Difference Between Recurve and Compound Bow

Some archers like to switch on another type as they feel bored with whatever they are using. If they suffer any physical issues, they think they may select another discipline. Every bow has its characteristics. But which one is perfect depends on your type of hunting or archery or your experience level.

The Difference Between the Recurve and Compound Bow

Many archers feeling so wonderful to see the differences between the compound and the recurve bow. In this article, I like to discuss the details regarding the compound bow and the recurve bow with you. In my experience, I can see that some archer starts with the recurve bow but switch back on the compound bow.

Though there are many similarities between the compound and the recurve bow, I can also see some differences. Here I will show a comparison table where you can see the differences at a glance. And later, I will discuss it again.


Recurve Bow

Compound Bow

Strain at full draw High Low
Power Less powerful Most powerful
Aiming Comparatively tough to aim Easy to aim
Release mechanism Tab Release aid
Sight No zoom Allow here Zoom allow here
Size Big in size Smallest
Sight Picture Looking through the string Peep sight
Average scores Tend to be 7+ per arrow Tend to be 9 + per arrow
Weight Lightest weight Comparatively heavyweight
Portability It is the most portable Less portable
Archer paradox Yes No
Draw Weight No Yes
Adjustability Less adjustable More adjustable and versatile
Cost Cheap Costly than the recurve one
Maintenance Easy to fix Complicated to fix
For the beginner Favorite for the beginner Favorite for the hunter
  • Strain at the Full Draw:

With the recurve bow, the bow is at the heaviest point when you are at the top draw. It will be a burden for your back, shoulder, and arm muscles. On the other hand, depending on the bow, the compound bow has a left-off between 60% and 90%. Like- a 70% left off with the 50-pound compound bow have almost 15 pounds at full draw. The compound archer’s muscles are not strained during the full draw, so they need enough time for aiming.

  • Power:

Both of them are coming in around 70 lbs of draw weight. 70 lbs power is enough to the power that anyone wants to accomplish with the bow. That’s why the retailer and the manufacturer don’t want to store more than 70 lbs bow. Though using the same length and arrow, the 70lbs compound bow can perform better than the 70 lbs recurve drawn. The string and the cams are more efficient and powerful than the compound bow.

  • Aiming:

During aiming, the 70 lbs compound bow can hold up to 14 lbs of force back. On the other hand, the 70 lbs the recurve bow draws to the optimum length, and that’s why the 70 lbs of the force extended by the limb need to aim and hold with 70 lbs of force against you. So it’s easy to aim the compound bow.

  • Release Mechanisms:

One of the most significant differences between the compound and the recurve bow is the release mechanism. The compound archer can use a release aid, and on the other hand, the recurve archer cannot use the release aid with the use of a finger glove or tab; it’s forbidden to shot the compound bow. You don’t need to multiply the string with the finger because the release aid makes the release process relatively more comfortable. A clean release is a vital part of the recurve bow during the overall techniques. The release aid is less strenuous for your finger as well. If you don’t hold the bow with your finger, you don’t need to have a more strong finger to pull it back. It will be a wonderful advantage for the older archer.

  • Sight:

For the part of the setting, the compound and recurve archer use this sight. Due to the micro-adjustment, sights are always very sophisticated. For a more precise shoot, the compound archer can use a magnifying sight.

  • Size:

The same power compound bow is generally smaller than the recurve bow. The 70lbs compound bow’s measurement is 30 to 32″ from the limb tip to the limb tip. On the other hand, the same power recurve bow will be 60 to 64″ from the tip to tip.   So the size of the recurve bow is almost double the size of the compound bow.

  • Sight Picture:

The Compound archers always use the peep sight where the recurve archer looks along the string. A compound archer can line up the peep sight straight and have a more precise sight picture. For this, you can aim correctly with this compound bow. The peep sight is not using in the recurve class.

  • Average Scores:

You can get the average scores depending on the level of the participating archers. It is generally said that the straight compound archers get the higher scores comparing with the recurve archers. If you don’t tune for perfection, the compound bow using an archer can aim easily. So you can shoot quickly and get higher scores with the compound bow, comparing with the recurve bow. But in the long run, the recurve archer have tended to catch the compound archers. But the bow needs to be appropriately managed with the right form. The scores will be significantly closer if the professional archer performs here.

  • Weight:

Most of the compound bow has variable draw weight. To get the bow at a full draw, you can change the amount of strength. It means that you can start from the lower draw weight, and over time you can increase it. You can change your draw weight easily and tune it as you need.

With the tiller, you can also change the draw weight of the recurve bow. Usually, the tiller is designing to tune the bow without changing the overall draw weight. Depending on the 5% of your limbs, you can vary the draw weight with the tiller. Like- the draw weight of the compound bow is between 30 to 70 pounds. Most of the compound’s bow weight is almost double the draw weight.

