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Bow types guide

A bow consists of at least one string, one handle and two limbs.

Bow types are grouped into three categories: the recurve, also known as the classical bow, the longbow, also known as the straight bow, and the compound bow, which is a compound bow. The other bows listed in this mini-guide are sub-categories of both recurve and compound bows.

Recurve or recurve bow

Hattila recurve bow

Technical features: The recurve bow can be recognized by the curves of its limbs and its more massive handle. It is used for instinctive shooting without an aiming device, but can be fitted with accessories to optimize its use, such as stabilizers, sights, vibration dampers, etc. Available in a range of sizes and power ratings, up to 40 lbs for adult recreational shooting.

Hattila.com offers 15-pound recurve bows for children and beginners at prices ranging from 39.90 to 64.90 euros.

Advantages: This bow offers the widest range of possibilities for leisure, competition, hunting and indoor or outdoor target shooting.

Disadvantages: A little less suitable for hunting than compound.

One-piece bow

One-piece bow hattila.com

Technical features: Simple and essential, it's ideal for beginners in traditional shooting. More stable, the one-piece recurve bow is made from a single piece of material, often wood, and is reserved fortraditional bow enthusiasts. Arrows can be made of wood, carbon, aluminum or fiberglass.

One-piece bows are available in a range of sizes and power ratings. Prices range from 150 euros for an item from China to over 1000 euros for more sophisticated equipment.

Advantages: Lightweight, less expensive, beautiful bow.

Disadvantages: Reduced performance, fixed grip, not upgradeable.

Dismountable bow

Dismountable hattila bow

Technical features: The limbs attached to the body can be removed for transport or to modify the bow's performance. Materials used are carbon, fiberglass or aluminum, but the handle can be made of wood. Ideal for improving archers, there's no need to buy a new bow to modify its properties.

Prices fluctuate widely, depending on material and power. You should expect to pay at least 300 euros for a handle and 400 euros for a pair of branches.

Advantages: Stiffer, more refined, it offers different adjustment options, better performance and an interchangeable grip.

Disadvantages: Heavier and more expensive.

Compound bow

Hunting or leisure compound bows

Technical features: The Compound or inexpensive compound bow is a bow that allows arrows to be propelled more quickly by a set of hoists that multiplies the power. There are many criteria to choose from (size, length, power). For leisure, power ranges from a 12-pound bow (for children) to a 75-pound hunting bow. Higher powers are reserved for hunting.

Hattila, an online bow store, offers a concentration of choices and prices, with a starting price of €39.90 for a 12-pound compound bow for children. The top price for a leisure compound bow is €124.50.

Designed in the USA, it is mainly used for hunting, natural and target shooting.

Advantages: High power, accurate shots.

Disadvantages: Difficult to adjust.

Longbow or straight bow

Longbow straight bow

Technical features: The longbow is also a traditional, large (2-meter), straight, D-shaped bow. It is now possible to find straight bows of various sizes, to suit your morphology. Made from a single block of yew, boxwood or glued laminated wood. This is a medieval bow of English origin with instinctive shooting characteristics reserved for confirmed archers practicing natural shooting.

Longbow power ranges from 25 to 60 pounds. Arrows must be made of wood for competition.

Prices range from 100 euros to over 1000 euros.

Advantages: Flexible, lightweight, attractive.

Disadvantages: Without aiming aid, it is difficult to control and has a low output.

Wooden bow

Wooden bow

Technical features: Wooden bows are either one-piece recurves or longbows. They retain the authenticity of natural, instinctive shooting, and their light weight means they can be held for hours.

There are many sizes and powers to choose from, and wooden arrows are the preferred choice.

Fans of Robin Hood and Game of Thrones will appreciate this material.

Advantages: Flexibility, lightness, beauty of the bow.

Disadvantages: Difficult to master, one bow for one use.


Barebow bow

Technical characteristics: Used in some field shooting competitions, the naked bow is a traditional recurve or longbow, shot without the addition of equipment such as sights, stabilizers, draw length indicators or aiming marks. The bow is stripped of all accessories, with the possible exception of the button-berger.

The size and power characteristics, as well as the settings, correspond to those of conventional bows.

Advantages: Good way to learn all aspects of shooting, strong feel for the bow, instinctive shooting.

Disadvantages: Need time to master technique and gestures.

Hunting bow

Cheap online hunting bow

Technical features: All bows, recurve, longbow or compound, can be used as hunting bows. It all depends on the game to be shot and the archer's determination. The difference lies mainly in the arrows, which must be fitted with sharp steel tips. The must-have accessory for any bowhunter is the knife, or rather knives, to deal with the game caught.

Purists will stick with traditional longbow or recurve bows for instinctive shooting.

Compound bows were invented in North America for hunting purposes, and some of the most powerful equipment available enables the capture of large game, such as wild boar. The position can be held for a long time, and patience is the prerogative of a good hunter.

Hattila.com offers compound hunting bows from 50 to 75 pounds for €189.00.

Competition bows

Competition bow

Technical features: Each bow type has its own competition, but the official Olympic bow is the recurve. Competitors shoot at indoor or outdoor targets (FITA). Natural shooting is on animal blazons, while 3D shooting is on painted foam targets imitating animals. Hattila.com offers competition bows from €989.00.

Here are the different types of competitions depending on the federations and types of bows used:

  • Line shooting: indoor shooting (25 m maximum), outdoor shooting (70 m maximum).
  • Range shooting: country shooting (24 known and unknown targets, distance 5 to 60 m), nature shooting (21 targets in animal imagery, distance 5 to 40 m), 3D shooting (on 3D animal replicas), ski-arc (bow equivalent of biathlon).

Advantage: Ideal minimum equipment, lightweight.

Disadvantages: Incompatible with hunting.

Japanese bow or Yumi

Technical data: The Yumi is a traditional Japanese bow used to practice a martial art called Kuydo, inherited from the Samurai. Originally made of bamboo, fiber or carbon are tolerated. The bow is held exclusively with the left hand, and its asymmetrical handle is located in the lower third. The very large bow exceeds two meters in length and has no fittings whatsoever. The Japanese arrow is called the Ya. It can be made of bamboo, aluminum or carbon fiber.

Advantage: The quality of posture and body movements is paramount to obtaining a perfect shot.

Disadvantages: Spiritual practice, requires special clothing.