All about bows

Recurve Bows, Crossbows and Compound Bows: A Comparison

Various technological advances have paved the way for changes on how archery bows are created today. Whether they are used for sports or for hunting, these bows have drastically changed from what they looked like back then. This leaves hunters and professional archers with more options on what type of bow they want to use to achieve their goals. Recurve bows, crossbows and compound bows are the most popular types of bows available today. Let us take a closer look at each of these bows and find out which one is perfect for you.

Recurve bows

This bow is made up of limbs that tend to curve away. When the archer unstrings the bow, the curve plays a special role. Through this curve, more energy is gathered and the impact upon release is a lot heavier than ordinary straight-limbed bow. The arrow also attains faster speed during the process. Recurve bows are shorter than straight limb bows. This is the most ideal bow for hunting especially in places where there is a thick terrain. It is also perfect for hunters sitting on a horseback while hunting.

The materials used to create the bow were highly strained and so more noise is created in every shot. In a way, this is a down side since it makes the bow a bit unstable. However, this is not something to be worried about. Stability and accuracy relies on the archer that handles the bow as well. When you get the hang of it, this won’t be an issue anymore. Recurve bows are usually made from various layers of materials such as fiberglass, wood, or carbon. The center part, which is called the riser, is made up of carbon, wood and aluminum alloy. However, carbon fibers are also becoming a popular choice these days. For beginners though, it is advised to look for risers made up of wood or plastic. This is more economic and it allows more consistent performance. Aside from beginners, Olympiads are also using the more modern recurve bows. Hunters usually use older versions.


This is a type of bow made up of a horizontal bow-like assembly that is capable of shooting projectiles also called as quarrels. This type of bow was traditionally popular in Asia and in some parts of Europe. However, this spread through various cultures and became popular worldwide. This eventually became significant for hunting and even in sports.

The crossbow is usually mounted on a stick. There is a certain mechanism that holds the bowstring. The designs have varied through the years and more modern crossbows are now available. The designs are more intricate, but the performance is better as well. Usually, crossbows are short compared with other ordinary bows. As a result, there is a higher draw weight, which leads to more energy gain. The strings of the crossbow are also made up of strong fibers. Crossbows can also be manual or can be used via mechanical devices. Lighter and simpler ones can be used manually.

Compound bows

Though archery is one of the oldest sports, compound bows were only invented in the late 20th century. This is why it is considered as a modern form of bow. It uses the levering system. It is made up of cables and pulleys. This system allows a bigger mechanical advantage. Thus, it is imperative for the limbs of this bow to be stiffer than recurve bows or other regular bows. As a result, it is more energy-efficient. The construction of compound bows employs higher technology and more improved accuracy. It is also designed in such a way that it becomes less sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. When the bow is at full draw, the pulley helps to double the mechanical advantage. Thus, archers need less force for a fuller draw.

A comparison

When it comes to performance and ease in use, compound bows are more preferred than recurve bows. For recurve bows, the strings become more difficult to pull back as you go further. Thus, if you need to hit the target with stronger impact and a faster speed, you need to exert more effort. In contrary, compound bows also have the same feel at first, but it becomes easier again as you move backwards even further. Thus, you can hit the target with more accuracy and greater speed. Compound bows also use a series of pulley systems that are intricate. This makes it stronger in hitting the target. For those who are going out to hunt, there is a greater chance of hitting target with compound bows.

The only down side is that compound and crossbows are usually heavier than recurve bows. Hence, recurve bows are preferred by hunters and professional archers. It is easy to bring around. Those who are constantly moving to reach a target would prefer recurve bows. However, this also depends on the quality of the bow in use. Sometimes, compound bows are preferred because they can hit targets that are farther away. Since it can reach longer targets, it is a lot easier to hit moving preys as well.

When it comes to the price, it varies depending on the materials used in creating the bow. The cheapest ones are recurve bows designed for beginners. They are made from low quality materials, but are still useful for initial practice. However, there are also compound bows available for beginners. They are also of cheaper price. You just have to shop around just to find the right model that fits your budget.

The best choice

In the end, the best option depends on what it is that you really want. You need to assess first the kind of material that you want in your bow. Then, you have to determine the purpose of using the bow. Finally, you have to check your budget. Once you have found the right partner, go ahead and enjoy hunting. You can even play professional archer later on once you get the hang of it. Of course, don’t forget to emphasize safety in everything that you do.