Updated Aug 29, 2022 7:35 AM
Today’s youth compound bows are amazing. They aren’t clunky and inaccurate, like youth bows in the past. Youth bows in 2021 are smooth, accurate, and easily adjustable. More impressive, perhaps, is that men, women, and youth archers can all get their hands on bows designed explicitly for their needs and loaded with modern-day technologies.
It’s a tad cliché, as it gets regurgitated all the time, but it’s true: Youth archers are the future of both recreational archery and bowhunting. They need bows built for them that they can grow with and build a solid foundation for their archery skills. Luckily, there is no shortage of options.
As with anyone looking to get into a compound bow, fit and feel are paramount. Don’t decide on a youth compound bow for your young shooter simply because it’s branded a “youth bow” model. Youngsters need to shoot a variety of bows before making a buying decision. Get them to a pro shop and let them send some carbon downrange from some of these top-end rigs.
Diamond is under the Bowtech umbrella, and many of its bows sport Bowtech technologies. That’s a big win and something every shooter should keep in mind. Designed for the recreational shooter and the young bowhunter, the Infinite 305 is uber adjustable, and those adjustments are made without a bow press. This rig will fit draw lengths from 19 to 31 inches, and the draw weight is adjustable from 7 to 70 pounds. At a mere 3.3 pounds, this compound will be a breeze to tote, even in the western mountains, and the 7 ¼-inch brace height is sure to boost overall forgiveness. The bow hits a top-end arrow speed of 305 fps at the max draw weight and draw length. The grip is a direct-to-riser grip, and the bow measures 32 inches between the axles. Another bonus is you can purchase the Infinite as a package that includes an Octane Furnace Quiver, Stryker 3-Pin Sight, Octagon Brush Rest, and Boost Stabilizer. MSRP: $399 with package.
Best Youth Bow for a Growing Archer: Bowtech Amplify
The Bowtech Amplify is a deadly compound that won’t break the bank. For a few more greenbacks, it comes with a kit that includes a Ripcord Max arrow rest, carbon peep, four-pin sight, wrist sling, Octane Deadlock Lite Quiver, and Octane 5-inch Ultra-Lite Stabilizer. The Amplify’s draw weight is adjustable between 8 and 70 pounds. The 6-inch brace height compound has a generous draw length range of 21 to 30 inches. Loaded with many technologies found in Bowtech flagship bow models like binary cams with comfort and performance settings, this may be the only bow your youth shooter ever needs. The Amplify measures 31.5-inches between the axles, hits a top speed of 335 fps, and weighs 4 pounds even. MSRP: $599 bare bow and $679 with kit.
Best Ready-to-Hunt Youth Compound Bow: Bear Archery Legit
Slugged by Bear as an “adult” bow, the Legit seems to be tailor-made for youth shooters. At 30-inches axle-to-axle, the Legit promises maneuverability, and young shooters are sure to cheer the numerous finish options available. The grip is direct-to-riser but does sport Bear-labeled side plates. The compound can hit a top speed of 315 fps and has a fighting weight of 3.6 pounds. Brace height is 6 inches, which may be a tad short for some shooters, but you won’t know until you sling some carbon with it. As with any youth bow worth its salt, the big story with the Legit is that young shooters can grow with it. The bow is adjustable from 14 to 30 inches of draw length and allows youngsters to adjust weight settings between 10 to 70 pounds. The Legit comes as an RTH (Ready To Hunt) package that includes a Trophy Ridge Joker 4-pin sight, 5-spot quiver, Whisker Biscuit rest, No-tie peep sight, and an attached D-loop. MSRP: $419.99 with package.
