Arrow rests are small devices that are used to keep the arrow in place from the time it is nocked on the bow string till the moment when it is fired. They basically coordinate the movement of a drawn string with an arrow waiting on rest.
Archers prefer to use an arrow rest because it helps them to shoot arrows accurately with as little disturbance or rubbing as possible.
Types of Arrow Rests
Drop-away rests are arrow rests that can be removed completely from your bow as the name suggests, at any time without interfering with the bow's efficiency or accuracy. It is designed to provide maximum freedom for archers who prefer to shoot in different positions on their comfortable shooting ranges.
Containment rests are arrow rests that are attached to the bow strictly for shooting purposes but do not drop away completely while removing them from your bow. They form a containment field or sleeve on which an arrow can be kept and placed into position with no troubles at all.
This type of rest works well with finger and machine releases, but can lead to some interference when releasing your shot.
Target shooting and launcher style arrow rests usually utilize a pair of prongs or a blade that supports the arrow through the entire draw and release. These target rests are the most traditional and have been commonly used throughout history.
Choosing The Right Arrow Rest
If you are shooting a compound bow, you should first understand that they are meant to be shot with an arrow rest. This is because compound bows shoot at such high levels of speeds that the bow string itself will move relative to an arrow resting on a bare bow. Without an arrow rest, you will have a hard time using your sights and will end up shooting more or less haphazardly.
What will you be doing?
If you are shooting at a range, you may not have to worry as much about the arrow rest you choose. You can get by with a drop-away or containment rest that is easily removable because you are not going to be spending long periods of time drawn back, and you will have plenty of time to make adjustments on your sight if needed.
If your shooting conditions are more demanding, like hunting, you will have little to no time to make sight adjustments. You are going to want an arrow rest that is not going to get in your way at all when you quickly draw back and aim for the shot.