A bow is a flexible arc, the function of which is to shoot aerodynamic projectiles called arrows. The two ends of the bow are joined by a string and the string is drawn backwards, in order to flex the end of the bow. When the string is released, the potential energy of the flexed stick is transformed into the velocity of the arrow. Archery is basically the art or sport of shooting arrows with bows.
Today, bows and arrows are used primarily for hunting and for the sport of Archery.
The different types of Bow
The longbow is simple and very light. It is a basic wooden bow with one string. Its origin can be traced back to the Middle Ages. This type is used mainly in competitions with wooden arrows for instinctive archery.
This classic bow can be used for both for recreation and for competition, on both indoor and outdoor targets. This particular style of bow is also used in the Olympic Games. Its draw weight ranges from 15 to 20 pounds. This bow is made of a solid riser with flexible limbs attached to it. These limbs can be of wood for beginners or aluminium or magnesium for competition. The recurve bow can be supplemented with a multitude of accessories: (arrow rest, stabiliser, sight, etc…)
The compound bow is a quick, powerful bow with a system of pulleys at the tips of its limbs. This pulley system gives your bow greater draw weight (the equivalent draw weight of a normal bow multiplied by 1.5). This bow is also somewhat more comfortable when fully drawn. The effort is reduced, giving you more time to aim.
Note: there are different bows for left- and right-handed archers!
Draw length, height and draw weight
It is very important to choose a bow that suits you. Depending on your height, your strength and the distance that you shoot, you will choose a bow or varying height and draw weight.
The draw weight of a bow is measured in pounds (one pound = 0.45kg), and the height, in inches. The height of your bow will depend on your draw length, i.e. the maximum distance the string can be displaced.
To find out your draw length, you need to first test out a bow. Take the bow in your hands and then, without using an arrow, stand in the shooting position. The distance between the string (where you would place the nock of your arrow) and the clicker (just beside the arrow rest) is your draw length. Ease the string back into its original position, without releasing it, in order not to damage the bow.
To find out the ideal height for your bow, consult the chart below, which matches most bows.
Maximum draw length
1.37 m or 54″
68 cm or 27″
12 to 20 pounds
1.57 m or 62″
71 cm or 28″
12 to 24 pounds
1.67 m or 66″
76 cm or 30″
14 to 26 pounds
1.72 m or 68″
81 cm or 32″
16 to 30 pounds
1.77 m or 70″
86 cm or 34″
18 to 32 pounds
Draw weight varies according to the bow’s height. The bigger your bow, the greater the draw weight. The draw weight is inscribed on the lower limb. You can adjust the draw weight by an average of around 10 pounds on most recurve and compound bows. So your bow can be adapted as you grow and progress.