The first time I stood next to a professional archer while shooting a recurve bow, I heard a “click”. A small noise, barely audible like the sound of a revolver getting ready to shoot. That noise was instantly followed by an arrow being shot. So I asked my coach what that clicking noise was. Ironically, that piece of metal making a click noise is called a “Clicker”.
Clickers are a thin flat piece of carbon, plastic or steel on the riser, that rests over the arrow while it’s nocked to the bowstring. It is meant to fall out of the arrow and make a little noise once the archer has pulled the arrow to its farthest draw back point. That means that you should release the arrow.
Keep reading to know more about this part of the bow, you’ll get amazed as I did once you understand its role.
How do you use a clicker in archery?
The clicker is meant to help your shot become consistent. It makes sure your draw length is always the same. Before you even think of using a clicker, be sure to have a proper shot cycle. Either ask your coach, teammates or video tape your back to make sure you’re expanding the farthest you can get.
The clicker will be over your arrow every time you shoot, so set it up with some help in a position where you are comfortable. If you set it too low, you may need to draw the string a lot further than you’re able to, to make the arrow pass the clicker and click. I recommend to set it up with help from an extra pair of hands, that way you can draw the bow and they can adjust the clicker for you.
It is recommended to adjust the clicker a little bit more up, just for your first training sessions with it. That way you won’t demand too much for your first shots. All you need to do is place your arrow from the back of the bow, over the rest and below the clicker. Then nock your arrow, aim and draw until you hear the click. That’s your sign to shoot. Once you feel comfortable you will find shooting with a clicker really simple, if a little annoying! Simple, because you just need to wait for the “click” to shoot; and annoying because sometimes you’ll find yourself tired or unable to pull the string that far. I try to overcome this frustration by seeing it as a coach pushing me harder.
Remember, it’s meant to help your shot become consistent. Sometimes it’s frustrating when you’re not able to draw to your maximum length and hear the click, well that’s why the clicker is there, to remind you that you must push yourself a little harder when you get tired. In my experience, it’s best if you place it in a position where you’re not demanding too much, and later on after you get used to the clicker make your body expand a little more by moving the clicker a little closer to you.
How do you set up a clicker?
In order to set up a clicker properly, you need a partner. Start by pulling an arrow three to five times. Each time you pull the arrow to your maximum draw length, your partner should draw a line on the arrow exactly where the plunger is. That way you will have an average draw length.
Then set the clicker on the raiser, place an arrow on the rest but do not nock the arrow, just place it and make the mark match the plunger. Then adjust the clicker a bit further than the arrowhead. That way, when you draw the bow, you will hear a click just before you reach your maximum expansion length.
Here there’s a video from World Archery with a really good explanation and step by step instructions:
Will it make me a better archer?
After setting your clicker, start practicing. Practice makes you better at anything! By using a clicker, you’ll ensure that all your shots have the same draw length as the others. This means that all your shots will have the same amount of power and (hopefully!) go to the exact same place. When you don’t use a clicker, sometimes your shot can strike the target a little higher or lower while you know for sure that you’re aiming at the exact same place. This happens because sometimes your draw goes a bit further or shorter than usual.
Two things to remember:
(1) If you release the arrow before you hear the click, the clicker will most likely take away one or two of your fletchings.
(2) If you don’t release the arrow when you hear the click, you’re most likely going to pull the string a bit further, making your shot go way too high. Or you might reduce your draw length by an inch, making your shot go way too low. Obey the click. Trust your clicker.
How does a plunger work?
I’ve mentioned the plunger a couple times already, some of you might wonder what the plunger is and what is it for. Let’s talk about it really quickly.
The Plunger is a small cylinder that goes inside the raiser. It is right above the arrow rest. The plunger’s objective is to put some pressure on the arrow to make sure the arrow is precisely centered to the bow, so that every shot will go with the exact same alignment. Not too much to the right or the left, just in the center. Try shooting a couple of times with the plunger so you can adjust it and make sure it is perfectly centered.
How to set up an archery Plunger
Plungers are really easy to set up. Above your rest, there should be a small hole where you can thread it. Simply thread the Plunger in your raise from the opposite site where your rest is.
A small plastic tip should come from that hole, which is meant to put some pressure on the arrow to keep it centered.
Thread the Plunger, place an arrow and check if it’s properly aligned. Then take a couple of shots to try your bow with the plunger. You’ll probably need to readjust the sight a little bit. If the arrow isn’t flying true, adjust the plunger so it puts less or more pressure to the arrow as you see suitable.
Here is a really good explanation and step by step on video to Tune a plunger on a recurve bow.
Now you know all the essentials about the clicker, what it is and how it works. Practice with it, and it will make you shoot like a pro! It’s all about consistency when it comes to archery. Consistency and the hunger to improve every day.
We also learnt a bit about the plunger and how it works together with the clicker to make sure your shots go to the same place every time. Now go out there and use all this knowledge to your advantage.
Stay consistent and wait for the click.