Recurve Vs Longbow

Recurve Vs Longbow

Traditional archers have their own instinct with cool leathered and feather fletched arrows. The bow is the thing that makes traditional archery unique. Recurve bow and longbow are the two main varieties in traditional archery.

Recurve bows are named for their tips that curve away from the archer. Longbows don’t have that curved tips but their whole limbs bend gracefully till the end.  Recurve bows supply both more power and speed than longbow. Here are a few essential factors to know about both Recurve and Longbows.

Both recurve and longbow have their own different traits. Learn the differences to know recurve bow or longbow is the best for you…

Recurve Bow Vs Longbow

Speed: If you prefer a fast shooting bow then you better choose recurve bow over the other. Recurve bow gets speed from its curved tips. Curved tips store more energy than straight limbs.

Easy Shooting: A longbow has a deeper and thicker cross section of the riser and the limbs. This makes it heavier and bigger which prevents sideways movement in the string while releasing. Sideways movement won’t let you aim your intended line.

Noise: Bow noise is generated from vibrations and bowstring. There’s nothing wrong with a bow being noisy or silent, they both perform the same way but few archers prefer quiet bow which let them concentrate better.

If you want a quiet bow then choose a longbow. You don’t even need a string silencer with it.  Recurve bow can reduce bow string twang with string silencers and proper tuning.

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Power: 70 lbs of draw is the maximum power range anyone would want to use. Recurve and longbow have the similar power range. The curved tips of the limbs of recurve bows provide more power than the normal D curve of the longbow.

If you have the two bows in similar draw weight and you shoot with these two from the same length, same condition and with the same arrow, you must find the recurve bow delivering a faster arrow.

Smoothness: If you pull back recurve and longbows, their draw weight gets increased. It is easy to pull a smooth drawing bow at the first but once nearing full draw, its draw weight increases rapidly.  On the contrary, a smooth drawing bow increases in weight evenly and takes less effort to pull. Curved bows draw more smoothly. But bow designs play an important role in how they draw. If longbows have a length that matches the archer’s draw length then these longbows can be amazingly smooth too. Taller archers feel longer bows are smoother than shorter ones.

Size: Recurves are shorter than a longbow. The curved limbs of the recurve bow stores more power so those limbs don’t need to be too long. A 60 lbs longbow can come in at 64” in length while a 60 lbs recurve can be as short as 58” long.

Portability: Most recurves nowadays are portable. You can remove the limbs and break them into three pieces to transport them. Though takedown longbows are available, you won’t find many of them on the market. Usually, longbows are self bows. These are made with a single piece or several pieces of laminated wood. So they can’t be taken into pieces.

Construction: There’s not much difference in manufacturing techniques between these two. Both are made of wood either with a single piece or several laminations of a few types of wood. No bows are winner in this.

Cost: Be it a longbow or a curved bow, both their cost depends on the bow quality. What types of woods are used, which brand manufactured it and the way it is constructed makes it cheap or expensive. Neither of the bows come in low price or high price.


Recurve bow is the winner in my perspective. A good archer will look at the performance, availability and portability and the recurve bow is the better one in these three. But if you want to try a longbow, shoot with some longbow models in an archery shop. If you find any of it satisfactory, go for it.

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