Types Of Bows

Bows are tools that have been used for centuries in hunting and warfare though their latter use is long gone. With hunting and archery still popular, many types of bows are available to hunters and archers.

So what type of bow is best for you? Well, it is not an easy question. There are a wide variety of bow types available, each one of them has its own features that better suit specific applications.

First, you should know what you want to use it for. Are you going to use it for hunting or target shooting? Also, the bow must work well with your experience, whether you are just getting into the world of archery or as an experienced archer.

Moreover, the bow has to suit your physical capabilities and meet your shooting style preference. Make sure you can carry this bow without getting tired in a short time.

In this article, we will mention the different types of bows, so you get to know which type will make you the most of your archery experience.

Types Of Bows

Modern Types Of Bows

Recurve Bow

These bows are a great choice for beginners or those who want to get their first bow because it’s the simplest of all bow types. Due to the ergonomic curved design, it is more efficient than the traditional bow and allows users to draw their weapons easier. It also allows you higher draw weights.

The history of recurve bows is one that stretches back thousands of years. The first use for the recurve bow was by Egyptians, who were then followed by Persians.

Besides Its ease of use, it is also lighter than other archery bow types making it popular among archers, beginners and experts alike. The recurve bow is a great choice if you want to learn or to teach your child how to use a bow, as well as any target practice or hunting that requires carrying the bow and walking for long distances.

The recurve bow was first created in ancient times, but its use continues through the modern day. The design has been improved, and modern materials such as carbon fibre and fibreglass are integrated into it. Now whether you are a bowhunter, competitive archer, and hobbyist, there are popular choices that suit you.

Takedown Recurve Bow

This is a modern version of the traditional recurve bow that can be easily taken down by removing the limbs from the riser. This makes it easy for storage or transportation, which are two big perks.

This modern recurve bow comes with a more versatile design and gives you the chance to easily upgrade it later if needed. Plus, it is not manufactured from one piece of material, so ideal materials can be used in various places, such as fibreglass for the limbs and wood for the riser.

Main Parts of a Recurve Bow

Recurve bows come with two important parts, which are the riser and limbs. The riser is the part that includes the grip; it is where you hold your bow during shooting. It is present at the bow center.

The riser can also come with sights in order to aim correctly and a shelf where the arrow can rest on it. On the other hand, the limbs are two pieces that extend from the riser and house the bowstring. Modern recurve bows often come with threads that allow you to install accessories such as sights, stabilizers and quivers.


Crossbows are available in various sizes, and you can use them for hunting or target shooting. They had an orientation horizontally, and they held much like a firearm. In order to draw the string back, you would use two hands and then let off to fire the arrow.

Crossbows can have much higher draw weights and produce even greater amounts of power as you do not have to hold the bowstring back yourself.

They are easy to use, accurate, and require less practice. The bow comes with a simpler mechanism (the mechanism that launches the arrow) compared with traditional bows making them an excellent choice for beginners or those who want to hit the treestand without having to hone their aim on the range first.

Parts Of A Crossbow

The crossbow construction comes with a bowstring and limbs just like the vertical bows. Actually, you can even find compound crossbows that have cam systems similar to those on vertical compound bows.

But the risers of the crossbows differ from those of the vertical ones. The crossbow riser consists of two parts which are attached to a rail. This rail is similar to the gun barrel, that is why it is sometimes called a barrel. There is often a flight groove on the top of the rail where the bolt can sit.

Most modern hunting crossbows may come with many additional parts; for instance, some bows may come with a cocking stirrup at the bow’s very front. When you put your foot in this area, it will give you leverage as you pull up the bowstring to cock it.

Compound Bow

This type uses a system of pulleys which are also called cams. This makes it easy to draw the bowstring while still producing more force than recurve bows or other traditional bows.

With the pulleys, you can draw the bow back further. This will make it easier to shoot arrows farther and hit targets with greater accuracy. The modern compound bows come with a more advanced design that uses cams and pulleys to increase the draw weight. It is a great bow for hunting small game animals and target shooting.

These bows are a popular choice for bowhunters due to their increased speed and power. For those who are less archery enthusiasts but rather they are hunters who just want to take advantage of longer bow hunting seasons, the compound bow may be their popular choice.

Parts Of A Compound Bow

Like other bows, compound bows also consist of a riser, two limbs and string. But the compound bow construction includes many parts that other vertical bows don’t have. These extra components make the construction more complicated.

The cam system (pulley systems) is the most important part. All types of compound bows come with at least one cam. Compound bows come in different styles and designs. Some of them feature cams on both limbs, while in other types, there is only one cam and a timing wheel on the other limb.

Besides the grip and arrow rest, there are many accessories that usually come with a compound bow. These may involve string, bow sights, limb dampeners, quivers and stabilizers.

Types Of Traditional Archery Bows


Longbows are usually manufactured from one piece of material and have a big D shape. It is probably the simplest type of bow. The traditional longbow is significantly taller than it is wide. They are usually longer than the archer that is using them. 

Longbows are typically made from wood, but other materials such as carbon fibre or bamboo can also be used to make them as well. It has a longer draw length, meaning that the bowstring can be pulled back further before the arrow is released. This gives the arrow more power to travel faster and farther. It is a great choice for both hunting and target shooting.


Flatbows can be long or short; their design includes a central grip that is narrow. Flatbows are almost always manufactured from one piece of wood. When drawn, they look like longbows, but once relaxed instead of D-shaped, they are more or less flat.

Since the Flatbow is made from one stave, it is most popular with amateur bowyers. Due to its simple design, it is a great way to learn how to make a bow; then, they can move to other bows with more complicated designs.


That is right; those bows are short. They are smaller bows that can either have a D shape similar to longbows or recurve bows. The shortbows’ smaller size indicates that they have less power. That is why it is not the best choice if you want a hunting bow. Besides, with this bow, you will use your hand as an arrow rest so you can use it whether your left hand or the right hand is the dominant one; there is no difference.

Reflex Bow

When strung, the end of each limb will curve back away from the archer, making it very similar to recurve bows. But, the recurve of the Reflex bows has more strength; that is something you can notice when seeing an unstrung Reflex bow.

When you unstring them, their limbs will curve completely away from the archer, forming what’s called a C shape. This will provide increased tension that makes for greater power in your shot.

What Are The Various Types Of Bows Made Of?

Wooden Bows

Wood has always been the traditional material for bow making. It’s flexible and has the ability to store a high amount of energy without breaking, allowing it to snap back and shoot the arrow with power. Some examples of those woods are Maple, Ash, Yew, Elm, Hickory, and Bamboo.

Fibreglass Bows

With advanced technology, new materials are used in bow making. One of them is the fibreglass material which not only features the same springy properties as wood but also is a lot cheaper with lighter weight.

Composite Bows

The composite bow was created to be a more efficient tool for archers. It is a traditional design with a lot of materials laminated together, usually a wooden core, sinew and animal horn. The sinew is on the outer side of a wooden core, while the horn will be on the belly of the bow, the portion that faces the archers.

Almost all composite bows come with a recurve design. Considering they are made from various materials with different strengths, those bows can provide more power while being small in size. For that reason, they were popular for mounted archery; warriors were shooting from horseback.

Laminate Bows

A laminate bow is an archery bow in which various materials are added together. They can consist of many various wood pieces, potentially even the same wood type. Or multiple various materials can be used; for instance, in the case of a composite bow, the materials used will be horn, wood, and sinew. Some modern laminate bows are even made from materials such as carbon fibre and fibreglass.

When you use multiple materials for bow making, it means taking advantage of the various strengths of every material used. For instance, if you want a stiffer belly with a more flexible back. There is no doubt that using multiple materials to make a bow is much harder than making those designed from a single piece of material.