How to Buy a Recurve Bow: A Simple Guide for Archers

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
group of archers aiming their bow

Engaging in archery? Buying a recurve bow can be an exciting yet challenging endeavor. This comprehensive guide simplifies the process for you. We’ll explore essential factors to consider. Discover the ins and outs of draw weight, length, and bow size. Learn about reputable manufacturers and the typical price range. By the end, you’ll be well-prepared to purchase your perfect recurve bow. Dive in and start your archery journey on the right footing.

Selecting the Right Recurve Bow

Determine Your Purpose

When purchasing a recurve bow, the first step is determining your purpose. Are you planning on using the bow for hunting, target practice, competition, or simply as a hobby? Identifying your purpose will help guide your choices when it comes to draw weight, draw length, bow length, and bow weight.

Do You Plan To Go Hunting?

While each beginner recurves bow is suitable for target practice, not all recurve bows are ideal for hunting. The draw weight of your bow will determine if it is appropriate for hunting.

Suppose you want to go hunting; you’ll need a recurve bow with at least a draw weight of 40 pounds. Anything less than that will lead to many wasted opportunities while hunting, especially if you need to shoot an arrow from more than 15 yards away.

Thus, if you want to go hunting you should first get a bow that you can handle, then practice and improve your endurance. When you feel comfortable in your ability to handle that draw weight, you can upgrade your bow to a 40 plus pounder and go on your first all-natural bowhunting adventure.

Choosing the Correct Draw Weight

Selecting the appropriate draw weight is crucial for your recurve bow experience. Draw weight refers to the amount of force required to pull the bowstring back. For beginners, it is best to start with a lower draw weight, between 20 and 30 pounds. This will allow you to develop proper form and muscles without straining yourself. If you’re more experienced or plan to use the bow for hunting, a draw weight between 40 and 60 pounds might be more suitable.

Here’s a guide on how to adjust the draw weight on a bow if needed.

Choosing the Correct Draw Length

Draw length is the distance from the bowstring to the grip when you’re at full draw. To find your ideal draw length, stand at an arm’s length from a wall and measure the distance from your chest to the tip of your fingers. Divide that by 2.5, and you’ll get a rough estimate of your draw length. Most recurve bows on the market can be adjusted to fit your specific draw length.

Bow Length and Bow Weight

Bow length is the distance from tip to tip of the bow limbs. In general, a longer bow offers more stability and a smoother draw, making it an excellent choice for beginners and target shooters. However, for hunting purposes or maneuvering in tight spaces, a shorter bow would be more appropriate.

When it comes to bow weight, a lighter bow is more manageable for extended periods of usage, especially if you’re still in the growth and development stage. Heavier bows tend to provide more stability during the shot but may cause fatigue more quickly.

To help you visualize the relationship between your draw length and the recommended bow length, here is a table:

Draw Length (inches) Recommended Bow Length (inches)
Less than 24 62
24 – 26 64
26 – 28 66
28 – 30 68
Over 30 70

Additionally, it’s important to consider your eye dominance when selecting a recurve bow, as this will affect your accuracy and aiming. To determine your dominant eye, extend your arms, create a small triangle using your thumbs and index fingers, and center a distant object within the triangle. Close one eye at a time; whichever eye keeps the object centered in the triangle is your dominant eye.

By considering your purpose for the recurve bow, draw weight, draw length, bow length, and bow weight, as well as accounting for your growth and development, you’ll be able to find the perfect recurve bow for your needs.

Read Our Reviews

We cover all topics regarding recurve bows, bows in general, and archery. You will find various reviews, guides, tips, and tricks. Also, you will be guaranteed expert advice. To help you out, please check the below post.

Accessories and Equipment

Quivers and Bow Cases

When buying a recurve bow, consider investing in a quiver to hold your arrows and a bow case for easy transportation and to protect your bow. There are various styles of quivers, from hip to back ones, depending on your preference. Bow cases come in hard and soft varieties, so choose one according to your budget and needs.

