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M Leigh





Joined: 29 May 2015

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri 29 May, 2015 2:16 pm    Post subject: Archery and helmets         Reply with quote

Hello everyone. This is my first post.

I知 looking for advice as I will soon be in the business of acquiring myself a helmet. The advice I知 looking for pertains to what kind of helmet I should be getting, with my main aims to retaining enough vision to still be proficient in archery, and, to be period and region specific to the Rus tribes at or just after the time of the Mongol invasion.

Does anyone have first-hand experience of using a bow with a nasal/visored/ocular helmet on?

Will using an ocular helmet impede my vision to much to do archery? What about a nasal helmet?
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Kuo Xie




Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 29 Feb 2012

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Sat 30 May, 2015 5:44 am    Post subject: Re: Archery and helmets         Reply with quote

M Leigh wrote:
Hello everyone. This is my first post.

I知 looking for advice as I will soon be in the business of acquiring myself a helmet. The advice I知 looking for pertains to what kind of helmet I should be getting, with my main aims to retaining enough vision to still be proficient in archery, and, to be period and region specific to the Rus tribes at or just after the time of the Mongol invasion.

Does anyone have first-hand experience of using a bow with a nasal/visored/ocular helmet on?

Will using an ocular helmet impede my vision to much to do archery? What about a nasal helmet?


Hello and welcome. Neither of those choices will impede your vision that much, but any helm which covers the face will slightly impede archery in other ways. When shooting a bow and arrow you're supposed to have a consistent indexing point when you draw the string back. For me it was the right corner of my mouth. If you're wearing a face-covering helm it can be hard to establish that indexing point.

Also, you want to make sure nothing catches the string on release. I've seen what happens when a loosed bowstring catches on the archer's belt buckle... trust me you want no part of that. A nasal that sticks out may be prone to snagging the string if you're not careful.
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Bob Haynes




Location: Mount Perry, Ohio
Joined: 06 Apr 2008
Likes: 16 pages

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Sat 30 May, 2015 9:17 am    Post subject: Re: Archery and helmets         Reply with quote

Kuo Xie wrote:
M Leigh wrote:
Hello everyone. This is my first post.

I知 looking for advice as I will soon be in the business of acquiring myself a helmet. The advice I知 looking for pertains to what kind of helmet I should be getting, with my main aims to retaining enough vision to still be proficient in archery, and, to be period and region specific to the Rus tribes at or just after the time of the Mongol invasion.

Does anyone have first-hand experience of using a bow with a nasal/visored/ocular helmet on?

Will using an ocular helmet impede my vision to much to do archery? What about a nasal helmet?


Hello and welcome. Neither of those choices will impede your vision that much, but any helm which covers the face will slightly impede archery in other ways. When shooting a bow and arrow you're supposed to have a consistent indexing point when you draw the string back. For me it was the right corner of my mouth. If you're wearing a face-covering helm it can be hard to establish that indexing point.

Also, you want to make sure nothing catches the string on release. I've seen what happens when a loosed bowstring catches on the archer's belt buckle... trust me you want no part of that. A nasal that sticks out may be prone to snagging the string if you're not careful.


Welcome M Leigh! And nice question, its actually something I've been wondering about as well.

Kuo Kie: May I ask what an "index point" is? Is that where your arrow-hand's index finger is aligned when drawing the string back?
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,268

PostPosted: Sat 30 May, 2015 10:35 am    Post subject: Re: Archery and helmets         Reply with quote

M Leigh wrote:
I知 looking for advice as I will soon be in the business of acquiring myself a helmet. The advice I知 looking for pertains to what kind of helmet I should be getting, with my main aims to retaining enough vision to still be proficient in archery, and, to be period and region specific to the Rus tribes at or just after the time of the Mongol invasion.


Perhaps the first question should be whether there is evidence that such low-class archers wore armor at all? There are certainly depictions from western Europe in the early 13th century for archers wearing a simple helm or cap, but they are generally shown as unarmored especially when compared to crossbowmen. What evidence is available from Russian sources?

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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John Hardy




Location: Saskatoon SK Canada
Joined: 31 May 2014
Likes: 18 pages

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Sat 30 May, 2015 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Archery and helmets         Reply with quote

Bob Haynes wrote:
Kuo Xie wrote:
M Leigh wrote:
Hello everyone. This is my first post.

I知 looking for advice as I will soon be in the business of acquiring myself a helmet. The advice I知 looking for pertains to what kind of helmet I should be getting, with my main aims to retaining enough vision to still be proficient in archery, and, to be period and region specific to the Rus tribes at or just after the time of the Mongol invasion.

Does anyone have first-hand experience of using a bow with a nasal/visored/ocular helmet on?

Will using an ocular helmet impede my vision to much to do archery? What about a nasal helmet?


Hello and welcome. Neither of those choices will impede your vision that much, but any helm which covers the face will slightly impede archery in other ways. When shooting a bow and arrow you're supposed to have a consistent indexing point when you draw the string back. For me it was the right corner of my mouth. If you're wearing a face-covering helm it can be hard to establish that indexing point.

Also, you want to make sure nothing catches the string on release. I've seen what happens when a loosed bowstring catches on the archer's belt buckle... trust me you want no part of that. A nasal that sticks out may be prone to snagging the string if you're not careful.


Welcome M Leigh! And nice question, its actually something I've been wondering about as well.

Kuo Kie: May I ask what an "index point" is? Is that where your arrow-hand's index finger is aligned when drawing the string back?


First, the "index point" is the single consistent reference spot to which you always want to draw hour string to ensure a regular, uniform draw length and aim. It's much the same as a "cheek weld" in shooting -- you try to have your rifle "welded" to the exact same spot on your cheek every time to ensure that you line up your sights the same way every time, which is a big part of accurate aiming.

In western style archery, the index point is commonly either the angle of the jaw or the lobe of the ear. You draw so that the same bit of your drawings fingers/thumb touch the same spot on your face every time. (it's been awhile since I shot my recurve, but iirc my index point is the knuckle of my thumb touching the angle of my jaw.)

Second, regarding helmets with spectacles or especially nasal bars.... many nasal bars reach almost to the chin and stick out enough so you can wear modern glasses under them. Even thinking about a bowstring snagging one makes me wince -- the sudden torque transmitted through the helmet's chinstrap could give you an appalling whiplash if it didn't outright break your neck. The wrenching force on even an unsecured helmet could be bad.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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Posts: 1,492

PostPosted: Sat 30 May, 2015 3:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Index points/anchor points

A helmet can make a difference. Perhaps this is one reason why we see floating anchor points (i.e., where the string hand (or the string) isn't touching the face or body). The other reason for using floating anchor points is to allow longer draws; a common anchor point in long-draw East Asian archery (Japanese, Korean, Manchu/Qing) is in front of the right shoulder. A floating anchor point is detrimental to accuracy, but energy (increased by long draw length) and armour matter as well on the battlefield.

Eastern archers, armour, and social status

Plenty of non-low-born archers in the east, from Eastern Europe onwards. Rus armoured cavalry would often carry a bow or crossbow (13th century); in later times (up to the 16th century), the bow was standard equipment for aristocratic cavalry in Russia.

It is sometimes said that Russian mounted archery was a response to the Mongol invasions. But the Rus states were in close contact with the Steppe long before that, and appear to have included mounted archery before the Mongol invasions. For example, Rus rulers would use Turkic titles like khagan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khagan#Among_the_Norsemen_and_Slavs and Nevsky had horse archers at the Battled on the Ice.

Ocular helmets and full armour suggests to me "upper class cavalry" for Mongol invasion period Rus, but a bow is OK as part of the equipment.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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John Hardy




Location: Saskatoon SK Canada
Joined: 31 May 2014
Likes: 18 pages

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Sat 30 May, 2015 3:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Index points/anchor points

A helmet can make a difference. Perhaps this is one reason why we see floating anchor points (i.e., where the string hand (or the string) isn't touching the face or body). The other reason for using floating anchor points is to allow longer draws; a common anchor point in long-draw East Asian archery (Japanese, Korean, Manchu/Qing) is in front of the right shoulder. A floating anchor point is detrimental to accuracy, but energy (increased by long draw length) and armour matter as well on the battlefield.

Eastern archers, armour, and social status

Plenty of non-low-born archers in the east, from Eastern Europe onwards. Rus armoured cavalry would often carry a bow or crossbow (13th century); in later times (up to the 16th century), the bow was standard equipment for aristocratic cavalry in Russia.

It is sometimes said that Russian mounted archery was a response to the Mongol invasions. But the Rus states were in close contact with the Steppe long before that, and appear to have included mounted archery before the Mongol invasions. For example, Rus rulers would use Turkic titles like khagan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khagan#Among_the_Norsemen_and_Slavs and Nevsky had horse archers at the Battled on the Ice.

Ocular helmets and full armour suggests to me "upper class cavalry" for Mongol invasion period Rus, but a bow is OK as part of the equipment.


Agreed with your point about floating anchor points and how armour/helmets might have impacted that practice. On further consideration, I think we neglected to ask the OP a critical point:. What style of archery is he practicing and with what kind of bow?

The answer to that will determine what kind of helmet (and armour) he can wear.
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