Archery was historically used for hunting and is now an increasingly popular sport. Girls in particular are getting into the sport, mainly due to it being featured more and more in modern literature and films, and people of any age can take it up. An archer uses a bow and arrow to shoot at a target or prey and this can be broken down into various parts, all of which contribute to the perfect shot.
Whether you are a complete novice or an expert, a toxophilite to those in the know, one part of your equipment that you should really focus on is the arrow rest. Its purpose is to support the arrow until you are ready to release it, therefore increasing your shooting accuracy. Pretty important, right?
There are a variety of rests available and it may seem a little confusing at first, not knowing which style is best for you. They range massively in both price and quality. It is important to remember that the most expensive rest is not necessarily the best archery rest for your needs. So how do you know what to look for?
Things to Consider When Choosing an Archery Rest
The first thing to think about when choosing an arrow rest, is what sort of archer are you? Do you use your bow for hunting or target archery? Both require skill and accuracy but there are different elements to consider with each. One such thing to consider is are you finger-shooting or mechanical-shooting? Finger-shooting means the archer decides when to release the arrow and is less popular these days. This is due to the difficulty in the user maintaining a consistently accurate shot. Mechanical-shooting is now far more common, whereby the archer triggers a device to release the arrow. This generally sees a better result.
Different Styles of Archery Rest
There are four popular styles of arrow rest, each having something different to offer the user.
The Shoot-Thru (prong) rest has been a very popular choice with both hunter and target archers. It is so called due to the cock-fletch passing through the prongs when shot. These rests tend to fit any size shaft and the prongs (often spring loaded) cradle the arrow, providing support until you are ready to release it. One disadvantage of these types of rests is the lack of complete arrow containment, making it particularly tricky for hunters in pressing situations. Also if one of the fletchings catches the prongs on release, this can hugely disrupt the flight path and even damage the arrow. Although many target archers still use this style of rest, it has become less popular in recent years due to the developments in other types of rests.
The Containment rest is an excellent choice for hunters, due to the complete containment of the arrow when mounted on the bow. This means there is no chance of the arrow falling out and users are able to move around quickly across various terrains. This is a very good choice for beginners, giving them the freedom to focus without the arrow wobbling or falling out. They are also easy to install and tune and are great for quick shots. One concern for users is the containment can catch the fletchings on release, indeed some are designed to do so. While this does not alter the arrow’s flight path, it can eventually damage the fletchings. A very popular model available is the Whisker Biscuit, especially with hunters.
The Pressure (Shoot-Around) rest is specifically designed for finger shooters. It is fixed to the side of the bow, offering a resting point for the arrow until you are ready to release it, and helps to counteract the horizontal oscillation of an arrow once released.
The Drop Away rest does exactly what it says, dropping away upon release of the arrow to give an unimpeded flightpath. This is the best archery rest for users of larger arrows, who need a better clearance. These types of rests have really grown in popularity in recent years and can be slightly pricier than other varieties. However, the benefits of the sophisticated design are worth it to many hunters and target archers. Many competition bowmen are switching to this design and it is the preferred choice of the more experienced archer.
Check out the video below for Drop Down VS Whisker Biscuit Arrow Rest.
Speciality Arrow Rests
There are also speciality arrow rests, which are purpose-specific and usually catered to the more experienced archers. These include speciality competition 3D rests, which are used for tournaments, and bowfishing rests.
The Best Archery Rest Review
Before buying an arrow rest, it is a good idea to shop around. The section below details some more models which would be worth your while looking at.
QAD Ultra-Rest HDX Review
One model that provides both containment and drop-away features is the QAD Ultra-Rest HDX. It is more versatile than its predecessor and a very popular choice for both hunters and target archers alike. Hunters in particular are given the freedom to move around freely, due to the complete containment of the arrow. The curved capture bar allows for more versatility than its predecessors and the quietness of the rest is an excellent feature too, allowing hunters to get close to their prey without alerting them to their presence. It is a durable attachment and vastly increases accuracy, leading many competitive archers to choose this design.
The rest can be used to shoot arrows both horizontally and vertically and is very easy to adjust, even when mounted on the bow. There is a safety breakaway feature, which many drop away rests do not have, so that if the shot is not set up correctly it will break away. This prevents damage to the rest itself and injury to the archer. The set-up is relatively easy to do, being similar to most other rests, but for the most accurate set-up it may be wise to have this done by an expert. It is 100% manufactured in the United States and passes strict quality control tests before leaving the factory. Quality Archery Designs has been around for over 20 years and has an excellent reputation in the industry, with this model being described as their best archery rest to date.
