Overview of the New Indoor Handicap and Classification Systems

(Quick links – Full indoor tables here, mobile-friendly tables here, and custom tables here)

The indoor classification has been in need of some serious changes for a very long time, and finally, going into the 2023-24 indoor season those changes have been made.

The old system was not very inclusive at all. The only categories recognised were Recurve and Compound, Male and Female. Barebows and Longbows didn’t exist in that system, and neither did children…This meant that all but the very best juniors were extremely unlikely to get anywhere near the top end of the system which was quite demotivating. Barebows and Longbow often used the scores in recurve tables but were obviously at a big disadvantage.

The old system also had a few flaws in the scores themselves. Firstly, some of the scores were no longer representative of typical performance levels. Secondly, there were a few “loopholes” where some classifications could more easily be achieved on some rounds than others.

The new system fixes those problems –

  • All 4 major bowstlyes are represented
  • All age groups are represented from U12 up to 50+
  • Scores are now representative of current performance levels
  • Loopholes have been fixed, if necessary by removing those options completely.

Overall Structure

The structure of the new indoor classification is much like the recently introduced outdoor system – with three tiers (Archer, Bowman, Master Bowman) each containing multiple classifications. Each tier has slightly different requirements about how much shooting is required and at what sort of events.

Sub-LevelsAward Requirements
From rounds totallingRoundsType of eventAdministered by
Archer TierIndoor Archer 3rd Class10 dozen arrowsAny indoor round as shown on classification tablesAny eventClubs
Indoor Archer 2nd Class
Indoor Archer 1st Class
Bowman TierIndoor Bowman 3rd Class15 dozen arrowsAny competitive event
Indoor Bowman 2nd Class
Indoor Bowman 1st Class
Indoor Master Bowman TierMaster BowmanAny Record Status Competition
Indoor Grand Master Bowman

There are a couple of key differences to the outdoor system that are apparent from this table –

  • There is no Elite Master Bowman (EMB) classification available indoors.
  • All levels of the indoor scheme are administered at club level (compared to the outdoor scheme where the Master tier is dealt with by ArcheryGB)
  • All indoor rounds are eligible, as opposed to the outdoor scheme where specific rounds are needed for the MB-tier.
  • The volume of arrows is less – 10 dozen for Archer tier and 15 dozen for Bowman and Master-Bowman tier.


Let’s take a look at an example of one of the new classification tables. In this case, I’ve randomly picked Barebow Women U21. These new-style tables also include a quick reference of the round definition too which describes how many dozen arrows are shot at what distances on what sized face.

Distance/Face Classifications and Handicaps
Distance 18m 20y 25y 25m 30m 89 83 77 71 65 59 53 47
Face size 40cm 16in 60cm 80cm IA3 IA2 IA1 IB3 IB2 IB1 IMB IGMB
Bray I 2.5 62 85 113 144 174 201 223 242
Bray II 2.5 79 106 136 166 194 217 236 252
Portsmouth 5 220 281 341 395 440 477 508 532
Stafford 6 184 247 319 391 458 515 561 599
Worcester 5 71 97 128 160 191 217 240 257
Vegas (Triple Face) 5 70 102 145 201 270 344 416 473
Vegas 300 2.5 62 85 113 144 174 201 223 242
WA 18m 5 127 174 231 292 352 405 450 486
WA 25m 5 135 184 242 303 362 413 455 489

There’s a few things to note on this table that are different to the previous system –

No face type variants

There are no longer separate scores for different target face variants. In the old system, for example, there were seperate scores for WA18m and WA18m (Triple face). Now, the same scores are used regardless of which face is being used. Why has this changed? Basically, there was no need to have both – the top half of the table was the same for both full-face and triple-face variants. This is a natural consequence of the way classifications were calculated. If you’re shooting at a handicap level high enough to get the higher classifications, there won’t be any arrows outside of the 6-ring anyway, so it will make no difference which face you’re using. Likewise, if you’re at the lower end of the table you’ll be choosing the full-face variant of the round anyway. The rules of shooting are clear that these face choices are optional – the round is the same, and it’s the archer’s choice if they want to shoot the smaller triple-face. This brings the indoor system in line with the outdoor system, where rounds are only listed once, regardless of any optional changes to target faces that might be chosen (for example, on the compound WA 50m, or on the shorter distances of 1440 rounds where smaller individual faces might be used).

There are a couple of rounds where the rules of shooting do not allow multiple face options. The ArcheryGB Vegas round must be shot on a triple-spot face, and the Stafford round must be shot on a full 10-zone face.

