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Different Types of Longbows

In case you did not know this, there are different types of longbows. But not all of them will be in the hands of the traditional archers. The thing is, most of these archers love the history that surrounds the longbows. That is why they prefer one among all the types.

But which longbows do traditional archers use? And most importantly, how can you know which one is the right one for you?

Well, those are some of the things we are about to go through in this article. Stick with us until the end!

Before discussing anything else, we would like to talk a little about the wood used for making longbows. Yew is the most popular one.

This wood has a deep connection with the history of the longbow. And let’s not forget to mention that it is lightweight, has high compressive strength, and is reasonably flexible.

Nonetheless, bowers have other preferences for longbows. That is why you will see longbows that are of red oak, white oak, hickory, American elm, red elm, rock maple, and Osage orange wood.

3 Longbow Types Explained

With the information regarding the wood types out of the way, let us put our focus on the thing that brought you here in the first place. So, here is a brief description of the longbow types.

1. English Longbow

The English longbow is the most recognizable type. But how did it gain so much popularity?

It mainly boils down to the long history of the bow and its prominence in the film industry. As the name suggests, the English longbow is native to England.

Welsh Archers relied on it to fight off Anglo-Norman invaders in the Hundred Years’ war that took place in the 14th century. That said, these are the ones that most traditional archers prefer.

English Longbow


To know whether the English longbow is the one that you are looking for or not, you need to know its features. Basically, these bows have an average length of 1.98 meters, which is about 78 inches.

They are also the perfect pick for people who need longer draw lengths. These also require a reasonable amount of strength to draw.

English longbows are a great pick for someone that is looking to get into traditional bows. The archer needs to shoot the arrow by directly keeping it in their hand, making it easier to focus on the shot and target.


There have been a lot of mentions of English longbows in history. And most of it surrounds hunting and battles. Nowadays, these bows see the most use in target practice. And in comparison, the modern English bows have a reasonably lower draw weight.

2. American Longbow

Compared to the English longbow, the American longbow is a newer invention. However, it still dates back to the 1930s. Nonetheless, the American longbow is basically an evolutionary form of the English longbow.

At its core, it is a mix of the commonly used American flatbow and English longbow.


The American longbow has an average length of 1.7 meters, which is around 67 inches. This, alone, makes the bow suitable for archers that are looking for relatively shorter draw lengths.

Also, the core of an American longbow is generally of hardwearing materials, such as fiberglass. That hardwearing material makes the American longbow stand out in terms of draw weight.

These bows will also come with a notch, which is there to hold the arrow. Due to this notch, archers can get a little more stability while taking their shots.

American Longbow


The American longbows have a higher draw weight, so it is an ideal pick for hunting. However, archers will often use it for target practice.

3. The Horse Longbow

The Horse longbow is basically the descendant of the bow that nomadic hunters used in Central Asia during the Bronze Age. However, the bow does have a connection with historical battles.

For example, it was put to the test during the battle against the Europeans in the Middle Ages.

Horse Longbow


The most standout feature of the horse longbow is that it shares a lot of things with the recurve bow.

To illustrate, it behaves a little like the recurve bow. That gives the archer the power of a recurve bow.

However, it still has the forgiveness that you would generally get on longbows.

Nevertheless, when it comes to size, the Horse longbow is the shorter one among all the longbows. The average length is 1.6 meters, which is about 62 inches.

But, there is quite a diversity when it comes to the build material. These will be of different types of wood.


These bows have traveled all around the world. Each culture had its own approach to adapting to the horse bow. And they have all added their preferred feature to the bow during the adoption.

That said, as the name suggests, these bows were mainly used for shooting while riding the horse. And Horse longbows are now mostly used for hunting, and they are quite popular for this use case.

Final Words

So, when it comes to the types of longbows, there are mainly three. There is the English longbow, which has a lot of history to it. Then, there is the American longbow. That is a mix of English longbow and flat bow.

Finally, there is the Horse longbow. And as we have just discussed, that is a little like the recurve bow.

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