Compound or Recurve Bow? Pros and Cons to Help You Decide

Should I buy a recurve bow or a compound bow if I’m new to archery or want to get into archery?

If you’re new to archery, you’ll probably want to start out with a recurve bow because most individuals who can shoot a compound bow will have a hard time switching to one.

As an alternative, learning to shoot a recurve bow effectively can prepare you for shooting a compound bow well as well. However, you should read our article on top compound bows in 2021 to learn more about them.

To assist you to decide whether to buy a compound bow or a recurve bow, here are some more pros and disadvantages. Cons first, then positives, then we’ll wrap things up with some recommendations in the conclusion.

Compound or Recurve Bow?

A Compound Bow Is An Expensive Investment:

For a quality compound bow, you should expect to invest between $200 and $600…and that’s just for the bow itself. Higher-end compound bows can cost upwards of two thousand dollars (US).

The least costly compound bow release will cost you $20 to $40, even with the same arrows you’d use for a recurve bow.

The average cost of a decent thumb release is between $100 and $200, depending on the model. Even the higher-end editions may cost upwards of $200 each.

Most recurve bows cost less than half as much as a compound bow, at approximately $150.

As a result of intense rivalry among entry-level bow makers, you may get recurve bows of excellent quality for a reasonable price, complete with everything you need to start shooting in a matter of seconds!

Individually Adjusting Compound Bows Is More Difficult:

Compound bows, in general, should only be adjusted by someone who understands what they’re doing, according to the experts.

For the most part, compound bows have the ability to change draw weight and draw length, respectively.

Most compound bows include bolts that may be tightened or loosened with an Allen wrench in order to alter the draw. Detailed instructions are included in the user handbook, and each bow is unique.

There is generally a series of screws in the cams that must be set to raise or reduce the string length in order to alter the draw length.

A complete instruction manual will be included in the bow’s owner’s manual, and each bow is unique.

They Can be Heavier and More Awkwardly Shaped than Compound Bows:

This is a broad generalization, as certain compound bows are lighter than other recurve bows, for example.

The average weight of a compound bow is between 3.6 pounds to 4 pounds, however, there are exceptions to the rule. 

When It Comes to Accuracy, Recurves are Not Precise Like Compound Bows:

Because of the lack of enjoyment aspect, I consider this a con.

Archery is mostly done for enjoyment. In the beginning, it isn’t very pleasant when you keep missing the target, and you lose interest in archery.

Recurve bows are less precise because their arrows travel at a slower velocity. In addition, the arrow’s lesser velocity makes it more susceptible to wind drift and faulty form.

To develop proper form and become more precise at shooting the recurve bow, rookie archers must work more, but in the long run, this is beneficial.

Recurves are Not Beginner’s Choice:

This is because you must hold the full draw weight of the recurve bow at full draw, which makes learning good archery form more difficult. There is no let-off with a recurve bow, unlike a compound bow.

At first, you don’t have the muscles necessary for good archery form, since your body is still developing. Only with tonnes of practice will you be able to build up those muscles and perfect your form. 

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Compound Bows Quickly Build Up Your Archery Muscles:

The whole weight of the bow is in your hands when you draw back a recurve bowstring as mentioned before. As opposed to a compound bow, there is no let-off.

Recurve bows provide a better exercise for your muscles than compound bows.

Beginners should choose a bow with lower draw weight, such as 30 lbs or less. This will make learning good archery form easier and more fun.

Once you get the hang of it, you may raise the draw weight of your bow by using greater draw weight limbs.