To be clear, in the tables above that refer to the face diameter, that is the diameter of the full-sized face, whether or not you’re using a face of the full diameter.

Where’s the WA Combined round?

The previous indoor classification scheme listed the WA Combined round with separate scores. This is no longer the case, and for handicap and classification purposes, this round should be treated as separate WA18 and WA25 rounds. For records purposes, it is still treated as one round. Doing it this way removes the risk of any double-counting where both single scores and the combined score were used. This also brings the system in line with how Double rounds are handled – where they are treated as one round for records purposes, but separate rounds for handicap and classification purposes. As a general rule, if a combined round is made up of constituent parts that are themselves valid rounds in their own right, that round is not listed on the handicap classification tables. This rule is now applied consistently across the entire outdoor and indoor tables.

Dealing with the Loopholes

One of the issues with the old system was that some classifications were easier to achieve on some rounds than others. That breaks an important principle of the whole system and introduces loopholes that allow the system to be “gamed”.

Let’s take a look at Men’s Compound, on the Worcester round, to see this effect in detail. The handicap table for the Worcester round looks like this.

IGMB level3300
IMB level11300
IB1 level19299

In this category, the IGMB level is at a handicap of 3, the IMB at a handicap of 11 and an IB1 at a handicap of 19.

However, we can see when looking at this table, that the score associated with a handicap of 3, 300, can actually be achieved at a much lower level of performance – a handicap of 18, which is below even the IMB level, and almost at the IB1 level.

If these scores were allowed to be used for these higher level classifications, then compound archers would flock to the Worcester round to get their IGMBs.

As a general rule, if the maximum score occurs at a lower level than the handicap would indicate, those scores are blanked out on the classification tables. This occurs at lower scores too. There are some cases where a single score spans multiple handicaps, and so again it might be possible to achieve a classification by shooting a lower score than the handicap would indicate. This is solved by simply rounding up , as can be see at the IB1 level here – the score required for IB1 level (handicap 19 = 299) is the same as that for handicap 20. So, in the classification tables this is rounded up to 300.

Distance/Face Classifications and Handicaps
Distance 18m 20y 25y 25m 30m 59 51 43 35 27 19 11 3
Face size 40cm 16in 60cm 80cm IA3 IA2 IA1 IB3 IB2 IB1 IMB IGMB
Bray I 2.5 200 228 248 263 273 280 286 292
Bray II 2.5 215 239 256 268 276 281 287 293
Portsmouth 5 472 508 532 549 560 571 583 594
Stafford 6 511 569 610 639 658 671 684 698
Worcester 5 217 246 267 283 294 300
Vegas (Triple Face) 5 342 432 494 527 546 560 571 583
Vegas 300 2.5 201 230 252 269 281 290 297 300
WA 18m 5 403 458 498 527 546 560 571 583
WA 25m 5 410 462 501 528 546 558 569 581

So, the overall Men’s Compound table ends up looking like this, with the IMB/IGMB unavailable on the Worcester round, and the IB1 score at 300 rather than 299. This means that you can never get a classification by shooting less than the handicap level defined for that handicap, only equal to it or slightly greater.

More to follow on the new indoor scheme in the weeks to come.




3 responses to “Overview of the New Indoor Handicap and Classification Systems”

  1. Christine avatar

    Thanks for the useful information and especially for themobile friendly tables they are really (really) useful. I have one query though, when I download Recurve Women 50+, Women and Men 50+ the Albion row is empty although it shows when I click it online.

    1. Chief Geek avatar
      Chief Geek

      Sorry, small bug. Fixed now.

  2. Ian Symonds avatar
    Ian Symonds

    Hi, Is there any plan to introduce tables for Horse bow & American Flat bow?
    You could use the Barebow, or Long Bow tables, but neither seems quite “fair” (too generous or not generous enough).

    I know that clubs use a different score for the 252 round for these bow styles, so there seems to be a logic that could be used for weighting?

    If the issue is the number of shot rounds to validate a table – then you are not going to see this if people are not competing with these styles as there isn’t a table for them to be measured against – a bit chicken & egg.

    But I suspect that there are a number of archers like me who shoot “barebow” with a number of styles of bow – and so could provide round scores achieved with the different bow styles they shoot to help correlate the adjusted table (since a IB2 level archer with one style should be able to shoot to the same standard with the different bow styles, even if the score they get is different) ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *