Types Of Bows | Beginners Guide To Archery Bows

There are different types of bows in archery. The selection of each one of them will depend on your prowess in archery or your personal preferences. Choosing the various types of the bow will also depend on the shooting you will be doing. 

For instance, if you are shooting for fun, you may use any bow. On the other hand, if you need a bow for hunting, this will depend on the type of animal or hunting region. Your shooting skills also need to be exemplary to ensure you don’t miss targets. 

You need to understand the available bow types to ensure you get the right one. Our guide covers different bows used in archery. Read all types of bows in detail to understand them better and pick the right archery bows. Read on to learn more about the types of bows for hunting.

Different Types of Bows

Statistics show that 4.5% of the American population hunt. Out of this percentage, 32% hunt using bows. Over the years, bowhunting has gained popularity, and this has also led to different types of archery bows. We will cover the kinds of bows you can find to help you figure out the types of hunting bows for your hunting needs.

1. Recurve Bows

A recurve bow is one of the best types of bows that have been there over the longest period. It has curved limbs toward the ends. This curved design is crucial in a recurve bow as it ensures the storage of more energy in the bow. 

The energy comes in handy when firing the arrow towards its target. This makes it be in a better position to hit the target. The major parts of a recurve bow are the handle and the limbs.

The handles of a recurve bow are mainly metallic. They may be cast, or computer machined. However, you may find some bows whose handles are made of a piece of wood. Normally these are suitable for beginners in the art of archery. 

When it comes to the limbs of a recurve bow, they feature different laminations. The laminations include wood, carbon, and other composite materials. Laminations are important in that they bring efficiency in using a bow by making them light in weight. 

This makes them easy to use as well as carry along. They also improve the outward appearance of a bow, making it look great and attractive.

Modern recurve bows are easy to assemble and disassemble to make them easily portable. This makes it easier for you to carry them along. You, therefore, need to know how to assemble them well for proper and accurate shots. 

Recurve bows are ideal for training beginners in archery due to their simplicity in the making. They also provide more power, and one uses less strength to shoot. There are some bonus features such as sights, pressure buttons, and stabilizers, among others, that enable you to make proper shots using this type of bow.

When shooting using a recurve bow, you may use any shooting style. However, it is not advisable to fire without an arrow as it is dangerous. It may cause harm to you as well as damage your bow.

2. Compound Bows

The limbs of a compound bow are slightly shorter than those of a recurve bow. They have a composite material, making them light in weight. These materials are long-lasting and strong and thus will serve you for a long time. It is great to understand the anatomy of a compound bow to get the best from it.

Compound bows also have a design that makes them not affected by climate changes as the materials are natural. The risers have metal construction. These bows have a string that you need to fix to a pulley and connect to the wheels. 

They are best for use when taking long-distance shots as they are very accurate. This will, however, depend on your prowess in taking shots. This will be the best accompaniment for you as a hunter going for a wild game.

Modern compound bows have cable systems, pulleys, and cams that increase the draw weight for taking shots. The pulley further prevents fatigue when shooting, giving you more time and energy to focus on your target for a perfect shot. 

Any time you pull the string back, the cams rotate as they put in more energy. This happens as the cables pull on the limbs differently. Their complexity makes it difficult for learners. You ought to be skillful when using compound bows for you to have the best results. 

Compound bows are best for target shooting as they are easy to operate. They have effectiveness in use and a high accuracy rate. There are different types of compound bows which include:

  • Single Cam  
  • Hybrid Cams
  • Twin Cams   
  • Binary Cams
  • Longbow

Longbows are also known as traditional bows. This type of bow is from a single wood and has a string attached on both ends. Longbows are ideal for target shooting. It may also have some laminations that enhance its appearance and ease of use.

You can use a longbow for hunting purposes as well as having fun. The longer the bow, the more the draw weight. You, therefore, need to be strong when using this type of bow to get accurate shots.

Longbows have an arrow shelf that houses the arrow when the bow is not in use and when it is at full draw. This is because they lack sight and arrow rests. 

The draw weight of these traditional bows is roughly 60 lbs when the bow is drawn at 28 inches. Therefore, as an archer, you need to make more time practicing with the longbows for accurate shots. You can also find a detailed comparison of short bows vs. longbows here.

3. Recurve Barebow

Recurve bows mostly resemble the longbows, only that their limbs curve away from the archer. This enables them to store more energy that enables the arrow to travel at high speed for longer distances. 

This type of bow lacks sight so you need to use it to pass through the 12” hoop after you string. There are special bare bow risers that enable the bow to increase the weight of the risers. This is because some stabilizers don’t work on the riser. This, therefore, makes it easy to shoot one’s targets.

  • Recurve bows work well for bow fishing of the following outstanding features:
  • They are light in weight, and this enables them to move swiftly and easily to use.
  • Any archer can use recurve bows despite their age or size.
  • You can use the bow with both short draw length and long draw length.
  • Recurve bows are relatively cheaper than compound bows, thus making them suitable for bow fishing.

4. American Flat Bow

This bow is also known as the American longbow. It has some features that enhance its usage. They include having stable and sturdy limbs that are easy to pull when shooting. It increases the chances of hitting your targets. These modern laminations are made from layers of fiberglass and carbon fiber cores, and they enhance convenience in use.

5. Crossbow

The recent crossbows have advanced in their make in that they have a trigger release mechanism. They resemble a gun, and there are different parts of a crossbow you should know. 

This type of bow has short limbs and a very small riser, which calls for more power. You get the grip when taking shots from any other part of the bow. It may be the best option for shooters banned from using regular bows due to their body’s condition.

For a crossbow to perform the same way as a compound bow or a recurve bow, you need to increase its draw weight. This is because crossbows have a short firing range than compound and recurve bows.

NB: Always ensure you are in your archery gear whenever you are performing this art. This keeps you on the safe side and prevents you from injury. It would help if you kept safe whether you are doing archery as a sport, a recreation activity, or even a competition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the most powerful type of bow?

A: The crossbow is the most powerful type of bow of all. This is because it has shots that travel rapidly and go for a long distance. It is best for long-distance shots. The accuracy of a crossbow is also of a high rate.

Q: What is the best type of bow fishing bow for you?

A: When bow fishing, the best bows to do are the compound bows and the crossbow. They are good for beginners to train archery with, and their selection will depend on your preference. They will help you catch more fish without having to strain a lot.

Q: What bow is right for you?

A: When selecting a bow, you need to choose the one that suits you. It should match your dominant eye as it is the one that sends the image to your brain. This helps you in sighting the target making the probability of shooting your target high.


Archery is an ancient art that dated back to the 16th century and is still in use today. It improves as the days go by as the bows and arrows bear in new features now and then. Therefore, you need to choose the best bows and arrows, depending on the activity you want to carry out. It may be used for hunting, competition, or even recreational activities to have fun. 

To know the different types of hunting bows for use in a certain activity, always check the limbs, the riser, and the bowstring. The parts of a bow will enable you to pick the right archery bow types. Different types of bows will shoot differently, and thus you need to know which one to use.

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