If you are a long-distance bow hunter or someone who shoots their bow from an elevated position, such as on top of a tree stand, then having some type of stabilizer is essential.
It can make all the difference in your shooting experience and, ultimately, how much fun you have while hunting with your bow.
There are many different types of stabilizers available that range greatly in price, but they all serve one purpose: to help stabilize your bow so it does not move when you release the string.
Bow Stabilization Systems
If you don’t use any type of stabilization system at all, then every shot will be affected by wind gusts and other outside factors, making your shots less accurate, which could result in missed targets.
I am going to cover exactly what a back bar stabilizer is and why this particular style has become very popular over the past several years.
Then we’ll talk about what size and weight you should get if you plan on using a back bar stabilizer during bow season. Finally, I’m going to go into detail about choosing the right model for you based on your budget.
How Bow Stabilizers Work
Let’s consider four ways in which bow stabilization works.
1. Friction Factor
It firstly causes a rise in friction factor. This keeps the bow more stable for increased consistency and makes it harder for the bow to shift, twist, or torque throughout the draw and arrow-launch phase.
2. Target Lock
Second, bow stabilization enables the sight pin to move in a smaller pattern on the bullseye and to lock onto the target more quickly.
3. Reduce Vibration
Third, a good bow stabilizer will have a dampening system or coupler to lessen noise and vibration from leftover shots. Naturally, this enables a release of the arrow that is smoother, more comfortable, and consistently on target.
4. Better Stability
The majority of contemporary hunting bows have too much weight at the front of the riser and have poor accuracy. The reason is due to their geometry of reflexed risers and their severe parallel limbs.
In order to prevent the sight pin from slipping out of the bottom of the target, the archer must apply shoulder and arm muscular strain, which encourages a downward-tipping setup.
This makes comfortable aiming and superb mechanics very challenging to achieve and forces us to consider the requirement for a back bar stabilizer in addition to a bow stabilizer on the front of the bow.
Do You Need a Back Bar Stabilizer?
In order to balance off the front mass weight, a back or sidebar stabilizer is used. However, the overall advantages of accuracy and comfort far overshadow any drawbacks.
Depending on how this bar is configured, it may make the bow bulkier and less streamlined for hunting. Two things become apparent after installing a properly adjusted back bar configuration.
As soon as the target is locked, the bow will nearly entirely balance on its own, and the sight pin will swiftly stable!
The accuracy of your bow won’t actually change if you buy a little, weightless six-inch stabilizer because modern bows are so quiet and accurate. According to theory and what I’ve observed, an accurate bow will be heavier.
Advantages of a Bow Stabilizer
It’s entirely acceptable to forgo using a long bow stabilizer if all you intend to do with your hunting is shoot deer that are only 20 yards away, as long as you don’t want to have a hefty weight out front.
A 10 to 15-inch bow stabilizer that shifts the weight forward will help you increase your range a little.
Your bow will be heavier as a result, but because the weight is at the end and farther away from the center, the bow becomes more stable right away, making it quicker and simpler to place your pin precisely where you want it.
This length might be an issue in dense forests, but it is a fantastic option in open spaces like the typical midwestern fields.
The back stabilizer is in fact equally, if not even more, crucial than your front stabilizer because the bow is now front heavy. The focus is solely on your bubble, which is the explanation.
Everyone reading this has undoubtedly drawn their bow back to realize that the bubble isn’t level as they prepare for bow season and target practice.
2. Increased Torque
When you need to manually adjust the bubble to get it in the middle, you’ve simply increased the torque in your grip, which has an adverse impact on your ability to shoot to the left and right.
The back stabilizer’s main function is the ability to modify the amount of weight that is applied to the backbar and the position of the bar on the bow. Move it completely inward or completely outward to accomplish this.
Your back stabilizer should be set correctly such that the bubble rests precisely level with no effort required when you draw the bow back, which is what you actually want to happen.
3. Better Accuracy
Your accuracy downrange will significantly improve when you achieve this because you’ll have the least amount of torque feasible.
After installing a back stabilizer on their bow, several people have come to me to thank me or to agree that their bow is much more accurate and easier to aim at.
Again, if your only intention is to shoot a deer at a distance of 15-20 yards and you don’t want the added weight, that is perfectly OK.
For the archer or hunter who wants to increase their range to 30-35-40 yards and who wants that pin to remain rock-solid while making a clean release place on the target, this advice is provided.
A great number of people think that because they shoot a compound bow or crossbow, there isn’t room for a stabilizer.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, most bows today are highly stabilized, meaning they usually need little assistance from anything else besides good old gravity.
Bow Stabilization Systems Offer Better Shooting Results
However, those who hunt from trees (such as bowhunters) or do a lot of shooting from a bench often see better results from adding a stabilizer, depending upon where they’re shooting from.
