What Is A Recurve Bow? – A Big Step In Bow Development

By Moritz

Apr 06

I have talked about longbows and compound bows, and now it is time to answer the question: “What is a recurve bow?“.

We will take a look at the history, the characteristics and everything else we need to know to get a good picture of recurve bows.

Recurve Bows – A Big Step In Bow Development

The history of bows is a long one.What Is A Compound Bow
Bows have been used for thousands of years all around the world.
The first bows were longbows and can hardly be compared with modern bows.
But they did what they were supposed to do.
Hunt animals or attack enemies.

Recurve bows are a bit younger, but they began spreading throughout Egypt and Asia at the beginning of the second millennium BC.

Before recurve bows were invented, archers had to pull much higher draw weights.
Bows also had to be very long, or nobody would have been able to bend them anymore.
That meant that people had to become really strong and start shooting from a very young age on to shoot heavy bows.

Recurve bows changed all that and gave access to archery to a wider range of people.

Read about what makes recurve bows so special and how they are different from longbows:

What Is Special About Recurve Bows?

If you look at a longbow and recurve bow next to each other, you will immediately see the difference.

Longbows are (traditionally) made of a single piece of wood that is a little bent when strung.

Recurve bows, however, curve first in one direction and then change that curve to the other.
That recurve is what gives it its name.

Now, what does that recurve do and how does it make the recurve bow more efficient?

Thanks to the recurve, the bow can store much more energy than the straight piece of wood of a longbow.
You can think of a spring to get the idea of how it works.

The higher amount of stored energy will be transferred to the arrow and will make it faster.
More speed stabilizes the arrow flight and results in a higher penetration of the target.

That means that a recurve bow does not need the same draw weight as a longbow to be its equal.

martin sabre recurve bow

Upgrade Your Recurve Bow

Another big difference to traditional longbows is, that you can put quite a few additional gadgets on modern recurve bows.

Most people will start with a sight and move on to stabilizers, silencers, bow quivers and more.
Especially when you watch professional archery, you will notice that modern archery looks completely different to traditional archery.

All those attachments can improve your accuracy and overall performance with the recurve bow.

To learn more about bow tuning, click on the links above.

Is A Recurve Bow Better Than A Longbow?

You can’t really say it like that!

An experienced longbow archer can outshoot recurve bow shooters with less experience without a problem.
Even on really long distances.

In my opinion, it is more about preference and not about what is better or worse.
It is also about how much practice the archer has.

True, a recurve bow can be equipped with many tools to make an archer’s life easier.
But the skill is still the most important thing in archery.

archery equipment

Bow and arrow. Used under creative commons from: Amada44

What Bow Should I Choose As A Beginner?

Take a look at the different bow types and make your decision then.

At most archery ranges you can borrow recurve bows when you are just getting started.
If you are lucky other archers with longbows will be present and you can ask them if they let you try their bow.
Maybe the archery range offers longbows, too.
But in my experience, they don’t do that very often.

In means of which is better for a beginner:

Recurve bows are often more forgiving when beginners don’t know the right archery techniques yet.
I personally started with a recurve bow and only later got a longbow, too.

I generally recommend this to new archers.
If you are a big medieval fan, though, there is nothing wrong with starting with a longbow.
That is totally fine!

Great Bows For Beginners

The Samick Sage Recurve Bow is a great bow for beginners.
Many modern recurve bows are takedown bows. They have many advantages.
You can find out about them, when you follow the link to the Samick Sage bow.

Marting Archery recurve bows are also fantastic for beginners.

If you want to get started with a longbow you can check out these bows and the Montana Longbow.

Don’t Hesitate And Get Started With Archery

I think archery is one of the best outdoor sports.
It is so much fun and your health will profit from it, too.

Now, that I have answered the question “What Is A Recurve Bow?” I want to add that if you have any questions or want to share your experiences, please leave a comment below.
I will get back to you quickly.

Have a great day!

Moritz

About the Author

Hi, as a huge archery enthusiast I love sharing my knowledge about archery. Enjoy your stay and don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have a question.

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