Do you really need a new bow?
Seems like every week i get someone that comes to see me and asks if they should upgrade or not. I hear a lot of things like:
"I've had this thing for years but its not shooting the same anymore...maybe its time for a new one?"
"My buddy just got the hottest bow out there, but i'm scared of spending $1500.00 on a new rig."
Bottom line is, whether or not you should upgrade to a new bow is completely dependent on a few factors:
Does your current bow fit you well to begin with?
Can you shoot your bow comfortably?
Most importantly - what do you want out of a new bow? Better Performance, more speed, or just something new for the sake of having the latest and greatest.
Honestly i'm probably the worst salesman in the world, because i prefer to keep it honest with my customers when it comes to helping them figure out whether or not they are ready for a new bow or not. But the bottom line is that I would rather see someone stick with their existing equipment as long as it is functionally sound and comfortable to shoot. This is a far better option than needlessly spending money on a new purchase that they can't afford just for the sake of having something brand new. Many times, its easier and much less expensive to just restring and tune a bow than to replace it all together. But if your equipment is age and technology has changed a bit since you got it, then a new purchase if often completely justified.
So, if you have thought it through and come to the conclusion that a new bow is in order after all, what's next? Well you need to do a few things before just shelling out your hard earned money.
First, do your research. You will see positive reviews on equipment from people who are just "fans" of a particular brand. Unfortunately, sometimes these are positive just because of the brand and have little to do with the performance of that particular model. Likewise, you will find reviews from people only looking to bash other brands. So you need to look for a lot of opinions on the models, both good and bad, and weigh them based on their source and the info provided.
Next, try them out in person. You should never purchase a bow unless you have shot it yourself. Make sure the draw length is correct and you are shooting the same exact model you are going to purchase. So don't try on a 60 lb model and then order an 80 lb model assuming they are going to feel the same. Have the dealer set the draw weight to what you intend to shoot.
Often times you will find that the demo bows are set up with light arrows and on the bottom end of the draw weight to "impress" perspective buyers. In order to get a true picture of what you are going to get out the one your order, you need to set it to how you are going to use it.
It's important to try before you buy. If you try out one model but order something even slightly different, you might not like the way it feels and then wind up regretting the purchase. The fact is, if you don't like the way a bow shoots, you probably won't be able to shoot it effectively. Don't worry too much about vibration after the shot. Chances are you are shooting a bow with the bare minimums on it. Once you add a stabilizer, string silencers and other accessories, chances are it will feel a lot better.
There is one more factor to consider when purchasing a new bow. And that is what I call the balanced purchase. If you are replacing an older model, chances are the accessories are older as well and probably will need to be replaced along with it. So there tends to be a trend among some folks to purchase the most expensive model bow they can afford but then skimp on the accessories. Put simply, a $1500.00 bow with cheap plastic accessories will not perform to its fullest potential. A better option would be to go with a less expensive model that might not have as many bells and whistles. Most of the time, the only difference between a flagship bow and a standard series bow are limb pockets and cable guards etc.. So it would be best to purchase a less expensive bow and better accessories which will provide you with a better balanced blend of equipment. As a result you will be shooting equipment with much better performance overall.
Remember, your bow is just a machine. How it performs relies on the shooter. But by going with a stable well balanced platform, you will be well on your way to shooting success.