Archery Styles

WHAT are we Shooting?


The hook is all wrong, what is that anchor like, the arrow is on the wrong side of the bow, she’s not wearing a chest guard, there’s no fletches on the arrow! ….. DUDE, ITS A SCULPTURE! ….. That’s no excuse for getting it wrong!

Never tell an archer “I saw a bow”. It will lead to SO many questions. What colour? What make? Did it have a sight? Stabilisers? Cams? Carbon riser? Aluminum? Magnesium? Wood? Long? Flat? Recurve? Horse? There are so many different types of bows, all different with unique configurations and you can see many if not most of them in any club. Click the links or the bow type headers to learn more (you’ll certainly see more banter):

HorsebowEnglish LongbowPrimitive bow – Takedown RecurveCompound Bow

Traditional Archery: not surprisingly, this type of archery involves bows such as the Horsebow, the English Longbow or the Primitive bow. Bows that have been around for a while. You could also add here the difficult to define but quite popular American Flatbow.  These bows are shot with minimal accessories, no technological aids and quite often created using traditional materials and skills. This is archery at its purest relying on the skill of the archer and little else. Field Archery is very popular with this fraternity where its the closest to hunting you can get in the UK. These archers feel they embody the true spirit of archery and everyone else is cheating for using technology… (traditionalists or backward yokels? … just joking, luv ya fam!)

Recurve Archery: An evolution from the traditional, this bow incorporates recurved tips, predominately modern materials and construction techniques and can even come apart for easy storage. There are two main variants of the recurve bow.

  • The Barebow: as the name suggests, is a simple bow with only a weight for balance and no other accessories other than a rest and button. Will also include the one piece wooden field bow here although it is really a more sophisticated horsebow with a shelf to shoot off of. Very much on a rise of popularity right now. These archers view themselves as heirs to the spirit of archery in todays society where we toil long hours at desks, not in the fields, so a little technical help is no biggie. (looked down on by trads for too much tech and by more technical types for being a fence sitter … honestly – still banter!)
  • The Takedown Recurve: This is the bow seen at the Olympics which can be made of hi-tech materials and includes a fore-sight, stabilisation system, vibration dampeners, rest and spring loaded button designed to help the archer maximise their accuracy. The best sort of archery where technological impact is acceptable, skill shines through and the bows are things of beauty… (Can you guess which sort of bow our editor shoots?)

Compound Archery: Its Archery Jim, but not as we know it. Think of a bow that’s been locked in a room with a team of rabidly bored engineers for a year or two. Well, what comes out of that room will be a Compound. An extremely complex bow using a system of cables and pulleys in order to take much of the work out of drawing the bow, has telescopic sights, a trigger, spirit levels and a “cup holder” for your coffee/phone/beer. A very popular bow in the USA for hunting and its often claimed its the most popular bow type in the world (recurvers scoff at this). Viewed by practitioners (The Dark Side) as the apex of the sport. Viewed by all other archers as blatant cheating… (ok, its still archery but many more techie improvements/engineer solutions on these bows and compounders may as well be playing archery games on the Playstation! ;o)

Please note: Archers like to banter so don’t worry, none of the above is serious (except the bit about the Olympic recurve being best … deadly serious there!)

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Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay