Recurve vs Compound Bow: The Ultimate Comparison

What are the differences between recurve vs compound bow is a quite common question in archery? Especially, those who are new to this exciting hobby need to learn about these two types of bows. Once you have done your research, you will get a bow that suits you the most. The only similarity between recurve and compound bow is that they both have a string and bow body. The answer to which one is better and easier is still controversial. If you are wondering about this matter, read the article below to see a comprehensive comparison between these two bows.

General features

It can be said that a recurve bow is the likely closest to a traditional bow. Basically, it also has a bowed body and a string like any common bows all over the world. However, the most striking feature that makes it different from other types is the limbs. Just like the “recurve” name, the limbs of recurve bow curve away from the archer.

In contrast to a recurve bow, a compound bow is a more modern version. Its limbs are more rigid and durable. Different from recurve bow with a single string, compound bow has several strings that are longer to create more power. In addition, a new feature added to increase the efficiency of the archery is a pulley camera system.

 A compound bow is a more modern version

Image source: Wikipedia

One disadvantage is that it might be slightly difficult for the compound bow shooter to make a pull. However, that is not too worrying. Once the camera rotates, the draw becomes lighter. It is even easier when making a full draw thus helping the archers relax and focus on the shot.

The biggest advantage of a compound bow is that it has a higher accuracy than recurve bow. This is due to the modern mechanical design that increases the speed and smoother trajectory when fired at long distances. In a competition, you should use a mechanical release aid to help reduce the inconsistent state of the drawing.

As you can see, the first comparison between recurve vs compound bow brings out different pros and cons. Do not just stop there. The following will show you more detail in order to make a right decision.


The material used to make a recurve bow can range from wood to more modern materials like carbon and fiberglass. Today most of the bows are made from artificial materials rather than 100% of wood to increase strength and endurance.


Image source: Popular Woodworking Magazine

When talking about a compound bow, as mentioned above, it is far more than a traditional bow. The pulley camera system is usually made of carbon or aluminum. In addition, the body is made of a modern carbon compound that makes it harder and more durable.


In general, the power and accuracy between recurve vs compound bow are distinctly different.

It is true that the design of compound bow is considered to be perfect with a precision that no bow can match. In specific, the strings of the compound bow are longer than the recurve bow. Thanks to that brilliant design, the archer can make a longer draw and thus produce more force. These strings also help you hold the bow more easily because you will not spend lots of energy to pull the arrow. That way, you will have enough time to improve your stability and keep calm for a proper shot.

The strings of the compound bow are longer than the recurve b

Image source: YouTube

Unlike with a compound bow, you will have to use all your strength to pull the recurve bow without any help. Therefore, the psychology of the archers can be affected thereby reducing the accuracy of the shot.

With two archers of the same level, compound bow players will always shoot better than one with recurve bow.

How to choose between recurve vs compound bow

There really is not an accurate answer to the question of which bows are easier or better. Each type serves different purposes. To choose a bow that suits your style best, ask yourself two questions: What kind of archer are you and what are your goals?

In general, a compound bow is what you should choose when you want to shoot accurately even at long distances. It is because of the perfect precision that compound bows are suitable for those whose goal is a result rather than relaxation. However, because of the efforts to score in the X ring, compound bow shooters can be very stressful. Since the bow has done most of the work, shooting arrows on the target will depend on the archer.

Compound bows are suitable for those whose goal is a result rather than relaxation

Image source: Wilderness Today

If you are not in a competition but a hunting game, a compound bow is a smart choice. Its light weight will make it easy for you to conquer any terrain and prey. In addition, thanks to its almost absolute accuracy it will help you shoot games from long distances. A professional hunter with a compound bow can completely kill big games like bears, wild boars, or deer.

In contrast, recurve shooters will still be fine since they do not always hit the target. The reason is that of the mismatch in the recurve discipline. That is why a recurve shooter does not care about high scores. What they want is the focus on the physical aspects of the archery process. In another word, their goal is to make a shot, not to hit the target.

However, there are cases where professional archers still use recurve bow to hunt. While you can easily knock down small prey, bigger ones require more shooting spots. In general, recurve bow is used in an archery competition.

If you are planning to take part in a modern archery competition, recurve bow is the best choice for you. The reason is that it comes with standard extra parts that increase your chances of winning. While these attachments may seem complicated to use, their functionality and control techniques are essentially simple. The best example is the Olympic Games, where you will see the most of this archery form.


To sum up, after reading the comparison of recurve vs compound bow, we can see that none of them is better than the other. There is only just a bow that works best for you. A compound bow gives you nearly perfect shots. This type of bow is best for you if you want to achieve more high scores quickly. In contrast, a recurve bow will only bring you that feeling of satisfaction when making a shot in the archery instead of best results.