If you’ve decided to start enjoying archery, one of the most important purchases you’ll make is the archery bow itself.
There are four main types of archery bows and each has its own pros and cons. Nevertheless, this means that finding a bow that suits your needs is a lot easier than you think.
Before we get into the types of bows for the great sport of archery, let’s take a look at the anatomy of the bow, which consists of three main parts. These three parts are the:
- The bowstring attaches to both ends of the bow and keeps the arrow in place. It generates energy so that you can get a great shot, and it consists of two parts: the center serving and the nocking point. The bowstring is made to last and is considered a very important part of the bow.
- A bow’s limbs are its extremities. They can be made out of wood, metal, or composites and keep the bowstring in place at both string nocks. The limbs supply the energy you need to propel the arrow forward.
- The riser consists of the arrow rest, the grip, and the sight. The point where you grip and the point where your arms meet is called the riser. This is also where the V-bars and stabilizer meet and where the sight and top dampener meet. Left-handed and right-handed people each need a different riser.
Which Archery Bow Is Right for You?
Buying the right archery bow doesn’t have to be complicated, but the good news is that between the four different types, it should be easy for you to find the bow that best suits your needs. Different bows offer different characteristics and “feels,” so it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer. Here is a description of the four basic types of bows.
1. Recurve Bow
Recurve bows have been around since about 1600 BCE but are still being used today. If you’re curious how they look, just remember that the limbs of the bow curve toward the archer and the tips of the limbs curve away from the archer. The good thing about a recurve bow is that it is a very versatile bow, working great for beginners and more experienced shooters, as well as all different types of shooting.
The curved nature of this archery bow is there to increase the power of the bow and reduce the amount of strength that you need to use it properly. This makes for the perfect bow that can accommodate beginners, experienced shooters, practice shooters, target archers, sport-shooters, and anyone else for that matter.
Finally, a recurve bow is easy to disassemble and transport from one location to another, making it a perfect survival bow in the end.
Crossbows can be thought of as a cross between a modern bow and a traditional one. They can be made out of nearly any type of material, including wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or other types, and they have a riser, sight bridge, limbs, stock, latch, cocking stirrup, flight groove, barrel, and an arrow retention spring.
Used mostly for target shooting and hunting, in many states you can only use them during shotgun or rifle season. Crossbows are meant to be used with one hand and are held much like a gun or rifle. Because of this, they are very easy to use.
In fact, if you’re interested in getting into bowhunting and you don’t have any experience with the sport, a crossbow is a good type of archery bow to choose. They are versatile and can accommodate archers of all experience levels, in part because they can be used with either a recurve or compound limb arrangement.
If you were to sum up a longbow in one word, it would be “simple.” A longbow is essentially a long wooden pole with a string on both ends, and it is made out of either yew wood or woods such as oak, hickory, or red elm. Usually, the wooden pole is the same height as the archer and comes with no sights or arrow rests.
These are very powerful bows but are more difficult to aim than compound or recurve bows. Hence, they are recommended for expert archers and not for beginners. There are no advanced parts or components, and even though they are accurate, the difficulty level means that they should only be used by experienced shooters.
4. Compound Bow
Of the four main types of bows for archery, the compound bow is the youngest and has only been around since the 1960s. Most of the time, it is made out of composite materials; therefore, it is a durable and long-lasting archery bow. Compound bows are complex pieces of equipment with lots of different components, including a cam or pulley system.
Because of these high-tech components, compound bows can be used with little effort and you still get very efficient results. The wood of the bow is even able to change in strength and flex whenever the weather changes, which is a huge asset to shooters.
In fact, there are numerous reasons why compound bows are so popular, including their precision, power, accuracy, and the fact that they are made for both intermediate and expert archers.
Since they are perfect for target archery and field archery, you’ll see these types of bows in numerous international target archery competitions. Compound bows are also extremely accurate even at long distances, making them perfect for people who like to enter shooting competitions.