Archery is more than just the simple shooting of targets. It is about power, endurance, and precision. If you want to practice archery effectively, a simple bow will no longer be enough. You will look around for high-quality sports equipment and no doubt stumble upon the question: Should it be one of the best recurve bows? What exactly makes such a bow, why it is called recurve, how to use it best, and what other archery equipment is necessary, we will tell you in one of our recurve bow reviews.
A recurve bow is a type of bow whose limbs point forward, away from the shooter. Because of this curvature, the bow is called recurve, i.e. curved or bent over. A term often used synonymously is the reflex bow.
Although many people associate this type of bow with today’s bow par excellence, it is already very old. Rock paintings from the 6th century before Christ already point to it. Compared to the longbow it has many advantages.
What are the pros and cons of a Recurve bow?
A lot of energy is stored in the two curved limbs, allowing the shooter to shoot more explosively than other bow types.
Furthermore, the hand shock is significantly reduced, since the bowstring is in contact with the recurve bow. With the longbow it oscillates freely; with the recurve bow the oscillation is partially absorbed. The recurve bow is usually made of Dacron, a material that withstands high stress.
The con is that the material of the recurve bow must be much more resilient than that of the long or flat bow. This is put to the test each time the vibrations are absorbed. Recurve bows therefore usually consist of a combination of different types of wood or material.
The best recurve bow for hunting is in principle suitable for everyone, whether beginner or advanced. However, there are a few things you should consider when buying a recurve bow. Which things these are and which bows are suitable for you, we also show you in our recurve bow test.
Recurve Bow Test – the Buying Guide
Product recommendation follows
Guide for the Best Recurve Bow
Which recurve bow is suitable for you depends on many different factors. In our Recurve Bow Guide, we help you to find the best bow for you.
First, you should ask yourself how much money you are willing to spend if you want to buy a recurve bow. Because financially speaking, there are big differences between different providers and variants. How much money you want to invest depends on the use of the bow and the accessories. If you want to shoot a few arrows from time to time, of course, a cheap variant is enough or you can settle for the best recurve bow for beginners If you don’t need a beginner recurve bow and you are planning to grow into a professional sport, you should invest a little more right away, otherwise, you risk disappointment. Of course, a beginner’s bow is only suitable for a pro to a limited extent; at some point, expectations start to rise.
A feature not to be underestimated when buying a recurve bow is the draw weight, which we will discuss later. Also, bow length plays a big role.
Whether it should be the modern version of the recurve bow with metal housing or rather the classic model, is rather a matter of taste. It is more about the grip and the feeling when shooting than about bow characteristics.
Take-Downs and One-Pieces
As for the recurve bow, there are one-piece and three-piece models. One-piece recurve bows are also called one-pieces, while three-piece bows are also known as take-downs. The latter can be disassembled by the shooter using a plug or screw system. This not only facilitates transport but also offers the shooter many other possibilities for mounting. If you travel a lot with your best takedown recurve bow, e.g. at tournaments in different cities, the take-down variant is more suitable.
This grows with the shooter by the way. It is variable in its size and tractive power and has the advantage that the owner does not have to buy a new bow when he advances from amateur to professional shooter. So in general you have many more possibilities with a take-down recurve arc than with a one-piece.
Choose the optimal Size for your Recurve bow
If you want to buy a bow, you should pay close attention to the length of the bow, otherwise, you will have little pleasure with your newly purchased sports equipment. To calculate the right bow size, you can take a look at our table below.
Standard sizes and recurve bow sets are also available, depending on the body length of the shooter.
Here the advantage of the recurve bow comes into play: The recurve arms can be purchased in a next higher size – so the bow can still be used.
The following reference values can serve as a guide:
bow size in cm
bow size in inch
120cm to 150cm
151cm to 165cm
157cm to 162cm
62 Inch to 64 Inch
160cm to 185cm
168cm to 173cm
66 Inch to 68 Inch
185cm and higher
from 70 Inch
What tractive force should my Recurve bow have?
The tensile weight of a bow depends on the force with which the shooter stretches the string and his technique. The former in turn depends on gender, age, and training status.
If you are a beginner, it is better to choose a recurve bow with less draw weight to improve after a while. If you are already advanced in training, you can take a bow with a higher draw weight. However, you need a good technique, otherwise, you might experience muscle tension after a while. So only use a bow with higher traction when you can really master it.
Here you can also orientate yourself by the following guidelines:
Special Bows for Children and Young People
With the recurve bow hunting for children and teenagers, special attention should be paid to size and traction, which vary according to age. There are bows for children from four to seven years of age, bows for children up to ten years, and beyond. Also whether it is a girl or a boy usually plays a role.
Since children are often quite rough with their sports equipment, a particularly robust bow is recommended. Also, parents should not invest too much in the first recurve bow for children, because you never know if the first enthusiasm for the new sport will last for a few weeks. A suitable recurve bow set for children or teenagers, which is available on the Internet, can be the best choice here.
