Ultimate Guide To Archery Bows 101
When it comes to archery equipment, bows are one of the most important pieces of the pie.
Consulting with experienced archers or professionals at archery stores can provide valuable guidance in selecting the right bow for your needs. Proper maintenance and regular practice are essential for maximizing the performance and longevity of your bow, ensuring a rewarding archery experience.
Finding a bow that fits your style and skill level is vital to succeeding in shooting. We’ll dive into all things archery bows so identifying your new fave is simple.
Types of Archery Bows
Recurve is one of the most common shapes for an archery bow. It has limbs that curve away from the archer when unstrung. This type of bow stores more energy and delivers it more efficiently than some other bows.
There is a higher amount of speed and energy to the arrow with a recurve bow. It’s the modern evolution of traditional bows that have been around for thousands of years. It has been the bow style used in the Olympics since 1972.
A recurve bow has limbs positioned at the top and bottom, which curve back away from the archer at each tip. That’s where it gets the name! The rules for recurve bow competitions have evolved with technology and new competitive standards, but have remained largely the same since the 1930s.
Archers must hold the grip, lift arms up to shoulder height, and pull the string back to their face with their fingers to shoot a recurve bow. Aim at the archery target through sight and open your fingers to release the string at full draw. Energy stored within the bent limbs can then transfer through the string into the arrow, sending it downrange to the target.
Drawing a recurve bow in competition may require 50 pounds of force or even more. An arrow shot can reach speeds of over 124mph. Modern recurve bows you’ll find in most local archery shops are built using technologically advanced materials.
Some high-tech materials you may find on new recurve bows are laminated carbon fiber and carbon foam. Many companies also incorporate natural materials like bamboo. The rider, or handle, of a recurve bow, is often made of aluminum or carbon fiber.
The barebow is essentially a basic style of recurve bow, using the same modern materials. However, it does not permit accessories to aid in stabilization or aiming come competition time. It now has international rules for both 3D and field archery.
When shooting a barebow, pull the string back to your face using your fingers. Make your aim by looking down the length of the arrow. Upon release, the energy stored within the bent limbs will transfer through the string and the arrow, sending it toward the target.
While recurve bows are more common in competition, the compound bow is the youngest style in archery. It was invented in the 1960s as a more mechanically efficient piece of archery gear. Since its invention, the compound has been in many archery competitions around the world.
The design of a compound bow uses a levering system of pulleys and cables, making it faster and typically more accurate than other bow types. To shoot this bow, pull the string back to the mechanical stop using a release aid. The required strength to draw the bow will decrease as it is drawn.
Aim at the archery target through a magnified scope and activate your release aid to detach it from the string. Energy stored within the bent limbs and taught cables will transfer into the arrow, sending it toward the target. Drawing a competitive bow can take up to 60 pounds of force.
At full draw, however, the holding weight can be as low as 13 pounds. An arrow shot can travel over 200 mph! These bows are heavily tested, as compounds remain under significant tension, even when not in use.
Moving onto some more traditional archery equipment, meet the longbow. It’s a tall archery bow that allows for a longer draw than other types. Longbows do not have a significant recurve.
The limbs on a longbow are relatively narrow and circular or D-shaped in cross-section. It’s a traditional bow that is not very straight. Keep in mind that there is no curve in the limbs until the string is attached.
In archery talk, most say you can’t ever go wrong with a good flatbow. It is non-recurved and flat with relatively wide limbs that are rectangular in cross-section. Since the limbs are wider than some other bows, they will typically narrow and become deeper at the handle.
The handle will also typically be rounded and non-bending for an easier grip. Think of it as a longbow’s sibling with shorter and wider limbs. This type of archery bow can be used in various kinds of archery.
If you’re a bowhunter or a hardcore competitor, crossbows are probably on your radar. They’re a ranged weapon that use an elastic launching device consisting of a bow-like assembly called a prod. Then, mounted horizontally on a main frame called a tiller, a hand-held similar to the stock of a long firearm.
Crossbows have a mechanism to wind and shoot their bolts. These bolts are typically called quarrels. They also contain a string held in place by a but when the bolt is loaded and the bow is engaged.
