Types of Recurve Bows: Everything You Need to Know

It’s generally a great idea to experiment with different types of bows for archery before investing in one. This is because bows come in various styles for different functions based on archery skill levels. The best way to pick the right one for you is to practice with different bows.

If you’ve done this and find the recurve bow perfect, there are different types of recurve bows and you must choose a specific one. While all recurve bows have a similar design, each type performs differently. To avoid choosing the wrong type, familiarize yourself with each type available.

This post will help you do that! We’ll examine the different types of recurve bows and discuss the advantages of each one to help you choose. 

But before we dive into that, what is a recurve bow?

What’s a Recurve Bow?

recurve bow

A recurve bow is a conventional type of bow with tips that curve away from the archer. This curved design gives the bow a longer archery range and more power than a traditional bow. The archer holds all the draw weight whenever this bow is at full draw.

This type of bow with a 70-pound draw weight requires the archer to hold the entire 70 pounds back within a draw cycle until the arrow is released. Recurve bows shoot fast, smoothly, and quietly when the pistol-style grip is properly held.

There have been several modifications to accommodate technologically advanced components and composite materials of the recurve bow, like carbon foam in the limbs, carbon fiber, aluminum, and others. 

The material used depends on the manufacturer in creating different types.

Types of Recurve Bows

recurve bow

There are different types of recurve bows, each offering a unique advantage over the others.

Olympic Recurve Bows

The Olympic recurve is a modern recurve bow that athletes use in Olympic archery competitions. The bow can shoot across 70 meters during competitions or regular field archery

For archers to sustain this distance and accuracy in target shooting, the bow requires additional tools, including a clicker, sight, and arrow rest.

Olympic recurve bows contain three pieces: a riser and two limbs. This recurve bow is lightweight and can be quickly disassembled either for travel or to modify the draw weight.

Target Recurve Bows

The target recurve bow is a sophisticated version of the traditional bow. It consists of two pieces of wood and a metal riser to aid in aiming and shooting. 

Using a target recurve bow to hit a target is very challenging. That’s why the bow is required in many archery competitions.

This type of recurve bow offers excellent accuracy and power thanks to its two-piece construction properties. These properties give it more tension, which results in a destructive force that causes maximum damage after hitting a target. 

Archers can customize the bow to align with their shooting style.

Features of a Recurve Bow

archer playing

Both types of recurve bows are self-reliant hunting bows. However, they each use some level of technology to enhance efficiency. Recurve bows are shorter, lighter, and shoot faster than bows with unrecurved tips.


Recurve bows are generally shorter when drawn at full length than traditional bows. This is because shooting from horseback was practically impossible using a longbow. 

This size of a recurve bow offers a great advantage when used for a long distance.


It’s almost impossible for all energy from a draw weight to be transferred to an arrow to propel it in the air. In the same way that an electric bulb loses some energy through heat, bows also cannot transfer 100% energy.

However, considering the smart design of the recurve bow limbs, the bow has an accelerated tip that enhances arrow speed as it travels in the air. This implies more energy is transferred to the arrow using the bow than traditional longbows.


Since the bows are shorter, they are also lighter compared to other bows. The weight makes it easy for the shooter to shoot for an extended period. This is why the bow is most suitable for beginning archers.

Final Thoughts

Recurve bows are efficient and easy to wield. But to enhance your archery skills, you must select from the two types of recurve bows depending on your level in target practice. 

Since recurve bows are more suitable for beginners, ensure you choose the right one before investing. You can also get assistive devices to enhance its output.

Picture of Brad Burnie

Brad Burnie

Picture of Brad Burnie

Brad Burnie

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