Welcome to Archery Aim, where you will find Archery Information, Archery Equipment, Archery Supplies and Archery
Archery equipment and bows have come a long way from caveman days to the modern equipment that we have today.
The bow and arrow was a major breakthrough in hunting and weaponry of it's time.
Today there is a wide variety of bows, like the compound bow, recurve, crossbow and longbow in different
brands, styles and designs available. Modern bows carry the sophistication of advancing technology while staying
true to the origin and spirit of the bow and arrow. Over thousands of years, archery has been part and parcel of
As with anything, getting the right tools is of paramount importance in ensuring that you get the best results
in whatever it is you do, this is no different in archery. So getting the right bow must go hand in hand with the
purpose for which you intend to use it.
A Guide To The Different Types Of Archery Bows
Generally there are four categories of bows, they are; longbow, recurve bow, compound bow and crossbow.
(Technically some say the crossbow is not a bow.) While there are variations and different terminologies of
different archery bows, depending on culture, history, location, etc. Some other names and designs of the different
archery bows also might be called; composite bow, flatbow, English longbow, horse bow, deflex bow, Mongolian bow
reflex bow, decurve bow and many other types, names and designs.
But which type of bow is for you and how are they designed? Here is a general guide to the four more widely used
archery bows today.
Compound bows have only been around since the mid 1960's and
are now used by beginners to the more experienced professional archers and bowhunters.
The compound bow has a more complicated design than the other bows, it allows for the maximum speed of the
arrow. These bows are designed with a pulley system of wheels or cams and cables, which help the archer hold a
heavier draw weight when at full draw.
This weight let off, depending on brand and design of the bow, can be anything from about 60% to 80% of the full
draw weight. That means a young archer or female can draw back and aim a more powerful bow for a longer time when
While the older compound bows and longbows look more like the letter “D” when held sideways, the more modern
compound bows, look like the letter “W”. The ultrafast compound bows, with their shorter and more parallel limb
have a “bat wing” like shape.
The advanced technology of the modern compound bows also means it can be shot with a heavier poundage bow, which
results in a flatter arrow trajectory. For 3D archery, field and target archery, the faster arrow speed can be an
advantage at longer ranges in the right hands.
For bow hunting the modern technology of the bows speed and let off, can help the archer shoot a heavier poundage
bow. The higher poundage draw weight, when combined with the correct arrow weight, helps with the arrow penetration
When used with archery sights and release aids, the modern compound bow can be very fast and accurate.
The longbow is first known to have been used more than thousands of
years and at the time, was the most popular weapon to take to battle due to its ability to shoot a long
distance. This gave soldiers an advantage on the battlefield and changed warfare forever.
Today the longbow is still a very popular choice for traditional archers and bow hunters.
The bow is traditionally made from the wood of the Yew tree and around 6 feet long, hence the name longbow.
Today the modern longbows are laminated with all types of wood and fibreglass construction.
The shape of the longbow is only slightly curved, giving the shooter the ability to pull the string back smoothly
and is great for quick instinctive shooting. The longbow can easily shoot an arrow 200 feet. The downside of this,
is that these archery bows aren't quite as fast as a modern recurve or compound bows, however for many traditional
archers it is the only bow for them.
The longbow is generally shot without sights and gadgets. Like any archery bow the longbow does need a certain
amount of practice for the archer to be accurate and proficient with it.
Some keen archers like making their own bows and the longbow is a favourite to build. In fact, building a custom
made longbow can in itself become a hobby, art or business.
Today there are many variations of the longbow with slightly defelexed and reflexed limbs
If you are not particularly taken in with the sophisticated, gadget-laden bows of today, the traditional longbow
may be one of the closest you can get to the vintage bow.
The longbow is simplicity at it's best.
Like the longbow, the recurve bow has been around for centuries, both
used as a weapon and bow hunting tool. Today, the recurve bow is the one often used for competitive archery
tournaments such as Olympic archery events and also has a large following with bow hunters.
The recurve bow generally offers a faster arrow shot, compared to the longbow, (but slower then a compound bow)
because of its curved back limbs, hence also its name, the recurve bow.
The recurve bow is relatively simple and can be used for archers of all ages. From a low budget one piece
fibreglass recurve bow, which is ideal for young archers, to takedown quality recurve bows used for bow hunting or
competitive target archery, the recurve bow is ideal.
Most modern recurve target bows are designed so that additional accessories can be fitted, including sights and
stabilizers. The hunting bows, both one piece and take down recurves, may or may not have bushings for
The modern recurve bow is developed to simultaneously meet the archer's demands of speed, distance and accuracy,
while still giving the archer a feel and aspect of traditional archery.
Cross bows have also been around for a very long time. Historians believe
they originated in China, where they were used as weapons of war. Their practical use and ease of handling has
seen them remain available as a military weapon and bowhunting tool.
A cross bow could be looked upon as a firearm in every sense of the term, the fundamental difference only being
that it shoots arrows, (called bolts) rather than bullets. The crossbow has the appearance of a gun with a short
bow attached to it.
The crossbow like other archery bows can be very accurate and powerful. It also can come in the recurve style
limb design as well as the compound limb design. The crossbow stock and limbs can be made from a wide range of
materials, like wood, steel and modern composite material like fibreglass and carbon.
Crossbows are almost completely mechanical, allowing the shooter to fire it with one hand if he chooses, although
it can be heavy. It is generally loaded by placing your foot in the stirrup on the ground and bend over it and draw
it back, until loaded. Some crossbows have a mechanical winder that can be wound by hand and some newer designs
have automatic cocking of the crossbow.
Some countries and states have different licensing and strict regulations of the crossbow, compared to other
The crossbow for some is ideal for bow hunting and because you don't have to hold the draw weight. It is also
popular with some female archers and bow hunters with disabilities, who might not have the physical strength to
operate the other archery bows.
The crossbow while not for everyone, is another choice for the bowhunting or target archer.
The longbow, recurve, compound, and cross bows have their own advantages and disadvantages. They all can be used
for bow hunting or target archery and most can be added with accessories and gadgets.
If you like the simple traditional bows then a longbow or recurve might be for you.
For archers who like the latest technology, added gadgets and speed, then the compound bow is the choice.
If you don't practice much, then a bow sight on a recurve or compound bow may be something you should look at first
when buying a bow, as traditional bows with no sights can take a bit of practice to become proficient with it.
Your choice of archery bow will be determined by what you intend to use it for, your level of experience, how much
time you can dedicate to practice and your personal preference. Whatever bow or discipline you choose, archery can
be fun an exciting.