The body of a crossbow is typically made of quality hardwood like maple or oak. Your crossbow’s prod is attached to the stock with linen, hemp rope, or another strong cord. Having one can come in handy for both modern archery and other shooting sports.
How to Choose an Archery Bow
Now that you know the difference between each type of bow, how do you determine which is best for you? The first step to finding your dream bow is heading to a local shop for some pro advice and archery talk. Once you’ve found an archery shop, finding a bow will be less overwhelming.
There are plenty of options, whether you’re crunching cash or looking to spend a pretty penny. Start your search by identifying a budget you’re comfortable with. This will help employees point you in the right direction quickly. Be sure to factor in accessories when budgeting, too.
Once your budget is set, it’s time to start shooting bows. Luckily, this is the fun part! The more bows you can test, the better.
Take your time and be sure to shoot each bow multiple times. This will be a process, so clear that mind and focus. Make sure that each bow you test has an appropriate draw length and weight for you.
After shooting a wide selection of bows, pay close attention to the grip. This is your point of contact with the bow. Grips are far from universal, and each can feel different depending on your own hand.
An ideal grip will sit comfortably between the pad of your thumb and your palm. Your fingers should be gently wrapped around it. The bow should be able to balance in your hand without clasping with a lot of force.
Another great way to find a bow is by searching for “archery lessons near me” or “archery classes near me”. These classes can give you a better idea of how your archery supplies are working. On top of testing out equipment, you’ll get to improve your skill.
Your Archery Questions, Answered
Before you head to the local archery shop and make your purchase, let’s go over some of the most asked questions about bows.
What is the best type of archery bow?
The best type of bow for you will ultimately depend on what type of archery you’re into. If you love precision, consider a compound as they’re capable of major accuracy. You can even choose more than one type for different games.
What bow is easiest to use?
When it comes to archery for beginners, most recommend starting with a recurve bow. They’re easy to find and use for any age range, skill level, or body strength. Not to mention, they’re tremendously forgiving to shoot.
Recurve bows will help you learn the basics of archery with the most versatile and cost-effective type of bow before you consider getting a more expensive compound. It’ll ultimately cost less than other bows simply because it has fewer moving parts. They’re a safe bet, as well, because all archery disciplines have a competitive division for the recurve bow.
What are the most common bows?
Archery supplies and trends are constantly evolving. However, most archers have used (and likely loved) a compound bow at some point or another. Though many styles are available, they are all similar in use.
From shopping to shooting, finding your perfect bow has never been easier. Be sure to keep these tips in mind during your next archery lesson or trip to the shop! Before you go, don’t forget to check out more from Crow Survival on everything archery.
This video has been included for its clarification of the topic matter. Credit goes to
The most common types of bows are the longbow, recurve bow, and compound bow. Each of these bows has its own characteristics and advantages.
The longbow is a traditional and straightforward bow with a simple design. It is typically made from a single piece of wood and has a traditional look. Longbows require a significant amount of strength to pull, and they lack the added mechanical assistance of other bows. While they can be challenging to master, some people appreciate the simplicity and historical appeal of longbows.
The recurve bow has limbs that curve away from the archer when unstrung, which gives it additional power compared to a longbow of the same length. Recurve bows are popular in Olympic archery and other competitive archery events. They are generally more compact and portable than longbows and can be disassembled for ease of transportation. Recurve bows can be used by beginners with proper training and practice.
The compound bow is a modern bow that utilizes a system of cables and pulleys to provide mechanical advantage, making it easier to draw and hold at full draw. These bows are highly adjustable, allowing archers to customize various components such as draw length and draw weight. The mechanical assistance of a compound bow reduces the amount of physical strength required, making it easier to hold the bow steady and aim. Compound bows are commonly used in hunting and target shooting.
In terms of ease of use, the recurve bow is generally considered the easiest to handle due to its mechanical advantages. The let-off feature of a recurve bow reduces the holding weight significantly once the bow is fully drawn, allowing the archer to hold it steadily for a longer time. This can be particularly beneficial for beginners who are still developing their strength and technique. However, it’s important to note that proper training and practice are essential regardless of the type of bow you choose to use.