How To Choose The Best Longbow For Your Needs

Imagine yourself standing in a lush green forest, surrounded by towering trees and the sound of birds chirping in the distance. In your hands, you hold a longbow, a magnificent weapon that dates back centuries. But with so many options available, how do you choose the best longbow for your needs? Whether you’re a seasoned archer or just starting out, this article will guide you through the essential factors to consider when selecting the perfect longbow for your unique shooting style and preferences. From draw weight and length to materials and craftsmanship, we’ll help you make an informed decision that will elevate your archery game to the next level. Get ready to embark on an exciting journey of discovery, as you find the longbow that will become your loyal companion on every adventurous quest.

Consider Your Purpose

When choosing a longbow, it’s essential to start by considering your purpose. Are you planning on target shooting or hunting? Each activity requires different features and specifications in a longbow.

Target shooting

If target shooting is your primary purpose, you’ll want to focus on finding a longbow that offers accuracy and consistency. Look for a bow with a smooth draw and a comfortable grip that allows for steady aiming and easy release. Additionally, you may want to consider a longer bow length to enhance stability and reduce hand shock.


For hunting, you’ll need a longbow that offers power and ample arrow penetration. Look for a bow with a higher draw weight that can deliver the force needed to take down game effectively. Additionally, consider the camouflage options available for hunting longbows to blend in with your surroundings and avoid detection.

Determine Your Draw Length

Knowing your draw length is crucial in selecting the right longbow. The draw length determines how far you can comfortably pull the bowstring, which affects your accuracy and shooting experience. There are a few methods to determine your draw length.

Measure your wingspan

One way to estimate your draw length is by measuring your wingspan. Stand with your arms out, palms facing forward, and measure the distance from fingertip to fingertip. Divide this number by 2.5 to get an approximate draw length. Remember, this method provides a rough estimate and seeking professional advice is recommended for accuracy.

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Use a draw length chart

Another option is to use a draw length chart. These charts typically relate your height to your estimated draw length. Find your height on the chart and match it to the corresponding draw length measurement. While this method is more accurate than measuring wingspan alone, it’s still advisable to seek professional assistance for precise measurements.

Seek professional help

To ensure the most accurate draw length measurement, it’s best to seek assistance from a knowledgeable archery professional. They can use specialized tools to measure your draw length correctly. They will consider your wingspan, arm length, and other factors to determine the ideal draw length for you.

How To Choose The Best Longbow For Your Needs

Evaluate Your Draw Weight

Draw weight refers to the amount of force required to pull back the bowstring fully. It directly influences the speed and power of your arrow. Consider the following factors when evaluating your draw weight options.

Consider your physical strength

Your physical strength plays a significant role in determining the appropriate draw weight for your longbow. If you’re a beginner or lacking upper body strength, it’s advisable to start with a lower poundage bow. This allows you to develop proper form and technique without straining yourself.

Start with a lower poundage

Starting with a lower poundage longbow is beneficial for beginners. It allows you to focus on refining your shooting form and building the necessary muscles gradually. It’s better to start with a comfortable draw weight and increase it as you gain experience and strength.

Gradually increase draw weight

As you become more proficient and stronger, you can gradually increase your draw weight. This progression will allow you to shoot with more power and accuracy. Avoid jumping to significantly higher poundages too quickly, as it may lead to fatigue, improper form, and potential injuries.

Decide on the Bow Length

The length of a longbow influences its characteristics, including its accuracy, stability, and maneuverability. Here are some popular longbow lengths and their characteristics:

Recurve Longbow

A recurve longbow refers to a bow with limbs that curve away from the archer when unstrung. This design provides greater power and efficiency compared to a straight-limbed longbow. Recurve longbows are suitable for beginners and experienced archers alike.

Flatbow/Traditional Longbow

A flatbow, or traditional longbow, features straight limbs that don’t have any noticeable recurve. These bows have a more traditional, classic look and offer a smoother draw cycle. Traditional longbows are often favored by archers looking for a more nostalgic and traditional shooting experience.


A horsebow, also known as a Mongolian bow or Asian recurve bow, has dramatic limb curvature that contributes to its excellent speed and power. These bows were historically used by mounted archers and are known for their compact size and quick-release.

Longbow length chart

To determine the ideal longbow length, you can refer to a longbow length chart. These charts consider your draw length and provide recommended bow lengths based on that measurement. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and personal preference should also be considered.

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How To Choose The Best Longbow For Your Needs

Choose the Right Material

Longbows can be made from various materials, each offering its unique characteristics. Consider the following materials when choosing a longbow:


Wooden longbows are popular and often provide a classic and traditional look. They are known for their smooth and forgiving performance. Wood absorbs vibrations well, reducing hand shock. Additionally, wood longbows are typically more affordable than those made from other materials.


Fiberglass longbows offer durability and consistency. The combination of fiberglass and other materials creates a bow that is resistant to moisture and temperature changes. These bows generally require less maintenance and can be a good option for those planning to shoot in various weather conditions.

