The ArcheryGB classification scheme gives you progressive goals to aim for. Each level of the scheme you reach entitles you to a new achievement badge. These are presented at the AGM each year, usually in November. In addition to monitoring your handicaps the records officer also monitors your classification achievements.
Our sport is always developing and as part of this progression ArcheryGB have revisited and updated the classifications and handicap scheme, both modernising them and creating more awards to give all archers a roadmap for progression.
Inclusivity is important in our sport and that is why the update includes new Archer tiers to give beginners a more substantial way to mark their progression through the sport. As the awards progress there are two main variables that change: first is the distance and second is the consistency, so a similar score level must be achieved on the longer distances. Also new is that, instead of certain rounds having to be shot, which is not always possible for some archers to achieve due to provision of shoots, ability etc, the classifications are now reached based on a number of arrows shot across any eligible rounds, making them more accessible to club archers.
There are nine different classification levels available to all archers, which are grouped into three sets of three. An archer starts off with the Archer tier, with 3rd Class, 2nd Class and 1st Class awards. They then move up to the Bowman tier, again with 3rd Class, 2nd Class and 1st Class, and then finally the Master Bowman tier, where the naming gets a little more fun with Master Bowman (MB), Grand Master Bowman (GMB) and Elite Master Bowman (EMB).
Both the Archer and Bowman tiers are administered at club level, so scores can be submitted via our usual submission form and will be processed internally. Please get in touch with the Records Officer if you have any questions around the Classifications. The grid below shows the number of arrows required to be shot across rounds to achieve the different classification levels, and the level of scoring/competition at which they can be shot.
The Archer tier is designed so that a wide range of club-level archers should be able to achieve one of its levels. Most archers should be able to complete Archer 3rd Class during their first 1-2 years within the sport. At this tier it is possible to obtain the scores during practice, though we do encourage the score to be shot following the rules of shooting and be witnessed by another archer to ensure the integrity of the scoring process.
To achieve any award in the Archer tier, the archer needs to shoot a number of complete rounds totalling at least 144 (or 12 dozen) arrows, which can be achieved in a number of ways. For Archer 3rd Class, each round must include a distance of at least 30y or 30m. If the archer reaches the minimum score required, then the scored round contributes towards their classification. Once they have shot rounds totalling 144 arrows at that classification level, they have achieved the award. Congratulations! The archer then may look at aiming for the Archer 2nd Class award.
Once they have gained the Archer 1st Class classification, archers can move up to the Bowman tier. Archers at this level are typically taking part in competitive events from club level right up to national level.
With the Bowman classifications the archer should be quite familiar with shooting rounds and is probably ready for a more formal shooting environment. Archers should now be shooting their scores at competitions, club target days, friendly matches or any other event in line with rule 304. It doesn’t need to be too formal, but as a guideline it should be an event organised in advance, with multiple people taking part and with rules around practice and scoring being followed as if it were a competition.
The event does NOT need to be Record Status for Bowman.
Journeying through the Bowman tier, archers are likely to have encountered their first full Record Status competitions and have shot a prestige round. These both now become a requirement for the Master Bowman tier, with only scores from the prestige rounds shot at World Record or UK Record Status events eligible to count towards the classification.
The level of consistency required increases significantly as well, with 36 dozen arrows (432 total) now required, representing three sets of 12 dozen arrow rounds, six sets of 6 dozen arrow rounds, or a combination of the two.
The Master Bowman level is the first award in this tier, moving up to Grand Master Bowman and, finally, to Elite Master Bowman. This final level represents scores which would typically be competitive at international events. While these scores are achievable, doing so consistently across a season is a huge achievement and only a small number of archers in each category will likely be able to do so in a given year. It’s possible that no one will achieve this level in some years, especially if it’s a really windy season!
These awards are handled directly by ArcheryGB, and the claim form is available on their website.
From rounds totalling
Type of event
Archer 3rd Class
12 dozen arrows
All rounds of an appropriate distance
Archer 2nd Class
Archer 1st Class
Bowman 3rd Class
18 dozen arrows
All rounds of an appropriate distance
Any competitive event
Bowman 2nd Class
Bowman 1st Class
Master Bowman Tier
36 dozen arrows
Age appropriate rounds in York, Hereford, Bristol, WA1440 & WA720 round families
Any record status competition
Grand Master Bowman
Elite Master Bowman
In what is also another positive change, the Classifications have been fully extended to all the Junior and 50+ categories for all bow types, so whether you are 8 or 80, shooting Recurve or a Longbow, there are classifications you can achieve. The following boxes each link to the full classification document for each bow type. They can be a little confusing as there is a lot of information, so if in any doubt, please speak to our Records Officer and they will help you understand what you need to do.
As with the outdoor classifications, indoor classifications require three scores to be submitted that meet the required score threshold for the relevant bowstyle and gender. Unfortunately, these are currently only based on recurve and compound, with no specific classifications for barebow or longbow, though we do expect that to change in the future.
For now, if you fall into those two categories we will class as if you were shooting recurve - and it is possible for you to achieve these scores as has been evidenced this past indoor season.
Once you reach an indoor classification this stays with you, so if you were a B last year and you reach B again this year you won't receive another badge, even if you change bowstyle.
The table below from the ArcheryGB Shooting Administrative Procedures shows which scores are required for the rounds. Again, if you have any questions please speak to our Records Officer who will be able to guide you on what is required.