UK Indoor Archery Rounds – The Finer Details

A while ago, I wrote a post about all about rounds – what they are, how they’re structured, all the different familys and formats. That covered the basics, but after seeing lots of lively discussions on social media recently, I thought I’d drill down into some of the finer details of the indoor rounds, which are catching a lot of people out.

Indoor Round Summary

In the previous post, I showed this table of the currently recognised indoor rounds in the UK.

  Dozens of arrows at… Faces
Distance 18m 20yd 25yd 25m 30m Full face Multi-spot face
Face size (cm) 40cm 40cm 16in 60cm 60cm 80cm
Bray I 2.5
Bray II 2.5
Portsmouth 5
Worcester 5
Stafford 6
Vegas 5
Vegas 300 2.5
WA 18m 5
WA 25m 5
WA Combined 5 5

The top section contains rounds defined by ArcheryGB, and the bottom section are the standard World Archery rounds. There are a few points that arise from this table that are worthy of some further discussion

  • There are two types of Vegas rounds that are actually quite different.
  • There are some confusingly similar distances involved
  • Different face types are allowed for some rounds
  • The scoring zones on the target faces might be different for some rounds or bowstyles.
  • The actual shooting format of the round might be different in some cases.

Let’s take a look at each of those.

What happens in Vegas…

It’s important to be careful with some of these names. In particular, the Vegas rounds. It’s easy to confuse the Vegas and the Vegas 300.

In the UK, the round called the Vegas, involves shooting 60 arrows at 18 metres on a 40cm triangular triple-spot face. This is very different to what the rest of the world calls a Vegas, which refers to the round shot at the Vegas Shoot.

In order to create something in the UK rules similar to what’s shot at the Vegas Shoot, ArcheryGB introduced a new round called the Vegas 300, which is only 30 arrows, at 20 yards.

This table compares the two rounds in detail

VegasVegas 300
Distance18 metres20 yards
Number of arrows6030
Target face40cm triangular triple-spot onlyEither a 40cm triangular triple-spot OR a 40cm full-face.
Shot orderArrows (which are numerically marked) must be shot in ascending order on each of the numbered faces. Any shot out of sequence is classed as a miss.Arrows can be shot in any order on the triple-face, if it is in use.
ScoringFor compounds, only the inner-10 counts as a 10.For all-bowstyles, including compounds, the entire 10-ring scores a 10.
Detail rotationDetails do not alternate. Archers shooting the top faces always shoot first.Details do not alternate. Archers shooting the top faces always shoot first.
Face allocationSwitches at half-way point. Archers on top faces move to bottom and vice-versa.Switches at half-way point. Archers on top faces move to bottom and vice-versa.
Arrow diameterLike all other rounds, arrow diameter is limited to 9.3mmArrows of diameter 10.7mm are allowed for this round.
Vegas round comparison

It’s important to note, that because of all the differences listed above, that a Vegas 300 is definitely not “half a Vegas” nor is a Double Vegas 300 the same as a AGB Vegas. They are different rounds, with different rules, different formats and different distances.

The Vegas 300 (30 arrows on a 40cm 10-zone face) is however the same basic round as a Bray I. They differ in the format of the round, and that the Vegas 300 allows larger diameter arrows, but they are intrinsically the same. This is why they handicap tables for these two rounds are identical.

Different Distances

As with the outdoor rounds, in the UK we have a mixture of more traditional rounds, often at distances measured in yards, and more modern World Archery rounds which are usually measured in metres. There are two exceptions to that, the ArcheryGB Stafford and Vegas rounds are measured in metres, not yards.

Some of these distances are quite similar to each other. 20 yards and 18 metres are very close to each other – 20 yards is 18 metres and 29 centimetres, or in imperial measurements is about 61 feet rather than 60. That’s about 1.6% further. A lot of archers are quite relaxed about that difference and, in practice at least, don’t differentiate between them when shooting rounds. This raises an interesting question – how much of a difference does it really make?

