Arc Types

Arc Types

Recurve Bow

The recurve arch is the Olympic arch – and is so-called due to the design of the ends of the arch legs. These are bent forward in the direction of the shot. This is partly intended to give the bow a better throw (higher arrow speed) and partly that the bow feels a little softer to pull at full pull. However, a definite “let-off” (less towing weight at full towing) is not achieved, as is the case with the compound arch.

The recurve arch is made of both laminated wood and fiberglass, as well as where the middle section is made of, e.g., aluminum, magnesium, or fiber composite, and where the arch legs are laminated by different combinations of wood, fiberglass, ceramic, synthetic foam, carbon fiber, etc.

Arc Types

The most common is the take-down arch – i.e., an arc that can be disassembled into three parts – but one-piece arches that can not be disassembled are also made. The latter is often wooden arches, while the take-down arch is made of wood and the other mentioned materials.

The recurve bow is usually attributed to two different classes: Olympic class and barbecue class. In Olympic class, shooting is allowed with an aim, stabilizer (s), arrow shelf, and plunger (a device that springs towards the side of the arrow). These individual parts are available in all variants of simple and advanced versions. The stabilizer (s) primarily serve two purposes:

First, to help keep the bow stable and calm while aiming. Secondly, the stabilizer absorbs some of the vibrations and recoil of the arch – whereby the arm and hand holding the arch are not so much affected by these vibrations and thus are calmer at the moment of firing.

Archery speeds with recurve bow are usually between 40-70 m / s (130 – 230 fps) depending on towing weight, arrow weight, etc. Recurve bow can shoot the arrows up to approx. 400 m.

Compound Bow

The compound arch is technically the most advanced arch type. The type of bow is characterized by being a reasonably short bow – usually between 29-45″ long – and providing string, cables, and wheels (cams) around which the cables run. The wheels are mounted eccentrically and can be both round and more or less elliptical. The purpose of the system is to make the bow easier to hold at full throttle, as you only hold 50-20% of the bow’s maximum towing weight. In addition, the system causes the bow to shoot the arrows at relatively high speeds.

The fact that the bow becomes easier to hold at full throttle is called “let-off.” With an arch with 80% let-off, you thus only keep 20% of the arch’s maximum towing weight. You can get compound arches with up to 99% let-off. However, this is not an advantage for competition shooting, as the bow becomes restless to aim at, partly because you keep the entire weight of the bow in an outstretched arm and because you lack the resistance you get by having a greater pull weight at full pull.

In addition to the arch itself is quite technically advanced, virtually all types of advanced accessories for the arch are allowed – as long as it is not electronic. Arrow shelves are often used that “fall” at the moment of firing; it is permitted to use a sight with a magnifying lens, mechanical release, stabilizers, 2-point sight, and more. The mechanical release means that you do not hold the bowstring with your fingers and have some kind of mechanical trigger system.

The various things that make the arch type relatively advanced also make it relatively easy to achieve high precision. The advantage of let-off is often shot with bows with a higher towing weight than with, e.g., recurve bow. The compound bow is also the most used bow for hunting due to its efficiency, and its small size makes it easier to move with it in rugged terrain. However, some choose to shoot with the bow without some advanced aids such as magnifying aim and mechanical release – and can even then achieve relatively high precision.

The middle section of the arch is most often made of aluminum, and the arch legs are of solid fiberglass composite.

The arrow speed for this type of arc is usually between 280 fps and up to approx. 370 fps (85 – 113 m / s or 307 – 406 km / h). Measured according to the IBO standard: 70 #, 350 grains arrow, and 30″ full length. A compound bow can shoot the arrows up to approx. 500-600 m (world record 1800 m). However, you must never test this, regardless of the type of bow, as no course in Denmark is approved for it, and you never know where the arrow will fly to !! It is essential to respect how powerful a compound bow (or any bow) is!


Although the longbow is the most traditional of the three types of bows, the longbows used for competitions and hunting today are very different from the original man-high longbow, as it is known from, e.g., the Viking Age in Scandinavia or medieval England. These arches were made of one piece of wood, often yew, and were a straight rod, which fully stretched out described a C or crescent.

As long as the longbow was produced only from wood, it remained to some extent a custom-built weapon more than a shelf item. The development of fiberglass meant that from the 1940s, it was now possible to mass-produce extended arches and later the recurve arch. A development within which the American bow hunter Fred Bear was a pioneer. With the fiberglass, it also became possible to make more advanced designs that set new standards for the efficiency of the longbow.

Today, various variations of reflex-deflex longbows of 150 – 170 cm length are the most common variation of the longbow. They are characterized by higher velocity than the traditional longbows and minor hand shock (the tremors that propagate in the hand when firing).

