Longbow or Recurve Bow – Which one is Best and Why?

[Updated 1 February 2024] Longbows are the longest of bows, with a tip-to-tip length that is considerably greater than that of recurves. They’re more forgiving when fired since this shape makes them less likely to develop string torque. The increased string contact with the limbs generates greater noise from a recurve. They are, nevertheless, more powerful, shorter, simpler to manage, and have a wider range of sellers. The recurve bow is preferred by hunters, youngsters, and novices. It is also the only bow that may be used in the Olympics. We listed a detailed comparison between a longbow or recurve bow by which an archer can know about the capabilities of both types of bows.

The longbow is a well-known weapon and the bow of legend. A weapon that was used to excellent effect by Robin Hood and other English armies in the distant past.

If you’re having trouble selecting between or aren’t sure what the fundamental distinctions are between a longbow and a recurve, we’ll do our best to explain everything in this post. The advantages and disadvantages of each kind, strength, and size in terms of cooling! We’ll also describe what each kind of bow is used for by who, why they’re using it, and how they’re using it.

Let’s begin with a quick overview of both types of bow and the key characteristics, just in case you’ve never been exposed to them before.

This is a Longbow – Major feature – It’s long

This is a Longbow – Major feature – Its long

Longbows have straight limbs that do not curve backward from you, and they are the traditional single piece of wood design of bow that comes to mind when you think of a bow (at least I do). The curve is a D-shape when it’s drawn.

Longbows are the longest bow type because there is no such thing as ‘cleverness’ like cams or recurve to enhance limb strength. Making them strong requires them to be lengthy. A longbow can grow to be nearly as tall as an archer and may reach a height of 6 feet (1.8 m).

The name “longbow” is extremely self-explanatory. I mean, it’s long, right? What exactly would you call it?

Although modern longbows aren’t as tall as they were in the past, they still have the same form. More modern methods are employed to produce them, such as laminating them out of a composite of different woods and materials. They may also be used for various things, including detachable limbs, making them takedown bows. If you want to see some amazing modern recurves from various categories, check out our article on the best longbow on the market.

Recurve – Major feature – Limb Re-curve

Recurve – Major feature – Limb Re curve 1

The limbs of a recurve bow curve toward the archer for the main portion but then reverse and pull away from the archer at the ends. The curve that has been described is known as a recurve, and it can store and release more energy than a basic longbow of the same size. The most popular kind of bow for target shooting is a recurve bow. They are also the only bow that is used in archery at the Olympic level. If you’d like to learn more about recurve bows, check out the article we wrote on the top recurve bow.

Let’s go through the various characteristics and things to look for in a bow and compare the two across all categories.


Longbows in the same power range as recurves are available. The maximum amount of the draw that anybody wants and can manage for either is about 70 lbs. A recurve bow’s limb tips store more energy more effectively than a longbow’s plain D curve. Although we haven’t done it ourselves, a direct comparison between two bows of identical measured draw weight, shot to the same length, and using the identical arrows in the same conditions should reveal that the recurve shoots a faster arrow.

Most Powerful – Recurve

Aiming & Shooting

A longbow is a more forgiving type of bow than a recurve. The riser and limbs of a longbow are thicker and have a deeper cross-section than a recurve. It also makes it less likely to torque or move sideways on release, despite its larger and heavier size. When your bowstring moves sideways, the arrow is thrown off target. That’s what forgiveness is all about.

Easiest to Shoot Well – Longbow


This is a tough one to call. There is less connection between the string and the limbs on a longbow, so if you have a solid setup with an appropriately weighted arrow for the bow, all of the energy should go from the limbs to the string and be dispersed throughout the arrow. There’s no slapping against the limbs as with a recurve when the bow is at rest since the limb ends contact the string in numerous locations.

Quietest – Longbow (less string slap)


A longbow is often longer than a recurve. The limbs of the recurve bow store power more efficiently because of the recurve in their shape, so they don’t have to be as long. A modern 60-pound longbow may be as lengthy as 64 inches, whereas a 60-pound recurve can be reduced to just 58 inches in length.

Smallest – Recurve


The most popular recurve bows are takedown. This also implies you may disassemble the limbs and break them down into three parts, a riser, a top limb, and a bottom limb. While they are still available, you won’t discover very many takedown longbows on the market. There are, however, some takedown longbows available; most traditional longbows are self bows (or one-piece bows). Made of a single piece or several laminated pieces, there’s no way to disassemble it. The more common recurve bow is generally shorter and therefore lighter, making it more portable.

Most Portable – Recurve


While neither type of bow can be adjusted, you may change and improve the power of a takedown recurve bow’s limbs by buying different sorts of limbs. You can also perform this same procedure on a takedown longbow, but they are less frequent. There is no way to increase or decrease the power of longbows, which are often single-piece bows.

Most Versatile – Recurve


Both longbows and recurve bows are produced using the same manufacturing processes. Laminating a variety of woods is the most frequent. This one is a toss-up.

Best Construction Methods – Draw


The price of owning and operating either kind of bow is quite comparable since there’s little variation in the manufacture and construction of each. There was no clear winner yet!

Cheapest – Neither!

Maintenance and Repair

There is no winner in this department because both a recurve and a longbow may be re-strung by hand or by yourself with ease. A one-piece longbow is simply damaged, but a takedown bow may have sections replaced.

Easiest to Fix – Recurve


Both bows may be equipped with a riser that allows for the attachment of numerous attachments. You may mount a sight, arrow rest, quiver, stabilizer, string silencers, and limb dampeners on either type of bow. Check out our choices for the greatest goods of each kind to see which ones we recommend. There is no clear winner in this region.

Most Available Accessories – Draw

Availability & Choice

Longbows are readily available from fewer suppliers than recurve bows. Instead, you’ll find a wider range of recurve bows on the websites of the top manufacturers, including Bear Archery, PSE, and Hoyt. Recurve bows are widely used in Olympic, club, and tournament archery. Traditional bowmen are less popular than their recurve counterparts; therefore, the selection of bows available on the market is significantly reduced.

Best Choice and Availability – Recurve


The Bear Grizzly can make both the recurve and the longbow appear stunning. They are available in various hues and have beautiful smooth-finished wood grain exteriors. Both may be attractive and something you’d want to display on your wall.

Most Stylish – Draw!


Robin Hood shot a longbow, as opposed to Katniss Everdeen, who shoots a recurve (although there are shots of her with a longbow). Who is the cooler of the two?

Cool People Shoot – Either!

For hunting?

If you have to choose between the two for hunting, I will select the recurve. The decrease in size makes it a far more transportable weapon for hunting games in the woods. You’ve got a winner when you have greater performance and a better track record.

Hunters Favor – The Recurve

For youth?

The strength of a youth bow is typically less than that of an adult bow. In terms of type, the recurve is more modern and popular in competition than the longbow. If you’re buying your child’s first bow and are undecided between the two, I’d choose the recurve. It will be more portable, easier to use, and more compatible with their learning skills.

Give Your Youth A Recurve

For beginners?

If you want to try archery, most likely, you’ll be given a recurve bow. The increased availability, performance, and smaller size of the recurve mean you’ll have a wider range of options with better pricing.

Best for Beginners – The Recurve

For target shooting?

While there are different forms of target shooting, both recurve and longbow shooters may compete in the same events. Few categories are available to longbow shooters at higher levels than to recurve participants. You may advance from local to worldwide and Olympic competitions with a recurve.

The Target Shooting Elite Use – The Recurve

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