How Deadly Is A Bow And Arrow

Last updated : February 26, 2023
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The bow and arrow have played a significant role in human history as a powerful weapon for hunting, combat, and sport.

But what is the actual lethality of a bow and arrow?

How Deadly are Bows and Arrows?

Bows and arrows have been used as deadly weapons for thousands of years.

In skilled hands, a bow and arrow can be a highly effective weapon capable of causing severe injury or death to a human or animal target.

Historically, archers were used in warfare and hunting, and bows and arrows were responsible for many casualties.

How Far can you Kill with a Bow and Arrow?

The effective range of a bow and arrow varies depending on the type of bow and arrow used, as well as the skill level of the archer.

Generally, a well-trained archer can accurately hit a target at distances of up to 70 or 80 yards. Still, the lethal range is usually considered to be much closer, within 30 yards.

Modern compound bows are highly effective weapons. They can penetrate with immense force. It is not uncommon for an arrow to completely pass through a deer or even an elk.

Can an Arrow Kill you Instantly?

While an arrow has the potential to be lethal, it is not guaranteed to kill instantly. The location of impact can affect how quickly a person may die from an arrow injury. If you happen to penetrate vital organs such as the heart, an arrow could kill you on the spot.

Hunting arrows are equipped with broadheads. Broadheads have razor-sharp blades that can cut through tissue and organs, increasing the chances of death if the arrow strikes a vital organ.

Are Bows more Deadly than Guns?

Bows and guns are both deadly weapons. Guns typically have a higher rate of fire and can cause more damage with a single shot. However, modern compound bows are highly effective and can be as lethal as guns. Guns and bows are equally deadly if your target is within 30 yards.

Of course, guns usually have a higher firing rate and are easier to operate – Making them (generally speaking) deadlier than bows.

Does an Arrow Wound Hurt more than a Bullet?

The pain and damage caused by an arrow or bullet depend on the location of the impact and the caliber of the bullet, or the size of the arrowhead. There can be devastating consequences to a broadhead wound. A bullet wound can do the same.

Is a Bow good for Self-Defense?

A bow can be effective in certain self-defense situations, mainly where stealth and quiet are key. But in most cases, firearms are considered more effective for self-defense. They are easier to operate and require less strength or skill.

  • Using a bow for self-defense can be challenging, as it requires high accuracy and skill to hit a moving target under stress effectively.
  • Firearms also have higher stopping power and can be used to defend against multiple attackers from a distance.

Can you Kill a Bear with a Bow?

You can successfully hunt bears with a bow. As the experts at have said:

“There are few animals that are more bowhunter-friendly and offer as high a success rate as spring black bear hunting.”


Can you Survive an Arrow through You?

It is possible to survive an arrow injury, even a complete pass-through. However, it depends on the location and if any vital organs were injured.

Seeking medical attention after sustaining an arrow injury as soon as possible is important to increase the chances of a successful recovery.

As a responsible bowhunter and archer, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and take all necessary precautions to prevent accidents and injuries in the first place.

How Powerful are a Bow and Arrow?

The power of a bow and arrow depends on the type of bow (and arrowhead) used. A well-trained archer using a high-quality compound bow can produce significant force and velocity, making them highly effective weapons.

Adult compound bows generally range between 40 and 80 pounds, enabling arrow speeds of 250 to 370 feet per second!

They can easily penetrate hard materials such as wood, plastic, or even certain types of body armor, making them a formidable weapon for a skilled archer.

Can a Person Survive an Arrow to the Stomach?

An arrow wound to the stomach can be survived. Still, it is a severe and potentially life-threatening injury that can cause significant internal damage to vital organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines.

With modern broadheads designed for maximum penetration and tissue damage, the potential for harm is even greater.

Can a Bow and Arrow Break Bones?

A hundred percent. There is no doubt that bows and arrows can break bones. You know, it’s funny, but many hunters will tell you that shooting an animal with an arrow can break its bones.

It’s a double-edged sword, though.

As Chuck Adams says in an article published by the guys over at the Meat Eater:

“An often-overlooked factor in penetration is the strength of the head you use,” Adams said. “For example, a Striker or Montec will drive through flesh and bone without bending or breaking, while other broadhead designs with weak aluminum ferrules or thin blades can crumple or shatter on impact. This will severely weaken penetration and tissue damage, and might lose an animal.”


That´s why it’s important for us bowhunters to really understand our equipment and practice ethical hunting techniques to ensure we’re taking clean and humane shots every time.

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. Please feel free to contact me.

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