Recurve vs Longbow: Understand the Differences

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The ancient sport of archery is one that has been around for centuries. It’s one of the oldest sports in history and can be traced back to prehistoric times where cave drawings depict people shooting arrows. Archery, like many other sports, has evolved over time and there are now two main types: recurve and longbow. In this blog post we will discuss the differences between these two types of bows with a focus on their advantages and disadvantages.

Recurve bow

Recurve bows are the most popular type of bow used today for target shooting. They are also the only type of bow that’s used in the Olympic sport of archery. 

Recurve bows are defined by their shape, which is that the tips of the limbs curve away from the archer when unstrung. A recurve bow stores more energy than an equivalent straight-limbed bow because the tips store and return energy during each shot. However, this must be traded against how much extra effort they take to hold and aim, because the tips are initially displaced from where they would otherwise be.

Recurve bows made out of modern materials like fiberglass are very strong compared to their draw weight, which gives them more storing power than traditional wooden self longbows. However, they still require a greater effort to hold at full draw for consistent accuracy.

What are the advantages of Recurve bow?

1 . Versatility: The bow has several joints that make it easier to make curves in different directions, so you can shoot in various positions without being limited only to the front.

2. Resistance: The materials used are modern synthetic fibers, so this bow can handle powerful bows while maintaining its shape and strength.

3. Accuracy: Because of the joints and more materials used, this type of bow can be made with high accuracy.

4. Durability: The use of synthetic fibers makes it less likely to break when bearing large forces.

5. Availability: Since all parts are usually machine-made, it is easy to find replacement limbs.

What are the disadvantages of Recurve bow?

1. Cost: The price of modern materials required to produce this bow can be very expensive . This is not a problem for many people because these bows are usually made by professionals and requires large quantities , but if you want to try making the bow yourself, the cost is very high.

2. Maintenance: When you install the fibers, it will be difficult to fix if there are problems because of how it is made (eg warped). If you need to use the bow for hunting , this could be a big problem.

3. Durability: Because of its tension when bending , it is possible for this type of bow to have a material that breaks when over-tightened.

4. Inefficiency: Because there are many materials and processes required to create a good recurve bow, the efficiency in terms of missile output is not as high as longbows. This is not a big problem if you consider hunting or just shooting for fun, but it is a big disadvantage if you want to use the bow as a weapon.

5. Tolerance: The installation of fibers can be very difficult because there are so many small details that must be considered . If you do not install it properly , it will bend and break if used in combat conditions.

Recurve Bow Shooting Tips, Tricks, and Hacks For Success

A recurve bow is a type of traditional bow which means that there are no extra elements that will help you aim better. All the skill and strength is yours. A recurve bow has a very simplistic design with outward curves at the ends of both limbs and a ‘3’ shaped design at the riser. Some things to keep in mind when shooting with recurve bows are given here.  


You will require a considerable amount of upper body strength to use a recurve bow properly. There are no cams and pulleys to distribute the weight. When aiming, you have to maintain full weight in the string. The better you pull, the more speed and power the arrow will have.

Shooting Distance

Since recurve bows require more strength on your part, it might not be the best to shoot from too far, especially if you are a novice user. You will have to get closer to the prey to get the kill shot. However, this also requires experience as you will have to master the arts of stealth and camouflage for not scaring the prey off. 


As you might have guessed, experience is important for recurve bow (although you also need it for compound bows). Even though compound bows are simpler, they take more time to master. So, practice is the key. You might want to start off with compound bows, make your aim better and then switch to recurve.  


Longbows are the longest bow type tip to tip, much larger than the recurve. They are more forgiving when shot as due to a this profile they can be less prone to string torque. 

Longbows are straight-limbed, and typically made from a single piece of wood. Longbows store less energy because the draw force is distributed along the entire length of the limb rather than concentrated in two tips. This means they are easier to hold at full draw for consistent accuracy, but don’t store as much energy so require more effort to shoot. Longbows are typically more difficult to make than recurve bows because they must be designed differently.

Longbows are made out of modern materials like fiberglass for similar reasons to the recurve bow, but some archers still use traditional longbow wood because it is usually considered superior. These naturally-made longbows store less energy than the modern equivalent, but are still comparable.

Compound bows have cams or pulleys which put the energy of the drawn bow into storing energy in a built-up bow, ready for the shot. This is why they store so much more energy than traditional bows with less draw weight.

Since compound bows don’t rely solely on limb movement for their stored bow energy, holding at full draw does not require the same effort as recurve or longbows.

What are the advantages of a longbow?

1. Strength: Longbow was made of naturally fallen long branches, so the strength is relatively good.

2. Accuracy: Because its main material is naturally fallen long branches, the accuracy is high because there are no struts or joints required in the production process.

3. Cost: Longbows are easy to produce, so it does not cost much .

4. Tolerance : Since the length of the limbs are naturally grown branches , then in general there are not many variations when firing. This makes it suitable for hunting in forests where there are obstacles.

5. Training: It requires relatively simple training because you literally only need to pull the bowstring to shoot. Of course it will be different when you are hunting or in a battle condition, but in general it is easy to learn.

What are the disadvantages of a longbow?

1. Strength: Longbows are made from fallen branches , so there are no mechanical processes that can increase its strength by making it relatively weak. If you want to shoot targets at long distances , the arrow will not be able to hold up.

2. Lack of versatility: Longbows can only shoot in one direction, they cannot make turnings because there are no joints on the limbs.

