Dry Fire Compound Bow: The Ultimate Guide

Dry Fire a Compound Bow

Dry firing a compound bow is the process of pulling the trigger without an arrow attached to the string. Dry firing a compound bow can be done for many reasons, but it’s most commonly used in preparation for shooting competitions like hunting and target shooting.

What are some reasons not to dry fire a compound bow?

Dry firing can potentially ruin the string and cables on the compound bow. The manufacturers of nearly all modern compounds recommend against discharging them with nothing attached, but you should check your owner’s manual for specific instructions regarding your particular equipment.


Additionally, dry firing can damage your fingers if they get in front of the string, and it can cause serious injury to animals and people who get in front of the moving arrow.


On more than one occasion I have heard stories about dogs being shot by arrows that were released when there was no arrow in place. For safety reasons alone, you should never dry fire your compound bow.

What happens if you Dry Fire a Compound bow?

Dry firing a compound bow is not a good idea. It will cause damage to the bow and it’s not good for the shooter.

Some people think that dry firing a compound bow is okay, but this is not true. Dry firing can cause some serious problems with your equipment and your body.

Most compound bows are made to be fired with a string and usually have a release button or trigger. Dry firing should be done with the string, as that is the way compound bows are designed to be fired.

How to tell if bow is damaged after dry fire

The first thing to do is to check the bowstring. It should be in a relatively straight line. If it is not, the bowstring may have been damaged.

Second, inspect the limbs of the bow. They should be straight and not bending or twisting. If they are bent or twisted, this means that they are also damaged and will need to be replaced with new limbs.

Third, test how much tension is on the string by pulling it back until you feel resistance and then release it back down to its original position. The string should return to its original position easily and quickly without any slack in it at all. This means that there is no damage done to the string as well as the rest of your bow’s parts.

If you notice any of these signs , you need to replace your bowstring, limbs and the bow’s tip. When one develops a habit of shooting the same target for long periods of time, their aim can begin to drift. This is because it requires too much effort to maintain a central point on the target and different muscles are used when aiming at different areas of a target.

Why does dry firing damage a bow

Dry firing a bow damages the bow because it can cause the string to break or the limb to become loose. When you dry fire a bow, you’re not actually pulling the bowstring back and releasing it. Instead, you hold your arm in place while your muscles and tendons pull back on the string. When you release your fingers, they are no longer holding onto the string, so it doesn’t have anything to hold onto when it’s released.

There are a few reasons why dry firing can damage a bow:

  • The string can break from being pulled too hard or from being pulled too fast .
  • The limb can become loose because of torsion stress.
  • The limbs of some bows are made out of wood and dry firing them will make them crack.
  • The string can twist off of the bowstring loop screw, causing a loss in control of the bow.
  • The limbs can become twisted and fly out of alignment if they get too hot from dry firing.
  • The bowstring can be cut with a sharp object caused by dry firing the bow.
  • The string can warp from the heat of dry firing and the bow is no longer able to hold its tuned length when dry firing.
  • The string can also be cut from dry firing if it is too long.


How much does it cost to fix a dry fired bow

As of 2022, the price of fixing a dry fired bow depends on which type of string is used, what materials are needed and the difficulties involved with the repair. Generally, bows that have been repaired before are usually more expensive to fix.

Won’t firing a compound bow “break in” the strings and cables?

In theory, yes, but only if you do it the correct way. Compound bows that are properly dry fired by following manufacturer’s instructions will eventually reduce the peep rotation and enhance draw length. However, this takes a lot of time and patience, and can sometimes damage the components of your compound bow before any progress is made.

What is a good substitute for a dismounted arrow to use as an object when I want to practice drawing my compound bow?

Using something like a dowel rod or an old arrow shaft with no point works well as long as you follow certain safety precautions:

  • Do not set your arrow or other object on the ground. Make sure you are holding it securely before releasing the string.
  • Set up a backstop to protect both yourself and any bystanders. A rolled up sleeping bag works well here, but make sure it is anchored down so that it doesn’t slip around while you draw your bow. You can also tape some old cardboard boxes together to block an errant arrow. It might sound funny, but trust me, I have seen many arrows miss their intended target simply because they were deflected off of something else in the archer’s surroundings.

What about using another person as my dry firing “arrow”?

No matter how stable you think your shooting platform is, chances are that your “arrow” will be leaning on you in some way, and this can result in dangerous accidents. Additionally, using another person as an arrow is potentially illegal depending on where you live, so it’s best to consult your local hunting laws before doing this.

What are some tips for dry firing my compound bow?

If at all possible, use a backstop of some kind to protect both yourself and bystanders. The easiest way to accomplish this is with something like an old sleeping bag or cardboard box filled with old clothes or blankets. A rolled up tarp works well too if you don’t mind hauling it out into the field every time you want to practice drawing your bow.


While practicing without any object attached to the string may seem safer, it can be extremely unpleasant if something goes wrong. If you are not using a backstop of some kind, always practice on an empty stomach so that you don’t injure your stomach or internal organs should the string snap back towards you (this is another reason why using another person as an arrow is never a good idea). Take several pieces of tape and tape your knock point down.


The last thing you want to do is lose your nocking point while drawing your bow, and this will prevent that from happening. If I’m dry firing my compound bow at home with a backstop behind me, can I do anything to protect my ears?