When buying the arrows, make sure that they are also suitable for children. They should not be too long and unwieldy. A rubber blunt tip, which can be attached or glued to each arrow, protects against injuries when handling arrows – but not after firing! When you purchase a recurve bow set, the most suitable arrows are usually included.
And, of course, fingers and forearms, especially those of the smallest children, should also be protected. This requires additional equipment such as forearm protection for children and a finger tab or shooting glove for children.
Of course, it should be noted that children and young people should never carry a bow unattended, no matter which one it is! A bow is not only a piece of sports equipment, but also a weapon and the risk of injury is immense. You can assess your child best. A defiant four-year-old who is still very impulsive and likes to throw his toys around during a tantrum should never carry a bow and arrow!
Left or right-handed?
Left-handed people lead the bow differently than right-handed people. They grip it with their right hand. The arrow is held with the left hand. Instead of having to get used to it, left-handed people should buy a left-handed bow. This is the only way to ensure the highest precision in archery.
Have a look around the internet, because the selection of left-handed bows is also considerable.
The material of the Recurve bow
A bow always consists of different materials. One of them is wood. Many different types of wood are suitable for bow making, for example, elm, yew, and rattan. It is important that the recurve bow wood has a high degree of flexibility and stability. Especially traditional recurve bows that consist of only one piece – i.e. one-pieces – are usually made entirely of wood.
Take-downs, on the other hand, usually have other material compositions in addition to high-quality recurve bow wood, for example, carbon, aluminum or fiber composites such as laminate. These bows are also called composite bows. In earlier times, with the Huns and Mongolians, it was made of wood as well as the animal horn.
Various attachments are available for the recurve bow. In addition to different throwing arms and middle pieces, you can for example purchase sights that make aiming easier.
Arrow rests are also a way to make aiming easier. They can either be screwed or glued on.
Extra available stabilizers can change the center of gravity of the recurve bow so that it is easier for the shooter to guide. They ensure a more precise shot as they have a positive influence on both the moment of inertia and the bow vibrations.
Everything you need to know About Bow Accessories
Of course, archery only works if you have the appropriate arrows in addition to the bow. The rest of the archery equipment listed here is also not to be neglected. Of course, we give you in our Recurve Bow Guide an overview of the equipment you need.
Everything around the matching Arrows
There are different types of archery arrows available, from which you can choose the ones that suit you best. Note that not all of them are suitable for shooting with a recurve bow.
There is one main characteristic that should be common to all: they should be easy to find even in tall plants such as grass or bushes. Therefore, it is best to choose large feathery arrows that are very conspicuous.
Wooden arrows are generally ok for beginners. However, you won’t have much fun with them for long, as wood is a material that warps under different weather conditions. The arrow will quickly change its flight characteristics and will of course break faster than other types of arrows. Therefore we advise against wooden arrows, especially in combination with a recurve bow. With this kind of arrow in combination with the recurve bow, there is a considerable risk of injury!
Carbon is a very resistant variant. Of course, arrows made of carbon are more expensive, but also much more durable. They do not warp and do not break so quickly. Before each use, however, you should carefully bend the arrows and listen to whether they make any crunching noises. If this is the case, do not use the arrow anymore, because it could splinter and injure you when you shoot it.
Aluminum arrows must be handled very carefully, as they quickly warp if improperly handled and stored and then no longer fly properly. They are more suitable for advanced players.
Fiberglass arrows are made of glass fiber reinforced plastic. They are suitable for beginners, but break relatively easily and should be checked before each shot.
Aluminum Carbon Arrows are the highest quality, but also the most expensive arrows available. Usually, they are more suitable for experienced shooters. If you want to afford such arrows, you can look online for a good price-performance ratio.
If you are unsure which arrows go with your bow, you should stick to the so-called spine value. This indicates how flexible and thus stable an arrow is.
With every shot, the arrow stabilizes during flight, which causes a vibration of the material and thus certain wear and tear. The higher the spine value, the stiffer the arrow. This should be adjusted to the tractive force of the bow to ensure high precision and durability of the material. You can easily do the calculation with our spine value calculator.
As mentioned above, these should under no circumstances be waived. A tendon striking the forearm can cause injury and the pain can cause the shooter to fire unclean shots. Arrows that have an undiscovered material defect can also cause great damage. The consequences are sometimes severe injuries, in the less severe case large bruises. Concentration suffers greatly if the athlete focuses mentally primarily on pain and fear of the next shot.
Therefore all-round protection of the forearm is mandatory for beginners. Advanced users can do without parts of it. The all-round protection restricts the freedom of movement, but not so much that it is not advisable. It protects not only the forearm but also the upper arm. Short arm protection is limited to the forearm and gives the shooter all freedom, but should only be used by advanced and professional shooters.
The arm protection is also available in different versions and traditional archery still swears by leather. The cheaper representatives are those made of plastic, which is mainly used in Olympic archery. As a beginner, you should try both variants and choose the one that suits you best. Especially online dealers offer an almost unlimited choice.
