Does arrow speed kill? Where does if fall inline when comparing the importance of total arrow weight? What about speed vs FOC? How does arrow speed affect K.E. and Momentum? These are all questions you should be asking yourself as you go down the archery worm hole.

When it comes to archery, speed has been at the forefront of conversation for years. In fact, not too long ago, speed was considered the most important factor by many bow hunters. But what is it about speed that is beneficial and what is just hype? Let us talk about a few key points about speed as it relates to archery and hunting.



There is no doubt that speed does play an important roll when it comes to hunting with a bow. When we talk about the “killing potential” of an arrow, speed has a good and a bad side, so you need to be aware of both and find a happy medium. One of the biggest benefits of speed is that you achieve a flatter trajectory.

Basically speaking, the faster your arrow is, the higher it will shoot when compared to a slower, or heavier arrow. For example, at 50 yards a bow shooting 330 feet per second with hit significantly higher that an arrow traveling at 270 feet per second. To be clear, there is not much of a difference in trajectory of those 2 arrows at 10,20, and even 30 yards but eventually physics has its way, and gravity starts to pull the arrow down as it is drawn towards the Earth. So, we can see that having a flatter trajectory from a fast arrow has some benefit at longer ranges, especially in cases where an archer may have “misjudged” the yardage. This would allow an arrow with more speed to give you a little more margin of error and possibly allowing you to still get your arrow in the vitals.



Another possible benefit to speed would be in situations where you have to consider an animal “jumping the string”. For those of you new to archery, this is when an animals ears have miraculously sensed impending doom and they instantly take their bodies from a full standing position to putting every belly hair they have in the dirt! This happens so fast that the result is normally a tearful archer watching their arrow clearly sail over the back of their trophy, and almost always getting sucked into some black hole never to be found again. This situation can also cause you to buy or borrow a metal detector to try and find your now lost $30.00 arrow. That being said, it is possible that a higher speed arrow could get you into the vitals before the animal has completely avoided it, but what are you sacrificing?



When we look at speed and how to achieve it, we often must sacrifice something. Most often it is our arrow weight. This is a dangerous slope! Proper arrow weight is critical to one of the most important factors in archery hunting, and that is penetration. When you try and achieve more speed by using a lighter arrow you will sacrifice penetration. It is always better to try and achieve higher speeds by making adjustments to your bow rather than using a lighter arrow right out of the gate. A heavier arrow will give you more momentum and greater penetration even though it will be slower. Also remember that at 30 yards and under the difference in trajectory of a fast and slow arrow is negligible, so the benefit of a slower, heavier arrow will far outweigh speed at those ranges.

Another hampering effect of speed from a lighter arrow when we talk about penetration is the use of large mechanical broadheads. With 2 inch and bigger cut mechanical broadheads becoming so popular you need to keep in mind what it takes as far as energy to make these big heads work effectively. A fast arrow is of little help when it does not carry enough energy or momentum to properly deploy and continue to drive a large mechanical through an animal. It is also wise to think about the potential energy loss incurred by a mechanical that requires a band, collar, or pin to be cut in order to deploy the blades, as this also requires energy to be used that could be put towards penetration. If your arrow has to be light in order to have speed, you are losing out on some portion of penetration.



Another key item often related to speed is accuracy. Honestly, besides offering a little more margin for error, I have a problem with this correlation. Speed does not make you more accurate. In fact, one of my favorite sayings is that speed will just allow you to miss faster! No matter what speed your arrow is, it is up to you as a hunter to be accurate. You owe it to yourself and the game you are hunting to have put the time in to be proficient with your equipment. I can guarantee you that a slow arrow is just as accurate as a high speed arrow for the practiced archer. A subject like this can always be taken to extremes, but for the majority of hunting situations accuracy has little bearing on speed. The Native Americans would have had a lot less meat in their diet if speed was a primary factor of the hunt. 

One more side effect of speed can be noise. For some this is not a critical factor, but for others noise is a big concern. You have to determine for yourself how much noise plays a part in hunting your desired game, but keep in mind that a light arrow can cause more noise and more wear and tear on your bow. 


Well, that is a wrap on our Speed Kills blog. Thanks for reading, we hope it was helpful for you. Speed is a vital part of a good hunting setup but should not be the focus as to overshadow energy and momentum. Also, be very cautious that you do not use an arrow that is lighter than what your bow manufacturer has recommended as this can cause failure in your limbs much like dry firing your bow. 


For more information on Does Speed Kill When It Comes to Archery, check out our YouTube video below.


Author: Chris Creed, Afflictor Broadheads