Classifications are important to all archers because they are the best indication of where you are in terms of scoring ability, and provide a benchmark for levels of improvement. There are nine outdoor classification levels: Elite Master Bowman, Grand Master Bowman, Master Bowman, Bowman 1st Class, Bowman 2nd Class, Bowman 3rd Class, Archer 1st Class, Archer 2nd Class & Archer 3rd Class. There are eight indoor classification levels: A is the highest and H is the lowest.
To gain a classification you need to shoot three scores that meet that classification level. The highest three outdoor classifications; Master Bowman, Grand Master Bowman and Elite Master Bowman; can only be achieved at record status competitions. Once you achieve a classification you cannot go back and claim a lower one.
You can hold different classifications for different bow types, but you can only hold your classification for the calendar year in which you shot your qualifying scores. You must re-qualify each year to maintain it.
The handicap system is a way of adjusting scores to a baseline so that archers with different levels of experience can compete on an equal footing. An archery handicap is a number between 0 and 150 which indicates the ability of the archer. The lower the handicap the better the archer. An archer can have an outdoor handicap and a separate indoor handicap for each bow type they shoot.