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Types of Archery Bows

The sport of archery has gained popularity over the years due to the popularity of TV shows and movies like the Hunger Games trilogy. While not being the most athletic sport, the different styles of archery and the various types of archery bows all have their own charm and appeal.Types of Archery Bows


Types of Archery

Believe it or not, archery is not just about getting a bow and arrow and aiming it at things. In fact, archery can be different in a ton of  ways and there are numerous types that include:

  1. Target Archery- This type is seen during the Olympics and revolves around shooting bulls-eye style from a distance.
  2. Field Archery- This is usually done in the woods with targets that can be as far away as 80 feet.
  3. Bowhunting- This type of archery is done when hunting for food and/or sport.
  4. 3D Archery- Competition where opponents walk through a course and shoot at foam targets.
  5. Traditional Archery- This means different things for different people but it basically revolves around those who shoot bows and arrows made from traditional materials like wood and bird feathers


Types of Archery Bows: Picking the Right Bow

No matter why you got interested in archery, you will have to purchase equipment; especially bows. Because it can be hard to choose, we have broken down the four main types and weighed the pros and cons of each.



Longbows are usually recognized because they are just as tall as the archers who are using them. But this height has an advantage; it allows for a longer draw which gives more range. It can usually out shoot all other bows. In addition, because of their size and the strength needed to draw this type of bow, it is better suited for a larger person and learning to use it can be hard.



  • If you master this bow, you can shoot it from virtually any position; even while lying on your stomach
  • Very quiet and efficient
  • Lightweight


  • Hard to get used to
  • May cause hand shock
  • Not recommended for beginners

Recurve Bows

This type, the recurve bow has tips that curve away from the shooter. The bent limbs make for a longer draw length that adds to the acceleration of the arrow. In addition, when using this type of bow, your chances of getting hand shock are minimized.


  • Lightweight
  • Few moving parts i.e. less maintenance
  • Easy to restring
  • Quicker to aim
  • Reliable
  • Simple but effective design 


  • No cocking mechanism
  • Produces a little less power than a compound

Compound Crossbow

Compound crossbows are often described as a modern crossbow, albeit with sturdier limbs. Its limbs make it easier to handle than other bows and their stiffness makes this bow pretty energy efficient. 


  • Easy to cock
  • Faster at lower draw weights
  • Narrow width
  • Great for beginners 


  • If a string breaks you will need a bow press
  • Not as accurate as other options
  • Loud
  • Requires maintenance due to tiny moving parts


Crossbows have been around for hundreds of years and have evolved to the needs of their users. For example, crossbows today have the ability to aim and shoot. They’re similar to a rifle with a trigger mechanism. In addition, the bow limbs at the front are relatively short when compared to other bows which make for a higher draw weight.


  • Can be used by beginners
  • Very accurate and easy to sight
  • Can be set and loaded for an extended period without causing harm to the string
  • Higher range than other bows


  • Can be awkward to carry
  • Heavy
  • Loud
  • Slow to load

Types of Archery Bows: The Bottom Line

When you are looking at types of archery bows to use, you must determine which one is best suited for your needs. All of these bows are good choices.  That, obviously, depends on what is required of them.

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Types of Archery Bows

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