Armguards and Finger Protection

Armguards provide protection to your forearm and grip, ensuring accurate shots and minimizing injuries. Finger protection, such as gloves or finger tabs, reduces the friction between your fingertips and the bowstring, resulting in a smoother release. Both of these accessories can significantly improve your shooting experience and protect your hands.

Grips and Bow Slings

Customizing your recurve bow with a comfortable grip can enhance your accuracy and consistency. Bow slings prevent you from dropping the bow during the shot, allowing for a more relaxed grip. Experiment with different materials and find a grip and sling that feels comfortable for you.

Bonus Tip: How to Select the Proper Arrows?

The most significant difference is in total arrow weight. The heavier the arrow tip, the further it will puncture on strike due to higher velocity. You won’t need much penetration during training target shooting since all you want the arrow to do is to cut through some stuffed foam or board. (2)

On the other hand, when you are planning to bring your bow into hunting, this might be the time for you to get enough power. You will need it since your goal is to shoot through thick sheets of fat or even bones.

Carbon arrows are unquestionably the best option for recurve archery, even if you’re using them for practice, competitions, or hunting. Carbon arrows are more precise, durable, and safe, as well as being less costly.

Highly recommended reading: 10 Best Arrows For a Recurve Bow

Where To Buy?

When you’re trying to find a place to buy a recurve bow you may be a little overwhelmed because of all of the great locations such as archery shops and online. Though some people recommend going to archery shops you can also get a pretty good idea of what you want from some of our guides and feel confident buying online. Worst case scenario if you get a bow that doesn’t completely match your needs there are very good return terms on most of the e-commerce stores these days that will allow you to exchange it for a different model.

However, make sure that you go through our guide so you have the proper draw weights and draw length so you can be relatively confident of this size bow you are choosing.

Maintaining Your Recurve Bow

String Care

Taking care of your recurve bow’s string is essential to ensure its longevity and performance. Regularly wax the string using a bowstring wax specifically designed for recurve bows. By waxing the string, you can prevent fraying and improve the string’s durability. Check for any loose or damaged strands before each use and replace the string if needed.

Proper Storage

Proper storage plays a crucial role in maintaining your recurve bow’s condition. Invest in a durable bow case specifically designed for recurve bows to ensure proper protection when not in use. Keep your bow away from extreme temperatures and humidity, as these elements can cause warping or other damages to the limbs and riser. Additionally, unstring your recurve bow when storing it for extended periods to prevent the limbs from becoming permanently bent or weakened due to prolonged tension from the string.

By following these simple steps for string care, inspecting limbs and risers, and proper storage, you can ensure that your recurve bow stays in top condition throughout its lifespan, allowing you to enjoy this rewarding sport.

How To Buy a Recurve Bow – Summary

When purchasing a recurve bow, it’s essential to consider several factors.

Firstly, determine your purpose for the bow. Are you using it for target practice, hunting, or competition? This will impact the type of recurve bow you’ll need.

Next, measure your draw length. Stand with your arms stretched out parallel to the ground, then measure the distance from one fingertip to the other. Divide this measurement by 2.5 to obtain your approximate draw length.

Once you know your draw length, select the appropriate bow length. Here’s a general guideline:

  • Draw length less than 28 inches: opt for a bow length of 64 inches or less.
  • Draw length between 28 and 30 inches: choose a bow length of 66 to 68 inches.
  • Draw length greater than 30 inches: go for a bow length of 70 inches or more.

Consider the draw weight of the recurve bow as well. This is the amount of force required to pull the string back to your draw length. For beginners, it’s recommended to start with a lower draw weight and gradually increase as you gain experience and strength.

When choosing the bow’s materials, you have three main options:

  1. Wooden bows: Traditional, heavier, and usually more affordable, they are ideal for casual archery and beginners.
  2. Fiberglass bows: Lightweight and durable, these are suitable for intermediate archers and those using the bow frequently.
  3. Carbon and metal bows: Stiffer and more stable, these bows are designed for competitive archers looking for high performance.

