose One Over the Other?

Stick-on arrow rests may work if you know exactly which angle you want to place it. Once you stick it on, you may have difficulty removing it. Wrap around arrow rests allow you a little more flexibility but may require more fine-tuning to find the perfect angle. In that case, wrap-around rests may be kinder to beginners because of their versatility.

Part of this may include your comfort with stringwalking in barebow archery.

What is stringwalking, exactly?

Stringwalking is when you adjust your arrow on the string depending on how high or low you want to shoot.

Depending on where you place your rest, you may have a hard time doing that.

Either kind of rest can help with stringwalking, but most people go with the stick on rests for the job.

Stick On Arrow Rest

As an example of a stick-on arrow rest, we will look at the AAE Champion II arrow rest and the Hoyt Super.

The AAE Champion II uses a magnet to attach to the bow so you can adjust your angle if needed. That light tension also helps accommodate different size arrows so you can experiment more.

On the other hand, the Hoyt Super sticks on with double-sided tape. There is a tiny hook on the rest to hold the arrow in place, and it stays on pretty well through hundreds of arrows. The rest adjusts to either the right or left side of the bow. The only downside is that the rest is so thin that it wears off after around 15,000 arrows, so you may need to buy several to accommodate your practice.

Wrap Around Arrow Rest

To show the strengths of the wrap-around arrow rest, we will look at the Zniper and the Spigarelli ZT.

The Zniper adjusts great for stringwalking because it does not bounce when shooting, keeping your shooting consistent. Setup does not take very long, and adjusting it should be easy too. You can use almost any arrow type with it.

The Spigarelli ZT claims to create zero vibrations when shooting arrows and has a solid magnetic attachment. Such strength makes it an excellent arrow rest for larger arrows.

Conclusion

Which barebow arrow rest you use depends on your shooting style, how many arrows you shoot, whether you like to stringwalk, and so on. You want to take into account whether plastic or metal may work better.

The good news is that you have plenty of ways to adjust both kinds of rests. You can select an adhesive tape stick-on or a magnetic one. A wrap-around arrow rest requires more trial and error, but that may be part of the fun for you.

Whichever one you choose, there are plenty of quality options available online, along with plenty of video tutorials for adjustments and comparing and contrasting.

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