Difference Between Longbow and Recurve Bow

Longbow vs Recurve Bow

For those who do not know, Longbow and Recurve are the names or rather terms used to refer to two different types of bows that are being used today in archery competitions, as well as hunting game. While bow and arrow have been used by mankind since time immemorial, there have been changes in the bow and the arrows that are used with the bows. Despite many similarities, there are differences between longbow and Recurve that will be highlighted in this article.


Longbow is a type of bow that is more or less similar to the English letter D. If you take a long and thin straw and try to make a bow out of it by turning it into a semicircle of sorts and tying a string at the two ends, what you get is a longbow. Longbow is the earliest bow made by mankind in its endeavor to make a weapon out of arrows that could be hurled at great velocity by drawing the string of these bows. Longbows are still being used though they are not allowed to be used by the contestants at the Olympics archery competitions.


Recurve is a type of bow that is a later invention in the history of mankind though excavations have revealed that these bows were being used by human beings even 2000 years ago. Recurve bow has limbs that are curved inwards at the end making it look very different from the longbow.

Longbow vs Recurve Bow

• Longbow is older in the history of mankind than Recurve.

• Longbow looks like the English letter D, whereas Recurve has the ends of the bow curved inwards.

• Recurve being shorter in length makes it more convenient to hold when used in close quarters.

• Curved ends of the bow provide more power to the arrow in the case of a Recurve. According to experts, same power used by the individual can impart 10% more velocity to the arrow in the case of a Recurve.

• Longbow is not permitted to be used by archers at the Olympics, and they can only use Recurve bows.