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Compound Bow Vs Longbow Comparison

In the archery world, making comparisons among the different types of bows has always been a common practice. And it makes sense. If you are to pick one of the bow types, you would definitely want to check out the pros and cons of others before settling on something.

So, what about compound bow vs longbow? What are the differences between them, and most importantly, which is a better pick?

Well, that is exactly what this discussion will shed light on. Therefore, if you are in a dilemma, you need to go through all the information we offer here.

If you have ever come across a compound bow, you probably know that it has quite a complex design. Well, it is one of the most advanced designs that has been around the world of archery for more than 50 years. And throughout time, this intricate system has seen many modifications.

Each of the modifications made the bow more flexible and better than the previous versions. 

However, regardless of the modifications made to the design, one thing remained the same for the compound bows, which is the pulley system.

Basically, the pulley system of the compound bow is the factor that distinguishes a compound bow from a regular bow. However, do note that the pulley system will vary greatly from one design to another.

But even if the pulley systems changes, the typical components remain the same. Wondering what those typical components are? Well, a general structure of the pulley will either have one wheel or two cams on each of the limbs. These cams or wheels introduce something called "let off."

Now, what is "let off"? It is basically a factor that reduces the overall draw weight when you are fully drawing the string. And thanks to this "let off" factor, archers get a higher overall comfort while using the compound bows.

Advantages of Compound Bows

Compound bows stand out on a lot of factors. And due to these factors, it has become a go-to pick for most bowhunters. Want to know which factors are we referring to here? Let's walk you through them!

  • Efficiency

A compound bow tends to have a higher efficiency rate thanks to the mechanical advantage. That is one of the most significant factors you need to consider when talking about longbow vs compound bow. This higher efficiency rate leads to much better energy conversion to the arrow from the bow's limbs.

  • Accuracy

Efficiency is not the only thing that bowhunters consider when choosing a compound bow or longbow. Accuracy plays a crucial role in this case as well. And thanks to the "let off" factor, the compound bows are well-capable of providing the hunters with higher overall accuracy.

Compound Bow Accuracy
  • Draw Stops

Another factor that makes compound bows stand out in terms of longbow vs compound is the draw stops. You will not find them on traditional bows. These go a long way in making the archers keep the draw length consistent.

When you keep the draw lengths consistent, you will also have better overall accuracy. Also, the draw stops make it easier for newbies to get the hang of the compound bows.

  • Bushings

One of the critical points of compound vs longbow battle is the bushings. Compound bows will come with pre-installed bushings, which you can use to attach different accessories.

Among them, the most popular ones are quivers, sights, silencers, stabilizers, and clickers.

Bulk Hunting with Compound Bow
  • Finely Tuned

The compound bows utilize a lot of supplementary technologies. Thanks to those, they have become one of the finely tuned machinery available in the archery world.

Disadvantages of Compound Bows

Not everything is great about the compound bows. There are some disadvantages regarding them that you should know about:

  • Requires Higher Initial Investment

You will need to make a proper initial investment when getting compound bows compared to other bows. Even the entry-level options have a relatively higher price point.

  • Maintenance

Yes, compound bows are pretty advanced. But as they integrate different advanced mechanisms, you need to take proper care of them to make them operate optimally. For example, the expertise you will need to replace just the bowstring is far higher than the other bows.

Check Some Quality Compound Bows For Beginners To Advance Archers:

Bow Name


Best for



1. Bear Archery Cruzer G2

Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow


Draw Weight: 5-7 lbs.
Draw Length: 12" to 30"
Brace Height: 6.5"
Axle-to-Axle: 30"

2. PANDARUS Compound Bow

PANDARUS Archery Compound Bow


Draw Weight: 15-29 Lbs
Draw Length: 19" to 28"
Brace Height: 6.75"
Axle-to-Axle: 27.75"

3. Sanlida Archery Dragon X8

Sanlida Archery Dragon X8 Compound Bow


Draw Weight: 0-70 lbs.
Draw Length: 18-31"
Brace Height: 6.6"
Axle-to-Axle: 30"

