The handicap is a measure of how well you have shot, regardless of what round, distances, or numbers of arrows. It ranges from 0 (the best) to 100 (the worst). It's a logarithmic measure, where each reduction of 1 point in the handicap scale corresponds to shooting 3.6% more accurately.

Every archer gets a handicap rating (like golf). It starts out as the average handicap number for the first three rounds shot, rounded up to a whole number.

After that, if you shoot better than your handicap, by at least 2, the handicap value is reduced to the midpoint between the current one and the value from the round shot. If you shoot worse, the handicap remains unchanged. There are separate handicaps for indoors and outdoors for each archer and bow type. The handicaps are reassessed at the end of a season by averaging the three best handicaps, rounded up. So the handicap can go up or down compared with the ongoing handicap.

The handicap rating gets used in some competitions so that everyone has an equal chance of winning. We usually have an end of season indoor Worcester competition and an outdoor Nationals round competition in September, both of which are handicap ones. An "adjustment" is added to the archers score, based on their handicaps. Those with higher (worse) handicaps will have a larger adjustment. Anyone shooting the round at exactly their current handicap will end up with a score of 1440.


For indoors the classifications range from H (lowest) to A (highest). For outdoors the badges range from 3rd class to 1st class, then, for Juniors: Junior Bowman and Junior Master Bowman, and for Seniors: Bowman, Master Bowman and Grand Master Bowman.

To obtain a classification you need to shoot three rounds at a particular classification level or above. E.g. shooting three rounds indoors with classification levels of E, E and D will give you the E classification. You then only need two more D rounds to get the D level (the first D isn't "used up" by the E classification).

There are tables at the end of the "Shooting Administration Procedures" document, which can be obtained from the Archery GB website, that tell you which scores correspond to the classifications. The scores are based on handicap levels, so it should require the same skill level to get a particular classification, regardless of the round shot. However, some of the classifications cannot be obtained with all of the rounds. E.g. to get "first class", gentlemen need to shoot a round with at least 6 dozen arrows (no Warwick rounds) and with the longest distance at least 80 yards or 70 metres.

 There are different scores for different bow types and ages/gender.

Although, at the moment, for indoors there are no junior age bands and no classifications at all for longbow or barebow. The juniors have to get the same scores as adults to get the classifications.


Badges are given out for classifications, indoors and outdoors. The outdoor badge from 3rd class to Bowman are given out at club level. The higher ones need to be shot at record status 12 dozen round competitions and need to be claimed from Archery GB

Also indoors there are Portsmouth badges. Which start at a score of 500 for seniors and 300 for juniors, lonbows and barebows. You only need one score at or above it when shooting a Portsmouth round to get the badge. Then they go up in 25 point intervals up to 575, then in 5 point intervals up to the maximum score of 600.

There are also "252" badges for outdoors (or indoors at 20 yards). To get these you need to get a score of 252, twice, on different days, using imperial 5 zone scoring on a 122 cm face, with the first 3 dozen arrows(*) shot that day at a particular distance to get the badge for that distance. The distances range from 20 to 60 yards. 

We have tended to do these just for juniors so far, and I don't generally keep track of the 252 scores for everyone like I do with the Portsmouth badges. But if you would like to go for them, highlight it on the score sheet when you get your first and second score so that I know. 

(*) The 3 dozen arrows is for recurve. For barebow you can shoot 4 dozen to get 252, longbow 4½ dozen, and compound only 2½ dozen.

The arrows being shot for the 252 badges can part of a normal round. E.g. you can shoot a Short National in order to go for the 50 yard 252 badge.

Progress Badges

There are progress badges for juniors. These are black, blue, red and gold.

I have some tables for the different distances and target faces for the different ages and bow types. Ask me about these if I've not mentioned it.