Archery Bow Types: Choose The Right Bow For Your Style

archery bow types

When you reach out to archery lovers and inquire on their equipment preferences, you are likely to get as many different responses from every one of them. The options available with their combinations are endless. Should you buy a compound bow, shoot an Olympic recurve or use a traditional bow? There are also a ton of ways in which to shoot arrows - whether it’s traditional targets for starters or 3-D for professionals. You will also be surprised to find quite a number of archers who source their food by bow hunting.

And when you consider the accessories, you will even be more spoiled for choice. Would you like a mechanical release or would you prefer to release the bowstring with bare fingers? A lens equipment can as well be used to help you in aiming, or you can just keep it simple and use your eyes if they are good. All of it is still archery, and it is all good no matter the diversity. The answers to all the questions above are all good news and even better as long as you are following safety rules. There is no way you can choose a wrong type of archery, and you can change your focus any time you want.

As an archery enthusiast or beginner, there are two decisions that you need to make: what type of archery are you interested in and which bow will work the best for you. 

Types of archery

1. 3D Archery. People who love a lot outdoors are advised to check 3d archery. This type of archery is quite thrilling and lets you shoot 3-dimension foam animal targets set out far into the woods or other similar obstructions. You can train hitting the same immovable object at different vectors.

2. Traditional. Lovers of the movie "The Hunger Games" definitely love this and have a connection to the old and authentic type of archery. This type of archery removes the various accessories and gives the rare opportunity to the archer to connect with the bow and arrows.

3. Bow hunting. When you want to gather and harvest your food, and you are an experienced archer, you may consider bow hunting or even bow fishing.

4. Target archery. This is the most popular type of archery for beginners, and it involves shooting at stationary objects like the bullseye. With this type of archery, one can practice and learn in a variety of environments including indoors. It is also the only type of archery featured in at the Olympic Games.

5. Field archery. People who like hiking and being outdoors can easily fall in love with field archery. An archer is required to shoot at stationary objects set along a roving course through the woods. The objects may be positioned up a hill or down a valley, and therefore the shots are delivered in different inclinations.

If you have a specific goal in mind, you can settle on a particular bow to be used at all the types of archery being played. That brings us to a discussion of the types of bows used in archery.

Common archery bow types

There is no telling the exact age when bows and arrows were first used by man. The combination of these traditional weapons has however been long used by armies as a weapon and as a hunting tool by the common man. A bow is a weapon used to give propulsion to an arrow. The propulsive force comes from the elasticity of the bow. The advancement of technology led to the phasing out of bows and arrows as weapons as guns and cannon balls were preferred for their potency and effectiveness in war. Bows and arrows are however making an important comeback in sports competitions and for licensed hunting.

Technology has added to the development of bows spurring innovations. There are four commonly recognized types of bows and can cater for almost any skill or discipline. A lesson in archery would not be complete without learning these four types of bows.

The longbow

This is probably the most used bow during the Middle Ages. It has existed for ages and is one of the oldest types of bows. The design of this bow is simple and is constructed by one single piece of wood that is as tall as the user. Unfortunately, this type of bow is used for traditional and authentic sports as no accessories are available for it. It is, however, a darling for those who prefer traditional archery.

Check out our comprehensive guide on how to choose the best longbow for traditional archery and hunting here.

In picture: the SAS Pioneer Traditional Wood Long Bow, one of the highest rated long bows on the market.

best longbow

The Compound bow

This is one of the most modern designs of bows in use today and employs the use of levering systems to bend the limbs. Care is taken in the composite materials used to construct it so that it is rarely affected by extreme changes in temperature and humidity. Because of using cables and pulleys in its design and construction, it gives better distances, accuracy, and velocity.

Check out here our useful guide on how to choose the best compound bow for your archery needs and style. 

In picture: the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro Compound bow, one of the best compound bows for beginner and pro archers. 

The recurve bow

This bow type got its name from the fact that the tips of the bow curves away from the archer. It is a popular type of bow among sports people in the Olympic Games and other archery sports. It is recommended that as one begins lessons in archery that they use this particular type. The recurve bow can pack more energy when strung as compared to other types of bows because of its shape and design. A major advantage of this bow is that one can use shorter arrows with it.

In picture: the TigerShark ONE PIECE Recurve Bow. a premium recurve bow of extraordinary quality.

tigershark recurve bow review

The crossbow follows a simple design where a bow is mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles. Bolts were the typical projectiles that were shot using the crossbow, but today, the crossbow has received modifications that allow it to shoot arrows as well. This is a particularity versatile type of bow as it also comes in recurve and compound varieties. Archers can release arrows at far greater forces when using the crossbow and shoot longer times, which is particularly useful in hunting; however, this particular type of bow is clumsier and comes with added weight.

Check out here our comprehensive guide on how to choose the best crossbow for both target shooting and hunting.

In picture: the Centerpoint Sniper 370, one of the best crossbow packages for the money.

Centerpoint sniper. Best crossbow

What are the Best archery bow types for me?

The above bows are the most commonly used today in archery and bow hunting. Choosing a bow type depends largely on your archery/ hunting needs and level of experience. Most archers in training begin with recurve bow or longbows before proceeding to the compound bows after which they can become masters in shooting almost any other type of bow.

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