Compound vs Recurve Bows: A Comprehensive Comparison

Puzzled about the selection of a suitable bow for yourself? Compound vs recurve bow, which one is better? It might be challenging to decide as both tools are highly efficient and alleviate your performance and skills to a great extent. However, both have their own associated pros and cons.

Compound bows are associated with extraordinary accuracy and precision and offer remarkable adjustability that allows you to tune them according to your requirements. However, they lack portability.

In contrast, the recurve bows are characterized by a low noise profile and are highly portable in nature. But they are not as accurate. So, in order to aid you in the selection, this article addresses the question of compound vs. traditional bow, which one is better.

Compound vs Recurve: Which is Right for You?

Compound Vs Recurve Bows

Compounds Bow

Compound Bows

These tools feature contemporary construction and are more user-friendly than other recurve counterparts. The reason for this is their ergonomic design and advanced attributes that make drawing the bow easier and aiming at the target without exerting much effort.

The best part about these bows is their let-off feature, which relieves the user from exerting additional(full) force while drawing the bow. For example, if you use a 70-pound compound bow with 50% let-off, you only need to hold 35 pounds before releasing the arrow.

However, the arrow would still be released with the original force, i.e., 70 pounds. This enables the archers to aim with similar accuracy each time. The accuracy while shooting varies depending on the slot used for seeking and the position of the fingers.

It also depends on the force exerted by the archer while drawing the bow and releasing the arrow. One major advantage of the compound bows is the minimum effort requirement while drawing the bow and achieving similar accuracy each time to make a shot.

Recurve Bows

Recurve Bows

Recurve bows differ from their previously mentioned counterparts and feature a traditional design. However, it is still different from longbows, characterized by D-shape construction.

The recurve bows display a curved design close to the archer near the riser and move away from them at the ends. These bows offer additional power and are generally more straightforward than their other counterparts.

However, the accuracy might vary after each shot while hunting with a recurve bow. The reason is the absence of cams and specific slots that allow the archers to monitor their shooting position. Thus, they must rely on their skills and instincts to calculate the releasing point each time to ensure accuracy.

Moreover, these bows also lack let-off features, and archers must bear the whole weight while drawing the bow and releasing the arrow to achieve the desired results.

An In-Depth Comparison of Compound and Recurve Bows

The Main Difference Between Compound vs. Recurve Bows is, Both bows have their own advantages and disadvantages and, thus, must be carefully considered before purchase.

The choice of a suitable bow highly depends on your requirement for the tool and the features offered by the system. Below are the significant differences between the products, as mentioned earlier, for your convenience.


Accuracy is highly significant while shooting. The precision offered by both compound and recurve bows vary significantly. The reason for this is the differences in their construction and associated features.

The compound bows are incorporated with clams and slots that allow the archers to monitor the drawing point each time before releasing the arrow. This helps measure the correct distance and achieve similar accuracy in each shot.

As mentioned earlier, shooting accuracy depends on the slot, finger position, and force exerted by the archer. Any change in the following can highly impact the accuracy.

Due to the inclusion of clams and slots in compound bows alongside the inclusion of the let-off feature, it becomes possible to achieve almost similar accuracy each time. In contrast, recurve bows are not comparable to their previously mentioned counterpart in this aspect.

These bows do not contain any claim or slot; thus, archers must rely on their abilities to achieve the desired results. Along with this, the absence of the let-off feature requires the archers to exert additional force while drawing the bow, thus, making it challenging to keep the fingers in a similar position each time. Hence, leading to changes in accuracy each time the arrow is released.


In terms of noise, both compound and recurve bows are neck-to-neck with each other. Both tools are integrated with string silencers and limb dampeners that are responsible for reducing the noise generated by the bow where the arrow is released.

These silencers provide ultra-quiet working conditions and prevent the archers from getting distracted during the process. Thus, if you use a similar weight and the bow is tuned correctly, both bows can provide similar noise cancelation effects without impacting the performance.


Recurve bows take the crown in terms of portability. Not only are they lightweight and compact, but they can also be disintegrated into various components for ease of use. Thus, enabling the users to carry them from one place to another without any inconvenience.

Contrary to this, compound bows are larger and can not be separated into various parts and components for portability. So, you might face difficulty in carrying them around. However, they are worth the investment considering the accuracy and acceleration offered by these tools.


Adjustability is a significant difference between recurve and compound bows and varies significantly in both units. Additional limbs can be integrated into the pre-assembled recurve bows to accelerate and decelerate their power.

However, changing the limbs can only improve the power and does not offer adjustability. However, other compound bows available in the market allow you to adjust the draw length and weight depending on the requirement. Thus, enabling you to perform to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

The draw weight of a compound bow varies with the body type, weight, and individual height. The majority of the women and large-frame boys are capable of handling draw weight between 30 to 50 pounds.

Similarly, most males weighing 160 to 190 pounds can draw up to 65 pounds without impacting performance or shooting accuracy.

Both compound and recurve bows have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, if weighed based on pros and cons, the compound bow takes the crown due to its remarkable accuracy, negligible maintenance, low sound profile, and hassle-free adjustability.

However, they need to catch up to their competitors in portability, making it difficult to carry around from one place to another.

A good compound bow can shoot between the range of around 30 to 60 yards without impacting accuracy and precision.

Similarly, the maximum shooting range can be increased up to 1000 feet by exerting additional effort. However, most archers prefer shooting within the effective shooting range to achieve the best of both worlds.

The ability of a bow to kill a target highly depends on the kinetic energy, which is measured in pounds. Professionals recommend generating 40 to 50 pounds of kinetic energy to kill more challenging targets like agile and difficult-to-shoot deer. So, 40 pounds is the best bow draw weight for deer. We assure you, that you will not feel any difficulty while hunting deer in this range.

PSE Xpedite (354 FPS) is the fastest compound bow available in the market. It also offers remarkable accuracy and precision while shooting and enables you to make required adjustments without any inconvenience.

This is followed by BowTech Realm SR6, with a speed of 349.1 feet per second, and BowTech RPM 360, possessing a speed of 347.45 feet per second.


Compound and recurve bows are highly efficient tools that offer remarkable attributes and improve the shooting performance of both professional and novice archers. Though both have similar display performance in terms of noise reduction, their abilities vary greatly when it comes to accuracy and portability.

While compound bows are more accurate, they are larger and more complex to carry around. In contrast, the recurve bows are highly portable and can be dismembered into various components.

However, they need more accuracy and are more precise than their compound competitor. So, the selection of suitable tools depends on your requirements and the features offered by the system.

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