Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

It’s an unanswerable question, particularly for the layperson not well-informed.

Is it possible to dry-fire a compound bow?

Yes, indeed.

But, should you?

No. It’s not worth it. It is better to not do it.

Dry firing a compound arch could cause irreparable damage. It is a dangerous practice that you should never do.

Let’s take some time to look at what happens when you fire and load a compound bow. Although it requires some physics, this next part doesn’t require any calculations. This explanation requires a little abstract thought.

When you insert an arrow into a bow and draw the string taut, you are transferring kinetic energy to the bow and string. The bow will need to be released as long as you keep pushing the arrow into the ground.

Here’s where the arrow is useful. The arrow can release all the energy that you have created with your body, and which is stored in the bow. If you don’t own an arrow, it is a problem. The dry shot is a potential problem.

This is how it works: Consider what happens when you drop a stone or other heavy object into the water.

The stone moves for a while, then it falls into the water and sends ripples across the surface.

Consider the ripples, in particular. They are essentially a transfer of energy from your arm into the rock and the water. You are endowing the rock energy by throwing it. That energy must go somewhere. You can observe the ripples that cross the water’s surface to see the rock entering the water.

Let’s now think about the act of firing a compound arch and how it compares to throwing a rock in body water.

The energy is released when you pull back on your bowstring. This causes the pulleys, cams, and limbs in your compound bow to respond.

If you do the job correctly, that energy will exit the bow via an arrow. If you don’t put an arrow in the bow, the force you created will not go anywhere except back into your bow.

Dry fires can cause severe damage. It’s similar to hitting your bow against a tree.

Accidents can still happen.


Hobbyists and hunters who have been in the field for a while know how messy it can get out there.

When you load a compound bow, your muscles can become tired quickly. To hold the arrow on target, you must exert force. You may lose the arrow to fatigued muscles, which can lead to an accidental dry fire.

There are many ways that your bow could accidentally dry fire. You might lose your footing when hunting and the arrow may come off as you stumble.

There is always the possibility of an accident leading to a dry shoot. Even though archers and hunters are well-informed about not drying fire their bows, it is still possible for an accident to occur.

All things being equal, your compound archetype needs to be handled with care. Dry fire your bow. Have it checked and, if necessary, restrung.

It is, after all, a weapon.

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