Main content starts here.

The different types of bows each have their advantages and disadvantages. What is best depends on your experience level and the type of activity, such as hunting or archery.


Before we tackle the question of which is better (recurve bow or compound bow), we should distinguish exactly how a recurve bow is a type of traditional bow.

Traditional bows: Traditional bow and arrows conjure images of heroes in tights traipsing through the woods or medieval warfare. However, under the category of 'traditional bows,' you will usually find incredible craftmanship and modern usefulness. Since they require upper body strength to pull back the bowstring, traditional bows are more physically straining. Traditional bows include longbows and recurve bows. Below are the differences.

Longbow: The longbow is differentiated from the recurve bow mainly by its shape. It has a straight grip and is most commonly known for its half-moon shape. While it has a greater depth than the recurve bow, it is thinner in width. Proper form is critical for using the longbow. The thicker depth makes it harder to shoot a straight arrow.

Recurve bows: Recurve bows shoot faster and more powerfully than a longbow because of the number-three shape. At the tips, the bow curves out toward the target. The draw length on a recurve bow is more important than on a longbow because recurve bows have a set drawback length. (This can be adjusted with bow maintenance tools.)

Recurve Bow
Compound Bow
Recurve Bow

Advantages of a recurve bow: A recurve bow is as close to a survivalist, self-reliant hunting bow you can get without entirely abandoning technology. They are relatives of the earliest bow hunting, dating back thousands of years. Mastering a traditional bow takes a great deal more practice, technique, and down-right artfulness than mechanized, compound bows. They also tend to be lighter and easier to carry, making them a serious advantage on a hunt.

Disadvantages of a recurve bow: Like all traditional bows, a recurve bow does not have the mechanisms (wheels and pullies) that compound bows or crossbows have. They rely entirely on your strength. Despite the lighter weight, they require more force to draw. The recurve bow also requires you to be closer to your target, which involves technique and talent that can only be gained by experience.

Here are the basic advantages and disadvantages of a recurve bow:


  • Lighter and easier to carry
  • Less mechanisms to upkeep
  • Traditional sportsmanship


  • Requires more upper body strength to draw and hold
  • Must be closer to your target
  • Requires more practice
Compound Bow

Advantages of a compound bow: You still have to practice and sight your bow in with a compound bow, but not as much as the more minimalist recurve bow. Because compound bows do not rely on physical strength as much, they allow more accuracy and power from a greater distance. That means related skills, like stealth and concealment, are less critical. A compound bow also allows more customization than a traditional bow and is made to accommodate a variety of tools, like scopes and stabilizers.

Disadvantages of a compound bow: The disadvantage for those looking for that back-to-the-roots experience is that it has a more modern feel. It also means that stringing, tuning, and maintaining your bow requires more gadgetry and skill. The more complex the machine, the more mechanically savvy you need to be. Unlike a traditional bow, the compound bow’s draw is set, so you have to size your bow correctly when buying. Compound bows are also considerably heavier and bigger than recurve bows.

Boiled down, here are the advantages and disadvantages of a compound bow:


  • More accuracy and power
  • Greater distance from target
  • More customization and add-ons
  • Requires less upper body strength


  • Heavier than a traditional bow
  • More maintenance
  • Draw length is more important

You do not actually have to choose between recurve bows and compound bows.

A compound bow is a fantastic way to get into archery and bowhunting. Because compound bowhunting can give the foundation and amp the interest in traditional bowhunting, you can get comfortable landing a true shot and improving your bowhunting skills on a compound bow. Additionally, the compound bow may hone your ambition to take on the longbow.

The kind of bow you'll need largely depends on your hunting experience level, style, and the game you are hunting. For the true sportsman and hunter, bowhunting can be seen as the highest indicator of skill. However, it is not well suited for some game. If you want to hunt big game, like a bear, a faster and more powerful bow, such as the Bear Archery Crossbow Kit, will be your best option. Survival can depend on the right equipment.

Make sure you have the Right Bow Fit and the Best Bow Releases for You.