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Recurve Bow Vs Longbow – Differences and Comparison

Have you ever encountered the debate recurve bow vs longbow? What is the difference between a recurve bow and a longbow? Both the bows are used in archery, but they differ in many factors.

The most basic difference between recurve bow and longbow is that the longbow is much longer than the recurve bow. The shape, style of string attachment, and tips also add to the differences.

As for application, the longbow is often used for civilian hunting and warfare, whereas the recurve bow is largely used for modern Olympic archery and target shooting.

Now, if you have a question as to which bow is best for your activity. Knowing the benefits and features of each bow can help you make a well-informed decision. Here comes this article to educate you on the differences, similarities, and more about these two individuals of the same family.

The recurve bow, and the longbow are two types of archery bows used throughout history. They differ in various ways, including the shape of the bow, style, materials, and more.

Where recurve bows are generally used for archery, while longbows are often used for hunting. Recurve bows are shaped like the letter "C," while longbows are shaped like 8. Recurve bows use materials like wood or composite, while longbows use materials like wood or fiberglass. But now, both types use all the materials mentioned here.

The recurve bow is a relatively modern invention made mostly from synthetic fibers or wood. It has a curved design, and so earned its name. It is very popular because it is easy to carry around and shoot without much practice needed.

The longbow is a type of bow that is the quintessential weapon for hunting, so archers in medieval times used to carry those along with them. Many people think that the recurve bow is a modern variation of the longbow. Contrary to popular belief, the recurve bow was not designed to replace the longbow. And when faced with dilemma recurve bow vs longbow range, you must favor long bow if longer range is your preference.

The recurve bow is faster and more powerful than the longbow. It shoots faster per pound of draw weight, making it easier to hit the target at long ranges. The recurve bow is wider and deeper, but it is more likely to torque the limbs if you shoot it improperly. However, the recurve bow can be stored more easily and is suitable for tight areas. So when you are thinking of taking a bow, consider the difference between longbow and recurve bow.

Benefits of Using A Recurve Bow

Recurve bows are extremely versatile, making them the ideal choice for new to archery. They can be used anywhere, and they're more comfortable to shoot than most other types of bow. And they are also the only type of bow allowed in the Olympics, and because of this, recurve archers have an advantage over their competition. Because they're more accurate and quick to draw, recurve archers have a higher chance of scoring points in competitive sports.

Recurve bows are also easier to use than longbows. A typical adult recurve bow requires between 20 and 50 pounds of force to draw back an arrow. Untrained shooters can easily tire themselves out, pulling back a heavy arrow. Most beginner recurve bows are much more lightweight, which is a huge benefit when you're learning the ropes. As long as you're careful not to pull the string too tight, you'll have no trouble making a perfect shot.

Moreover, the curved tips give it more power as it's drawn back. Accordingly, they can shoot hundreds of yards in a wide arc and require more effort to draw than a compound bow. But keep in mind that the larger the recurve, the more force you'll need to exert to hold the arrow and draw it.

Drawbacks of Using a Recurve Bow

Recurve bows are intricate weapons that require physical strength, skill, and knowledge to operate. So, before deciding to invest in one of these costly weapons, be mindful of the following drawbacks:

  • Harder to adjust the draw weight.
  • Involves difficulty in shooting,
  • Lack of power, accuracy,
  • Needs to purchase various archery accessories to use
  • Aren't as accurate as longbows
  • The need to rely on your aim and your shooting form reduces your accuracy
  • Difficult for small people without a lot of upper body strength to pull back
Best Type Recurve Bow Reviews You Might Check Before Choosing:

Benefits of Using a Longbow

People usually choose to use longbows due to their accuracy, stealthiness, speed, range, and power. In addition, longbow owners also benefit from customizing their bows using different arrows types, arrowheads, string material, bow types, and more.

A longbow differs from the shorter varieties as this gives it improved range and velocity because of increased string tension.

