Armguards, also known as bracers, come in a variety of materials and styles. The English tend to fancy the Robin Hood lace style with their traditional look. I also quite like the look of metal warlord rings which can also adorn a bracer.
Practically speaking, though, a simple unadorned bracer with elastic cord is the best for day to day use, and that’s what I wear most often.
Elastic cord with beads and loops for easy on and off
An armguard or bracer can be of leather, nylon or plastic. The bracer is worn on the extended arm holding the bow. Wearing a bracer is a must because of its protection once you fasten it into place.
In a pinch, should you forget or lose your bracer, you could even use a large paper cup from a fast-food soft-drink. Whatever you do, you must wear something for protection. If the bow string strikes your bare arm, you’ll find yourself with a red welt that will last a week.
An inexpensive plastic armguard
If you primarily shoot alone, you will want an armguard that uses elastic string or Velcro® fastening which you can put on without the need for assistance. You have lots of color choices in elastic cord which I quite like.
Whether you make your own bracer or you buy a commercially made one, you can always substitute this shock-cord, also known as elastic bungee cord.
Bracers with straps may need someone’s help to fasten
Example of long thin leather bracer
If you want to try leathercraft, the bracer provides an excellent opportunity to express yourself. These are easy to make, consisting of a flat piece of leather with holes running along each side. Add brass grommets and an earthy colored cord or elastic, and you are all set. You will enjoy tooling different patterns into the leather, then coloring them.
If you discover that you like this craft and you have friends in your archery circle, it’s a nice way to make gifts or start a small business. Attractive bracers, well made, for men and women are a sure sell-out at Ye Olde Renaissance Faire.
Below is a picture of one of my armguard projects using a feather decoration. In other posts here you will find instructions on how to make a variety of leather craft projects for archery. To see how I made this particular armguard, see my blog post entitled How to Make an Armguard.