Recurve Bow vs Longbow | Things to Know

Pursuing your career in archery and trying to figure out which bow is best for you? Don’t worry; it is one of the most common forms of confusion among the archers when it comes to deciding which one of the bows they are going to choose. Most of the time, you may experience many professional arches involved in recurve bow vs longbow discussion.

No need to worry if you are a beginner, as we will discuss everything in detail in this article.

Recurve Bow vs Longbow

Key Differences Between Recurve Bow And Longbow

Every bow has its pros and cons. As a beginner, you will have one of these to start your career, regardless of which type of bow you end up shooting. The main thing to consider before buying anything is the purpose you will use it.

There are too many types of archery, like shooting and hunting, so you need to figure out which direction you are heading. Before moving forward, we want to mention here that recurve bows are more powerful than longbows because they store more energy in their tips. 

Suppose we take a couple of shots from a recurve and a longbow with the same draw weight and arrow. Then you’ll see the arrows fired from a recurve bow would be faster. But this is not the end of everything. Too many factors are involved in determining how efficient a bow can be. This could either be a recurve or a longbow.


Longbows are commonly used for backyard shooting or in traditional archery applications. You can also use them in the field, target, or 3D archery. They are used for bowhunting, but you need to pay closer attention to the bow’s draw weight. These are usually more forgiving and easy to use for beginners. 

1- Design

Longbows are made from one long. D-shaped piece of wood. Unfortunately, as it’s the longest bow on the market, the energy level in its limbs is less than that of recurve bow. Indirectly, it states the shots you make from a longbow will have less power.


Longbows are less powerful than recurve bows, and they are expected to be slower as well. 

3- Range

The range is dependent on the power of a bow. Longbows are less powerful than recurve bows and cover less range than recurves. 

4- Easy to draw or not?

As the limb tips of the longbow are thicker and longer, it requires more energy from the archer to move them. In short, drawing the string of a longbow is more challenging and smoother than a recurve bow.

5- Advantages

  • They are larger, hence providing more forgiving.
  • Easy to use by beginners, not much prior knowledge demanded
  • Fewer chances of risk for archer’s fingers and joints.
  • Make less noise than recurve bows.

6- Disadvantages

  • Less powerful than recurve bows
  • Not good for bowhunting as it has less draw weight
  • Because of their size, they are harder to transport
  • Less Speed
  • Requires more energy to pull the string

Recurve Bow

These are the most versatile types of bows, and we use them in target, 3D, Field archery, and bowhunting. They offer more power, speed, and optimal accuracy. Moreover, it requires a bit of knowledge to start with, but by practicing every day, you will surely master it. 

Recurve bows are more powerful and generate more speed. The level of accuracy in these kinds of bows is next level. Takedown recurve bows allow you to shoot at a lighter draw weight initially, and then you can increase the draw weight by simply upgrading your limbs instead of buying a whole new bow. 

1- Design

The recurved tips are one design element that took recurve bow to the top of the competition because it stores more energy on tips. The limb tips of the recurve bow curve away from the archer, making a 3 shape. This shape gives an advantage when it comes to generating power. Allowing tips to store more energy, providing smooth and powerful shots.

2- Speed

As you know, the tips of recurve bow limbs hold more energy and transfer that energy to the arrow. Which clearly states that the arrow will be more powerful and travels faster too. 

3- Range

Bow range is associated with the bow’s power, so undoubtedly, recurve bow is a clear winner.

4- Easy to draw or not?

You have noticed now that the limb tips of a recurve bow are quite small. Nonetheless, it’s a big advantage in itself. When an archer pulls a recurve bow string, the limbs move a little bit. 

Remember, the bigger the bow’s limbs, the more energy it requires to move them; unfortunately, less energy is transferred to arrows. In the recurve bow case, archers do not need to put a lot of energy into moving the limbs, so there are more chances of transferring energy into the shot. 

In short, a recurve bow provides more efficiency in utilizing energy.  

5- Advantages

  • Offering more power and speed
  • More accurate and precise than a longbow
  • The latest takedown recurve bows allow you to shoot at lighter draw weight, and you can gradually increase it by upgrading to new limbs.
  • Best for bowhunting if the draw weight is rightly tuned.
  • Easy to store and transport.
  • Because of their versatility, they are used in different types of archery.

6- Disadvantages

  • Limb tips are quite thin, so the chances of twisting are higher.
  • Any slight mistake in shooting, tips start to move uncontrollably, and your allow will fly in the wrong direction. 
  • Requires a little experience to handle
  • Noisier.


Which one is Better for Archers?

There are too many reasons to make your choice now, but let us highlight some key features to notice before buying.


If you are looking for a portable bow, a recurve bow is your best and safest option. Recurves are smaller than longbows. Recurve bows are made in different parts, giving you an edge to take them apart and place them in a box. 

Moreover, longbows are made with only one long piece of wood. Hence they are not portable. Longbows that you can take apart are rare.


When hunting animals, it depends on the archer’s choice. If he wants a bow with less now, a clear choice is a longbow. On the contrary, if power and speed are required, then a recurve bow is the clear winner.


Typically, when running on a budget, we recommend recurve bows, not the reason that they are cheaper, as both long and recurve bows are selling at different prices. 

The main difference, which is a game changer, is, in recurves, if any part breaks, it can be replaced, but in longbows, if it breaks, you need to buy a whole new bow. So, a recurve bow is the best option in the long run. 


If you are looking for accuracy, both bows will give you good results. After all, accuracy is dependent on the competence of the archers too. The limb tips of the recurve bow can twist easily, making it less accurate. 

The newer recurve bows are built from fiberglass for more accurate shooting and stability. Longbows are not very powerful, but they are quite accurate.


Is a longbow better than a recurve bow?

Longbows are more forgiving than recurve bows. The cross-section of the riser and the limbs of the longbow is thicker and deeper. They make less noise and are more accurate than recurves. But they are, unfortunately, less powerful than recurve bows. 

Which one is better for beginners: a long or recurve bow?

For every new archery, they are looking for a bow that is easy to operate and has good accuracy. At this point, you need to compromise on power and pick a longbow directly, as it is easy to handle and operate. But if you have a good budget, you can go with the latest and modern recurve bows, as they also offer good accuracy and power.

What are the major disadvantages of the recurve bow?

Following are the few common disadvantages of a recurve bow:
It requires extra upper body strength to draw and hold it
You must need to stay closer to your target
Need some practice and prior knowledge to operate it.

Which one is the hardest bow to shoot?

As longbows lack technical advancements, they are the hardest bow to shoot. We know that a larger bow has a larger draw weight. It requires a lot of energy to pull the bow string. Eventually, double the energy required to transfer it onto the arrow.

Why are longbows more forgiving?

Usually, bows with longer heights are supposed to be more forgiving. Because the arrow is coming off the string sooner than later, the shot has less chance of being influenced by the shooter.
We have covered everything someone needs to know about in recurve bow vs longbow comparison. This article has highlighted all the key factors you should check before buying any of them.
If you still have questions boggling in your mind, then write them in the comment box. See you there!

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