Shortbow Vs Longbow | Details About Differences And Comparison

Shortbow Vs Longbow, which one should you choose? Longbows and short bows are the two types of bows you need in archery. Longbows have a greater length than that of short bows. Short bows shoot at close ranges, from you to the target object.

Longbows are suitable for long-distance shots. They use more energy, and you need to be very accurate when shooting.

You will also need more space to take perfect shots from a longbow. We will give you a detailed comparison to help you know the difference between shortbow and longbow.

Shortbow vs longbow

The major difference between longbow vs shortbow is their size. Any bow that is shorter than 5 feet 5 inches is a short bow. The ideal shortbow size is a length of 3 feet. The length difference in length affects a lot of things and how you will use the bow. Let us check each of these bows in detail.

a) Longbow

A longbow is an ancient but classic bow with wood construction, and it is also known as a self-bow. It is in the shape of a capital “D.” The shape comes about as a result of a string found at the end of the bow, and it does not reach the bow.

This shape helps the longbow to store more energy and thus improving the performance of the bowl. The ideal longbow range is approximately 180 meters for modern longbows. They also have a longbow height of 1.8 meters.

There are different types of longbows you can find, which include:

  • Composite bows
  • American flat bow
  • Recurve bow
  • Recurve bare bow


Below are some of the benefits of a longbow are:

Draw Length

This is the distance you create when you pull back your arrow against the archer when shooting. A longbow creates enough space to help you pull your dart back for an accurate shot. You can pull the arrow to your cheekbone’s location.

Stored Energy

Energy is stored in the wood to make shooting more swift and accurate. The further you pull back the string of your bow, the more energy is got and thus the more the velocity of your arrow.


A longbow is strong and is thus able to accommodate heavier arrows. The arrows will reach their target without wind disruption. On top of that, you will enjoy an effective range of a longbow of up to 350 yards.


  • Longbows are huge and thus not suitable for limited space. You need more area to shoot perfectly.

b) Shortbows

They are a smaller version of longbows, only that they have less draw length. Short bows are for shooting smaller distances. Most short bow length is between 36-60 inches Examples of short bows are the crossbows and the air bows.

The ideal short bow range is 50-150 yards, and their draw weight has a range between 80-100 lbs. therefore, you will enjoy a limited shooting distance with a short bow.


The short bows have arrows that move swiftly. They have a high shooting speed and thus a good experience. You need less energy to draw the string back because the wood in short bows does not retain more energy.

Ideal for Small Space

You can use short bows in fewer spaces, thus making it convenient. You may choose to use it in confined areas as you will require less elbow room.


They are portable and are best for use by bowmen doing horseback archery shooting. You may also use them outdoors.

Price Friendly

Short bows are more affordable than longbows. You will not strain their budget too much.


  • You cannot use short bows for shooting over long distances because of their limited shortbow range.
  • You need more force when shooting close distances as the wood stores very little energy.

Difference between Longbow and Short Bow

After understanding the pros and cons of short and longbows, it is now time to look at their main differences. They might have many similarities, and this guide will help you decide which one is right for you.

1. Their Origin

You need to know the places they originated and how they came to be used in ancient days.

The short bows originated from northern Asia. They are believed to have been used by nomadic people in the grasslands in Asia. These lands were hot and dry.

Greeks also used the short bows to fight their enemies on horseback. The Chinese, Egyptians, and the Assyrians later came along and made some advancement to the bows after their interactions with the Asian nomads.

Longbows’ origin is traced from England and thus known as ‘English longbow’. The military used them in the 633AD. The English people used longbows to fight against the French warriors.

2. Size

This is the major difference between a short bow and a longbow. You can get longbows in a length of 6-7 feet and a height similar to the user. Therefore, they are heavy and bulky to carry around.

Longbows also have a thicker handle, ranging from 33-75 percent from the bow’s width. A shorter bow features a short length, which ranges between 36-60 inches. Their length does not go beyond 60 inches.

