Hoyt Recurve Options – Achieving Feel for Optimal Performance

Recurve archers always like to discuss “feel” with respect to a specific setup, and often shooters believe that the limb and riser combinations with the best feel also give them an edge in competition.  Feel is closely tied to several characteristics, which are all dependent to some degree on the physical characteristics of the shooter, including draw weight, draw length, finger pressure, grip pressure, and the relative dynamics of each archer’s release.

Then, there are the variables of the equipment- to name just a few, these include mass and flex of the riser, mass and flex of the limbs, limb recovery time and speed, the brace height for the setup, stabilization mass weight and stiffness, and the behavior and location of any installed damping devices.   Besides the felt shot reaction, archers also react to the overall sound generated by the shot, giving an overall result that influences the perception of the feel of any given setup.

We can further characterize feel as relating to pre-shot conditions (draw and setup for the shot), the aiming and execution phase of the shot (which includes pin float, hand-to-grip stability and overall finger pressure as we come through the clicker), the bow reaction as it launches the arrow, and finally, the behavior of the system and its interaction with the competitor as the arrow is launched, and the bow limbs recover from the launch. 

All of these contribute to the overall feel of the bow, but some are more important to the outcome of each shot than others.  Certainly, a bow that feels stable and steady during the aiming process can be helpful for some archers, while others might be more focused on how they feel the pressure on their fingers and grip contact points change as they draw, drawing upon this factor top provide subconscious reference point for the shot cycle and proximity to the clicker.

No one can really define “ideal feel” for another archer, but we can look at and understand the objective factors that lead to a subjective feel assessment for any given setup.

Hoyt provides multiple options that allow every archer to dial in their preference with respect to feel.

Here are general guidelines on these characteristics.

Draw Smoothness or Clicker Zone Smoothness

- The Formula bows will always be smoother for archers at all draw lengths due to the extended limb interface that makes up the Formula system. 

- If an archer likes a more aggressive feeling shot the Grand Prix system provides more post-shot feedback. 

- Hoyt’s patented String Tension Technology can be used to easily make small adjustments to the relative feel at full draw, without affecting the baseline bow tune. 

Low Frequency Shot Feedback

- The Axia Resin Core generates a lower frequency shot feel.  This is due to how the vibrations of the shot are absorbed in the resin-infused wood core.

High Frequency Shot Feedback

- The Axia foam limbs will give a higher frequency post-shot feel, more responsive and quieter with less felt vibration.


- Axia foam limbs are slightly faster than the resin core limbs.  This is due to the relative mass weight of the core materials.  Also, the foam limbs will typically require a slightly stiffer arrow than the resin limbs even when shooting the exact same poundage, because their early acceleration is at a faster rate.

Short Draw Performance (Under 28”)

- For shorter draw archers we recommend the Axia Foam limbs for the best overall performance, particularly when dealing with adverse weather conditions.

Longer Draw Performance (Over 28”)

- Archers with Longer draw lengths have tended to like the Resin limbs a bit better, but this is still a fairly even split.  For shooters who prefer a softer shot reaction, go with resin core.  For a sharper “punch” on the shot, the foam is the way to go.

Limb Mass Weight

- The Axia Foam GP limbs are the lightest limbs produced by Hoyt.  If low mass is a priority, the Grand Prix series limbs are generally lighter in overall static mass.  However, the working mass between Formula and GP limbs is very similar.

Limb Recovery (Post-Shot Vibration)

- Both the Foam and Resin limbs recover very quickly.  The Foam recovers the fastest.  This is part of what causes the higher frequency shot feel.

In the world of recurve archery, the “feel” on the shot can bridge the relationship between the archer and their bow. While this idea of “feel” remains subjective to the archer, understanding what an archer is feeling can help guide them in their equipment selection. Whether selecting a bow for a student or for one’s self, being able to communicate and understand the differences in feel will help an archer to empower and fine-tune their own shot process.

Click here to see Hoyt's full recurve lineup, including the Formula XD, GMX 3 Series and Axia Limbs.