What Is The Difference Between A Recurve And A Longbow?

A bows ability to store energy is based on it’s unstrung profile. Because it’s tips have to move farther to reachbrace height, a recurve bow will store more energy than a longbow of the same draw weight. This means better arrow speed out of a recurve than a longbow, pound for pound. While faster, flatter-arrow flight is a plus, it’s easy to overemphasize speed. Let’s face it- at the range most deer are shot, twenty yards or so, there is little difference between a “fast” recurve and a “slow” longbow.

The pistol grip handle of a recurve will feel familiar to most compound shooters, making the transition easier. The slender,straight longbow handle requires the archer to develop consistent, torque-free hand placement. This can feel awkward at first, but soon becomes second nature. Most recurve bows are built with the sight window cut close to the bow’s center, making them more tolerant of different arrow spines. Often a compound shooter will find that their current arrows will work well out of a recurve bow,an added plus considering the cost of aluminum. Coming up with a good arrow match for a longbow may take more effort, but once done,they too are capable of dart-like arrow flight.

Here’s where we get off the beaten path…

Which one appeals to you?
While some folks go for the sleek, racy lines of the recurve, others are taken by the longbow’s graceful, classic simplicity. Further adding to the confusion are the many “hybrid”type bows now on the market. There are some longbows with recurveªtype handles, and several recurve bows with small longbow style handles, reminiscent of the early 1950’s recurves.

So, as always, it boils down to a personal choice. Each bow has it’s merits, and only hands-on experience can tell you what “feels”right to you.

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