4. Genesis Original Bow

Genesis Original Compound Bow Kit


Draw Weight: 10-20 lbs.
Draw Length: 15-30"
Brace Height: 7 5/8"
Axle-to-Axle: 35.5"

5. Diamond Archery Edge 320

Diamond Archery Edge 320 Compound Bow


Draw Weight: 55 - 70 lbs.
Draw Length: 21.5 – 30"
Brace Height: 7"
Axle-to-Axle: 30"

Let's Know About Longbows

Unlike Compound bows, Longbows have been around for centuries. It is one of the traditional bows that archers all around the world still rely on. And one of the driving factors of this bow is the simple design. In fact, the design is so simple that you can easily craft one for yourself.

Nonetheless, when it comes to distinctive features, the longbows are typically extra long. Commonly, they are around 6 feet in length. Yes, the high overall length is the reason why these bows have "long" in their name.

But do not let the simple design and name fool you. Longbows are highly effective. Their simple mechanism allows them to drive powerful and fairly accurate shots. However, those are not the only advantages that longbows have to bring to the table.

Advantages of Longbows

Just like compound bows, there are some factors that make the longbows stand out in the competition. Want to know about them? Keep on reading!

  • Lightweight

The first thing that will stand out for the longbows is the weight. Longbows are considerably light in weight, allowing the hunter to carry them around easily.

And when it comes to going on a long hunting trip, that is something you can not take for granted.

Longbow is Lightweight To Shoot
  • Quick Draw

Thanks to the lightweight nature of the longbows, it is possible to quickly draw these bows with arrows. This quick drawing capability makes a huge difference in situations where you find yourself making multiple shots on the target.

  • Stealth

For the mechanism of the bow and the lightweight nature, the longbows do not make a high noise while shooting. Again, this is one of the critical factors you must consider when hunting.

Any noise can alert the target, which can eventually lower the chance of you hitting it accurately.

  • Maintenance

Compared to other bows, longbows are pretty basic. They do not have any intricate mechanisms at all. Although it is a disadvantage to a particular degree (more on that later), it is an advantage in terms of maintenance.

You will not need to go through too many hassles to keep the bow in top-notch condition.

  • Budget Friendly

Unlike the other types, longbows are pretty basic. Thanks to that, you will not need to make a chunky initial investment when getting them. In fact, the archers that are on a tight budget will generally choose the longbows over the others.

Disadvantages of Longbows

Yes, as you might have guessed, there are certain drawbacks of using the longbows over the others.

  • Size

As the name suggests, longbows are reasonably long. This form factor can become an issue when you have to travel a lot during the hunting session. In fact, the long nature of the bow can even give away your position.

  • Lack of Modification

The longbows are pretty limited when it comes to working with different accessories. So, if you are into customizing your bows with various attachments, you will be pretty disappointed with it.

  • Learning Curve

Although the longbows are pretty light in weight, it does have a steep learning curve. If you want to shoot it properly and make the arrows land on the target, you need to practice a lot. Also, as you can not use advanced accessories, such as high-end sights, you will need to go through a lot of practice sessions to master the longbows.

Check Some Quality Longbows For Beginners To Advance Archers:

Bow Name


Best for



1. SAS Pioneer Longbow

SAS Pioneer Longbow

Top Rating

Draw Weight: 29 to 60 lb
Bow Length: 68"
Draw Length: 36"

2. PSE Archery Terra

PSE Archery Terra Longbow


Draw Weight: 30-55 lb
Bow Length: 64"
Draw Length: 28"

3. PSE Archery Oryx Longbow

PSE ARCHERY Oryx Longbow


Draw Weight: 40 to 65 lb
Bow Length: 68"
Draw Length: 28"

Our Verdict - Which One To Choose?

So, which one is better in terms of compound bow vs longbow? Well, it strictly falls under your preference and skill level. If you want to get something that is fairly advanced, offers the flexibility to attach different accessories, and is relatively easy to get the hang of, you should pick the compound bows.

On the other hand, if you prioritize stealth, lightweight nature, and ease of maintenance, you should opt for the longbows. Nonetheless, both of the bows are great for what they can offer. And they indeed hold an important position in the archery world.

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