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Different Types of Bows for Archery [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Different Types of Bows for Archery [COMPLETE GUIDE]

When getting into archery, you must ensure that you equip yourself with the best bows for archery. The common question that many people ask themselves is how do you determine the best type of bows for archery for your specific needs?

Bow types include the recurve, compound bow, crossbow, and longbow. Your choice for a bow highly depends on your objective. You should familiarize yourself with different types of bows for archery before you walk into an archery supply store. 

Read on if you are interested in archery and want to learn about the different types of bows archery.

differents arrows and archeryThe Different Types of Archery Bows

In addition to picking a bow with the right draw weight and draw length, you should ensure that you settle on the best type of archery bow for your specific objectives. Consequently, understanding the different archery bows is critical to elevating your archery skills.

What are the Different Types of Archery Bows

The Recurve Bow

Interestingly, the recurve bow, also known as the traditional bow, is the only type of archery bow allowed into the Olympics. Therefore, if your primary goal of getting into archery is to compete at the Olympics, you may want to invest in the recurve bows.

Generally, the shape of a recurve bow is similar to the traditional bows proficient in ancient times. It derives its name from the limbs bending away from the archer.

Further, the recurve bows deliver a lot of energy more efficiently when compared to other types of archery bows. Newbies find these bows perfect because they allow the archer to shoot without having to apply a lot of energy.

Recurve bows come in two different designs; a takedown recurve bow and a one-piece recurve bow.

As the name suggests, a one-piece recurve bow is one piece and cannot be disassembled. On the other hand, you can disassemble and assemble the takedown recurve bow as long as you have the necessary skills.

The Advantages Of Recurve Bows

  • They are simple and, therefore, great for beginners
  • High power to launch arrows at an incredible speed
  • The takedown recurve is convenient when it comes to storing or transporting
  • Recurve bows are affordable
  • Most recurve bows come with installed bushings for easy usability of accessories.
  • It has an ergonomic design, and it is comfortable to hold

Recurve Bow Disadvantages

  • Since it is a traditional bow, it will take a lot of practice to improve your accuracy.
  • You will need a recurve bow with high draw weight to deliver powerful shots. In other words, beginners may not deliver powerful shots.

Compound Bows

Many archers believe that the compound bow was developed in the 1960s. It is a modern bow with the latest technologies in the sense that it is operated using cams, pulleys, and cables. The bow gives the archer a mechanical advantage when shooting.

Because these bows employ modern technology, they are very accurate and require less energy. Consequently, they are preferred for 3-D archery and hunting and target archery.

It is also important to note that compound bows are made of fiberglass, carbon, or aluminum, which means they are very durable. Further, different compound archery types are classified according to the different cam systems. The classification entails the hybrid cam system, the twin-cam, and the single-cam, whereby the single cam is the best option for beginners.

The Advantages Of The Compound Bow

  • The different types of compound bows are lightweight
  • It has a "let off" features that assist in fostering accuracy
  • The pulley system allows the archer not to apply a lot of energy when shooting.
  • Its quiet nature makes it the best option for hunting
  • The bow is easy to use
  • It is made up of quality materials to serve you for an extended period

The Disadvantages Of The Compound Bow

  • If it breaks down, it will be hard to repair it due to its complexity
  • Compound bows are pretty expensive
  • Sometimes it might not be the best option for hunting
  • It is expensive to maintain because it consists of a lot of different moving parts

The Crossbow

The crossbows are believed to have their origin in China. Unlike most bows, the crossbows have a short bow positioned horizontally. One of the characteristics associated with these types of bows archery is that they have short firing ranges. Plus, they require heavier draw weights to be as effective as compound bows.

The crossbows are primarily used in target archery, and different countries have strict regulations on these bows. Therefore, if you want to purchase one for your archery ventures, closely examine your country's regulations.

The Advantages Of The Crossbow

  • You can draw the string and hold it until when you are ready to shoot
  • Your mode of dressing will not affect your ability to draw the bowstring effectively
  • The bow does not have any inconvenience in drawing motion
  • Requires a little practice to deliver accurate shots
  • It is possible to make an accurate shot even when the target is over a long distance

The Disadvantages Of Crossbows

  • Crossbows are heavier when compared to other types of bows
  • It is slow to reload with a follow-up shot not being able to deliver much
  • A crossbow is not as quiet as the compound bow

The Longbow

The longbow is also a traditional bow, and it is one of the oldest bows used in the modern era. The longbow takes the lead as it only consists of long curved wood and bowstring when it comes to simplicity. In other words, there is not much you can do to enhance the efficiency of these bows.

As you can imagine, aiming and shooting with high accuracy using this bow is an uphill task. You will need relentless practice to be perfect in using the longbow.

Also read: Best Archery Set for Adults [TOP MODELS REVIEWED]

The Advantages Of Longbow

  • It is quieter when compared to most bows
  • A longbow is ideal for hunting as it is fast to reload
  • High accuracy with regular training
  • It is affordable, making it the best option for those on a low budget

Other Bow Types Include;

  1. The Yumi Bow
  2. Composite Bow

family archeryA Guide to Different Bow Styles

Since archery has different types of bows archery, settling on the best bows is critical to achieving your objectives. Besides, archery bows are never created the same. Thus, if you make a wrong move, you may encounter a lot of frustrations as opposed to the excitement and the health benefits associated with archery. There are several factors that you need to consider when deciding on the different types of bow archery;

  • The Task at Hand – the first thing that you should have in mind is the motive behind your investing in a bow. For instance, if you intend to use the bow for recreational purposes only, any bow will work fine.
  • Draw Span – It is prudent to pick a bow at least twice your draw span for increased accuracy.
  • The Flexibility of the Bow – Choose a bow that is flexible to allow you to make the necessary adjustment
  • The string – A thin bowstring will be fast and can provide more accuracy.
  • Finger tab – you need an archery bow with a firm finger tab for durability and to also provide a smooth shooting experience
  • The Price – It is prudent to settle for a bow within your budget. Moreover, in some instances, the price does not reflect the quality of the bow.


Whether you want to compete in the Olympics or for whatever reason to invest in a bow, you should ensure that you get the right bow. While acquiring the best bow type may look complex, you will always find the process exciting if you are well-informed. The recurve, compound, composite, longbow, and crossbow are the common types of bows you are likely to find anywhere on earth.

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