Skinny Arrows

Skinny Arrows are in. Now, skinny isn’t to be confused with feathery, because as carbon arrows have become slimmer, they have generally grown heavier, as in increased grains per inch (GPI) mass. An ultra-slim shaft with increased overall mass holds many obvious appeals for bowhunters. Those smaller diameters provide less resistance while passing through game, the heavier mass helping them to drive even deeper. The slim profiles also help cheat crosswinds in breezy habitats where ranges also tend to run longer. Those thicker walls also makes such arrows super durable.   

While skinny arrows constitute the latest offerings from most major arrow brands, skinny isn’t exactly new. Bowhunters who have been in the sport since the early 1990s will easily remember the very first carbon shafts also included ultra-slim diameters, many mirroring today’s smallest-diameter shafts. They also included thick walls that concentrated mass for hard-hitting payloads.

Obviously, technologies change rapidly, and those early carbon shafts resemble modern goods only at a glance. Those early “pultruded” shafts where created with long, parallel fibers (unlike today’s wrapped shafts) and infused with epoxy resins. When these older shafts broke they produced nasty, sharp-edged slivers. Those shafts even came with safety notices warning of introducing harmful carbon fibers into game meat during the shot and the potentially-lethal results of ingesting those fibers. Early carbons all wore bulky outserts and sleeve (slip-on) nocks many archers didn’t care for. They were also haunted by straightness, concentricity and weight tolerances no bowhunter would find acceptable today. But they were super tough and penetrated game like nothing that came before, so many bowhunters overlooked the cons and quickly adopted them for bowhunting. 

Skinny Arrows Are In

Early carbon technology progressed at a meteoric rate, companies like Gold Tip and Beman introducing carbon shafts that accepted familiar internal inserts and direct-fit nocks, necessitating larger tube diameters and thinner walls. They were also conspicuously lighter, which the need-for-speed crowd gobbled up. 

Easton’s .204-inch interior diameter Axis, introduced in 2003, likely deserves credit for starting the low-diameter carbon-arrow ball rolling. Axis shafts, now including the 5mm modifier to tidy things up, include smaller diameter and thicker walls. The .204-inch internal diameter was no mistake, as it just so happens to neatly fit standard screw-in point ferrules. Standard field-point and broadhead ferrules were accommodated by introducing the slick H.I.T. system, or Hidden Insert Technology. These recessed-aluminum inserts are adhered to the interior walls of the shaft, engaging standard ferrule threads, ferrule shoulders fitting snuggly inside interior walls, creating sleek, streamlined point/arrow mating. A new, direct-fit X-Nock was created just for the Axis. 

Axis shafts remain steady sellers, and were soon joined by .203/.204-diameter shafts from Blood Sport (Justice), Arrow Tech (MT), Carbon Express (Maxima RED SD, D-Stroyer SD), Black Eagle (Rampage, Renegade), Victory (RIP series), Gold Tip (Black Label Quantum, Kinetic Kaos), plus Easton’s newer FMJ series and all-carbon SPT; just as quick examples.     

It wouldn’t be long before the industry redefined skinny with .165/.166-inch interior diameters accommodating direct-fit G (Easton), F (Bohning) or IP (AAE) nocks. Early examples included Victory Archery’s VAP—soon joined by the VAP TKO and SS—and Easton’s (now 4mm Series) Carbon and A/C Deep Six Injexion and 4mm FMJ, Black Eagle (Deep Impact), Blood Sport (Evidence), Carbon Express (Triad) and Gold Tip (Pierce series), just as easy examples.

Skinny interior diameters, of course, created the need for new insert/outsert systems. Easton approached the problem with Deep Six technology, tweaking the H.I.T. concept by slimming inserts further, but also introducing the new Deep Six (D6) ferrule/thread pattern. Stainless steel D6 20-grain H.I.T. inserts include finer threads that increase thread engagement and G-Nock-diameter internal ferrule shoulder. The heavier stainless steel increases F.O.C. for increased stability and penetration, as well as boosting reliability. New Archery Products produced the first D6 broadheads, other major brands quickly following suit. 

Other company’s tackled the skinny-diameter problem by returning to the outsert design, which has the plus of accepting standard thread points and broadheads. The outsert design also allowed better protecting the shaft, a long shaft extending through the front of the shaft for added support and the leading edge contained inside a sleeve to prevent “banana peeling” of the shaft mouth following hard impacts with bone or rocks after a miss. It makes for a formative package, found on brands such as Victory, Blood Sport, Black Eagle and Gold Tip, while also boosting F.O.C. balance.

Any of these slim-line shafts give any bowhunter a greater degree of dependability in both penetration potential and durability, but are a virtual Godsend for “kinetically challenged” bowhunters limited to short draw lengths and/or low draw weights.   

The skinny arrows trend is here to stay, with every mainstream arrow company offering at least a .204-inch internal diameter arrow and more every season offering .166-inch shafts. The advantages are very real and the parallel introduction of drop-away arrow rests makes them more viable than ever, as fletching clearance on these slim shafts becomes a nonfactor. Deeper penetration while shooting less draw weight, quieter shots through increased energy absorption during launch, decreased wind drift on longer shots and increased durability are all real-world advantages of the skinny-arrow design. 


Victory Archery offers exceptional archery products for hunters and target shooters alike. Every precision arrow we sell undergoes the most rigorous quality control processes to ensure maximum performance and reliability. We are committed to maintaining our reputation as the leader in innovative arrow design and composite materials technology. Victory Archery is much more than an arrow company. We are a materials science think tank that is constantly researching the potential of physical and chemical compounds to bring cutting edge product to the market first. Our patented technologies are constantly revolutionizing the arrow industry, and we thrive on innovation.

Originators of the Micro Diameter Arrow
Not only did Victory Archery pioneer Micro Diameter Arrow Technology, but we also managed to make these arrows with a consistent +- .001″ straightness tolerance! The Victory VAP® was the first micro diameter carbon arrow on the market and it has changed the landscape of the industry for good. Victory Archery is the only vertically integrated arrow company in the industry with carbon fiber prepreg plants distributed across the United States. Our design engineers are aerospace and composite material veterans who have pulled from a vast composite material and resin library to create the most advanced arrows available. That is why we are globally recognized as the undisputed carbon arrow experts.

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