Make a grip

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.

Total Archery - Inside the archer by Kisik Lee,

Total Archery – Inside the archer by Kisik Lee & Tyler Benner

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.

Grip 2

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).

Grip 3

Slight angle left to right

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.

3M Marine Premium Filler, easy to sand and shape, dries quickly

3M Marine Premium Filler, easy to sand and shape, dries quickly

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.



True Shot Coach

I was recently sent a True Shot Coach which is both a training aid and something you can use all the time to improve your bowgrip and according to the maker, eliminate torque.


True Shot Coach with sling – They make these without a sling, because I’m shooting a recurve bow I chose the sling version.

The problem with the bowhand is that it gets in the way, if the bow is not gripped properly it is easy to induce torque which shows up on the target as left or right arrows.


I’m using the True Shot Coach in this picture, hard to see as my fingers hide it from view.

What the True Shot Coach does is secure your hand on the bow at the proper angle and keeps your fingers settled and out of the way.

A proper bowgrip is relaxed and is just resisting the bow, creating a pocket of sorts for the bow to bear against, you want the bow to be free when you release the string, allowing it to jump forward towards the target,  so if your motto is “Grip it and rip it!” you need one of these.

The True Shot Coach is affixed to your hand by an elastic band that fits around your fingers, see picture.

Elastic band form fits around your fingers and places the T.S.C. in your palm.

Elastic band form fits around your fingers and places the T.S.C. in your palm.

You put it on by sliding your fingers through the elastic band. The fit is secure. They come in different sizes and colors, you can visit their website for instructions on how to figure out your size and other more detailed info.


I used it on the blank bale and found it to be a great training aid in reinforcing proper hand position and relaxed hand and fingers. I was able to translate it to shooting in the field.

I have incorporated it as one of my training steps as I rotate through the components of my shot sequence (stance, nock, set grip, bowarm, draw, breathe, lock into back muscle, blur string, focus X, expand to conclusion).

You can also use it outside of practice in your regular shooting. The maker’s website, Don’t Choke Archery, says it is NFAA and FITA approved, because I shoot the more minimalist traditional and recurve barebow classes, I would want to check in before I used one in competition.

The construction and quality of these is good and the cost is reasonable. The True Shot Coach is $16.95, the slinged version that I used is $ 22.95. They are made here in the USA.

So, if you’re looking for a thoughtful gift for the archer that has everything, this may just do the trick.