Its long limbs are heavier and stiffer than a recurve bow, creating more stability and precision when shooting. This makes it easier to use for weaker archers. Also, the energy required to fire an arrow is stored in the bow's limbs, making it faster and easier to aim.

The draw length of a longbow is longer than a recurve, allowing the arrow to be pulled back further and faster. Furthermore, a longbow is much more comfortable to use, as the long limbs are more ergonomic.

Lastly, a longbow can accommodate heavier arrows, making it easier for new archers to learn shooting ropes.

The Disadvantages of Using A Longbow

You should be aware of the demerits to come your way while using a longbow for hunting.

To start with, one disadvantage of using a longbow is the extra weight. Its limbs are stiff and weigh more than a recurve bow. The weight is not distributed evenly throughout the bow, so shooting takes more effort.

Longbows require a lot of practice to get used to, so beginners need to practice with various bows before they find one that fits their needs.

These bows can be difficult to use in various terrains since they require a lot of space to shoot arrows.

One of the fatal disadvantages is the lack of protection for the shooter. The shooter has no shield to protect them, and they must aim at their target without any cover from bullets flying at them.

When you're hunting with a longbow, your arm can get tired, and you might not be able to shoot as many arrows as you would like. You also may not feel confident using it for the defense of yourself or others.

Recurve Bow vs Longbow: Which One Is the Topper?

So, you're looking for the perfect bow, the one that's going to make all the difference in a sport – be it a competition or hunting. You've got two choices: a longbow or a recurve bow. Which one should you choose?

A longbow is the best used for target shooting and hunting because of its accuracy. And the recurve bows are great for hunting as well, but they also excel at target shooting events. One of the differences between longbows and recurve bows is that a recurve bow uses an arrow with a shorter length, which means it will have less chance of hitting your target. So, if you have to decide long bow vs recurve for hunting, longbow comes out as obvious winner.

There are other things to consider, such as the pull-force needed to use the bow, its weight and if you want a wooden or carbon fiber bow.

The recurve bow is shorter than the longbow, making it more difficult to use due to increased torque. A recurve bow is typically more expensive than a longbow because of its added detail work.

When it comes to speed, the recurve bow is the fastest. This is due to the science behind their design. The longbow stores less energy, which makes it more difficult to pull. This means the recurve's arrows will come out quicker than the longbows. Moreover, recurve bows are quieter than most longbows.

The recurve bow's limbs are shorter than those of the longbow. The longer limbs provide more power and smoother shots. The cross-section of the longbow is thicker and deeper than that of the recurve, which reduces the risk of torquing or sideways movement in the string, which can throw an arrow off course. 

Compare and Pick Your Best bows from the following table:

Bow Name



Bow Length

Draw Weight

1. Samick Sage

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow


62 inches

25 to 60 Lbs

2. SAS Pioneer

SAS Pioneer Longbow


68 inches

29 to 60 Lbs

3. Southwest Archery Spyder

Southwest Archery Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow


62 & 64 inches

20 to 60 Lbs

4. PSE Oryx

PSE ARCHERY Oryx Longbow


68 inches

30 to 55 Lbs

5. Toparchery Metal Bow

TOPARCHERY 56 Inch Metal Riser Recurve Bow


56 inches

18 to 50 Lbs

6. Martin Savannah

Martin Archery Savannah Stealth Longbow


68 inches

40 to 65 Lbs

Wrap Up

In conclusion, many people prefer the recurve bow because it is more comfortable. The longbow is not as accurate but can shoot farther. Both are great weapons for hunting, but hunters need to choose which one is right for their needs.

A hunter should choose between a recurve or longbow depending on how they want to hunt and what weapon they are comfortable using. The benefits of the longbow are that it has a longer range and can attack from an elevated position. On the other hand, the recurve bow is the perfect weapon when the fight is close up due to its quickness of firing.

We hope this article, an argumentative discussion on recurve bow vs longbow, has helped you learn about the differences between the recurve bow and the longbow.

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