Recurve Bow Vs Compound Bow

Recurve Bow Vs Compound Bow

As two of the most common bows used in archery and hunting, recurve bows and compound bows are often misunderstood in how they differ. There’s no doubt that each of these are exceptional methods of shooting an arrow, however, they do have some slight differences which make them more ideal for one use than another

The difference between compound and recurve bow types can be determined by just one thing, as they offer something unique in areas like shape, precision, range, speed, and cost.


When deciding on a compound bow or recurve bow it’s up to the bowman to first determine what they’d prefer, how they intend on using it, and what other preferences they might have.

The Key Differences Between A Recurve And A Compound Bow

The recurve vs compound bow debate is a tough one to have, as each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Usually, it’s a matter of personal preference for the archer and what style they are most comfortable with, however, each has notable differences in these following areas.

Precision And Speed

If you want the most accurate of the bows then you can’t go past a compound bow, which is why it’s commonly used in hunting. Because it has longer strings than a recurve the archer is able to pull them back further and increase the speed.

The compound is also ideal as they’re less tension to hold which means you can wait until you get the perfect shot before pulling.


Compound bows can usually shoot longer distances than recurve, so if a longer range is important then this is your best option, however, this will depend on the model you choose.


The cheaper of the two is usually a recurve bow as their construction is a lot simpler, so if you’re looking for the most budget-friendly this is it. However, modern compound bows are now more affordable than ever while being made from quality materials, so it’s common to find some that cost around the same as a recurve.


Recurve bows are commonly made from wood and they have been this way for centuries. Newer models can also be found in fiberglass and carbon which adds to their flexibility and strength. A compound bow can have many different materials but most commonly are made of carbon and aluminum.


The most obvious difference between the two is their shape, and this can be easily identified. A recurve bow is simple with just the bow body and a string and looks exactly as bows have for many years throughout history. A compound bow is a little more technical and uses several strings, pulleys, parts, and limbs.

Which Bow Is Best For Competition And Hunting?

Depending on how you use your bow, whether, for target shooting or hunting, there’s one out there that’s more suited to your lifestyle. Some archers have a bow that’s used for all of their favorite activities including archery and bow hunting, whereas others prefer to use just one for each sport.

Leader Accessories Compound Bow Review

If you’re someone who prefers to use their bow and arrows to hunt, a compound bow is the smartest choice. This is due to the fact that the compound can reach further distances and with more power.

This power is essential in taking down game and ensuring that you don’t  leave an animal behind injured, and the release of tension that this bow uses means you’re less fatigued while hunting.

For those who prefer to use their bows for competition purposes, a recurve bow might be better suited. Although there are numerous compound bow events, a recurve bow usually makes a better choice for an archer. These bows rely on your precision and accuracy as an archer which is important to highlight in a competition.

Which Bow Is Best For Beginners?

Another point to consider in the compound bow vs recurve bow discussion is which is more suitable for beginner bowmen. When most people learn archery as a skill, it’s usually taught with a compound bow as they require less effort to shoot. However, there are still many budding archers who learn their skills on a recurve bow with great success.

It’s best to consider where you’ll likely be using your bow for the most part and then deciding on which would be more fitting. There are many archers out there who are proficient in shooting both a compound and recurve bow, so there’s nothing stopping you from learning both should you so choose.

However, try to keep your focus on learning and mastering just one at a time so that you can become proficient before you move on.

Choosing The Right Bow For You

Archery is such a versatile sport and learning how to use a bow and arrow correctly can give you access to a multitude of activities and hobbies. Therefore, it’s important to understand what each of these popular types of bow can offer and find which one would best suit you.

There’s no doubt that compound bows and recurve bows are the two most popular styles, and because they can be easily adapted to suit your specific needs it’s simple these days to build yourself a bow that meets all of your requirements.

Woman with a recurve bow.

Although the recurve bow is simpler, it also has its advantages, so it shouldn’t be overlooked completely.

Starting to build your skills with a compound bow would be a smart idea, as they can generally be more forgiving, especially for new learners. One of the great things about archery, though is that you’re constantly improving your skills and learning new techniques and methods, so one bow will never be enough.


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