function is pretty simple - to hold your arrow in position and support
the arrow until you fire the bow. This not withstanding, not all arrow rests are created
equal, there are dozens of different rests to choose from. Some
are inexpensive; some are not. Some are simple to install and use;
many are not. Some are good for hunting; others are not. You
get the idea. There is no one perfect rest for everyone and every application. Like
most things you buy, each type of arrow rest has pros and cons to
consider. And while it probably isn't necessary to buy the most
expensive model, a quality arrow rest, in conjunction with a quality
sight, will undoubtedly improve your
accuracy and success in the field. If you're looking to improve your
shooting, installing a quality arrow rest is a great place to start. As
such, we suggest you consider this choice carefully.
Arrow Rest Types
If you're shooting a modern center-shot cutaway bow, you have a wide
variety of arrow rest designs to choose from. Modern bows are generally
drilled and tapped to the same AMO specs, so any brand of arrow rest
fits virtually any bow*. For example, you don't have to choose a PSE
rest to go with your PSE bow. You can choose virtually any rest on the
advised, some bow brands feature especially thick risers and/or wide
center-shots. If you have such a bow, please check to make sure
the arrow rest you select has enough windage adjustment.
OK...so where do we begin? Let's start with arrow rest type. Most
arrow rests can be placed in 1 of 5 categories: Shoot-Thru Arrow Rests,
Containment Arrow Rests, Drop Away Arrow Rests, Pressure/Plunger Rests,
and 3D & Specialty Rests. So let's briefly take a look at each type of
rest and discuss their respective pros and cons.
The Shoot-Thru arrow rest is commonly called a "prong" rest, and is a
popular choice. They're fairly simple to install and they work well for
most applications. A Shoot-Thru rest typically has two prongs, spaced about 2/3 of the
arrow diameter apart, creating a sort of cradle for the arrow. The arrow sits on top, settling on the gap between the
two prongs. These prongs are usually spring-loaded, allowing them to
flex down and forward at the moment of the shot to prevent flight
disruptions and permitting additional
clearance for the fletching as it passes by. After the shot, the
spring-loaded prongs automatically return to their original position
and you're ready to shoot again.
This type of rest is called a "Shoot-Thru" because the bottom feather or
vane (usually the odd-colored one known as the "cock-fletch")
passes between the two prongs when you shoot the arrow. When the
arrow-nock and rest-prong alignment is correct, the cock-fletch passes
cleanly thru the two prongs without making contact. When properly
setup, this type of arrow rest is very accurate and reliable. A basic "Quiktune
800 Style" Shoot-Thru
rest costs less than $20 (middle photo) and actually works quite well.
If you want more features and easier adjustability, you can purchase a
premium Shoot-Thru rest, like the Spot Hogg Platinum for around $80. Of
course, there are plenty of mid-grade models to choose from too.
Unfortunately, the Shoot-Thru rest does have a few disadvantages.
First, if a feather or vane contacts one of your prongs as it passes by,
the arrow flight will be notably disrupted and the fletching may be
damaged. Straight vanes usually clear with no trouble, but offset and
helical fletchings will often require a little more tinkering to achieve
good clearance. So proper tuning, correct arrow spine selection, and
nock alignment is critical when using Shoot-Thru rests. Shoot-thru
rests are also best used with a mechanical release. Unlike mechanically
released arrows which tend to oscillate vertically, finger released
arrows tend to oscillate horizontally. This side-to-side movement
(archer's paradox) can make proper fletching clearance very difficult to
achieve for finger shooters using Shoot-Thru style rests.
And finally, the biggest disadvantage of Shoot-Thru rests is the lack of
arrow containment. Once you nock your arrow into position, there's
nothing to keep the arrow from falling off the rest prongs. A strong
wind, a canted bow, a shaky drawstroke, or even a little buck-fever
could all cause your arrow to fall from the prongs of a Shoot-Thru
rest. For some users of Shoot-Thru rests, this is never a problem. For
others, it's a constant headache. There are a number of add-on products
which function as "arrow holders" for Shoot-Thru rests. However,
we do not recommend them, as they often disrupt arrow flight and/or are
cumbersome to use.
While the Shoot-Thru rest was once the standard for both hunting and
competition shooters, it has lost considerable favor to containment and
drop-away rests over the last few years. And although many
competition shooters still prefer the prong-rest, bowhunters are largely
moving away from this type of arrow rest.
Containment-style arrow rests are a favorite of many hunters, as they
totally eliminate the possibility of the arrow falling from the rest.
They are easy to install and very easy to tune. Containment style arrow
rests either totally encircle the arrow, or simultaneously contact the
arrow in 3 spots, rigidly holding the arrow until it is shot. The
Containment Arrow Rest is an excellent choice for youth and new shooters
too. Many new shooters, especially those who are still wrestling with
their shooting form, quickly become frustrated with arrows that fall
from the rest. Containment Arrow Rests allow new shooters to focus on
their technique and the actual shot, rather than worrying about the
arrow rest. Most containment rests sell for $30-60 and they work well
with most any type of arrow.
Unfortunately, the containment rest isn't perfect either. Some argue
that since the rest is in contact with the arrow for a longer period of
time, the Containment Style rest is less forgiving to errors in shooting
technique. While this may be true in the strictest technical sense, it
is not the most common complaint from Containment Rest users. The most
common gripe is fletching damage. Though not all Containment Rests are
designed to make contact with the arrow's fletchings, the most popular
of the Containment Rests (The Whisker Biscuit) is designed this way.
