A bow is a weapon that projects arrows powered by the elasticity of the bow itself. It has been used for thousands of years for both hunting and war. The reason for this was because the bow could cause damage from a distance, unlike melee weapons (swords, axes, etc…).
As time went by, with technological advancements, the bow was replaced with gunpowder weapons. Nevertheless, the bow made a comeback for sports competitions and hunting.
There are 4 types of bows in use nowadays, and no archery lessons are complete without explaining their differences.
The longbow is one of the oldest types of bows. It has existed for ages, and its usage was widespread in the middle ages. These are bows are made out of a single natural piece of wood, usually as tall as the user of the bow itself, but accessories are not available for it. This makes this type tough to master, and relatively weaker than its modern counterparts, but its advantages come from it being quicker to prepare for shooting, lighter, and having it shoot more quietly. If you’re a beginner interested in longbows, then I highly recommend you take archery lessons specifically oriented towards that, simply to avoid frustration and to learn correct technique.
Recurve bows saw prevalent use mostly in Asia starting in the second millennium B.C. The name of the bow is due to the fact that the bow tips curve away from the archer when the bow is unstrung. Nowadays, this type of bow is used by archers in the Olympic and many other competitive events, though it is more technologically advanced than in the older days. It also sees the most widespread used nowadays considering the big majority of beginners start their archery lessons with one. In addition, a recurve bow stores more energy than a straight-limbed bow such as the longbow, which possibly gives a greater amount of cast to the arrow. It will also permit for for a shorter bow, which is more useful in environments where a longer bow could prove cumbersome, such as forests or on a horse.
The Compound Bow
The compound bow is a modern bow that uses a levering system, usually of cables and pulleys, to bend the limbs. It is the most technologically advanced type of bow. It is barely affected by changes in temperature and humidity, and it gives better accuracy, velocity, and distance in comparison to the other types of bows. The compound bow was first introduced in the mid-to-late 60s and it is said to be the most dominant type of bow in use in North America. It is commonly popular among bowhunters since its technology enables the archer to hold the bow fully drawn to take more aim with the least amount of force.
The crossbow consists of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles. Typically, bolts were used as projectiles for crossbows, but recently, crossbows can now shoot the same types of arrows used with recurve bows or compound bows. The modern crossbow also comes in the recurve and compound varieties.
It provided several advantages compared to the bow, but also several disadvantages. In general, with a crossbow, archers could release a draw force that far exceeds what they could have handled with a bow. In addition, crossbows could be kept cocked and ready to shoot for longer times with very little effort, while also providing better accuracy. The disadvantages are due to the clumsiness of it, the greater weight, and the slower rate of fire.
These are the main types of bows that are used nowadays. Most people start out with the recurve bow and then either stick with it, or move on to the compound bow. Figure out what is of interest to you, and make sure any archery lessons you’re taking or any archery tips you’re reading would apply to the correct type of bow, and you’re set to better enjoy this great sport.