Do Recurve Bows Need an Arrow Rest? (A Simple Guide)

Note: If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we may receive a commission but at no extra cost to you

When it comes to bows, there are two main types: recurve and compound. Each type has its own unique features and benefits. But what about arrow rests? Do recurve bows need an arrow rest? Or is that a feature only found on compound bows?

Whereas some bows don’t require an arrow rest, this is a crucial part of most recurve bow setups. Let’s take a look at this topic in more detail down below!

Do I Need An Arrow Rest On My Bow?

Do Recurve Bows Need an Arrow Rest (A Simple Guide)

Yes, you do need an arrow rest on your recurve bow. An arrow rest is an essential part of your bow’s setup. Some traditional bows have a built-in arrow shelf as part of the bow’s design. Many recurve bows that feature metal risers do not come with a built-in arrow shelf (some do, though).

An arrow rest is typically a plastic or metal device attached to your bow’s riser. You will rest your arrow on this arrow rest (hence the name) when you nock the arrow, draw back, and aim. Without the arrow rest, you will have nothing to keep your arrow steady while you are aiming at the target.

Some bows, such as the longbow or horse bow, rely on you using your hand as the arrow rest. This is because these bows are designed for archers who shoot with an “instinctive” style – meaning they don’t use sights and instead rely on their innate sense of where the target is.

Depending on your bow type and shooting style, you can choose different types of arrow rests.

Why Use An Arrow Rest On A Recurve Bow?

You will need to use an arrow rest on your recurve bow to have a consistent and accurate shot. The arrow rest supports the arrow while you are drawing the bowstring back so that the arrow does not wobble around or fall off.

Where Should An Arrow Rest Be On A Recurve Bow?

Your arrow rest must be in the correct place on your recurve riser to work correctly. It must be in line with the nock point so your arrow can sit at the correct position on the bow. Metal risers have the holes and threaded inserts already in place for you to be able to attach your arrow rest.

This will show you where on the bow you will need to put the arrow rest, and it will be up to you to ensure that you get the angle right. If you haven´t done that before, go and visit your local archery shop and ask for help.

Talk to a professional if you own a recurve bow made of wood and are unsure where to place the arrow rest. Do not attempt to drill holes into your beautiful wooden bow without proper guidance! That´s a sure way to damage your bow.

the spigarelli arrow rest of my recurve bow

Do All Bows Have An Arrow Rest?

Interestingly, not all bows have an arrow rest. Some more traditional bows, such as the longbow and horse bow, don’t have an arrow rest in place, and you will have to use your hand to rest your arrow.

Not everyone likes doing this because it can hurt when the fletchings fly across your hand. Some archers buy gloves for the hand that holds the riser to protect their hand from the fletchings.

It’s also important to note that for these traditional bows, you will be (most of the time) using wooden arrows. These wooden arrows have feather fletchings in place, which will be much kinder on your skin than plastic fletchings.

For example, if you use a longbow, you will also have to adjust how you grip the riser so that you can rest your arrow on your hand. The arrow will typically sit across your thumb joint and then fly across this when you loosen the arrow.


Do recurve bows need an arrow rest? The answer is yes! An arrow rest is essential to almost any bow’s setup, particularly barebow, recurve bow, and compound bows. Without the arrow rest, you will have nothing to keep your arrow steady while you are aiming at the target. Other bows, such as the longbow or horse bow, may not need an arrow rest, but you will have to use your hand as the arrow rest instead

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

Leave a Comment