When it comes to archery, there are as many different bows as there are types of targets. Recurve bows, longbows, crossbows, compound bows– choosing the right bow for you can be a challenge. If you’re looking for an archery experience like you see in the movies, odds are you’re thinking of the traditional bow. Before you pick one up, however, it’s helpful to know what to expect.
What Is A Traditional Bow?
There are two different types of traditional bows: longbows and recurve bows. This article will focus primarily on longbows.
The traditional longbow has fewer bells and whistles than most other modern bows. This provides a more natural experience for the archer, one where you must rely on skill and intuition to hit a target. Some longbows are made from a single piece of wood, often yew wood. Yew is a hearty, versatile wood that can withstand both compression and tension, making it an ideal choice for a bow. Other longbows are made of composite material, often a blend of two different types of wood– one able to handle compression and the other able to handle tension.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Longbows come with several advantages and disadvantages. One benefit of using a longbow is that they help you develop your skill as an archer more than most modern bows. Most modern longbows don’t come equipped with man-made assistance tools, instead requiring you to manually aim the bow while sustaining the draw weight. Longbows are also a lot of fun to use, and when you do hit a target there is a definite sense of satisfaction.
Alternatively, longbows are more difficult to use for the same reason– they lack the technology that modern bows have. If you’re a beginner, this can be frustrating. Longbows also don’t shoot as efficiently or with the same speed as other modern bows.
Uses for A Traditional Bow
Traditional longbows are well-suited for target archery. They tend to be rather large, making them difficult to haul around in the field. Difficult, but not impossible– some bowhunters prefer the longbow over modern alternatives. It depends a lot on personal preference– if you are comfortable with your ability to aim and hit a target, the sky really is the limit with a longbow.
Historically, longbows were used for centuries in warfare. This speaks to the effectiveness of a longbow when in the hands of a well-trained archer. Accuracy is a challenge with a longbow, but a little bit of skill can go a long way towards overcoming that.
Choosing Your Traditional Bow
When choosing your traditional longbow, pick a bow that is roughly the same height as you are. One of the primary considerations should be the weight of the bow. You need to be able to hold the longbow in position in order to aim and shoot, so you need to be able to easily lift the bow. This can be the challenging part, as heavier longbows tend to support more draw weight, meaning they can launch arrows at a greater speed. Lighter longbows are slower, which will impact not only your speed but your accuracy as well. Go for the heaviest longbow you can comfortably hold.
Traditional bows offer a fun challenge in exchange for some of the speed and efficiency of modern bows. If you’re looking for a natural experience and your focus is primarily target archery, a traditional bow may be right for you. You won’t know until you try!