Modern bows are manufactured from laminated wood, combined with aluminium, carbon fibre, fibreglass, ceramic or foam for the ultimate combination of lightweight, strength, elasticity and power. They have a rigid central riser and more flexible limbs, and they can propel the arrows at speeds of up to 240km/h. The bow string is manufactured from an ultra-strong hydrocarbon product called ‘dyneema’. Archers can use sighting devices called ‘bow sights’, while the bows can also have stabilisers with shock absorbing weights.


The most commonly used bow in target archery.

So called because the limbs re-curve (bend back out again).


The second most commonly used bow in target archery.

The bows have cams fitted to the ends of the limbs which reduce the draw weight at full draw, making it easier to aim. Compound is the recognised class for Paralympians.


The traditional medieval style longbow.

Shot by only a few archers for relaxation from the stresses of recurve and compound archery.

Bare bow

Bare bow is simply a recurve without sights or stabilisers.

This is a separate class in target archery, but is rarely seen.


Other types are quite rare in target archery as there are no special classes for them.

American Flat Bow – A development of the longbow with flatter, more efficient limbs.

Asiatic Composite – A type of traditional bow used in Asia (Turkish or Mongolian style). Short heavily curved recurve with limb ends that do not bend

Japanese Bow – Long asymmetrical bow, with the top limb very much longer than the bottom limb. We have never seen one at Clophill AC but there are a few about.

If you wish to get serious with this sport and want to buy your own equipment, there are numerous outlets that will give you good advice and offer a wide range of equipment. Bows

can be expensive but there is an enormous second-hand market, just keep a look out as bargains do turn up.