Bear knows throngs of youth hunters across the country will be taking to the whitetail woods, and its Whitetail Legend—part of the manufacturer’s famed Legend Series—hits a respectable speed of 320 fps. Draw length adjustable between 23 and 30 inches. The Whitetail Legend has a long riser and short, durable limbs. At 31-inches axle-to-axles and with a weight of 4.3 pounds, this compound bow is a balanced shooter with an 80 percent let off. A generous brace height of 6.75 inches increases forgiveness, and the added draw stop gives young shooters a solid back wall. Getting this single cam bow to punch perfect holes through paper won’t take much tuning, and ShockWaves limb dampeners pull shock and vibration from the bow. Peak draw weights of 60 and 70 pounds are available, and those weights are adjustable down 15 pounds from peak. The bow comes with a package that includes a Trophy Ridge 5-pin sight, Quick Shot Whisker Biscuit, Static 6-inch stabilizer, No-Tie Peep sight, and a set-to-go D-loop. If you’re in the market for a similar bear compound bow to the Whitetail Legend but a little less expensive, check out the Bear Species. MSRP: $519.99 with package.
PSE makes excellent bows, and youth shooters will surely love the Uprising. The grip features an over-molded PSE grip that is sleek, flat-backed, and designed to reduce torque. At 3.2 pounds, the bow will carry like a feather, and at just 30-inches axle-to-axle, the rig will work for hunting and recreational archery. Adjustability is incredible—14 to 30 inches of draw length and a draw-weight range between 12 and 70 pounds. This PSE bow comes shipped at 27 inches of draw length, but manipulating the modules is a breeze and doesn’t require a bow press. The Uprising can hit a max speed of 310 fps and sports a let-off of 70 percent. The Uprising comes with a ready-to-shoot package that includes a 3-pin sight, arrow rest, 5-arrow quiver, and 6-inch stabilizer. MSRP:$399.99 with package.
Best Youth Compound Bow for New Bowhunters: PSE Brute NXT
Another youth marvel from the minds at PSE, the Brute NXT has a fighting weight of just 3.5 pounds and measures 30 ¾ inches between the axles. Control is significant for youth shooters, and this bow delivers it in spades. Available bare or as a field-ready package, this compound sports a brace height of 6.5 inches and, when set at max poundage and draw length, sends arrows at 328 fps. Adjustable down 50 percent from peak weight options (55 and 70 pounds) and draw-length adjustable without a bow press from 22 ½ to 30 inches, this rig will fit most youth archers. The BT Cams are smooth, and the max let-off is 80 percent. The compound comes in multiple color options and is a do-all in the PSE bow line. MSRP: $499.99 bare bow, $599.99 with package.
Best Youth Compound Bow for Bowhunting: Mission MXR
Like Diamond, Mission gets spoiled by its big brother, and that big brother is Mathews. Matt McPherson and the minds at Mathews have provided more jaw-dropping technologies during its bow-building tenure than you can shake a stick at. Many of those technologies can be found in Mission’s MXR. Built around Crosscentric Cam Technology, this compound promises accuracy and undeniable power. The 7-inch brace height boosts forgiveness, and the 30-inch axle-to-axle rating combined with an overall weight of just 4.02 pounds makes the MXR perfect for sit-and-wait and spot-and-stalk missions. The draw-length range is 23.5 to 29.5, which you’ll need to keep in mind. This bow was not designed for small youth shooters and is best suited to pre-teens and teen archers. Draw weights between 40 and 70 pounds can be had, and the compound will hit a top speed of 324 fps. As with most youth bows in this category, the MXR can be purchased with what Mission has dubbed a “Bowhunter Kit.” MSRP: $499 with package.
Best Youth Bow for Teens: Quest Centec
Engineered by Prime, a savvy compound builder known for producing ultra-accurate, ultra-forgiving bows, the Centec can’t be dubbed a youth-only bow, but its specs will fit many young archers. The draw length is adjustable between 25.5 and 31 inches and is offered in peak draw weights of 55 and 70 pounds (adjustable down 15 pounds from peak), the Centec features Centergy Technology, which will help young shooters get on target quicker and hold on that target for longer periods of time. The cam system uses split-string tracks, which ensures a smooth draw cycle, and at 32-inches axle-to-axle, the bow was designed for any bowhunting mission a young shooter can dream up. The top speed on the Centec is 325 fps, and the total weight is 4.4 pounds. The 6.75-inch brace height ups forgiveness, and the direct-to-riser grip promotes excellent fit and feel. MSRP: $579.95 with package.
