Love Archery? Find the Bow That’s Right for You

When it comes to bow shopping, you have plenty of options. It’s hard to go wrong with all the great bows on the market today. The difficult decision? Selecting the type of bow you want.

Choosing a bow type is a lot like choosing a vehicle. You can drive a truck, sports car or a practical compact. The vehicle you select depends on your personal tastes and needs.

Bow selection is no different. When you walk into an archery shop, you’ll see dozens of bows, each with their own personality.

Some people choose their preferred bow style based on aesthetics. Maybe a certain type of bow looks really cool and speaks to them. Others will select a bow based on their goals and where they want to use the bow. Rest assured, the right bow is out there for you – let’s look at some options to help you select “the one.”

The Olympic Dreamer

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An Olympic recurve bow has three main pieces –the riser and two limbs. The limbs create the power of the bow and bend in unison as the archer draws the bow. When the string is released the limbs snap forward propelling the arrow to the target. Photo Credit: World Archery.

The roar of the crowd fades as your national anthem plays. The medal around your neck represents years of hard work and sacrifice, but it’s all worth it for this amazing moment.

If that sounds like your dream, an Olympic recurve might be in your future. This is the type of bow used by Olympians, but it’s also the bow of choice for thousands of recreational archers. Recurve shooting is a fantastic discipline that provides a true challenge. Olympic archery combines physical exercise and mental discipline into the ideal hobby.

An Olympic recurve bow has three main pieces: the riser and two limbs. The bow disassembles for customization and transportation. You grip the bow at the riser. It’s also where the sight and arrow rest are mounted. The limbs create the power of the bow and bend in unison when you draw the bow. When the string is released, the limbs snap forward propelling the arrow to the target.

If you look at an advanced Olympic archer’s bow, you’ll notice long rods jutting out from the riser. These are called stabilizers, and they help you steady your bow for precise aiming.

The Marksman

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A target compound bow only has one job, to be accurate. They are built for accuracy and provide an excellent shooter experience. They can be tricked out and accessorized to maximize their accuracy. Some target accessories are long stabilizers and magnified sights with fine adjustment. Photo Credit: World Archery.

There’s a target 50 meters away. You dial your sight to the exact distance and prepare to shoot. At full draw, you can see the target in crisp detail through your magnified scope. You apply steady pressure to your release aid, which sends the arrow into the 10 ring.

If you love precision marksmanship, consider a compound bow. These bows are capable of incredible accuracy, and with only a few archery lessons you’ll be hitting the center regularly. You can use compound bows for recreational archery, competitive shooting or bowhunting.

Different compound bows fulfill different uses. A target compound bow only has one job –  to be accurate. They are built to provide an excellent shooter experience. These bows can be tricked out and accessorized to maximize accuracy. Some target accessories include long stabilizers and magnified sights with fine adjustment.

A hunting compound requires accuracy and portability, so they’re made smaller and lighter than target bows. The accessories for this bow type are often made more durable to withstand the outdoors. This doesn’t mean you can’t target shoot or compete with a hunting bow; if interested, you’ll find competitive divisions just for hunting bows, or you can change a few accessories and compete with the target archers.

If you’re a recreational archer, you have your choice of compound bows. You can design your bow your way. If you like the adjustability of a target sight but the portability of a hunting bow, you can choose a compound bow that will meet these requirements.

The Old Soul

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A barebow takes you back to the roots of archery when there were no gadgets just an archer, a bow and a quiver full of arrows. Shooting a bull’s-eye with one of these bows is more rewarding than other disciplined because of the challenge involved. Photo Credit: Jeff Kavanagh YouTube.

You’re hiking in a forest that’s like something out of a Thoreau novel. This isn’t a typical hike; you have a bow in hand and a quiver full of arrows. On this day you’re stump shooting, a game where the woods are a target-rich environment and your fun is only limited by your imagination.

Stump shooting is one of the many ways to have fun with a traditional bow. Traditional and barebow archery represent the ultimate archery challenge but have the added reward of being extremely fun. Traditional bows are a stripped-down form of archery that’s simple, elegant and romantic.

This type of archery takes you back to the sport’s roots, when all you needed was a bow and a quiver full of arrows. Shooting a bull’s-eye with one of these bows is more rewarding than doing so with other disciplines because of the challenge involved.

If you wear an analog watch, have an old soul, love the beauty of wood or just want to shoot like Katniss, then traditional archery might be for you.

Still can’t decide? You can certainly choose more than one bow style. Consider a compound bow for serious competition or to satisfy your need for hitting targets at long distances. Then you can own a beautiful recurve bow for stump shooting and blissfully shooting arrows. The ultimate way to decide is to get to an archery store and test-drive some bows.

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