The handicap system provides a mechanism for measuring how factors like distance will affect scores. So, we can use the handicap tables to get an indication of the magnitude of the difference by creating some imaginary rounds with the alternative distances and seeing the scores would change. Let’s take a look at what happens if we imagine an 18m Portsmouth round, and compare the score on that across the handicap range. The scores will obviously be higher, as the target is closer, but how much of an advantage is it really? We can also look at a 20 yard WA18 round, where the scores will clearly be lower.

So, the answer is that it might shift your score by up to 5 points. As you can see from the charts, the magnitude of the change is not the same throughout the handicap range with most variation in the middle, which is what we would intuitively expect – it won’t make much of a difference for high-peformance archers who are consistently putting their arrows decisively in the centre, or for very low handicap archers whose arrows are scattered widely and often missing (because a both a near miss and a far-miss still score zero). It will make a difference for those archers that are consistent enough to make the small distance advantage make a few of their arrows move up a scoring zone.

So, it is important to make sure you’re shooting your rounds at the right distances. This is clearly most important in competitions (which is why the judges check it), but even just in casual club sessions, it could make or break someone’s chances of achieving a classification for example.

Different Face Types

Many of the indoor rounds allow different types of target faces. The shorter distances indoors mean that high-performing archers who are consistently shooting in the centre of the face a real risk of damaging their own arrows or those of others. So, many indoor rounds allow for the use of multi-spot faces, where each arrow is shot on a separate target face to prevent arrow collisions. Unfortunately though, the bosses (or butts or bales depending on where you are in the world) aren’t big enough to fit multiple full-sized faces, so these multi-spot faces are made smaller by sacrificing the outer scoring rings.

The image below shows some of the types of face you might see indoors – a classic 10-zone full-face target and two different types of triple spot face, which only have scoring zones 10-6 on them.

Full Face

Vertical Triple Face

Triangular Triple Face

Most of the indoor rounds allow the archer to choose which face they would like to use, and either choice is equally valid and fully recognised for scoring, records and classifications. This is true in both ArcheryGB and World Archery rules.

Compound archers almost always shoot multi-spot faces indoors, as the probability of arrow damage is so high for a typical compound archer. However, it is a myth that this is mandatory – the rules do not require them to do so, it’s just such a common practice that people tend to assume it is mandatory.

In the World Archery rules, there are stipulations that for head-to-head matches that triple faces must be used, but that for the rest of the tournament, the tournament organiser can choose which faces to use, and can even choose to allow different face types within the same class and division. This is relatively common in recurve tournaments, where some archers opt for a triple spot and others the full-face, but it is perfectly allowable in compound as well. – Rounds and faces.
For the Indoor Match Round, the triple 40cm faces shall be used. In the Elimination and Finals Rounds the faces shall be set in pairs on each target butt. The use of single or triple faces in all other competitions is the choice of the organisers, who can allow the athletes in the same class and division to shoot on a different type of face.

World Archery Rulebook

It’s worth remembering though that tournament organisers, as with other aspects of a tournament’s format, have a lot of discretion here and have the right to dictate specific target faces for particular classes of archers.

A common question is whether choosing a full-face or multi-spot face affects eligibility for records or classifications, or more generally whether having a different type of face gives archers using them an advantage or disadvantage. On the surface, this seems like a fair challenge – a triple-face with 10-6 scoring zones is much more punishing as an arrow that might have score 5-1 on a full-face would be classed as a miss on a triple-face. By this logic, the full-face is apparently easier.

The reality though is that this effect never really comes into play. Archers who are shooting at a level where they decide to use the triple-spot face almost never drop an arrow outside of the 6-ring anyway. This is why in records and classifications, there is no distinction made on face-type. In the new indoor classification tables, this distinction was removed because there was no need to have both – the top half of the table was the same for both full-face and triple-face variants anyway. 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. 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).

The last point to make about face-type variants to to highlight that it’s not just triple-spot faces. The Worcester round is shot in ends of 5-arrows, so the multi-spot face for that round has 5 spots. Linguistically, it should probably be called a quintuple-spot face, but that doesn’t seem to have caught-on, and so it’s normally just called a multi-spot face or a five-centre face.

