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Backstop Netting

The test procedure - the endurance test for the arrow catching mats and nets begins

For our big quality test, we shot 3 metres of each of the tested nets with a fast bow, the Malachite as a one-piece recurve bow, at 30, 40, 50 and 60lbs on our 18m indoor range.

For each draw weight, 50 shots were fired and the number of shots in, shots through and ricochets at the arrow catch were counted. One test candidate stood out from the crowd and impressed us with its outstanding characteristics. You can find out which model this is in the following section.

Which arrows were used for the test?

Initially, slimline arrows with a steel tip were used, followed by a total of 200 shots with a 5/16 standard carbon arrow with an F-field screw tip at a distance of 18 metres. The number of shots in, shots through and ricochets were counted on the tested arrow catch.

Bounces and shots ensure that the arrows are safely caught in the net or mat: the arrows were prevented from continuing their uncontrolled flight. A higher rebound rate is of course an indication of the longer durability and safety of the tested arrow catch.

  • Test series 1: Firing with a fast recurve bow and slimline arrows, each 3 metres in width
  • Test series 2: Firing with a fast recurve bow and standard arrows (5/16 carbon) each 3m in width

Test winner: The arrow catching mats from Stronghold Targets

The arrow catching mats from Stronghold Targets clearly win the comparison with a 100% catch rate for slimline arrows and 90 to 92% catch rate for standard carbon arrows!

With our test winner, the PremiumProtect Green, for example, the first shots are only fired from 60lbs, which slightly reduces the 100% stopping effect up to that point. In the slimline range, there is nothing to criticise about the 100% catch rate - due to the overall outstanding stopping power, the PremiumProtect Green mat from Stronghold Targets receives our clear and unreserved arrow catch recommendation for recurve bows.

The absolute endurance test for the PremiumProtect mats

The Stronghold PremiumProtect also performs very well in our test as an arrow catcher, for slimline shafts it is also a real recommendation with 100% stopping effect across all draw weights and is also our price tip. The same applies to 5/16 arrows up to 50lbs. A small drawback: there are a lot of arrows stuck in the mat in the high draw range.

The results of the safety nets tested

Would you still prefer a more space-saving classic safety net? For standard carbon arrows, all three nets tested were quite similar, with the differences between the various brands varying by only +-4% of the catching power.

Surprisingly, the catching effect of the classic safety nets increases with high draw strengths and slimline arrows. Here, the Stronghold Professional is a reliable arrow catch with at least 90% hold rate across all draw strengths and only occasional slips (average catch rate: 95%), making it the best classic net for slimline arrows. Even with standard carbon fibre arrows, the Professional shows a consistent catching performance and a good stopping effect up to 40lbs (80 and 84% stopping rate).

With standard carbon arrows, the PFN Black still has a good catching performance up to 50lbs and is in the middle of the three nets tested with an 80% stopping rate. In contrast, the stopping power with slimline arrows was only mixed. Here, too, the performance increases slightly from 60 to 70% catch rate at high draw weights, but overall the PFN Black with 74% catch rate for slimline arrows does not show a satisfactory stopping effect.

Surprisingly, the Dura net shows its best performance at 50lbs and is the best classic net for 5/16 shafts with its constant stopping power of 84% on average, whereas it fails flat out with the slimline arrows - only 20% of the arrows were actually stopped in the medium draw weights! This poor arrow catching performance at medium draw weights also increased again at 60lbs, but the Dura net is not close-meshed enough for slimline arrows and we do not consider "only" 40% penetration to be satisfactory overall, so the initial 80% catch rate at 30lbs unfortunately does not help much in the overall evaluation.

Conclusion and outlook

To summarise, it can be said that with the recurve bow, the more stable arrow catch mats have significantly higher catch rates compared to classic arrow catch nets. In addition, the different tip shapes may have led to different results. This requires further in-depth testing.

An arrow trap net behind your target can prevent an arrow from getting out of control and drifting behind the target in a dangerous direction if you miss the target or the arrow bounces off it. This ensures maximum safety when archery. The net also protects your arrows from damage: an arrow that flies into the net is gently slowed down without possibly being damaged by hitting stone or wood behind the Target. Archery with an arrow trap net is therefore more comfortable than without - because when shooting with an arrow trap, arrows are easier to find and can be easily removed from the net as they are not hidden in the turf or have landed somewhere far away from the shot. All in all, an arrow trap net makes archery safer and more enjoyable.

A basic distinction is made between arrow stop nets and arrow stop mats. These form a kind of backstop behind the Target to safely stop arrows that miss the actual target or even go through a target. Normal arrow nets are usually made of strong, tightly woven synthetic fibres. They are well suited for use in the garden or on training grounds and are available in various sizes and colours.

Arrow catching mats are also available in different sizes and weights. As a rule, the heavier the catching mat, the more reliably the arrows are stopped. Even very fast compound arrows and crossbow bolts can be stopped reliably. A backstop directly on the back of an already somewhat worn Target can also extend its service life.

The ideal size of an arrow trap net depends, among other things, on the shooting distance and accuracy of the archer. As a rule, however, an arrow net measuring approx. 3 metres in height and 2-3 metres in width is recommended as a good starting point for most archers. If you have more space, feel free to choose a slightly wider net. This provides a generous area to safely catch arrows, even if the archer does not hit the Target. This minimises the risk of arrows missing the net and getting out of control. A larger net offers beginners in particular a greater margin for error and protects your arrows from breaking due to contact with the ground or loss. In any case, the size of the net should ensure that the arrows are safely caught and that safety is guaranteed at all times during archery.

Hanging an arrow trap net correctly is crucial for safety when archery. You should pay attention to the following points:

  • Location: Choose a suitable location for your training. Make sure that the area is large enough and that there are no obstacles in the path of the arrows.
  • Net size: Choose an arrow net that is large enough to safely catch all arrows. The size of the net depends on your shooting distance and accuracy. A net about 3 metres high and 2-3 metres wide is a good starting point for most beginners to archery.
  • Suspension: Find a stable mounting point to which you can attach the arrow net. This can be a wall, a post or a special arrow catch frame, for example. It is best to use a sturdy wire rope for suspension, as this can also hold larger safety nets with more weight securely in the long term. You can find suitable quick-release rings, Vario clips, thimbles and turnbuckles for fastening.
  • Height: Hang the net so that it hangs securely and in loose folds (like a curtain) on the wire rope and can swing freely backwards. The arrow net should reach just above the ground to catch all arrows. You should also keep some distance from a wall with the arrow net so that it can swing sufficiently and better absorb the energy of the arrow. In addition, one or two arrows could still hit the wall in the event of a heavy impact and become unusable.
  • Distance to the target: The distance between the arrow trap net and your target can be approx. 30-100 cm. With the STRONGHOLD S200 Deluxe wooden stand, for example, you can also attach it directly to the top of the target stand.  This ensures that your arrows are safely caught even if they miss the Target and fall into the collection area under the net.
  • Safety: Check your arrow net regularly for damage and secure it properly. Do not use damaged arrows as they could break through the net.

By hanging your arrow net properly and observing appropriate safety precautions, you will be able to enjoy your equipment for a long time.

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