One way of measuring your archery progress is through classification. Different classification awards are available for both indoor and outdoor shooting.

Outdoor classifications have recently been revised and updated by Archery GB. The new outdoor classification update includes new Archer tiers to give beginners a more substantial way to mark their progression through the sport. New archers should typically be able to achieve a classification within their first 1-2 years. From the Archer tier, the most ambitious archers can attempt to reach the new Elite Master Bowman classification.

Indoor classifications are graded by letter and range from H to A, with A being the highest award.

Outdoor Classifications & Handicaps

The Archery GB Classification and Handicap schemes allow archers of all levels to understand their skill level and progress through the various awards available. From the initial Archer 3rd Class classification, right through to Elite Master Bowman

There are nine different classification levels available grouped into three sets of three. This starts 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. Finally comes 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).

These levels are designed to cover the full range of experience for the vast majority of archers, with Archer 3rd Class achievable by many new archers within their first year or two in the sport, whereas Elite Master Bowman will be a challenge for even the very best in the country to maintain.

Bow style, gender and age of the archer determine the specific scores applied. The scores across different rounds are calculated from handicap tables. In addition to the skill element, each award has a minimum distance required for each classification.

Archer Tier

The Archer tier is designed so that a wide range of club-level archers should be able to achieve classification. Most club archers should be able to complete Archer 3rd Class during their first 1-2 years within the sport.

To achieve any award in the Archer tier, you need to shoot several 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 you reach the minimum score required, then the scored round contributes towards classification. Once you have shot rounds totalling 144 arrows at that classification level, then you will have achieved the award. You can then look at aiming for the Archer 2nd Class award.

As the awards progress, there are two main variables that change: the first is distance and the second is consistency, so a similar score level must be achieved on the longer distances.

Archer-level scores can be obtained during club practice sessions. This level of classification is administered by our own records officers or coaches.

Bowman Tier

Once you have gained the Archer 1st Class classification, you 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.

The rounds which need to be shot for Bowman tier classifications are a key component of the classification system and are knowns as the Prestige Rounds.

Prestige rounds

Each archer has three rounds, which for competitive and historical reasons are more prestigious than other rounds. Each category has three such rounds, which vary depending on bowstyle, gender and age. 

The first category is those prescribed by World Archery for international competition and equivalent rounds for categories not recognised by World Archery. There are three ‘families’ of rounds in this category, divided by bowstyle:

BowstyleRound NameDistanceFace SizeArrow Count
Recurve & LongbowWA 70m70m122cm6 dozen (72)
WA 60m60m122cm6 dozen (72)
Metric 122-5050m122cm6 dozen (72)
Metric 122-4040m122cm6 dozen (72)
Metric 122-3030m122cm6 dozen (72)
BarebowWA 50m50m122cm6 dozen (72)
Metric 122-4040m122cm6 dozen (72)
Metric 122-3030m122cm6 dozen (72)
CompoundWA 50m50m80cm6 dozen (72)
Metric 80-4040m80cm6 dozen (72)
Metric 80-3030m80cm6 dozen (72)

The second category is the former standard World Archery rounds. These rounds are now known as the 1440s but may still be referred to as ‘FITAs’. These challenging rounds consist of 36 arrows each at four different distances and have been adapted to shorter distances as the Archery GB Metric I to V rounds.

Round NameDistancesFace SizeArrow Count
WA1440 Men90m, 70m122cm3 dozen (36) at each distance
50m, 30m80cm
WA1440 Ladies70m, 60m122cm3 dozen (36) at each distance
50m, 30m80cm
Metric II60m, 50m122cm3 dozen (36) at each distance
40m, 30m80cm
Metric III50m, 40m122cm3 dozen (36) at each distance
30m, 20m80cm
Metric IV40m, 30m122cm3 dozen (36) at each distance
20m, 10m80cm
Metric V40m, 30m122cm3 dozen (36) at each distance
15m, 10m80cm

The third category is the traditional Archery GB rounds, based on the York round shot at the first Grand National Archery Meeting in 1844. These rounds consist of 144 arrows shot across three imperial distances.

Round NameDistances and Arrow CountFace Size
York6 dozen at 100 yards, 4 dozen at 80 yards and 2 dozen at 60 yards122cm
Hereford / Bristol I6 dozen at 80 yards, 4 dozen at 60 yards and 2 dozen at 50 yards122cm
Bristol I6 dozen at 60 yards, 4 dozen at 50 yards and 2 dozen at 40 yards122cm
Bristol I6 dozen at 50 yards, 4 dozen at 40 yards and 2 dozen at 30 yards122cm
Bristol I6 dozen at 40 yards, 4 dozen at 30 yards and 2 dozen at 20 yards122cm
Bristol I6 dozen at 30 yards, 4 dozen at 20 yards and 2 dozen at 10 yards122cm

Scores for an archer’s prestige rounds (and longer variants) are available for ALL classification levels, irrespective of other restrictions.

Achieving a Bowman classification

With the Bowman classifications, you should be quite familiar with shooting rounds and be ready for a more formal shooting environment. You should now be shooting 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 classification. This level of classification is still administered at the club level.

To find the specific scores applying to your bowstyle, age and gender please view the tables on the below button.

The Master Bowman Tier

For the Master Bowman tier only scores from prestige rounds shot at World Record or UK Record Status events are eligible to count towards classification.

The level of consistency required increases significantly 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 each year.

Indoor Classifications

As already mentioned, Indoor classifications are graded by letter and range from H to A, with A being the highest award.

To gain grades A, B, C, D, E, F, G or H, you must shoot three rounds of, or better than, the qualifying scores under Archery GB Rules of Shooting at a meeting organised by Archery GB or a body affiliated to Archery GB or at an associated club target day. Generally, this includes standard club shooting sessions. All of the standard indoor rounds can be shot to achieve indoor classifications.

Shooting to achieve classifications is a great way to improve your archery and experience shooting different rounds in different environments.

Documents detailing the scores required for outdoor classification are provided by Archery GB on their website.

Indoor score requirements are provided in the tables below.

Gentlemen & Junior Boys – Recurve

Bray I2882792582211681005336
FITA 18m (40cm face)57656051844634020510974
FITA 18m (Triple Spot)5765605164102541245838

Ladies & Junior Girls – Recurve

Bray I279270243202134743623
FITA 18m (40cm face)5635414894072741537448
FITA 18m (Triple Spot)563541479347182863824

Gentlemen & Junior Boys – Compound

Bray I2842792682462101488658
299F289ITA 18m (40cm face)568558537493420295173117
FITA 18m (Triple Spot)56855853748637020310063

Ladies & Junior Girls – Compound

Bray I2792742592291821175742
FITA 18m (40cm face)55854952046136823811787
FITA 18m (Triple Spot)5585495194382921506345