Carbon fiber

Carbon fiber longbows are known for their lightweight and exceptional strength. They often provide fast arrow speeds and less hand shock. Carbon fiber bows are popular among experienced archers looking for high-performance equipment. However, they tend to be more expensive compared to other materials.

Consider the Bow Design

The design of a longbow affects its shooting characteristics and your shooting style. Here are some common longbow designs to consider:

One-piece longbows

One-piece longbows consist of a single solid piece of material. They offer simplicity, durability, and often have a traditional look and feel. These bows are typically preferred by archers who appreciate the traditional shooting experience.

Takedown longbows

Takedown longbows feature limbs that can be detached from the riser, allowing for easy transportation and storage. This versatility makes takedown longbows popular among archers who travel frequently or want the option to interchange limbs for different draw weights.

Reflex/deflex longbows

Reflex/deflex longbows have limbs that curve slightly forward (reflex) or backward (deflex) when unstrung. This design enhances the bow’s efficiency, speed, and accuracy. Reflex/deflex longbows are chosen by archers who prioritize performance and faster arrow speeds.

Static recurve longbows

Static recurve longbows combine the classic longbow design with some recurve characteristics. These bows offer a mixture of power, smoothness, and stability. They are an excellent choice for archers who appreciate the traditional longbow style but desire some of the benefits of a recurve design.

Hybrid longbows

Hybrid longbows combine features and characteristics from various bow designs. They offer a balance between traditional and modern shooting experiences. Hybrid longbows often focus on comfort, speed, and stability, making them suitable for archers looking for a versatile and high-performing bow.

Think About Your Shooting Style

Consider your shooting style and preferences when selecting a longbow. Here are two common shooting styles to consider:

Traditional shooting style

If you enjoy a more traditional shooting experience, you may prefer a longbow that aligns with historical designs. Traditional shooting styles often involve shooting without sights or other technical aids. Choose a longbow that suits your traditional shooting style, focusing on aesthetics, simplicity, and the connection to archery’s historical roots.

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Modern shooting style

For those who prefer a more modern approach to archery, modern longbows offer features that enhance accuracy and shooting performance. These bows may include accessories such as sights, stabilizers, and even mechanical releases. Consider a longbow that accommodates your modern shooting style and allows you to utilize additional equipment for improved accuracy.

Test Different Bows

Before making a final decision, it’s important to test different longbows to find the one that suits you best. Here are a few ways to explore and try out various bows:

Visit an archery store

Visiting an archery store allows you to see and handle different longbows in person. Talk to the store staff, express your preferences and shooting goals, and ask for their recommendations. They may even offer you the opportunity to test shoot different bows on their indoor range.

Attend archery events

Archery events, such as tournaments or demonstrations, often provide a chance to test various longbows. Many manufacturers and sellers set up booths where you can try out their bows. Attending these events can give you a valuable hands-on experience and help you make an informed decision.

Borrow from friends or local clubs

If you have friends who are archers or local archery clubs nearby, ask if you can borrow their longbows. This allows you to try different bows without making a significant financial commitment upfront. It also gives you the opportunity to experience shooting with a particular longbow and see how it feels in your hands.

Consider Your Budget

When choosing a longbow, it’s essential to consider your budget. Longbows come in a wide range of prices, and setting a budget helps narrow down your options. Be realistic about your budget and find a balance between quality and affordability.

Set a budget

Determine how much you are willing to spend on a longbow. Consider your commitment to archery, how often you plan to use the bow, and your long-term goals. Setting a budget helps prevent overspending and allows you to focus on longbows within your price range.

Understand the cost factors

Keep in mind that the cost of a longbow can vary based on different factors, such as materials, design, and brand reputation. Custom-made longbows or those crafted from high-quality materials are often pricier. Consider whether investing in a more expensive longbow aligns with your archery goals and level of commitment.

Seek Recommendations

When choosing a longbow, it’s beneficial to seek recommendations from experienced archers. Their insights and personal experiences can help guide your decision-making process. Here are a few ways to seek recommendations:

Ask experienced archers

If you know any experienced archers personally, seek their advice and recommendations. They can provide valuable insights into different longbow brands, models, and features based on their own experiences. They may also offer guidance on proper form, shooting techniques, and maintenance.

Join archery forums or communities

Online archery forums and communities are excellent sources of information. Join these platforms, ask questions, and share your requirements and preferences. Archers from all levels of experience are usually eager to offer their advice and recommendations. Additionally, you can find detailed reviews and discussions on specific longbow models.

Choosing the best longbow for your needs requires careful consideration of your purpose, draw length, draw weight, bow length, material, design, shooting style, budget, and seeking recommendations. Take your time, explore different options, and remember to test and try out various bows before making a final decision. By finding the right longbow, you’ll enhance your archery experience and increase your chances of success on the range or in the field. Happy shooting!

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