  • Portability:

Nowadays, most of the recurve bow is a takedown recurve bow. You can easily remove them and break them into three pieces as- riser, bottom, and top limb to transport them easily. But in the case of the compound bow, you cannot do it. The broken parts of the recurve bow will take less space, but you cannot shot with that broken parts.

Archer Paradox: The physical process that the recurve bow always deals with is known as the archer paradox. Here the point of the arrow is heavier than the arrow itself during firing. Here the arrows continue on a straight line and travel around the bow. If the archer paradox is not present, the bow will shoot too far from you. Due to the archer paradox, this game is more challenging. It would be great for you to have the right arrow shaft for this game, the perfect point, and the perfect bow. So many factors you need to set for tuning the archery paradox.

It would be best to shoot the right arrow in the compound bow through the handle, so the archery paradox doesn’t need to use here. Here the riser makes the bow easy to tune.

  • Draw Weight:

The compound bow has a different type of draw weight; you can change the strength according to your shooting needs. You need to start with the lower draw and then increase it over time. By changing the draw weight, it will be easy to tune your bow to your arrow.

You can change the draw weight easily of the recurve bow with the trailer for the recurve bow. The trailer is not using for changing the overall draw weight; it just uses to tune the bow. Depending on your limbs, you can vary the draw weight with the tiller. Most of the compound bow gives you the option to make the draw weight almost double.

  • Adjustability:

To increase and decrease the bow’s power, you can buy different types of limbs for a recurve bow. One set of limbs of the assemble bow is going to give you one range of power. With less force, you can draw the arrow correctly. It is not adjustable, so it causes lots of destructive forms.

On the other hand, some of the compound bows have their draw weight or power adjusted using the tool to tweak the cam’s position. Some bow is used to adjust the weight from 5lbs to 70 lbs and from 13 inches to 31 inches. They don’t use the bow press at all.

  • Cost:

However, the excellent mid-range recurve bow will cost almost half of a renowned compound bow. You can get more construction and moving parts in a compound bow. Here the transportation system is very technical. On the other hand, the recurve bow is straightforward, and the cost is more effective.

  • Maintenance:

If the compound bow’s string snaps are out of the field, you are stuck with the bow, and you cannot use it. You can easily string the recurve bow by your hand. You can also fix the broken link of the recurve bow quickly. But it is not so easy for the compound bow. I need a professional to repair the compound bow. So in the case of the recurve bow, it is easy to maintain.

  • For the Youth Archer:

Youth archers always need an adjustable bow. However, a bow needs to adjust the length and power that suits the child’s frame. A perfect compound bow has all these factors than the recurve one. You need to train your child correctly to become a recurve archer; otherwise, the bow is ideal for the young.

  • For the Hunter:

A compound bow has the let-off so that you can easily hold the bow with the full draw for the more extended period. It will allow you to wait for the hidden stationery in a tree stand to take down on the prey. The fully assembled compound bow is easy to carry and easy to attach to the woodlands. For those reasons, I can suggest to you that the compound bow is perfect for the hunter.

  • For Target Shooter:

Bothe, the recurve, and the compound archer can participate in the target shooting. Depending on the ambition, the distance and the target sizes are almost the same. At the Olympic games, these two disciplines allow there. By using the compound bow, you cannot sight yet. So for the target shooting, the recurve bow is idle.

  • For the Beginners:

For the beginner, you need lots of technical knowledge and strength. So, it would help if you practiced more to develop all the factors and to start first. If your purchase the compound bow, you need to adjust with it. But if you use the recurve bow, you can purchase different limbs, and no need to buy the whole one. The simplicity of the recurve bow makes it more user-friendly than the compound bow.

Recurve Bow vs. Compound bow, Which one is the Right Choice?

So, depending on all the given information types, which types of bow can you choose? All these depend on what you want out from your archery experiences. I always prefer the recurve bow for the beginner trying out the sport as they are effortless to use and cheaper than the compound bow. The archery ranges allow you to rant this bow, so you don’t need to waste your extra money while you are practicing. Without these, recurve bow comes with an acceptable form of recreation and is also suitable for muscle training. It will give strength to your arms and shoulder as well.

Besides this, the experienced hunter and shooter may go with the compound bow. From a greater distance, you can get more power and accuracy with this type of bow. It will allow more customization than a recurve bow. You can get more tools like stabilizers and scopes in a compound bow. For archery and bowhunting, you can get fantastic performance regarding the compound bow. By maintaining the right shot, you can improve your bowhunting skill.

Lat of all, what type of bow you choose depends on the hunting experience level and the game. Bowhunting is the highly rewarding and highest indicator of the development of your skill. Although both are great for the field of archery, they can hold different strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you have to choose the accurate bow which will fit you and release you.

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