Having a yard or open area is certainly handy for enjoying a spot of Steambow archery, but it’s far from essential. You can still have a barrel of laughs with your Steambow gear indoors if you’re smart about it. This short blog looks at ways you can do just that and avoid problems.
The obvious risks
Arrows flying at speed will damage whatever they hit. So you need to consider where you decide to practice. The hallway is the obvious place to start, as it is often the longest space in a property. But what is beyond that hallway? And what leads to it? The trick is to not think about where your arrow will go if it all goes well but rather where it will go if it all goes wrong.
So let’s start with your chosen shooting area. Let’s say it’s your corridor or hallway (although the following applies to any room). Is the wall sturdy? What happens if you miss the target and the arrow hits it? Will it pass through? If so, what’s on the other side? Is it someone’s room?
Is there something expensive on the other side? Are pipes or cables running in the wall that an arrow could damage? These questions should make it pretty obvious that you need to pick a wall that an arrow can not penetrate.
What about doors? Do any lead into the area you’re planning on using? If so, could someone accidentally walk into the arrow’s flight corridor? How will you make sure no one does?
We’ve all seen those fun videos where a cat chases a laser dot across the living room: when you consider that the AR-6 Stinger II Tacitcal and Compact can be fitted with laser sights, you can imagine the danger. A cat could literally jump for the very spot you’re about to place an arrow. So you need to make absolutely sure your pets won’t step into danger without warning?
All these are questions only you can answer based on your situation. It is also not an exhaustive list. It is just a basic common sense list using a typical flat or house as an example. Do not rely on these questions as your sole safety check.
You need to think of every possible eventuality that could realistically occur based on the layout of your property, the other people or animals that live there, and your neighbors. And then mitigate against them. That is what responsible shooting is all about. Don’t assume that others know you are shooting: it’s your job to make sure they understand and will not be in danger. If you are not the property owner, seek the owner’s permission too.
And don’t shoot if you are tired or compromised, such as after drinking alcohol. That is just asking for trouble.
Prepping your target
So let’s assume that you now have a location and you’ve taken the necessary steps to eliminate the risks to others and the property itself. What about your target? Steambow sells two targets: the standard foam target and the easy-draw premium target. Neither is very thick. The thickness oh the standard works perfectly for standard draw weights in the AR-6 Stinger II crossbow family, but if you decide to buy more powerful limbs (or the FENRIS), you should consider doubling up on your targets.
Remember, even if your target stops the more powerful arrows initially, since you will keep hitting the same spot, eventually, the target will have less and less resistance in those places that receive the most frequent impacts.
One solid option is arrow netting. This tough net catches arrows in flight. If you have a means of tying it up behind your target, it could add a nice extra layer of security. Just be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended mounting technique.
Shooting indoors can be fun, but it’s not the ideal place to test your limits, so shoot at a distance and at something that you are confident of hitting successfully each and every time. Better to aim at a small point on a large target than just to choose a small target.
What are you shooting?
Even if you have double-thickness targets, an arrow net, and a concrete wall behind, shooting at lower draw weights is obviously less risky. So if you are stuck with indoor archery at home, why not choose low-power options: you’re not shooting at longer ranges; those extra feet per second are just wasted energy. The AR-6 Stinger II CQ limbs would be perfect for this.
If you’re shooting the FENRIS with the M1 compound bow, you can dial back the draw weight with the adjusters on each limb.
With that done, the next consideration relates to any obstacles around you. When you draw back any bow, the limbs curve in and spring back when you shoot. You need to be absolutely sure that those limbs will not catch or hit anything when they release so stand well away from furniture or walls.
With a crossbow, you need to be thinking about what’s to either side of you. With something like the FENRIS, you need to think more about above and below.
To summarise, use common sense. Crossbows and bows shoot arrows very fast , meaning they can damage property or injure people and animals. Or worse. So, choose a safe area to practice your shooting.
Make sure people or animals won’t wander across the firing range. Take steps to ensure that something suitable will stop your arrow if you miss your intended target. Make sure your target is up to the job of stopping the arrows and that it is big enough to give you a comfortable margin of error.
Check for objects that could interfere with the operation of your chosen bow, and select a distance that does not challenge you too much. Finally, choose as low a draw weight as you can. Don’t shoot if you are not to fully alert and capable. Likewise, don’t even think of shooting if you have any doubts about the preparations you have made. For extra tips, have a look at our safe shooting blog too.
Do those things while considering your personal situation for other risks not covered here, and you can enjoy indoor archery in the comfort of your own home when shooting outside is not possible. For a closer look at Steambow’s targets and limb sets, visit our shop.