Confused by all the different terms and shop talk? Especially when you’re pretty new to archery and want to get started it can be hard to understand all these acronyms etc. so fast. And I am sure, at some point you heard the term IBO or ATA speed.
For example when looking for your first own bow, as it is marked on the bows you are taking into consideration.
These IBO or ATA are the standards for speed ratings and before buying your first bow you should make sure to know what they mean for your shooting.
What does IBO mean?
IBO abbreviation for International Bowhunters Organization and this organization created a standard rating for bows through a test. So the IBO speed rating is measured by shooting a bow with a maximum pull weight of 80 pounds (+/- 2 pounds).
The arrow that is used for the test is 400 grains or 5 grains per pound of draw weight (there is no required draw length). The rating is taken at the bow’s point-blank range.
One could say, a high IBO number means a more powerful bow but is that true?
Since the draw length is not considered in this test, it is not that easy. For example, it is hard to compare a bow with a draw length at 33 inches that is drawn with 82 pounds to a bow with 30 inches and 80 pounds draw weight.
More Standards – ATA
As you probably already thought the IBO can’t be the only standard for bows out there. That would be to easy and to unprecise right?
The ATA (Archery Trade Association) has made up a standard for bows just as the IBO: This ATA speed is measured through a test, where a bow will be shooting with a max pull weight of 70 pounds (+/- 2 pounds) while the arrow used will be 350 grains or 5 grains per pound of draw weight. Further, they established a draw length at 30 1/4 inches.
Therefore, the ATA rating is considered to be more precise and different bows can be compared easier.
When searching for a new or your first bow, you’ll probably come across some bows that offer both standards. However, not every manufacturer will list the ATA rating.
Which Standard should I use?
More confused than at the beginning? There is no need for that. I guess you are now wondering which one of the metrics you should use when choosing a good bow. At this point, it is important to know that you should never choose a bow only by looking at the IBO or ATA number.
Yes, the ATA number is a bit more of a statement but not every manufacturer lists that number. Furthermore, you should take a look at the big picture: A bow with a higher IBO speed can still be slower than one with a lower IBO rating.
The higher-rated one can still be less accurate, it could be the wrong fit for your cause the draw weight is to light or to heavy, maybe the draw length is uncomfortable for your body type and so on.
All these factors influence the speed that the bow will be shooting with when YOU are using it.
Not to forget: Some companies don’t list the bow speed at all! So you don’t know at what speed the arrow will fly until you test it yourself somehow, still, it could be the right bow for you.
Let’s sum this up: When looking for the right bow, there are many important factors. You should ask yourself what is best for your shooting style instead of focusing on an impressing IBO speed to brag about when you are hanging out with your buddies.
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