3. Range

Another difference between the two is the range, which refers to how far you can shoot. Longbows are ideal for long-distance range. They offer more shooting energy so you can hit far targets. Some things determine the range of a longbow, including the bow weight, length, and arrow weight.

Short bows have a shorter length to hit closer targets. You can experience difficulties shooting targets that are far from using a short bow.

4. Speed

The speed is another differentiating factor between long and short bows. Things like the size of the arrow, range, and bow size affect the speed. Longbows have more speed compared to short bows. You can also check some options here for the fastest crossbows.

5. Draw Length

This is the distance a bowman has to pull back before he/she releases the arrow. The more the distance pulled (draw length) the further, the arrow will go.

Short bows have a smaller draw length when compared to the longbows. It is roughly between the elbow and the shoulder. This makes it good for use in both tight and open areas.

Longbows have a greater draw length since you can pull them up to the cheekbone. Arrows travel a longer distance and at a fast speed.

6. Design

Short bows have a shaft made from flexible wood. Its ends are sharp, and have two woody wings that are curved. The central part has a bone fixed to hold the wing’s wood in place. The wood used should have both bending and non-bending ability to serve its purpose.

Constructing a short bow is easy and takes little of your time. However, complex short bows need skillful construction, especially in the middle. Let it be elastic enough to hold the wings properly. The sinews are stretch from outside.

Longbows have a capital D shape, and thus have a wide draw length. The normal length of a longbow is up to 7 feet long. It has a longbow stave to accommodate the arrow. You need a single wood to construct a longbow.

You can coat it later with a water-resistant coating for strength and make it long-lasting. Inside the bow is the heartwood, while the outside has the sapwood. The bowstrings of a longbow have specific materials to add up to the total weight of the bow.

7. Material

For a wooden shortbow, you need the following materials; wood, glue, bone or horn, sinews, and laths for stiffening. With these items, you can easily know how to make a shortbow using either bamboo or hard maples. This is because of their ability to withstand stress and durability.

The sinews are mostly got from the lower legs and the back of a wild deer. Sinews add the energy to be stored by the wood as it bears some elasticity. Use the glue to connect the bone/ horn to the wood.

You can get it from hides, animals, and gelatin, which comes from gas bladder. Arrows used in a short bow should be short.

When constructing a longbow, you require the following materials; elm sapwood, heartwood, horn, ash, glue, and strings made from silk. The sapwood gives good tension to the bow, while the heartwood prevents compression.

You may use the following arrows in a longbow; wolf arrow, broad arrow, Scottish arrow, dog arrow, and the welsh arrow. They should be slightly heavier than those used in a short bow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Longbow?

This is a bow you need in archery, and it has a capital D shape. Its curved shape helps it retain more energy that is used to fire the arrow over long distances. The arrows of a longbow are slightly heavier than those of a short bow to enable them to move.

Q: What is a Short bow?

A short bow is a type of bow that shoots for shorter distances. It has a short draw length to enable it to fore arrows at short distances.

Q: Yew Longbow?? What is that?

A yew longbow is a bow that uses arrows to run and is much stronger than the maple. It is made from long yew logs and a bowstring. A yew longbow has a maximum draw weight of200lb on an arrow of 82.5 cm.

Q: Is a longbow or short bow better on Run escape?

Short bows work better in a run escape than longbows. This is because their arrows are fired at a faster rate and attack faster than the long bow. They however, possess a shorter attack range than longbows.


If you are a skillful shooter, a longbow is the best option for you. They require more space, and their arrows go for longer distances. For tighter spaces, a short bow will do the best for you. It would work best for beginners if they train using short bows and use longbows at their advanced level.

Short bows and longbows have some similarities and you need to research well before you purchase either so that you be sure it suits your needs. At this point, it is easy for you to choose shortbow vs longbow based on your needs.