Handicaps and Classifications


An archery handicap is a number between 0 and 100, indicating your ability - the lower the number the better. These exist for both indoors and outdoors, and a different handicap is possible not only indoors and out, but also for different bowstyles.

Archery handicaps exist for numerous reasons including:

  • Allowing you to compete with archers of differing abilities, or different bowstyles, on an even playing field.
  • Allowing you to track and guage your performance over the course of a year, even when shooting different rounds.

Archery GB produce a series of helpful tables which allow you to calculate your handicap for a particular round, and in turn the 'expected' score in other rounds. It is possible to use your handicap partake in a handicap adjusted shoot where an allowance is made to everyones score based on their handicap to produce an adjusted score, which can be compared across all participants evenly.

Calculating your handicap

Don't panic, your friendly club records officer will do all the work in calculating these - all you need to do is score and submit your score!

The process for calculating your handicap is undertaken in a couple of steps:

  1. Your initial assessment is undertaken using at least three rounds which must be shot and scored. From these the average handicap for each of these is taken, and the result rounded up. This becomes your initial handicap.
  2. From here each round you shoot and score has a handicap calculated, and the average of this and your existing handicap is calculated, again the result is rounded up. If this is lower than your current handicap then it'll become your new handicap moving forwards.
  3. At the end of each season, 1 January for outdoors, 1 July for indoors, all handicaps are reassesed. The best three handicaps from the previous season are taken, and the result averaged and rounded up. This becomes the handicap you'll take moving forwards.


Classifications are a progressive scale requiring you to shoot at or above specific scores based on your age, gender and bowstyle. While you can achieve the lower classifications at shorter distances, the higher classifications require you to shoot further away. Similar to handicaps, these are calculated over multiple scores, although each classification is based on three scores.

Classification tables are available from Shooting Administration Procedure 7 available from the Archery GB website. Within these there is a full breakdown of the scores and distances required to claim each classification.

Indoors and outdoors use different classification structures, with the indoor classifications using letters, while outdoors the classifications are named.


Indoors classifications are split between Men and Women, and between compound and all other bowstyles. The classification structure is based on the letters A-H with A being the highest level of classification possible, and H being the lowest. Indoors all classifications can be gained at Club Target Days, or competitions.


Outdoor classifications are slightly more complex, with different requirements for different bowstyles, genders and ages. These are named, in ascending order:

  • 3rd Class
  • 2nd Class
  • 1st Class
  • Bowman / Junior Bowman
  • Master Bowman
  • Grand Master Bowman

While 3rd Class through to Bowman / Junior Bowman can be achieved at Club Target Days, events organised by World Archery, a World Archery partner, Archery GB or a UK Record Status competition, Master Bowman and Grand Master Bowman can only be claimed at an event organised by World Archery, a World Archery partner, Archery GB or a UK Record Status competition. The administation of levels upto and including Bowman / Junior Bowman is undertaken by the club records officer, levels above this are administered by Archery GB.


David, the club records officer will be able to answer any questions you have regarding these, although in essence all you need to do is shoot, score and give your scoresheet to David.