In the archery industry - speed sells. And today, the proverbial line in the sand is about 320 fps. Bows that shoot less than 320 fps are considered a little slow - bows that shoot over 320 fps are considered fast. Of course, that's fundamentally ridiculous ... 310 fps is 211 mph, 330 fps is 225 mph. Nonetheless, that's the market perception. Additionally, a bow that shoots less than 300 fps is considered unacceptably slow, and a bow that shoots 340 fps or above is considered a screamer.
Speed - speed - speed! It's literally the force that drives our industry. So we spend a lot of time dissecting the issue ...
If you're just getting into the sport, and you're not sure what these horsepower numbers mean - let's start at the top. On the most basic level, there are three main components that contribute to greater arrow speeds: more draw weight, more draw length, and less arrow mass. The higher the draw weight - the more power the bow stores and the faster the arrow will shoot. The longer the draw length - the more power the bow stores and the faster the arrow will shoot. And the lighter the arrow - the faster it generally flies. So for the purposes of testing and coming up with speed-ratings, a slick manufacturer could establish their bow's advertised speed using an unrealistic 100# draw weight, a super-long 32" draw length, and use a flyweight 250 grain arrow. Surely that combination would yield a blazing fast test speed which would help to sell more bows, right? Well, not so fast.
To keep the speed ratings fair (and useful for consumers), the industry uses an "Apples-to-Apples" method of comparison. Manufacturers generally rate their bows using the same IBO (International Bowhunting Organization) Standard. To get an accurate IBO Speed rating, manufacturers must test their bows under the same preset conditions: setting the bows for exactly 70# Peak Draw Weight, exactly 30" Draw Length, and they must shoot a test arrow that weighs precisely 350 grains. This levels the playing field on basic settings, so the differences in IBO scores reflect other design attributes (brace height, cam aggression, bow efficiency, etc.).
But as we said, speed sells. So measuring and declaring those advertised IBO Speed numbers is serious business. Bow buyers really split hairs over IBO Speeds - and the industry knows it. Manufacturers need their bows to be rated fast, because nobody wants to buy a new slow bow. With that said, you should know that some bow manufacturers are very honest about their IBO Speeds - others are known to take a few liberties despite the strict standards. As such, 320 fps in one brand doesn't necessarily equal 320 fps in another brand. If you want to know more ... call us and we'll talk it over (877-410-7811).