Different Scoring

The rules for scoring in indoor rounds, is relatively simple, with a few exceptions.

  • Rounds are scored from 10-1, or for multi-spot faces down to the last scoring ring
    • EXCEPT: For the Worcester round, it’s 5-1.
  • Compounds have to hit the inner-10 ring to score a 10, with the whole of the rest of the gold being worth 9.
    • EXCEPT: In the Vegas 300 round where compounds can score the whole of the normal 10-ring as a 10.
    • EXCEPT: for the Worcester round where the whole of the 5-ring scores 5 – the inner X-ring is only used for tie-breaks and doesn’t affect scoring.

Different formats

Most indoor rounds follow a similar format. Arrows are shot in ends of 3 arrows (5 for the Worcester) and the details alternate each end, meaning that if you shot first on one end, you’ll be shooting second on the next end. Archers shoot at the same target face for the entire round.

There are (as always) some exceptions to this rule, and once again it’s the Worcester and Vegas 300 that are different

  • For the Vegas 300 round, the archers assigned to the bottom two target faces shoot first. After half the round is shot (15 arrows), the archers switch, so those on the bottom faces switch to the top and those on the top faces switch to the bottom.
  • For the Worcester round, the archers assigned to the top two target faces shoot first. After half the round is shot (30 arrows), the archers switch, so those on the bottom faces switch to the top and those on the top faces switch to the bottom.

Different Arrow Diameters

The introduction of the Vegas 300 round introduced another exception into the rules for indoor rounds. In line with what happens at The Vegas Shoot, larger diameter arrows are allowed. In Vegas, arrows of 0.422 inches (including all wraps etc.) are allowed, and in the UK Vegas 300 round, this is specified as 10.7mm. This is a massive(!) 1.4mm thicker than the standard 9.3mm arrows allowed in normal competition.

Large diameter arrows are a common sight in indoor archery. Archers who favour light carbon arrows outdoors often switch to large diamter arrows indoor as doing so supposedly give a scoring advantage by very slightly increasing the chance of line-cutter arrows being upgraded to the next scoring zone up.

So, as this in true archery-geekery fashion, we should look at how much of a difference this really makes. As with the distance analysis above, we can calculate the expected score across the entire handicap spectrum using both 9.3mm arrows and 10.7mm arrows to see how much difference it might make. We can also compare some thin 5.5mm arrows against the 10.7 monsters allowed in the Vegas 300. The difference from 9.3mm up to 10.7mm is minimal. If you normally shoot at a handicap level between 50 and 70, it might be worth an extra point. On a triple face the expected gain goes up to almost 1.5 points in the same area of the handicap spectrum. Comparing betwwen 5.5mm and 10.7mm is more signficant, potentially adding 3 points over a lot of the range, and almost 6 points on a triple-face. The larger peak and drop-off around handicap 57 on the triple-face represents the performance point where arrows suddenly change from a 6 to a 0 or vice-versa.

Of course, these point gains are not guaranteed – shooting massive 10.7mm tree-trunks might theoretically gain you a point, but arrows that thick would normally require very large poundages to stay within spine, and would be very difficult to tune.


In summary, most indoor rounds use a similar format, similar scoring and faces and distances. There are some minor variations in distances to be conscious of, and some confusing similarly named rounds. The Vegas 300 and Worcester have some bigger differences, so it’s worth reading the Rules of Shooting carefully before you run one of those rounds.



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2 responses to “UK Indoor Archery Rounds – The Finer Details”

  1. James Screech avatar
    James Screech

    Something not mentioned above is that in a Vegas 300 for non-compound bow X is scored for the inner 10 but not in any other indoor round.

    1. Chief Geek avatar
      Chief Geek

      Yes, thank you. Same is true for the Worcester, where the X-ring still counts as 5 but is written as an X and used for tie breakers. I’ll add a note into the article – thank you.

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