Bow Types

This page should give you an overview of the different types of bow most commonly used at our club.

( Warrington sports club archery) 


The recurve, as used in the Olympics, is the most popular type of bow in the UK and the type we train novices to use. They are made up of three main parts: the “riser” (handle) and two “limbs” which slot or screw into the riser. The riser can be made of wood or metal and the limbs can be wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or ceramic — all offering different types of shot. Normally, a “sight” will be attached to the riser to help with aiming, and a “long rod” and “v-bars” may also be fitted to stabilise the bow  A recurve without a sight is known as a “barebow”. 



Compound Invented in the United States in 1967, the compound is the most technically advanced form of bow. Compound bows have much stiffer limbs than recurves so a levering system of cables and pulleys is necessary to make them bend. They are typically more powerful and accurate than recurves and, when fully drawn back, require less strength to hold than a recurve with a similar draw weight. Compound archers are also allowed to use some extra bits, like “telescopic sights”, “peep sights”, and “release aids”. Recurve archers will tell you that compound archers have gone to the Dark Side, but you didn’t hear that from us. Alan Shooting his Compound Bow                  


Longbow Used for hunting and as a weapon of war in the middle ages, longbow archery became popular as a sport in Victorian times. Longbows are roughly the same height as the archer and can be made of a single piece of wood (called a self bow) or, more commonly, several different types of wood glued together.                    

Being traditional bows, they do not have sights, arrow rests or any other magical bits and pieces used with recurves and compounds. The longbow is often referred to, especially by recurve and compound archers, as the “stick” or “broom”.