Yes – wear ear protection! Not only will this help keep your hearing intact for years to come, it will also make watching TV and listening to music much more enjoyable.

What should I do if I see someone dry firing a compound bow?

First, you need to assess how safe the situation is. If there aren’t any bystanders, then it’s probably not an emergency. However, you should still notify the individual that they are breaking one of the cardinal rules of archery and could be seriously injured or even killed if something goes wrong while they are practicing.


Additionally, you can mention that all compound bows will eventually break in with use and regular practice sessions (but remember: only when used according to manufacturer’s instructions).You might be surprised at how many people don’t know about this fact! If there are bystanders who could potentially be injured by the dry firing individual, it’s time to call your local archery range or police department for help.


If you can’t reach someone who deals with this kind of thing, then you should contact your local sportsman’s club or bowhunting organization. Since these people deal with this sort of thing on a regular basis, they will know how to handle the situation much better than anyone else.


Since many accidents happen during home practice sessions, what are some rules that I should follow when practicing at home? Always set up a backstop of some kind before drawing your bow – either a rolled up piece of cloth or an old pair of pants works well here as long as there is nothing behind them that could stop your arrow. This backstop will protect the walls of your home, especially if you are using a recurve bow instead of a compound bow since these tend to be much more powerful than their modern counterparts.


Make sure that there is nothing behind where you plan on shooting that could potentially stop your arrow or result in it deflecting backwards (for example, an open window). Always make sure that your bowstring isn’t drawn all the way to one side – this will prevent injury should something go wrong with your draw or release. Don’t forget about practicing! Even though practicing with a deflated basketball may seem like a good idea at first, it’s definitely not recommended. The last place you want an accident to happen is when there’s no air left in the basketball.

What’s the best way to dry fire a compound bow?

The first thing you need to do is make sure that your bow isn’t cocked – if it is, then your string should be drawn and ready to go. Keep both hands on the grip of your compound bow at all times as you start drawing it back (with or without an arrow attached). If there is no arrow, pay attention as to whether or not the bow starts to come out of your hand due to tension from the string – if this happens, stop immediately.


This means that there is still tension on your string and the last thing you want to do is draw an arrow down onto yourself by accident! Wait for all of the tension on your string to dissipate before continuing on. Once the tension is gone, make sure that you aren’t drawing all of your draw weight down while dry firing. Draw some amount (even if it’s only 5 pounds) and hold still until everything has settled down.


You should notice a significant drop in pressure after letting go of some or most of your draw weight – this is what you want. If there isn’t any noticeable change in pressure, then continue letting off more draw weight until things settle down.

It might seem like a hassle to pay attention to these sorts of details when all you’re really trying to do is practice how to release an arrow properly, but if dry firing with a compound bow causes an injury or damage at home, it’s definitely not worth the time or money that you would have to spend.

What happens if I accidentally let an arrow fly while dry firing?

As long as there isn’t any air in your arrow, nothing should happen. If there is air left in your arrow when you release it during a dry fire session, things might get interesting immediately after letting go of the button – the air inside of the arrow will force it forward and potentially make it bounce off of whatever surface it comes into contact with (be this a wall, door, floor, etc.).


Arrows aren’t designed for travel without tension from a bowstring – they can easily become deformed and fly uncontrollably due to their lack of spine (the amount of stiffness within the arrow). Arrows are also under a lot of stress when they are released during practice sessions – if the arrow is allowed to fly within an enclosed space or at someone, it could result in serious injury. Always make sure that your arrows are safely contained prior to releasing them during dry firing.


As long as you are still practicing with proper technique and have paid attention to each step listed above, then there should be no reason why dry firing isn’t safe for you to do. Just remember that there needs to be enough air left in your bow’s tubing so that it doesn’t buckle due to excess tension from the string – this is what could potentially cause your bow not to fire properly during dry fire training.

When should I start dry firing my compound bow?

If you’ve purchased a compound bow that allows for it, then there’s no time like the present to start practicing how to release an arrow properly – your equipment will thank you! Even if every piece of equipment associated with your compound is functioning as it should, now is always a good time to make sure that everything is up to par and working as intended. Don’t wait until you have an issue before getting familiar with what’s going on inside of your bow – find out early so that you can correct any potential problems before they happen! It doesn’t hurt to become familiar with something prior to actually needing it.

Is dry firing safe for me to do?

In a word, yes. As long as you’ve paid attention to the steps listed above and have used equipment that wasn’t damaged before starting, then dry firing should be a safe way for any person to practice how to draw and release an arrow properly. The worst thing that will happen while practicing without an arrow is that your bow may stink from being fired repeatedly – other than this annoyance, there’s nothing wrong with dry firing. If you’re worried about damaging your equipment by dry firing, just keep in mind that it can be done safely so long as all of these details have been followed.

Do I need anything else other than a drawn compound bow to practice?

Not really. But if you want additional help when practicing without an actual arrow, then there are a few things that may help. You can either move further away from your target or you can use a training tip on the end of your arrow to make sure that everything happens at the right pace. You don’t need anything else other than what was listed, but it doesn’t hurt to have added benefits behind dry firing – especially if you’re just getting started!

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