Can You Use Outdoor Arrows For Indoor Archery?

by | Jan 11, 2023

When temperatures start to cool off and things get a little frosty outside, it’s time to take your archery indoors for the season. But can you use outdoor arrows for indoor archery? Are they still as effective for indoor archery, or do you need to invest in a set of beefy indoor arrows in order to catch more lines?

In general, outdoor arrows are perfectly ok to shoot indoor archery with. In fact, if outdoor archery is your main focus, then it’s recommended that you stick with the same arrows during the indoor season to avoid having to adjust your bow set-up.

In this article, we’ll cover the Pros and Cons between indoor and outdoor arrows when used indoors, plus the differences between indoor and outdoor archery, which will hopefully give you some ideas on how you could go into the next season better prepared.

Should You Shoot Outdoor Arrows Indoors?

Firstly, you need to identify your main priority. Are you shooting indoors because you want to maintain your training and strength throughout the indoor season until the next outdoor season?

If that’s the case, then the best recommendation is to stick with your outdoor arrows for indoor shooting. You won’t see any significant benefit from switching to fatter indoor arrows.

Outdoor arrows are faster, lighter and much slimmer than indoor arrows. They can be extremely accurate if you’re on your game but can be less forgiving if you’re having an off day.

The fatter indoor arrows have a much bigger circumference, which means you have a greater chance of shooting higher scores because the bigger shafts can touch the ring lines more frequently. Hence their nickname, line-cutters.

Below are the pros and cons of shooting each type of arrow indoors.

Outdoor Arrows


Not having to buy any new equipment

We all like to save a little cash here and there, and as indoor arrows can get expensive, why not save on the cost and take those outdoor arrows inside?

No need to change your set-up

Using your outdoor arrows inside means that you can keep the same bow set up, which is great if outdoor shooting is your main reason for getting into archery in the first place. You don’t need to change the bow weight or the feel and balance of the bow.

There’s going to be a big difference in how shooting an outdoor arrow versus an indoor arrow feels out of the bowstring and the feedback from the bow. A heavier arrow will be slower off the string, which can potentially change an archer’s form over time.

If you’re changing bow weights every season then the consistency in your outdoor shooting could possibly suffer as a result.

Single spot shooting

With shooting skinny arrows indoors you’ll be able to shoot on a single spot if you really wanted to.

If you’re shooting scores of around 280, then you could easily get away with shooting on a single spot because you won’t have as many glance-outs with skinnier arrows.

You might hit some nocks, but your arrows won’t be landing in the eight ring like they would with the fatter indoor arrows.


Potentially losing out on points

Really, the only con to shooting with outdoor arrows indoors is that you may be leaving some points on the table.

In archery, you only have to touch a line to qualify for that score. The fatter indoor arrows give you the edge for catching more 10s.

There isn’t really any other downside!

Indoor Arrows


Optimizing the arrows for performance

You can really dial the indoor arrows in for a better performance by adding longer vanes. It’s much easier to fit giant 5-inch feathers on indoor arrows than on outdoor shafts.

Shoot with less weight

This is more geared toward the recreational shooter or anyone who struggles with shooting high-draw weights outdoors. This can also be a con (see below) in some circumstances.

Rest and recovery

Indoor arrows are also great for rest and recovery before going back outside. You can add heavier points as you won’t be shooting as far, plus, lowering the draw weight can make things easier on your shoulders and fingers for a while.


Extra expense

Arrows can get expensive. If you’re on a budget, then keeping your skinny arrows indoors won’t be as hard on your wallet.

Need to change your set-up

You’ll need to alter your bow set-up to adjust to the differences in arrow spine. With the arrows being slower, you’ll need to adjust your bow weight and your form might need to change in order to shoot them effectively.

Greater potential for error

Indoor arrows are slower out of the bow which means you have more time to influence the arrow before it leaves the bow which is the most critical point in terms of accuracy.

Focusing more on keeping your bow arm perfectly still and adjusting your stabiliser set-up will be something you’ll need to look at.

Tuning Issues

Your sleek and slim outdoor X10s are perfect for recurve archery as their non-parallel shape is designed to slip around the riser, whereas the fatter-barrelled parallel arrows are too thick to bend efficiently.

This can make them less forgiving, although recurve archers shooting higher draw weights typically have more success tuning the fatter indoor arrows.

Differences Between Indoor And Outdoor Archery

If you switch to indoor arrows for the indoor season, making the transition can be quite frustrating at first, but switching back to outdoor shooting after 6 months can also be equally tricky.

And here’s why:

Indoor and outdoor archery both require two very different sub-sets of skills which can be quite frustrating when you switch between the two at the end of a season.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the focus of each:

Outdoor Archery

The outdoor game is a much more subconscious way of shooting. You’re really letting the sight pin just kind of float, while really focusing more on the form.

You’re also more aware of yourself; what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, and what you’re feeling.

The main reason for this is that you don’t have control over external factors such as the rain, the sun and cross-winds. So you really have to focus on getting a good, stable base and make sure that you’re blocking out any distractions.

Indoor Archery

Indoor archery is slightly different in the fact that you have to be more focused on aiming, timing and precision.

While you can allow the sight pin to float in outdoor archery when shooting indoors, you’d better have that sight pin right in the middle, otherwise, you’re not hitting that X spot.

Paying more attention to your aiming pattern and your stabiliser set-up is also going to pay huge dividends when shooting indoors.

With less external distraction you can focus more on controlling the entire flow of each end rather than checking on things like wind direction for each individual shot.


When it comes down to choosing whether or not you should shoot your outdoor arrows indoors, it mostly comes down to personal preference.

If you are shooting really well…you’re having a day where you’re on fire and everything feels good, you’re going to shoot higher scores with your skinny outdoor arrows.


If you have a day where you’re just even slightly off, those skinny arrows are going to let you down in a big way.

if you shoot with the indoor arrows on a good day, you might find that your average score is slightly lower than the outdoor arrows, but if you have an off day or round, you’ll find that the fatter arrows will be much more forgiving.

For competition consistency and higher average scores, I would choose the big, fat aluminium arrows over the skinnier arrows.

Accuracy-wise, the skinnier arrows have the edge. You could put 5-inch spin wing vanes on the skinnier arrows to make them slightly more forgiving. The more surface area you have at the back end, the better chance you have of steering the arrows more accurately and eliminating any errors from a bad release.

The thinner, outdoor arrows will have a little more longevity to them, especially if you’re shooting into harder bales, whereas the fatter indoor arrows will wear out a little sooner.