Finally, assess the overall quality and feel of the bow. Ensure the limbs are straight and free from any signs of damage. The string should be properly secured and in good condition. When trying out the bow, make sure it feels comfortable in your hand and you can comfortably handle the draw weight. This will help you make the best choice for your recurve bow.

Getting into archery requires a brief understanding of the bow. Buying a recurve bow is not as simple as you may think without a proper guide. In fact, there are a few things you will need to consider that could make or break your experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Do I Determine My Recurve Bow Draw Length?

Manufacturers tune every recurve bow for a draw length of 28 inches. Suppose your draw length is 30 or 31 inches; you may fire a 28 inches draw length recurve bow effectively, though it will feel slightly heavier to pull.

Should I Buy A Right-Handed or A Left-Handed Recurve Bow?

Of course, this is dependent on your hand orientation. You dictate this by the hand with which you draw the bow. If you pull the bow with your right hand, you’ll need a right-handed bow, and if you draw with your left hand, you’ll need a left-handed bow. The hand with which you hold the bow has nothing to do with its alignment; only the hand that draws the string does.

What Should The Recurve Bow’s Overall Length Be?

You should aim for a minimum length equal to your draw length and multiply by two. Assuming your draw length is 30 inches, a bow with a draw length of 60 inches or longer will be fine. Practically, longer bows are more efficient, but you should keep convenience in the account as well.

How Much Should The Recurve Bow Itself Weigh?

As far as it doesn’t weigh more than 3.5 pounds, you will be alright if you keep it to less. The weight of the bow only affects how convenient it is to handle extended hunting expeditions. Bows for ladies and children usually weigh less than 2 pounds. You won’t need to worry a lot about your weight if you’re an adult.

However, please remember that shooting involves keeping the bow in front of you for extended periods, so choose a comfortable bow weight for you.

Is The Bow Ready To Shoot Right When I Get It Out of The Box?

No, you must first string it and then tune it. The tuning process may take many hours. I recommend that you hire an expert to handle it for you.

What should I consider when choosing a recurve bow?

When choosing a recurve bow, consider your draw length, draw weight, and whether you want a takedown or one-piece bow. Additionally, think about your budget and purpose for the bow, whether it’s for hunting or target practice.

What is the difference between a takedown and a one-piece recurve bow?

  • Takedown Bow: These bows can be disassembled into separate pieces, making them easier to transport and store. They also offer the versatility of changing limb weights without needing an entirely new bow.
  • One-Piece Bow: These bows are a single, continuous piece of material that cannot be disassembled. They typically have a smoother draw and are considered more aesthetically pleasing.
  Takedown Bow One-Piece Bow
Pros Easy to transport and store, versatile Smoother draw, more aesthetically pleasing
Cons Can feel less stable than one-piece bows More difficult to transport and store

How do I determine my draw length?

To determine your draw length, stand with your arms extended and measure the distance between your fingertips. Divide that by 2.5 to estimate your draw length. Alternatively, you can measure from the corner of your mouth to the base of your neck when at full draw with a bow.

What is the recommended draw weight for beginners?

For beginner archers, it’s important to start with a manageable draw weight. The recommended draw weight will depend on your age, gender, and physical strength. As a general guideline:

  • Children: 10-15 lbs
  • Women: 25-35 lbs
  • Men: 40-50 lbs

How do I maintain my recurve bow?

Proper maintenance of your recurve bow will help ensure its longevity. Some key tips include:

  • Wipe down the limbs and riser after each use to remove dirt and moisture
  • Regularly inspect the string and replace it if it shows signs of wear
  • Unstring the bow when not in use and store it in a cool, dry place

Remember, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintaining your specific bow.


(1) statistics –
(2) velocity –