The handicap is a measure of how well you have shot, regardless of what round, distances, or numbers of arrows. It ranges from 0 (the best) to 150 (the worst). It's a logarithmic measure, where each reduction of 1 point in the handicap scale corresponds to shooting 3.5% more accurately.
Every archer gets a handicap rating (like golf). It starts out as the average handicap number for the first three rounds shot, rounded down to a whole number.
After that, if you shoot better than your handicap, the handicap value is reduced to the midpoint between the current one and the value from the round shot, rounded down to a whole number. If you shoot worse, the handicap remains unchanged. There are separate handicaps for indoors and outdoors for each archer and bow type. The handicaps are reassessed at the end of a season by averaging the three best handicaps, rounded up. So the handicap can go up or down compared with the ongoing handicap.
The handicap rating gets used in some competitions so that everyone has an equal chance of winning. We usually have an end of season indoor Worcester competition and an outdoor Nationals round competition in September, both of which are handicap ones. An "adjustment" is added to the archers score, based on their handicaps. Those with higher (worse) handicaps will have a larger adjustment. Anyone shooting the round at exactly their current handicap will end up with a score of 1440.
For indoors the classifications range from H (lowest) to A (highest).
For outdoors the classification starts at Archer tier, including a 3rd, 2nd and 1st class. Upon completion of these classifications, the archer moves to Bowman tier, again with a 3rd, 2nd and 1st class. The final tier is the Master Bowman tier, starting at Master Bowman (MB), and then progressing on to Grand Master Bowman (GMB) and finally, Elite Master Bowman (EMB).
Archer and Bowman tier classifications can be obtained by participating in any club-level events, and Master Bowman tier classifications must be shot at a record status competition.
The classification tables can be found on Archery GB's website by clicking here. These tell you which scores correspond to the classifications.
The scores are based on handicap levels, so it should require the same skill level to get a particular classification, regardless of the round shot.
There are different scores for different bow types and ages/gender.
Badges are given out for classifications, indoors and outdoors. Archer and Bowman tier badges are awarded at club level, whilst Master Bowman tier badges are awarded by Archery GB.
Also indoors there are Portsmouth badges. Which start at a score of 500 for seniors and 300 for juniors, longbows and barebows. You only need one score at or above it when shooting a Portsmouth round to get the badge. Then they go up in 25 point intervals up to 575, then in 5 point intervals up to the maximum score of 600.
There are also "252" badges for outdoors (or indoors at 20 yards only). To get these you need to get a score of 252, twice, on different days, using imperial 5 zone scoring on a 122 cm face, with the first 3 dozen arrows(*) shot that day at a particular distance to get the badge for that distance. The distances range from 20 to 100 yards.
If you shoot a 252 score then highlight this on the score sheets when you get your first and second score and let the records officer know.
(*) The 3 dozen arrows is for recurve. For barebow you can shoot 4 dozen to get 252, longbow 4½ dozen, and compound only 2¾ dozen.
The arrows being shot for the 252 badges can part of a normal round. E.g. you can shoot a Short National in order to go for the 50 yard 252 badge.