What Is A Recurve Bow Good For?

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If you’re familiar with archery and the various terminologies involved in the sport, you’ve probably heard of a ‘recurve bow’ before.

It’s a type of bow that can store more energy for every shot that a traditional, compound bow. The result is a more efficient shot with every arrow.

Recurve bows are considered to be very good for beginner archers.

This is mainly because they allow the user to get to grips with the basic techniques of archery without having to worry too much about their upper body strength.

In this guide, we’re going to be taking a look at the pros and cons of recurve bows for different types of archers and comparing it with other kinds of bows.

By the end of this article, you should know exactly whether the recurve bow is the right fit for you!

How Does A Recurve Bow Work?

Before, we can work out who/what a recurve bow is best for, we need to understand exactly how it works and how it differs from other kinds of bows.

The key characteristic of a recurve bow is the shape of the bow itself: they will have a curved potion of the tip of the bow limb.

The effect of this subtle change means that the archer doesn’t have to exert as much force while pulling the string to achieve the same amount of power in the shot.

For example, an archer using a standard compound bow might exert 30 lbs of force with their arm, which will equate to 30 lbs of force on the string.

However, using a recurve bow, exerting only 15 lbs of power through your arm could be the equivalent of 40 lbs of power in the string itself!

read.. can you overdraw a recurve bow?

Essentially, this means that recurve bows allow archers to fire with much more power and speed in each shot than they would be able to with a regular bow.

Are Recurve Bows Good For Beginners?

Yes, recurve bows are pretty much the best type of bow for a beginner archer.

At first, many beginner archers will struggle to master the fundamental techniques of archery while also trying to exert enough force at the same time.

It’s simply too difficult to think about your body position, accuracy, and environmental conditions, all while trying to pull as hard as you can on the string.

This is what holds back plenty of new archers from developing as quickly as they’d like.

Recurve bows eliminate one of these issues and leave beginners with fewer things to focus on while they learn to shoot.

Without having to worry about pulling hard on the string to generate enough power with their shot, beginners who use a recurve bow only need to focus on their technique and will improve much more efficiently.

What Else Are Recurve Bows Good For?

Length Of The Bow

Other than helping beginners ge tto grips with the basic principles of archery, recurve bows have a couple of other good uses, too:


The recurve is the bow of choice for many outdoor hunters who prefer to do things the old-fashioned way.

Of course, one of the main benefits of using a recurve bow is that archers can generate more powerful shots with the same amount of force from their arm.

This results in shots with a higher speed in FPS (feet per second), which will travel further and be more likely to kill any animal targets swiftly and humanely.

As well as being more powerful, recurve bows also make less noise than other kinds of bows. As a hunter, you want to stay as quiet as possible to avoid spooking any animal targets in the area.

Recurve bows are also pretty lightweight compared to others, meaning it’s easier to carry one around with a bunch of other hunting equipment.

Finally, another benefit of the recurve bow for hunting is that it tends to be much more durable than other bows.

Instead of having to replace parts every few months with another type of bow, you’ll only need to lubricate the strings of a recurve bow and store it properly to keep it in good condition for years!

Competitive Archery

One of the other main uses for recurve bows in modern archery is in competitions.

Primarily, this is the bow of choice for the Olympic Games and archers must use a modern recurve bow to compete.

The only exception to this rule is that in some Paralympic events, a compound bow is used.

At the time of writing, movements are being made by archery groups to include Olympic competitions that involve the use of a compound bow, alongside events that use recurve bows.

The main argument for this movement is that the two bows require such different sets of techniques and skills that the two could be considered completely different events.

Recurve Bows Vs Longbows

These are the two main types of bows used by archers and each has its own set of pros and cons.

Longbows tend to be better for casual backyard archery and certain types of hunting.

They are easier for beginners to use over short distances and tend to be more forgiving on the fingers and joints of the archer.

However, longbows are also much larger and difficult to store and carry than recurve bows, making them less convenient for hunting.

Similarly, you can expect a longbow to exert more shock and vibration through the archer’s hand with every shot, which can become painful over time.

In general, recurve bows are much more popular than longbows for a good reason. They are more convenient, efficient, and are the bow of choice for most archery competitions.

Final Thoughts

Recurve is the most popular type of bow in the world and it has many practical uses.

If you’re just starting out as an archer or are looking for a tool to hunt with, the recurve bow should be very high up on your priority list!

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.

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