Bows and arrows have been used for various purposes for a long time, and different archery bow types are available. These options are designed for some specific use. So depending on whether you are looking for a bow to hunt, compete, or just to have some fun, the right bow type will be handy for you.
From the simple structure made out of wood with sinew, bows are now manufactured with different useful materials, including carbon fiber and fiberglass. Today, you can find several options for archery.
The main bow types include Recurve Bows at the first option, a Compound Bow, LongBow, and Recurve Barebow. But with the variety of features, they can be divided into more categories. And who knows how many more categories can be made.
These bows make archery more fun and comfortable for your type of use. An enthusiast can choose to have more than one type of bow for different purposes. Some bows can be reliable for hunting while others can be better in terms of quality and cost for competition or hobby.
Below is the list of various archery bow types according to their usefulness. I will discuss the features of all types one by one.
- The 6 Archery Bow Types
- 1- Recurve Bow
- 2. Cross Bow
- Shape and Features of Cross Bow
- 3. Compound Bow
- 4. Longbow
- 5. Reflex Bow
- 6. Decurve Bow
- Conclusion – Archery Bow Types
The 6 Archery Bow Types
1- Recurve Bow
Recurve bows come first in the list of types of bows as they are the oldest since 800 B.C. and the simplest type of bows. They are also known as classical bows.
Shape and Features of Recurve Bow
A recurve bow has its Nock (ends) curved facing the front side. This lets the bow store more power and releases the arrow with more energy. The limbs of a recurve bow can be made from various materials such as wood, fiberglass, carbon, etc. Depending on the material they are made of, these bows can weigh less or more. Besides limbs, a bow’s riser is made of alloy, wood, carbon, or aluminum.
Some recurve bows are also takedown bows which means that you can remove the limbs from the riser/handle where you grip the bow so that they can be easily stored and take less space in your backpack for keeping them when not in use.
Use of Recurve Bow
Recurve bows are used for the target as well as field archery. These bows are available as takedown bows mostly now. Therefore are easy to carry and store.
You can choose a wooden handle to recurve bow as a beginner, but archers or hunters can go for a metal handle bow. For both beginners and professionals, recurve bows are great and are used in Olympics.
2. Cross Bow
Like recurve bows, crossbows have also been used since 600 B.C, and these bows were mostly used in wars by armed forces. Crossbows are designed differently than other types of bows.
Shape and Features of Cross Bow
Crossbows are attached to a stock that is designed to shoot the arrows. The unique feature of a crossbow is that it can also be used to shoot rocks or lead bullets with strong fiber strings besides arrows. Fixed on the stock, the crossbow string is shot by a trigger.
It means you don’t have to release the arrow with your hand. Just pulling the string back enough to lock it in a jaw and then pressing the trigger is all you have to do. It lets you shoot the target comfortably.
Use of Cross Bow
Although the crossbows do not allow long draw length but come in handy for hunting and sports. With the stock, it is considered easy to use than any other type of bow. Just by pressing the trigger of the horizontal stock and pointing the crossbow at your target, you can make a shoot. Therefore, they are being used a lot for hunting now, but crossbows are considered too easy for sports and competition.
3. Compound Bow
A compound bow has a cam system with wheels or cams and cables for bending limbs. It has limbs made of fiber and composite material for flexibility, and the riser is made of metal. Compound bows are light in weight in comparison to other bows.
Shape and Features of Compound Bow
The limbs of a compound bow are short in length and light in weight to carry easily. The weight of the bow during the draw drops off, so the weight at full draw is less than other bows.
The range of length and weight makes it suitable for kids and adults. Moreover, the shooting power of compound bows is much faster than other types of bows.
Use of Compound Bow
Most compound bows are used in target and field archery as well as for hunting. These bows are better to use with release aid for professional use or competition and sports. It can also be used by archers in Paralympic archery.
Compound bows are considered better than other bows due to their light weightedness and more speed for hunting. Also, the options for size, weight, and power makes. With the flexible limbs and the help of a release aid, you can shoot an arrow more efficiently.
Longbows or English Longbows are as simple and old as recurve bows. As the name suggests, the difference is that the longbows are more in length than recurves, and their ends are not curved like the recurve bows. Being simpler in design with minimal features, longbows are not so easy to use.
Shapes and Features of the Longbow
The limbs of a longbow are made out of several kinds of wood. With the simple shape, a longbow can be very long and can be of the size of the archer.
Unlike recurve, crossbow, or compound bow, a longbow is very simple in design and their no special features for the ease of archer, which makes it difficult to use.
Use of Longbow
As an archer, you would have to practice more using a longbow. Although it is simple in mechanism, it is a great option and used by archers for all forms of archery, including target, field, clout, and flight. Longbows are also usable for hunting purposes.
Using a longbow for hunting or competitions needs more experience than other bows. However, a longbow cannot compete with the advanced forms of bows in terms of speed. But still, these bows are considered suitable for hunting and various forms of archery by several archers.
5. Reflex Bow
Another type of bow is the reflex bow. These bows were used in warfare during the old times. They were used mostly by Mongols in their wars. Being short in size, they were considered suitable to use by horse archers.
Shape and Features of Reflex Bow
Many get confused between a recurve and a reflex bow. The difference between them is simply in their shape and size. A recurve bow has curves only at the ends of the limb; on the other hand, a reflex bow has curves throughout the limb that turn it away from the archer and that make the shape of the bow resemble a “C”.
Reflex bows are shorter in length compared to longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows. But the curves allow the archers to shoot at high speed.
Use of Reflex Bow
Reflex bows have been used as a weapon in wars in old times. They are fast and easy to use and carry with a short length.
The whole limb bends when the string is stretched, allowing the bow to shoot the arrow with great speed.
6. Decurve Bow
A decurve or deflex bow is the opposite of a recurve bow. This bow is a great option and performs similarly to recurve bow, even with the difference in the material used to manufacture them.
Shape and Features of Decurve Bow
A decurve bow has a shape that has curves at both ends facing toward the archer. With this shape, the limbs bend inwards, and the arrow goes with speed. The design is also simple, like the recurve and reflex bow.
Use of Decurve Bow
Archers use the decurve bows for all forms of archery. It is also suitable for hunting like a recurve bow. With the simple mechanism, decurve bows require drawing the arrow with the wrist. In ancient times, decurve bows were made for using them as a weapon in wars.
Conclusion – Archery Bow Types
Besides these types, there are also some other types of bows with differences in shapes and performance. But the main and simplest types are mentioned above.
A simple design bow is reliable for archery and hunting and easy to carry or store. But advanced types of archery bows, such as compound and crossbows, are easy to use. Moreover, a bow that is short in length is always better for drawing the arrow with speed.
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