The reason is that sometimes a person doesn’t want to sit down too close due to safety concerns and also to keep things simple.
How Long Should a Hunting Stabilizer Be?
A dampener, not a stabilizer, is most likely what you are using when shooting a bow with a stabilizer that is shorter than 5″.
Weight is needed at the end of a bar for a genuine stabilizer to function as a counterbalance. In order for the weight to affect the bow, it must be closer to the bow than it is farther away. In the woods, a longer stabilizer will be more difficult to handle.
While 7 inches might be a fine starting point, my personal favorite is 10 inches. It can be quite difficult to hunt with anything longer than 12 inches.
Choosing a Bow Stabilizer
When looking for a quality back-stabilized bow, it’s important to consider the length of the bow along with its draw length. Most manufacturers offer models ranging anywhere from 6″ to 14″ inches overall length.
As far as draw lengths go, it depends largely on personal preference since each bow is made specifically for the user it fits best.
An easy way to determine if your current bow needs additional stability would be to place the nocking point of your arrow just behind the front end of your grip stick and try pulling away without holding onto the rest.
If you feel like your hand might slip off the handle, then you may benefit from extra support. Another thing to note here is that longer bows generally require more force to hold than shorter ones simply because the center of mass is farther away.
Therefore, if you find yourself gripping harder on your bow when trying to pull it out of a tight spot, you may wish to invest in a stabilizing device.
Now let’s discuss why you’d even want to add something to your bow to begin with.
Problems When No Stabilizer Is Attached
1. Poor Accuracy
One major problem with non-back-stabilized bows is that they tend to shake quite easily, causing inaccurate aim and missing hits.
With no stabilizer attached, it only takes a minimal movement of the shooter for the riser to cause the limbs to swing up or down, resulting in poor accuracy and precision.
2. Increased Inconsistency
Also, the speed at which arrows travel through the air varies widely between individuals as well as varying distances.
Because of this inconsistency, it becomes difficult to consistently hit targets located within certain ranges. For these reasons alone, it makes sense to add a bow stabilizer for those who regularly use them.
3. Inadequate Bow Control
Let me put it another way… Would you rather shoot 3-yard shots with a shaky gun or 10-yard shots with a steady one? Of course, the answer would definitely be the latter.
Not only will you receive greater consistency, but you won’t have to worry about missing critical shots either. So now that we’ve established why you’d want a stabilizer, let’s look at some of the various styles currently available.
Types of Bow Stabilizers
Stabilizers come in two primary forms—horizontal and vertical. Both work pretty similarly, although horizontal systems typically cost a bit more money.
Basically, both styles utilize small rubber pads placed strategically throughout the sighting area to provide added friction against the bow’s riser.
Bow Stabilizers Increase Control
Since the rubber absorbs energy, then it forces the limb tips upward, thus providing increased stability. One main advantage of vertical stabilizers is that they allow shooters to adjust the amount of pressure needed to control the bow.
Vertical stabilizers are basically adjustable and can be adjusted manually by utilizing whatever tensioning mechanism comes standard with the unit.
Although adjustable vertical units require a bit more effort to set up initially, once everything lines up properly, they function perfectly and give you complete peace of mind knowing that nothing is moving around unexpectedly.
Sad but True
Nowadays, almost everyone uses a back bar stabilized bow not everybody knows why they need one. Many believe that all they really need is a nice sight, perfect stance technique, and a strong arm.
While this can certainly play a part, it wouldn’t hurt to know that the lower half of your body is doing all of the hard work.
By supporting the upper portion of the torso, your upper extremities remain free to concentrate solely on aiming and releasing.
Things to Keep In Mind
Here is a list of basic facts that anyone shooting a bow should already understand before heading out for deer season:
- Your feet must stay firmly planted on the ground unless you have an anchor point
- Your legs shouldn’t bend unnaturally under stress
- Don’t lean forward too heavily into the bow
- Take care of your balance—maintain proper posture and always watch your target
- Always check your equipment prior to leaving home
- Never leave your bow unattended
- Make sure that your bow is fully strung before taking it out
- Ensure that your quiver is secure and balanced evenly across your shoulder
- Keep an eye open for wildlife and always follow local regulations regarding weapons usage
- Be safe and enjoy your time outdoors
Now that you have learned a few key points that anyone new to archery should know, let’s wrap up our discussion with some final thoughts concerning getting the right stabilizer for you.
First, we discussed how bow stabilization systems work. Next, we examined what kind of bow you own and whether it requires additional stabilization or not.
We also touched briefly on what size and weight stabilizer to buy according to your budget.
Lastly, we mentioned some helpful pointers to ensure maximum comfort and performance while you’re out there enjoying nature.
Hopefully, you found the information provided above useful and informative.