Best Youth Compound Bow for Serious Archers: Hoyt Torrex
If you really want to spoil your youth archer, then Hoyt Archery’s Torrex is a fantastic option. With a draw-length adjustable between 26 and 30 inches and peak draw weights of 40, 50, 60, and 70 pounds (adjustable down 10 pounds from peak), this rig will fit many young shooters. The Torrex Cam is fiery and carries a 327 fps ATA speed rating, and shooters can bank on forgiveness via the 7-inch brace height. The bow’s Tec-Lite riser is as tried-and-true as they come, and the parallel split limbs eliminate the v-groove and limb bolt groove, which are two locales where limb failure often occurs. The X-Act grip helps young shooters achieve proper hand placement, and for a little extra coin, you can outfit your youth shooter with Hoyt’s Torrex Package. This compound weighs 3.8 pounds and has an axle-to-axle measurement of 30 ¾ inches. MSRP: $699 without package.
The Bear Resurgence is a 32-inch long aluminum bow that weighs 3.9 pounds without any accessories. It has a 6.25-inch brace height—which is on the aggressive side—that helps the bow attain an IBO speed rating of 335 feet per second.
The Resurgence employs a rotating module for adjusting draw lengths from 25.5 to 31 inches. For the general consumer, I like the rotating modules. They allow the owner to adjust the bow for different users if you want to share it with friends, and they allow for a wider audience if you ever want to sell it.
There are two draw weight options: 45 to 60 pounds or 55 to 70 pounds, both with 80-percent let off. We don’t see the 15-pound draw weight range much in compound bows. Ten pounds is more common. The 15-pound range offers more room for growth, if you want to start off light and build up to the maximum weight.
The Resurgence’s let-off is on the low side for hunting compounds these days. More often, hunting compounds feature 85- or 90-percent let-off. So the Resurgence is a bit under that, but that’s another feature that helps boost arrow speed. The lower the let-off percentage, the higher arrow speeds will be.
What it Does Best
The binary cam system. This is a powerful, well-designed engine for any compound bow, let alone one that’s budget friendly. And speaking of cost, the mid-range price for this bow makes it a solid choice for bowhunters of all levels. The fact that you get decent accessories with it for that price, makes it an even better choice.
What it Does Worst
The bow causes a lot of pin float because it’s so light—3.9 pounds bare—it doesn’t hold very still at full draw. The sight pin wanders. There are ultralight bows that hold well without adding a ton of weight. This just isn’t one of them. It benefits greatly from a good stabilizer setup.
I’m torn about knocking them for this one. Anyone can adjust everything about this bow and set up at home—except for timing the cams. You need a bow press for that if your cams aren’t timed properly—and that’s a piece of equipment many just don’t have. But that’s a casualty of having binary cams, which I will get to in a second. —P.J. Reilly
Q: What is a good draw weight for beginners?
The best draw weight for beginners is one they can easily pull back. An archer should be able to slowly and smoothly draw their bow without much effort. An easy to draw bow helps avoid injury, prevents bad habits, and is safer to shoot.
Q: What is the best bow for a youth beginner?
The PSE Uprising and Diamond Infinite 305 have a wide range of adjustment to fit most young archers.
Q: What is the best bow for a 15 year old?
A 15-year-old archer can begin to look at adult bows or bows that bridge the gap between youth and adult like the Quest Centec. The bow still must comfortably fit the archer and be properly set up for the best shooting experience.
You have the 411. All you need to do now is take your youngster to a pro shop and let them do some testing and have a Q&A session with a pro shop professional. The more time they have to handle different bows, the better the chance they will find the best beginner compound bow that fits them perfectly and fills them with the confidence they need to shoot high scores and put plenty of meat in the freezer this fall.