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Parts of a Compound Bow (Complete List Explained)

Hunting may be the oldest sport in the world since man relied on it for survival. Then came the array of weapons that made it simpler. 

Now, there are hundreds of brands and models that have specific features for various kinds of hunters. Beginners and even self-learned hunters often point out that they find some technical names and components confusing. 

While hunting with a compound bow makes the game more fun, it has many components that the user must know.

A Compound Bow For Hunting

Yes, many old players might look at you curiously when you opt for a compound bow. The bow with wheels does not sound like a masculine pick and has gotten many laughs from old-fashioned hunters. 

However, the convenience and sleek accuracy of a compound bow are enviable. A traditional bow is harder to learn, while a compound bow simplifies everything from learning, accuracy to getting the big animals down in no time!

The Parts Of A Compound Bow:

Many parts of the compound bow are such that you would wonder why you didn’t try to use them and improve the game! Let’s start a simple introduction with each part of the compound bow, so you know what it is capable of, the next time you hunt.

1: Riser

The riser is the middle part of the compound bow that contains the grip. Mostly this part is made of aluminum or carbon as it is the backbone of your bow. 

Numerous components are attached to the riser, making it a pivotal part of the compound bow. Carbon may be more durable, but aluminum is good too (less cost).

2: Limbs

At the top and bottom of the bow are flexible, fiberglass planks called limbs. 

This part of the bow adds the energetic push to the strings so you can say that they store the energy which is generated when the string is pulled and returned to the arrow as it leaves the bow!

There are different types of limbs, as some may be a single piece while others are split limbs. Split limbs are two thin limbs connected at the riser on one end and attached to the cams on the other. 

Many hunters prefer split limbs as they are more durable, and if compared to the solid limbs, they have lesser hand shock than solid limbs. Another variation is parallel limbs. This kind of limb is most common as many sports outlets and hunting outfitters offer parallel limbs. 

These limbs are not slightly curved like the previously mentioned variations. If the compound bow is D-shaped because of the limbs, parallel limbs make them a more angular D as they are almost perpendicular to the riser, and parallel to one another. 

This kind of limbs is easier as they have lesser recoil and produce less noise.

3: Cams

The oval or round disks attached at the end of the limbs are called cams. The integral part of the compound bow that makes it unique is the cam, and the two cams work in unison to make hunting an easier sport for you. 

In a traditional bow, the farther you pull back the string, the harder it is to pull back, but the cams make it all an effortless job. Cams mechanically use up the draw weight of the bow as you pull the string back. 

It enables an easy pull-back after you bring the strings back to their position.

The various kinds of cams include wheels, soft cams, hard cams, single cams, and hybrid cams. Each one of these cams has a distinct way of working, which you can get used to in minutes! Who doesn’t like the convenience and these cams are the biggest support for any hunter. 

Round cams may produce lesser speed but will be accurate every time. Similarly, hard cams throw the arrow faster but they need some serious tuning.

4: Cam System

While cams are separate wheels, the cam system is the mechanism of two rounds at the top and bottom of the bow. As a beginner, you can stick to a single cam system bow. 

This cam system has an idler at one end of the bow, and another elliptical-shaped power cam at the bottom. This system is noiseless, and can work for everyone unless you want to challenge yourself with a more complex bow!

5: Bowstring

The bowstring is also essential as you cannot aim until you don’t have this precious piece! Nowadays you will find many man-made materials, which do not lose their stretch and lose tension. 

However, if you have a mechanical release on the compound bow, the bowstring will go through a D-loop, which is the contact point for the string.

6: Cables, Cable Guard and Cable Slide

The cables that run from cam to cam move them as the bowstring stretches. They’re a part of the compound bow, but you will not find these on any other type of bow, so they are as unique as the cams!

The cable guard is made of fiberglass and runs perpendicular to the riser. Together, the cable guard and cable slider work to keep the cables out of your way as you put the arrow in position and stretch the bowstring. Your arrows will always have a clear line of fire.

A small piece of plastic attached to the cable slide, and the cables. The cable slide also serves the same purpose as the cable guards-to keep your arrow undisturbed!

7: Peep Sight

The peep sight is a plastic loop inserted between the bowstring strands. As you pull back the string, you peep through this loop to set the target.

8: The Sight

Another part of the compound bow is the sight, which attaches to the riser and helps to aim. Just like you have sights attached to guns, the bow also offers an attachment of this part that will allow better targeting. 

The sight has three pins or a single fixed pin. These pins are there to understand the distance and aim accurately. Range finders find the distance more accurately but the purpose of the pins is to align the target with the pins to improve accuracy

9: Vibration Arrester

As the name implies, a vibration arrester reduces, rather eliminates vibration in the bowstring. 

When the string comes back to its position as you let the arrow shoot; the strings vibrate, and this can be so intense that it may cause an injury to your hand! This part is attached to the riser and is close to the bowstring.

10: Arrow Rest

The small and comfortable throne upon which the arrow rests as you take a position to shoot! The arrow rest is an essential part too. 

Well, by now it seems that we have been calling all the parts special but it’s true! Every small part on your compound bow is essential!

11: Release

You may choose a mechanical release on your bow as pulling back with your fingers can cause injury as well. A mechanical release is a device that you can wear on your hand. 

The clip at the front goes around the string and as you pull back and feel that you are ready to shoot-pull the trigger on your release and shoot!

Also Read: Duck Hunting with a Bow


A compound bow looks like a technical weapon, but in reality, it is a simpler device than many other hunting weapons. 

You can start hunting without knowing the various parts of the bow but to maximize your experience, we have listed the different parts and what they do to make your hunting style improve. Moreover, your aim and success will improve drastically!

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