Longbow or recurve?

For thousands of years the longbow design hasn’t changed much. It’s quite simply a single piece of wood with a string attached at both ends.

Longbows get their name from the sheer size of the design, which can often be as long as 5 feet.

It’s a forgiving bow that’s easier on its users compared to a recurve.

“I think a longbow is quieter,” Stephen Raggio said. “When you release the arrow, the string doesn’t touch the limb like with a recurve.”

The recurve bow was designed after the longbow out of the necessity to have something more compact. Its limbs are shorter and wider but thin, while curving toward the archer at the center and away at the tips.

Recurve bows are typically easier to draw and have a faster arrow flight than longbows.

“A recurve is smoother,” Raggio said. “It pulls easier with the same amount of weight, and it’s easier to shoot. Longbow limbs are harder to pull the same weight.

“You really have to try harder to shoot a longbow.”

To figure out which traditional bow is best, Acadian Woods Bows’ Tim Mullins said shooting both designs and finding what fits your personal preference is the best approach.

“There is no best,” Mullins said about the two types of traditional bows. “It’s personal preference — what you like. Using something that fits is more important than anything else.”

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Jonathan Olivier
About Jonathan Olivier 38 Articles
Jonathan Olivier is a devoted journalist with a focus on the environment and outdoor recreation. His passion for hunting, backpacking and wilderness conservation has taken him from the swamps of Louisiana to the mountains of Colorado.

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