Recurve Bow or Crossbow – Which Is Better?

The only real similarity in the recurve and compound bows are they both have arrows and strings. Similar to the debate of the AR-15 and the AK-47, hunters are argued over whether a compound or recurve bow is superior. Both have entirely different pros and cons. Before making a purchase, it is important to note the major variances between them. The body shapes of the two bows are vastly different. The classic or old-fashioned style of bow is the recurve. It is the style that has been used by hunters globally for centuries. The bow has one string and the body. It’s pretty straight forward and most are made of wood or fiberglass. Those made of fiberglass or carbon is known to have great durability.

The compound bow has utilized modern technological advances and enhanced materials. They have a series of strings and pulleys that attach to the main limbs. The limbs are made from either carbon or aluminum. These bows are much smaller than that of the recurve. They are also sturdier. Many hunters prefer the use of these bows when going through thick terrain, or when they have a long distance to walk. Their lightweight makes them easy to transport.

The Power Factor

Power and accuracy are what any good hunter desires, and judging by this alone, the compound bow wins. Because of the draw strength and the longer strings, the archer crossbow (check the site out for the best crossbow reviews) can be pulled further back and this generates greater power. However, the bow is also much easier to hold, because it doesn’t require much strength. This allows the hunter to have improved stability and hold the stance while waiting for the right shot.

The recurve bow doesn’t have as much power. It also requires more force to hold the draw for any period of time. This causes many hunters to shake and it reduces their accuracy while waiting for a clear shot. For those who draw and shot immediately, the accuracy of both bows is comparable.


Accessories are obtainable for both types of bows. However, there are more available for the compound bows. The most coveted additions are sights or trigger releases. Hunters prefer the sights because they help a person to aim. The trigger release makes it easier to release the bowstring steadily, causing better accuracy. You can buy recurves with sites, but this is unusual because recurve users are usually traditionalists who favor a most intuitive and skills-based practice.


Because of the power and accuracy in a compound bow, they are commonly used for hunting. They have the ability to shoot their arrows over a long distance. Hunters find that they are perfect for getting the prize deer or bear. The recurve bows are used for smaller animals. They are mostly used in shooting competitions. They can kill larger animals, but the placement becomes an issue.

Budgetary Concerns

Due to the fact that the recurve bow doesn’t have all the complex mechanisms, it is always cheaper. It’s basically a body with a string attached. The compound bow has a larger body with a pulley system and the strings are much larger. The compound bow tends to be higher in price, but shopping around may find a both bows at similar costs.

Bottom Line

So considering the recurve bow or crossbow, which is better? The answer is neither. Both of these types of bows are great when used in their proper place. It is really a matter of personal preference and budget. Of course, the skills and experience of the archer also come into play.

Jabez Radford

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Jabez Radford

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