3. Resistance: Since the bowstring is fastened with wood fibers without any additional materials , it will be difficult for the longbow to hold powerful bows.

4. Accuracy: Since naturally grown branches and the lack of joints and struts make it difficult to create a bow with high accuracy unless you are skilled at archery . Even if you can shoot well, hunting in forests is very dangerous because there are many objects that can block the arrow.

5. Inherent inflexible: If you have a large force on one side of the limb, it is very easy for the bow to break if not properly treated . There are no joints so there’s nothing to give, and this can be a big problem because hunters need a bow that they can rely on in any condition.

Longbow Shooting Tips, Tricks, and Hacks For Success

Longbows are the oldest type of bows. If you have ever seen medieval period movies, then the design will be familiar to you. They are not so commonly used these days. People looking for a simple design and a nostalgic feel opt for recurve bows instead. Here are some things you need to keep in mind about these if you are planning on using them.


A longbow is very large, i.e., almost the same height as the shooter. Because it is so deep and also very thin, it requires a lot of strength, even more than recurve. You need to be in your best shape to master this type of bow.

Draw Length

The longbow has a fixed draw length. As the size matches your body, so does the length and you cannot customize it.

Think Again

If you want to use the longbow, then you need to see if you are in the proper shape to do it. Can you even handle the strength required and do you have the time to put in the effort? Go for a recurve bow if you feel like challenging yourself as you will not find a lot of variety in styles and sizes of these bows anyway.   

How far could a longbow shoot?

If you are using the same materials as a traditional longbow, it is difficult to shoot at distances more than 500 meters. Because of this limitation , many hunters use other weapons in addition to longbows.

How far could recurve bow shoot?

When using modern materials like carbon fiber, it is possible to shoot at ranges beyond 1000 meters. When equipped with appropriate devices , it can be used as a weapon in combat conditions .

Why are longbows popular among many people?

1 . Many people consider archery as an activity that can help them reduce stress and discipline their bodies.

2. Over the years, archery has been a cultural activity for many societies, and it is considered a historical heritage.

3. Longbows are relatively easier to make compared to recurve bows because they require less material use and installation work.

4 . The bow can be carried anywhere at any time without requiring much effort, which makes it an ideal weapon for self defense.

5 . If you are not interested in hunting , the bow can be used as a cultural activity to improve discipline and reduce stress.

6 . Most people prefer simple weapons because it is easier to use and maintain compared to other types of weapons.

Why should I choose a recurve bow?

1 . Although recurve bows have a wide range of use , it is mainly used as a hunting tool by many people. This means that if you only want to learn archery for self defense, this type of bow may not be suitable because you can’t use it to hunt animals in some locations.

2. If you are interested in hunting animals , then this type of bow is very suitable with their powerful missiles that can kill an animal in just one hit.

3. It requires less material than longbows, so it’s still possible to build the bow yourself if you want to try. If you are not interested in manufacturing weapons, consider buying pre – manufactured bows (which is already much cheaper than other types of weapons).

4. If you prefer combat weapons over hunting tools, this type of bow can be used in all conditions because it is very strong and durable.

5 . This type of bow is easier to store and carry because it does not require much space or effort when transporting.

What is the best wood for a longbow?

If you are considering buying a commercial longbow , it is possible to buy pre-made bows with high quality materials.

1 . If you want to build the bow yourself, consider using woods that are durable and lightweight at the same time . Popular choices include spruce, cedar, bamboo , ​​and maple.

2. You can also consider buying a bow made of fiberglass, aluminum and even basalt.

How much does it cost to make a longbow?

1 . If you want to make the bow yourself , expect the price of all materials (wood, glue, strings) to be around $ 100 (US). If you are not interested in manufacturing weapons, you can simply buy a ready-made bow .

2. A cheaper alternative is to buy a bamboo longbow. If the supply is insufficient , you can also use materials such as fiberglass and aluminum to make a high performance bow at a lower price .

Here are some recommended :

What is the best wood for a recurve bow?

1 . If you are not interested in building recurve bows, then consider buying one that is already built .

2. If you want to build the bow yourself , it may be difficult to find material wood because of its unique curvature . Popular choices include maple, cherry and ash.

3. Fiberglass provides good quality but costs much less than other types of wood.

4. If you want to buy a top quality recurve bow, consider buying one made of laminated fiberglass.

5 . Traditional recurve bows are often made from woods such as bamboo, Osage orange , yew and hickory . They are durable but very difficult to replace if damaged or lost.

How much does it cost to make a recurve bow?

1 . The price of the material (wood, glue, strings) for making recurve bows is around $ 50 (US). If you are not interested in manufacturing weapons, consider buying a bow that is already built.

2 . It may be difficult to find laminated fiberglass materials because they are rare and expensive compared to other types of wood .

3. If you use bamboo, Osage orange , yew and hickory to make recurve bows, expect the price of materials per bow is around $ 25 (US).

Best Recurve Bow

Compound bows are more powerful than recurve bows. However, they are harder to use and require more skill to shoot accurately.

The difference between the two is that a compound bow has limbs that move in different directions. The limbs work together to make the arrow shoot at a faster speed. This makes it easier for archers to hit their target in a shorter time span compared to recurve bows which have one limb moving up and down.

Recurve bows are easier for beginners because they don’t require as much skill as compound bows do. They also shoot arrows faster than compound bows because of the single limb moving up and down. Recurve bows also tend to be less expensive than compound bows.

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