With repeated shooting, this type of rest eventually wrinkles vanes and
tatters the edges of feathers. But since the rest makes equal contact
with all 3 fletchings simultaneously, the net effect on arrow flight is
negligible - less a tiny deduction in speed. On the other hand,
Containment Rests with 3-point contacts (like the Bodoodle Zapper at
bottom-left) are designed NOT to make fletching contact. But they can
be particularly fussy about nock and fletching alignment, much like a
Shoot-Thru rest. Some of the 3-point Containment Rests are designed
with fairly small clearance gaps which cannot accommodate most offset
and helical fletchings. So a straight fletch may be required if you
choose a 3-point type Containment Rest.
All things considered, the Containment Rest offers some significant
advantages, especially for hunting. Whether you hunt from the ground or
a treestand, a Containment Rest ensures that your arrow is ready to
shoot at all times. Though this may not be important for 3D target and
recreational archers, we suggest bowhunters strongly consider this
option. Many of our
Ready-to-Hunt™ Bow Packages now include Containment Rests
specifically for this reason.
No discussion of containment rests is complete without some specific
mention of the Whisker Biscuit phenomenon. While hardcore
enthusiasts continue to debate the pros and cons of the Whisker Biscuit,
this arrow rest has come to totally dominate the containment rest market
- and perhaps the larger arrow rest market for that matter. Over
50% of the bows we sell and setup use some model of Whisker Biscuit.
While the Whisker Biscuit still gets a "love it or hate it response", it
is by far the most popular choice among new bowhunting enthusiasts and
the recognized standard in containment arrow rests. In fact, there
have been dozens of "knock-offs" over the past few years - similar rests
that are made specifically to compete with the Whisker Biscuit.
And while many of them have posted good technical challenges, they
cannot force consumers to release their bear-hugs on the Whisker
Biscuit. Fletching damage or not, countless thousands of
bowhunters adore this rest.
Away Arrow Rests
Drop Away Arrow Rests have been around for a while, but they have really
surged in popularity and design sophistication in the last few years.
Some people refer to them as "fall-away" rests. But as either name
suggests, the Drop Away Arrow Rest is designed to drop out of the way,
and eliminate concerns about fletching clearance. At full draw, a Drop
Away Arrow Rest holds the arrow firmly up into position, but when the
bow fires - the Drop Away Rest moves completely down and out of the path
of the arrow. This allows even the largest helical fletchings to pass
by the arrow shelf without the slightest bit of contact. Most Drop Away
Arrow Rests have large notches or prongs that cradle arrows much better
than Shoot-Thru rests, so there's less chance your arrow will fall off a
Drop Away Rest. So theoretically, the Drop Away Rest gives you the best
of both worlds.
There are several different styles of Drop Away Arrow Rests. Most are
actuated by the movement of the bow's cable slide or buss cable, a
few models are actuated by the bow's forward inertia
at the shot. Some even use even
movement of the bow's limbs. Many models also offer
micro-adjustability and vibration dampening features too. Drop Away
Rests are arguably the most advanced rest designs available today.
As you might suspect, this fancy gadgetry comes at a price. Most of
today's popular Drop Away Rests are priced from $50-100. Most Drop
Away Rests are best installed by a qualified archery professional, as
the setup and tuning procedure can sometimes be tedious. The Drop Away
Rest must remain up and in-place until the arrow has a chance to gain
some speed and establish it's trajectory, but it must fall completely
out of the way before the fletching arrives at the rest. Getting the
timing right can be a little tricky. If the rest falls too early, the
arrow flight is erratic and tuning is impossible. If the rest falls too
late, you get major fletching contact. The faster your bow is, the
less the margin of error you'll have available to get things to happen in just the
right rhythm. Admittedly it isn't exactly neurosurgery, but be advised
that in most cases setting up your new Drop Away Arrow Rest may not be
as simple as just bolting it on.
There's no denying the benefit of a properly functioning Drop Away
Arrow Rest. For those who shoot large fixed-blade broadheads, which can
be troublesome to stabilize, the Drop Away is a big advantage - as it
permits the use of large helical fletchings when all is functioning
properly. Since most Drop Away rests create less friction between
the arrow and the arrow rest, you can count on gaining a few extra FPS
for your trouble too.
The Drop Away rest is the preferred choice for many experienced
bowhunters and technical enthusiasts. As the sophistication and
utility of Drop Away designs continue to improve, competition shooters
are gradually moving from prong-rests to top-quality Drop Away rests
too. Unlike the containment rest market, there doesn't seem to be
a dominant drop away design, but there are countless models and
configurations to choose from. However, most of them are
fundamentally similar in their operation.
term "Pressure Rest" is practically synonymous with "Finger-Shooter
Rest". They're sometimes also called "Shoot-Around" rests. This is a
special type of rest that "pushes back" from the side, to help
counteract the horizontal oscillation of an arrow released with
fingers. Finger shooting is becoming less popular, as more and more
shooters elect to use mechanical releases. But fortunately, several
manufacturers still make rests that are specifically designed to
accommodate the finger-released arrow.
These rests will allow the finger shooter to adjust the amount of
tension (pressure) the rest exerts on the arrow, to get the best
possible tune from a finger-released bow. Please note that some of
these designs may only work with a center-shot cutaway riser bow (figure
A). If you shoot an older bow without the benefit of a center-shot
cutaway riser (figure B), you may need to choose a standard Flipper or
Springy rest. Some Pressure Rests won't have enough horizontal travel
to accommodate the center-shot on a older bow.
We group all other miscellaneous arrow rests as Specialty Arrow Rests.
These may include:
Specialty competition 3D rests (sometimes called Lizard Tongues)
Rests for non center-shot cutaway and traditional bows
Rests for finger-shooters
Bowfishing Rests for heavy fiberglass arrows.
other miscellaneous arrow rests.
These rests are purpose-specific and
should not be used for most bowhunting applications. If you are unsure
which specialty rest is appropriate for your bow, please contact us for