can you shoot a left handed bow right handed

Can You Shoot A Left Handed Bow Right Handed?

Absolutely, it’s entirely possible to shoot a left-handed bow if you’re right-handed and vice versa. In fact, it’s an adventure many of us archers would wanna try, simply because, well, why not? What’s life without a little experimentation?

If you’re feeling curious or adventurous, I encourage you to give it a go during your practice sessions. Take some time to practice with a left-handed bow, and don’t be surprised if it feels a bit awkward and unfamiliar at first. It’s a bit like attempting to write with your non-dominant hand – a bit clumsy, but with practice, it becomes more refined.

I remember the confusion my hands experienced when I started shooting with a left-handed bow. However, with dedication and practice, I reached a point where I could comfortably switch between my dominant and non-dominant sides.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of shooting with your non-dominant side and help you determine which bow side suits you best. So, if you’re up for the challenge, let’s dive into the details.

Left Handed Bow Vs Right Handed Bow

Before moving on, let me first differentiate between a left-handed bow and a right-handed bow. I also struggled with the concept initially, it all got mixed up in my mind so I had to brainstorm it again and again. But a little practice solved it.

With a right-handed bow, all your accessories like the bow sight and the arrow rest are to the right so the arrow is to the right. In order to shoot you hold the bow in your left hand and draw the string with your right hand. Then you aim the bow with your right eye

Opposed to this, the left-handed bow has all the accessories and arrows on the left. You hold it with your right hand, draw with your left hand, and aim with your left eye.

When you aim, your dominant eye looks through the sight to the target, and your non-dominant eye is closed or looking at the riser. If you switch the bow sides, the dominant eye can now only see the riser. So how can you use it then?

How To Shoot A Left Handed Bow Right Handed

Just like you, I also had the curiosity to try a left-handed bow, So I got a friend’s left-handed bow and started taking some shots on the archery range. In the start, I had a problem aiming, but then I tried a technique and it worked.

How to Hold Your Bow

Just casually hold the bow on your right hand and take your position. I know it feels different and a bit ticklish at the start but you will eventually grip it correctly after a few shots. Just like you feel a bit better with the pen after a while with your weak hand.

One thing that will bother you is how strong are you with your left hand. This skill of yours should be at least to draw the bow keeping your arm parallel to the ground.

Now pull the bowstring with your left hand and get ready to aim.

How To Aim With Non-Dominant Eye

How to shift focus from dominant right eye to your left eye

Now this is where everyone gets caught up. Here I used the concept of finding the dominant eye and then shifting the focus from the right eye to the left eye in this case.

I focused on the target looking through the sight, naturally, it is the dominant right eye. Then I closed my dominant eye and the sight appeared to move to the right. I moved my head a bit to the right until I could see the target through the sight clearly with my non-dominant left eye.

This act shifted the focus from my right eye to the left eye and then I was able to aim almost accurately. Your aim might not be 100% accurate obviously but, it should do the job just fine. I would recommend keeping the right eye closed to avoid any confusion.

Should You Shoot Left-Handed Bow Right-Handed?

Absolutely, it’s worth giving it a shot, no pun intended. It can be an enjoyable challenge and a unique way to test your archery skills. When I first tried it, I was excited to see what I could achieve. Initially, I managed to land a few shots, and it piqued my interest. Now, it’s become an occasional practice for me at home and when I’m in the mood for a little extra challenge.

Over time, I’ve noticed significant improvement. My accuracy with my left eye has reached about 95%. Shooting a bow with your non-dominant hand can help you develop muscle memory, enhance your aiming skills, and strengthen your arms.

With perseverance, you might even transition from shooting right-handed to becoming a proficient left-handed archer. So, don’t be afraid to try something new – you might find a hidden talent waiting to be unleashed.

How To Choose Your Dominant Side?

Choosing your dominant side in archery involves considering both eye dominance and hand dominance. Let’s break down each aspect:

Eye Dominance

Eye Dominance is the king, If you naturally focus on things with your right eye, you will need a right-handed bow. And, if you do it with the left, you need a left-sided bow. This is because your dominant eye will align against the string and focus on the target through the sight so you can aim accurately.

How to perform the dominant eye test to find your naturally focusing eye

Here’s a simple way to find your dominant eye:

  1. Extend both arms in front of you and create a small triangle with your thumbs and forefingers.
  2. Focus on a distant object through this triangle.
  3. Now, close one eye at a time.
  4. The eye through which the object remains centered is your dominant eye.

Hand Dominance

Hand dominance is the side you’re most comfortable using for various tasks. If you’re right-handed, you naturally favor your right hand for writing, eating, and other activities. Conversely, if you’re left-handed, your left hand takes the lead.

In archery, it’s common for people to choose a bow that matches their hand dominance. Right-handed individuals typically use right-handed bows, while left-handed individuals favor left-handed bows. This choice often feels more natural and comfortable

If you are right-handed, you might want to pull the bowstring with your right hand naturally. Isnt it? The opposite goes for left-handed individuals.

However, there’s a twist. Some folks, like myself, have mixed dominance. For instance, you might be right-handed but have a dominant left eye. In such cases, usually, the dominant eye wins and it is recommended to use left left-handed bow.

However personal comfort can override traditional choices. I, for once, switched to a left-handed bow despite my right-handedness because it felt more intuitive after some practice.

For more information on choosing your dominant-sided bow, refer to this document.

Table For Selecting Your Recommended Side

I have made a table to help you choose the correct-sided bow for mixed dominance.

Dominant HandDominant EyeRecommended Bow Side
Right   Right   Right-Handed
Right   LeftLeft-Handed
LeftRight   Right-Handed


Do I have to get right or left-handed limbs for the bow?

When selecting limbs for your bow, you do not need to worry about whether they are right- or left-handed. The limbs are universal and interchangeable for both right- and left-handed risers. The orientation of the bow is determined by the hand that draws the bow, not the hand that grips the bow.

What hand do you draw with on a left-handed bow?

On a left-handed bow, you will draw the string with your right hand. The terminology in archery can be a bit confusing, but it essentially means that your non-dominant hand holds the bow (left hand in this case), and your dominant hand draws the string (right hand).


It was a fun article, even to write for me and I hope you also liked it. In the end, I would say that whether you give a left-handed bow a try or not, try unique different challenges. Also, select your dominant-sided bow for you as it is one of the main considerations in buying it.

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