Different Types of Bows

Bows have been around for ages. They are silent witnesses of every major turn in human history. Today, variations and changes have been made to fit its varying purposes. Different types of bows were developed in modern times to respond to different user preferences, and each one having distinct form, offering different functions and comforts.

Recurve Bow

Recurve bows are one of the more basic kind of bows introduced mostly for beginners. This bow’s end recurves away from the archer, giving the bow the ability to harness greater power without necessarily asking for more strength from its users. This particular characteristic makes it attractive for beginners, who would not be required to muster so much strength just to get enough firepower. Recurve bows operate at the simplest form, only requiring the most basic parts of a bow – the bow, one string and an arrow rest. The simplicity of this type of bow makes it easier for beginners to get the hang of the sport before progressing to more complicated stuff, eventually adding other parts such as pressure buttons and clickers.

Recurve bows have long found its place in human history, being one of the common tools used by horsemen. Apart from training potential archers, students and beginners, modern times also utilize this type of bow in Olympic events.

Compound Bow

Compound bows are one of the relative newer variations of bow. Modern technology has already been incorporated into this type of bow in order to improve things like accuracy, speed and consistency. Compound bows use complex cables and pulleys in order to maintain power and stability, without much strength required from the archer. Apart from its unique bow mechanisms, compound bows use materials designed to maintain the bow’s stability and the archer’s posture. All these technology applied to this type of bow makes it heavier and thus, requires greater power from the archer.

Compound bows are designed to allow the archer to maintain its draw longer, hence enabling him to better focus on his aim. The arrow itself is designed differently too. It is less vulnerable to outside factors such as wind, humidity and even temperature, giving the archer better aim and accuracy. Perhaps the only drawback of compound bow is the power required from the archer to make the initial pull. But once pulled, the pulley does its wonders and assists the archer in holding and keeping it still without requiring much stength. Hence, giving him more time to aim and focus, while preventing muscle stress.

Long Bows

Long Bows are the most basic kind of bow. The bow simply consists of long curve bows, the length of which matches that of the archer, with neither arrow rest nor sights. It is the most common weapon used during the 12th to mid 16th century, and can be considered the predecessor of all other different types of bows we know today.

Unlike compound and recurve bows, which are tweaked and designed to improve the aim, velocity, speed and trajectory of the arrow, long bows are more dependent on the archer’s skills and less on the mechanical aspect. As such, it is harder to use long bows, as you would have to rely mostly on your archery skills and sheer strength. Long bows are not the best bows in terms of power and aim, due primarily to it being bare. Ironically, it is for this same reason that long bows are used in modern times – the challenge it gives to archer to master the art and their skills.


Crossbows are the most unique type of bow. It is believed that crossbows originated from main land China. And unlike all other types of bows, crossbow operates more like a firearm than a bow. The bow is attached horizontally to a muzzle, which then holds the trigger that would release the arrow. Crossbows are relatively shorter. The holder simply needs to pull the string back to a locking mechanism, secured to a trigger. The crossbow arrows are also shorter than the conventional arrows, proportionately matching the crossbow’s length.

Because of its unique mechanisms and form, crossbows have relatively shorter firepower and reach than the rest of the bows. It also requires effective initial pull to get it work and muster ample power. Note though, that because of its closer similarity to a gun than a conventional bow, the use of crossbows had been regulated in some nations.

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