TruGlo Storm Capture Rest Review
This is a very light containment rest weighing in at just over 2 ounces. It has adjustable brushes to hold arrows at almost any angle and is well constructed. This is ideal for a novice archer due to the low price and is suitable for hunting, 3-D and target archery. It is a fairly quiet archery rest and has a very simple design. There is minimal arrow contact, which increases speed and accuracy. This means arrows last longer too, meaning they can be used time and time again.
It works well in all weathers and installation is quick and easy. There are no moving parts, which eliminates the timing issues with a rest driven by the movement of a bow. There are five colour matching inserts to choose from, though the rest itself only comes in black. TruGlo is a company based in Texas and is well known in the industry.
Trophy Ridge Kill Shot Whisker Biscuit Review
This is a containment rest and is extremely popular among hunters in particular. It is average in price and has many benefits to offer a keen archer. The arrow is completely contained within the rest and both the release and loading is silent, allowing the archer to hunt more effectively. The Whisker Biscuit is available in a variety of colours, you can choose between right or left handed and sizes come in small, medium or large. It is fair to say that this product splits opinions, with some archers hating it, but its popularity continues to soar. Archers of all skill levels can use this rest effectively and it is very easy to set up.
The arrow rest is not affected by the cold, which is something many hunters look for, and speed is not affected by the containment at all. The compound is 150% stronger than its predecessors and its reputation is among the best. It weighs 4 ounces, making it a light option in the market. It can be used with bowfishing arrows but it is a good idea to stiffen them up with superglue first, due to their extra weight. The only slight issue with this rest is the contact made with fletchings can cause wear and tear over time.
New Archery Apache Drop Away Arrow Rest Review
As the name suggests, this is a drop away rest and does not impede the arrow’s flight path at all. It has 360 degree sound dampening, which makes for a very quiet rest. This makes it a popular model for hunters in particular. It has a very fast operation and laser graduations make fine tuning simple. No tools or wrenches are needed for adjustments. It works just as well in the cold as it does the heat and is less expensive than many other drop away rests. This makes it an excellent archery rest for beginners looking to try their hand in the field.
It can be used with any carbon or aluminium arrow of your choice. It weighs between 6 and 9 ounces, meaning it is a heavier model in the market. The mounting bracket should fit most bows but some adjustment may be needed with certain models. It does not come with a clamp for the cable, so you would need to use serving string. The brand is well respected in the industry and based in Illinois.
New Archery Products Quiktune 800 Arrow Rest Review
For the archer who favours a shoot-thru rest, this is a model worth considering. It is a good quality, dependable product that is very affordable. The rest is available in both right and left-handed versions and works well in all weathers. As this is a prong rest this is best suited to target archers, as the lack of arrow containment can cause problems for hunters.
Another issue could be the change in flight path if the fletching is caught on one of the prongs on the way through. However, this should not be a problem if the prongs are set up accurately. Getting this done by an expert would be advisable, especially if you are a beginner. This rest works on all sorts of bows but was originally designed for the compound bow. It is easy to set up and is adjustable. It also comes with installations for a quieter shot, thought this is not so important for target archers.
AAE Cavalier Free Flight Micro Arrow Rest Review
This is a rest designed for finger shooters, although it can also be used by release shooters. Although these rests are recommended for recurve bows, they can also be used on compound bows. This model is an update to the very popular Free Flight rest and has much to offer. This arrow rest can be a flipper style rest or if you reverse the magnet, the support arm will drop away. This gives an unimpeded release and is a very useful adjustment to have.
For target shooters looking to fine tune their bow, this is a great feature. It also makes it stand out from many of its competitors and is far more sophisticated than a simple pressure rest. It is suitable for target, hunting and 3-D shooting and has a great reputation in the industry. It is made in the USA and comes in both right and left-handed models. It may not fit all types of bows, so potential buyers should check this before purchasing. That being said, it is a good quality, durable model. Arizona Archery Enterprises has over 40 years of experience and is the world’s largest manufacturer of nocks and vanes.
Looking for the Best Archery Rest?
There are plenty of choices out there, from a variety of reputable companies. Whichever arrow rest you choose you can be sure of one thing, you are guaranteed a more accurate shot with one than without. This guide should have given you an idea of what to look out for and which rest would best suit your needs.