Is a recurve bow better than a longbow? (2022 best analysis)

Is a recurve bow better than a longbow? (2024 best analysis)

Is a recurve bow better than a longbow? Recurve bows (when shot with proper form) tend to be more accurate overall than longbows. While longbows can range from alright to good when it comes to accuracy, modern recurve bows are engineered for accuracy. It’s for that exact reason that recurve bows are the only types of bows shot in Olympic target archery. If you have to buy between the two, shoot some recurves and longbows at an archery shop, and choose the one that puts the biggest smile on your face.


A longbow is a particular kind of tall bow that enables a somewhat long draw. In its day, longbows were known as war bows rather than hunting bows. Longbows are easy to draw, silent to shoot, and lightweight. They can be used for bowhunting, but special attention must be paid to the draw weight of the bow. Longbows are ideal for

  • Casual shooting
  • Target shooting
  • Field shooting
  • 3d archery


One of the primary forms a bow can take is a recurve bow, which has limbs that curve away from the archer when the string is removed. The energy and speed of the arrow are increased by the fact that a recurve bow has more energy to store and deliver than a comparable straight-limbed bow. At the moment, the Olympic games are the only ones that permit this kind of bow. Recurve is best for:

  • Great speed
  • Accuracy
  • Power
  • Versatile


Recurves are generally more accurate than longbows, but only when an archer uses good form, hence recurve is preferable when it comes to accuracy. Recurve can be produced affordably and predictably with synthetic materials for reliable performance. 

Modern recurve bows have a larger mass, which helps with stability and, consequently, accuracy.


Longbows move far more slowly than recurves and even common compound weapons. Although arrow speeds vary widely (depending on draw length, weight, material, etc.; these factors apply to all bows), an archer using a hunting-weight longbow (45-60 lbs.) with a 28” draw would anticipate arrow speeds in the 160–170 fps range. Due of the energy that is stored in the curled limbs as the shooter draws to full power, recurves are typically faster. 

Additionally, fiberglass laminations are frequently used in recurves, which increases speed. Recurves to move at 10–20 fps more speed than a longbow with comparable draw weight and length.


The traditional method of building a longbow entails drying the yew wood for one to two years before slowly shaping it over the next three to four years. The cross-section of the bow stave is fashioned like a D.

For a detailed guide on Longbow vs recurve bow, you can read here.

The riser and limbs make up the recurve (the center section of the bow). On a core of carbon foam or wood, the limbs are typically constructed using many layers of fiberglass, carbon, and/or wood. Typically built separately, the riser is made of wood, carbon, aluminum alloy, or magnesium alloy.


Hemp, flax, or silk longbow strings are fastened to the wood using horn “nocks” that attach to the bow’s end. Strings for recurve bows are increasingly frequently made of contemporary synthetic materials. The recurve’s rope fastens to the tips of both limbs, converting the limbs’ stored energy into kinetic energy for the arrow.


Recurve bows are easy to find and easy to use by everyone no matter what age and they are very forgiving to shoot. Shooting your recurve arrows from a shelf rather than your hand is easier. The handle on a recurve is like a pistol grip.


Target archery could technically be shot with any type of bow, it’s most commonly shot with compound bows and recurve bows. The latter of the two is the only type of bow shot in the Olympics. If you’re serious about target archery you’ll most likely want to buy a recurve bow.

  • Target archery is simply shooting in a straight line standing still, while in field archery you could be walking an outdoor course and shooting at targets in the wood’s uphill and downhill from you.


The 3D targets are normally placed at unmarked distances from the archer throughout a walking course in the woods. The targets may be uphill, downhill, or partially obscured by trees and brush. If you want to be able to compete in most 3D shoots and tournaments, you’ll probably want to pick up a recurve bow.


Longbows are typically larger than recurves. Sizes of longbows range from 5 12 feet to 6 feet or more. Although a few takedown longbow models are available, most longbows don’t have this feature.

  • Recurve is simple to travel from place to place because it simply breaks into smaller pieces. Because recurve is so portable, takedown longbows are extremely popular.


The effective range of a longbow is between 60 to 80 yards. The longbow does not have the same range as the more powerful recurve bow. The accurate range for target shooting for the recurve bow is between 60 to 100 yards. For hunting, the effective range of the recurve bow is somewhere between 20 yards and 40 yards, depending on the draw weight of the bow and the archer’s competency.


Recurves are much more adaptable since they have more tuning choices. With recurve bows, you can employ stabilizers, sights, an arrow rest, and in certain cases, various limbs. Longbow, however, lacks these qualities.


Although the compound bow is allowed in several categories at the Paralympic Games, contemporary recurves are the only type of bow allowed in the Olympics and are the most commonly used by sporting archers in Europe and Asia.


Both bow varieties are effective for hunting, although recurves often have higher power. For accuracy and humane reasons, speed and power are crucial in hunting scenarios. Longbows are relatively infrequently used in hunting since they have poorer accuracy and power.


The draw length on a recurve bow is more important than on a longbow. A traditional bow’s bowstring can be drawn back as far as you are able to pull it. Most recurves commonly come in lengths of 58, 60, and 62 inches


Recurves are now considered to be the modern standard as this bow type provides archers with many options. So, it is easily available as compared to the longbow. The high performance, small size, and large availability of recurve bows help provide more accuracy and precision.


Recurve is the most versatile type of bow and can be used in several different types of archery like 3D archery, field archery, and target archery. It is the only bow used in Olympics. It is used because the recurve bow is better than the longbow. 

Is a recurve bow better than a longbow? CONCLUSION:

Recurve bows are an all-around great choice of the bow if you’re serious enough about archery to put in the time to learn to shoot properly. As far as comparison is concerned recurve bow is better than the longbow. You should choose a recurve bow rather than a longbow because recurve bows are easier to wield. When compared to longbows, recurve bows are easier to assemble, use, and pack away. If you are a beginner and do not know what to choose then choose the best which is recurve bow.

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