Finger tabs or even protective gloves protect the fingers from injury when archery. The more often one lets an arrow off the string, the higher the strain on the fingers. These become rough and sore over time. This fact should not be underestimated, because nobody wants to get bloody fingertips from archery – so sport is no fun.
Whether you use protective gloves or finger tabs for archery is as much a matter of taste as to whether the forearm protection should be made of leather or plastic.
A shooting glove protects the ring finger, middle finger, and index finger and has a reinforcement in the fingertip area. There the load by the bowstring is the highest. However, precision often suffers from a shooting glove, especially if it is made of rather thick material.
Finger tabs are also called finger separators. They are usually made of high-quality leather and are pulled over the middle finger. A finger tab also protects the ring, middle, and index fingers. As a beginner, you should have an advanced user show you how to use it, as it is not as intuitive as with a glove. The great advantage of a finger tab is the high precision it provides despite the protection it offers when archery.
To buy the right quiver for archery is not so easy. But the fact is that especially beginners should make this investment. Firstly, a quiver is a perfect way to transport arrows. Secondly, a quiver is not to be underestimated help in archery itself. Imagine that you have to turn around with every arrow and pick it up from the table or even the ground. Pretty annoying, isn’t it? It is much better to reach into your quiver attached to your belt or back without much fuss and immediately hold the arrow in your hand.
The choice of the right quiver is more difficult than that of the right forearm protection or finger tab because it depends on the matching bow. Of course, a quiver must be the right size to accommodate the arrows. However, it must not be so bulky that you have to fiddle around with the quiver and bow before each shot. So you can’t just buy any quiver, otherwise, your quiver and bow might get in the way of each other during the sport.
The right quiver has several decisive characteristics:
The transport of the arrows is simple and safe
The arrows are quick and easy to remove
The quiver is comfortable for the shooter and does not restrict his movements
It can hold the appropriate number of arrows for the shooter
Whether you prefer a back quiver or a belt quiver is primarily a matter of taste. The latter is worn on the hip on the pull hand side and often has several small pockets for accessories. It is often easier to handle than a back quiver. However, rattling noises can occur when running, which can strain the nerves a little bit with time. Here the back quiver is definitely at an advantage. It protects the arrows better against wind and weather than the side quiver but has the disadvantage that the arrows have to be felt when gripping them.
A special form of the quiver is the Glenn St. Charles quiver. This is a back quiver, but it is much easier to use than the conventional model. It protects the arrows perfectly from the weather and they are easy to take out and put away again.
By the way, the vast majority of cooks carry at least six arrows.
Breast Protector for Women
Whether breast protection is only recommended for women is often the subject of heated debate. The fact is that all shooters who work with a recurve, longbow, or blank bow will benefit. Because the moment the tendon of the bow loosens, the so-called tendon parallax is created. This means that the tendon oscillates to both sides, even if this is hardly perceptible to the naked eye. By using a chest protector when archery, the deflection of the tendon is reduced because the material is smoother than normal clothing.
Nevertheless, a breast protector is not mandatory for men, but the situation is different for women.
Since women usually have completely different physical characteristics than men, the tendon is often strongly distracted in them. This often happens even though the shooter does not notice it. This results in shots that miss the target by far. The shooter is at a loss – what have I done wrong? The answer to this question is nothing, except to do without the chest protector.
The financial aspect hardly matters when it comes to dispensing with the chest protector in archery because this accessory is very cheap to buy.
Frequently asked questions when Buying a Bow and Guide
What is the difference between Compound and Recurve bows?
Recurve bows exist, in contrast to the Compound bow, at least partly from organic materials
Compound bows are considered the modern version of the bow
Compound bows take some of the tractive force from their shooter through cams, so that these bows are easier to tension
This is one of the reasons why Compound bows are considered the more precise variant
In maintenance and fine-tuning, however, recurve bows are much easier to handle than Compound bows
How should I care for my Bow?
The recurve bow should never be subject to large temperature fluctuations, otherwise, the material could warp
This is particularly important if the bow is made of different materials, as these also react differently to heat and cold
Before storage, you should always relax your bow to reduce the impact on the material
Protect your bow from dust and dirt by storing it in a bow case
Check the recurve bow before each use; make sure that each screw is properly seated, otherwise, there is a risk of injury
You should wax the tendon once in a while to keep it supple
If you want to treat the limbs and middle section, do this with car polish – but limit yourself to non-organic material. Wood should not be treated with car polish!
What different types of Bows are there?
Recurve Bow, either Olympic Recurve or traditional
What is 3D Archery?
Real hunting fever arises in this sport because you do not shoot at a target, but at three-dimensional targets – mostly animal figures
The advantage is that you leave your comfort zone, which may have become a little boring, and can feel like a real hunter for once, without blood flowing
Of course, this is much more difficult than aiming at a target, because you are moving in the wild and you also aim from trees or high seats
3D archery can also be combined well with working in a team
The disadvantage here is the often time-consuming collection of the arrows; in addition, there must of course be an extensive course available