According to World Archery’s set of rules for the longbow class, you shoot in the longbow class with a bow without a recurve and a minimum length of 150 or 160 cm. The bow can be made of wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a combination of these materials, and the arrows must be made of wood. You pull and hold the string with your fingers, and no aiming devices are mounted on the arch – i.e., one aims instinctively.

This description was received from The Shooting Gears (

The longbow is the simplest type of bow of all. In English, it is sometimes called “stick bow” or “stick and string” – a stick and a string. Today’s longbows, however, are usually a little more advanced than that.

There are, in principle, two different types of longbows, so-called ELB and AFB. ELB stands for English Longbow, and AFB stands for American Flatbow. English longbow is more round in cross-section and is often made of one piece of wood. In addition, no arrow shelf has been cut, so the arrow is on the hand. American flatbow

is laminated with several layers of wood and fiberglass, and an arrow shelf is usually cut on which the arrow rests.

Both AFB and ELB belong to the longbow class, but as a curiosity, it can be mentioned that AFB is not recognized as a longbow in England. If you are

preparing for competitions in the longbow class, you must use wooden arrows, and the arrows must be provided with natural feathers as flags. However, it is also possible to shoot longbow with arrows of modern materials (aluminum,

carbon fiber, or a combination thereof) – but in that case, you must shoot in the barebow class.

Longbow is shot without any kind of aiming means, but there are in principle two ways to “aim”: Either you aim with the arrowhead, or you shoot instinctively. Shooting

instinctively means that you focus on what you have to hit, in principle, in the same way as when you throw at targets with, e.g., stone or knife.

Archery speeds with longbow are usually between 40-60 m / s (130 – 195 fps, i.e., foot/second) depending on towing weight, bow design, arrow weight, etc. Longbow can shoot the arrows

up to approx. 200-300 m. However, you must never test this, regardless of arch type, as no courses in Denmark are approved for it, and you never know where the arrow will fly to !!

Instinctive Protection

Since you are not allowed to mount a sight on the bow in the longbow class, you use either instinctive shooting or a form of system shooting.

Instinctive archery is, in short, a method that involves you looking and focusing on the point you want to hit, after which you let the archery hand swing the arc up and point the arrow towards the point. It can be compared to throwing a stone at a tree trunk or a crumpled piece of paper at a trash can. The brain knows from what the eye sees and the many shots stored in the shooter’s instinctive memory how to direct the bow hand. The intuitive method is, for many, the simplest method to learn in the beginning, but many elite shooters also use it.

Another way of aiming is called by many for system shooting. System shooting is based on the shooter knowing his arrow path and having assessed the distance to the target and, based on that, calculates how far above or below the target the arrowhead should point. In the shooter’s case, for example, the arrowhead must point directly at the target at a distance of 40 meters. It must point X number of centimeters below the target at, for example, 30 meters and X number of centimeters above the target at, for example, 50 meters.

The choice of one or the other method is typically a matter of temperament, but one can also partly let the form of competition determine it. If you shoot a lot at fixed distances (e.g., 18 meters FITA), then a form of system shooting will be apparent, as the arrowhead must always point to the same point, just like a fixed sight.

If, on the other hand, you shoot at unknown distances, as you do for 3D (hunting shooting) and field shooting, then the spontaneous method, which is based on a more unconscious distance assessment, can be a more straightforward and reasonably effective method for achieving high precision. That being said, among the top shooters for, e.g., The 3D tournaments, where the distances are unknown, could find both system and instinctive shooters.

3D Shooting

3D shooting enjoys excellent popularity among longbow shooters for various reasons. The longbow was initially invented as a weapon for hunting, and the shooters attracted to the longbow are often also interested in hunting with a bow and arrow, which is exactly what the 3D shooting imitates, where lifelike imitations of hunting animals are set up in natural surroundings. The maximum distances to these tournaments are 30 meters for the longbow.

However, traditional target shooting is also a classic form of competition and excellent training for longbow shooters. Target shooting at fixed distances was the dominant form of competition in the 1700s – 1800s when the longbow was dominant.

Thus, in a York round, 144 arrows were fired at distances of up to 90 yards (82.3 meters), and in an American Round, 90 arrows were fired at 30, 40, and 50 yards. Target shooting is still highly relevant for longbow shooters, where the many shots at uniform distances are excellent training in achieving a uniform shooting style. A consistent shooting style is thus also a prerequisite for precision for the 3D tournaments, where the targets vary in size and distance.


The bar arc is essentially a recurve arc but without aim. In the barebow class, shooting with a target and stabilizers is not allowed, but arrowheads and plungers are allowed.

One thus “aims” in the same way as with a longbow, either with the arrowhead or instinctively. In some cases, someone prefers to shoot “off the shelf” – i.e., without an arrow shelf, where the arrow simply lies at the bottom of the cutout for the sight window.

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