I’ve been on a quest of sorts, to improve my recurve bow grip. I’ve spent time checking out commercial grips, I’ve searched the web and studied pictures of grips, and read what I could find on the subject.
Some of the better information I found was in the book “Total Archery” by Kisik Lee and Tyler Benner. The chapter titled “Grip Positioning” walks you through the theory of gripping the bow and is nicely illustrated with photographs to clarify and support their points. Within that chapter there is a page dedicated to making your own grip, where you can get some straight dope on what to do.
I also found great theoretical info in the World Archery (FITA) Coach’s Manual -Recurve Bow Shooting Form Module. I believe coach Kim Hyung Tak, wrote this module (see pg 8 of the module).
In crafting a new grip, there were a few things I wanted to achieve. One I wanted the left edge of the grip to be closer in line with the lifeline on my hand (I’m right handed), providing a wider base so I could feel the bow well supported and not as if my hand wanted to roll around the left side of the grip.
Two, I also wanted a grip that easily let me repeat the same hand placement time after time by providing some hard edges to use as reference. Three, I didn’t know I wanted until I read about it, which was to angle the grip from left to right so it is higher on the lifeline side, placing the pressure point on the right hand side of the grip or put differently, the lateral center of the bow. (see pic below).
This has been and continues to be an evolution, I started with a high grip but found it more difficult to use well so I sanded it down to a medium grip which I prefer. I had a pronounced left to right angle but after using it, I’ve brought it down to a more subtle angle. The face is currently dead flat, time and shooting will decide if this too will evolve.
Fortunately making changes isn’t hard. I’ve been using 3M’s Marine Premium Filler.
What I like about using this filler is it kicks off fast, I can be sanding within a half hour of application. It sands easily, so some 80 grit sandpaper in hand or on a hard block will get you all the shapes you want.
This is a two part product, you mix the filler with a toothpaste like hardener. I mixed it on top of a cardboard square and, then used a couple putty knives to apply it. I applied more than I needed and then sanded down to the shape I wanted. This is stinky stuff, if you use it or a product like it make sure to read all the instructions and warning labels.
At the crux of all this shaping, marine filler, reading, changing and adapting is the marriage between hand and grip. It is creating a shape that meets your hand and solidly directs the force of effort, centrally from hand to the bow minimizing left, right or other movement of the bow at release. It is really a small technical improvement that helps the greater effort of becoming a better archer.
If you’ve adapted your grip, let me know what you did or what product you used. I’d love to hear it.