What Size Recurve Bow Do I Need

So, you’re ready to step into the world of archery and join the ranks of those who embrace the art of shooting with a recurve bow. But before you can embark on this exciting journey, you may find yourself wondering, “What size recurve bow do I need?” Finding the right size is crucial to ensure you have a comfortable and effective shooting experience. In this article, we will guide you through determining the perfect size for your recurve bow, considering your own physical attributes and shooting preferences. So, let’s dive in and find the ideal recurve bow size that will have you hitting the bullseye in no time!

Factors to Consider

When choosing the right recurve bow for you, several factors must be considered. These factors will help determine the appropriate draw length, draw weight, and overall bow length that will suit your needs and abilities. Additionally, the purpose of use and your physical strength and ability will also play a significant role in finding the perfect recurve bow for you.

What Size Recurve Bow Do I Need

Draw Length

The draw length is the distance between the bowstring at full draw and the grip of the bow. Determining your draw length accurately is crucial, as it will affect your shooting accuracy and comfort. There are a few methods you can use to measure your draw length.

Wingspan Method

One simple way to measure your draw length is by using the wingspan method. Stand with your arms outstretched and parallel to the ground. Have someone measure the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other. Divide this measurement by 2.5 to obtain your estimated draw length.

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Archer’s Loop Method

Another method is the archer’s loop method. Extend your arm to the side and form a loose fist with your bow hand. Place the bowstring against your fist and extend it with your other hand. The distance between the base of your thumb and the corner of your mouth is an approximate measurement of your draw length.

Professional Measurement

For a more accurate measurement, you can visit an archery shop or consult with a professional archer who can help determine your draw length. They will typically use specialized equipment to measure your draw length precisely.

Choosing the Draw Weight

The draw weight refers to the amount of force required to pull back the bowstring and reach full draw. It directly affects the speed and power of your shots. When considering the draw weight, matching it with your ability and shooting goals is essential.

Beginner’s Draw Weight

As a beginner, starting with a lower draw weight is recommended to develop proper form, technique, and muscle strength. Typically, a draw weight of 20-25 pounds is suitable for beginners.

Intermediate Draw Weight

Once you have gained experience and strength, you can gradually increase the draw weight. Intermediate archers usually shoot with draw weights ranging from 25-35 pounds.

Advanced Draw Weight

Advanced archers, who have developed significant physical strength and shooting skills, can handle higher draw weights. Draw weights beyond 35 pounds are common for advanced archers.

What Size Recurve Bow Do I Need

Determining Overall Bow Length

The overall bow length is determined mainly by your height and the type of bow you choose. The length of the bow affects its performance, stability, and maneuverability.

Recurve Bow Length Chart

For recurve bows, a general guideline is to choose a bow length that is equal to or slightly longer than your draw length. However, it is crucial to consult a manufacturer’s chart specific to the brand and model you are interested in, as different manufacturers may have slightly different recommendations.

Height-based Recommendation

A common rule of thumb is to select a recurve bow length that is roughly equal to your height in inches. For example, if you are 5 feet 8 inches tall, a 68-inch bow would be a suitable choice.

Manufacturer’s Guidelines

It is always best to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines when in doubt. Different manufacturers may have their own specific recommendations based on their design and engineering.

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What Size Recurve Bow Do I Need

Considerations for Target Archery

If your primary purpose for using a recurve bow is target archery, there are a few additional considerations to remember.

Indoor or Outdoor

Consider where you will primarily be shooting. Indoor ranges often have distance limitations, while outdoor ranges allow for longer shooting distances. The required draw weight and bow length may vary depending on whether you shoot indoors or outdoors.

Target Size

The target size you will be shooting at is another important factor to consider. Smaller targets may require more precision and accuracy, while larger targets may allow for a broader margin of error. Adjust your equipment accordingly to optimize your shooting experience.

Considerations for Hunting

If you plan to use your recurve bow for hunting, specific factors must be considered to ensure a successful and ethical hunting experience.


Legal Requirements

Check the legal requirements and regulations for bowhunting in your area. Some jurisdictions have specific laws regarding the minimum draw weight and arrow requirements for hunting certain game.

Arrow Penetration

When hunting, choosing a draw weight that will allow for sufficient arrow penetration is crucial to ensure a humane kill. Consult with experienced hunters or professionals to determine the appropriate draw weight for your target game.


Hunting often requires quick movements and shots in various positions. Consider a recurve bow that offers the maneuverability you need in different hunting scenarios. A shorter bow length may provide better maneuverability in tight spaces.

Factors Affecting Physical Strength

Your physical strength plays a significant role in determining the appropriate recurve bow size for you. Several factors can affect your physical strength.

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Our physical strength, muscle tone, and flexibility may decline as we age. It is essential to consider this factor when selecting a recurve bow size. Older individuals may find shooting with lighter draw weights and shorter bow lengths more comfortable.


On average, males tend to have more upper body strength than females. However, this does not mean females cannot shoot heavier draw weights or longer bow lengths. It is crucial to select a recurve bow size that matches your individual strength and abilities, regardless of gender.

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Fitness Level

Your overall fitness level and muscle tone will also impact your ability to handle different draw weights and bow lengths. Engaging in regular physical exercise and strengthening exercises specific to archery can help improve your shooting performance and enable you to handle more challenging equipment.

Choosing a Bow Size According to Strength

Consider your physical strength and ability when choosing the size of your recurve bow.

Youth Bows

For young archers and beginners with limited physical strength, youth bows are designed with lower draw weights and shorter bow lengths to accommodate their needs. These bows allow young archers to develop proper technique and gradually build strength.

Adult Bows

Adult bows provide a wider range of draw weights and bow length options. Choose a bow size that matches your physical strength, shooting goals, and shooting style. Finding a balance between challenging yourself and ensuring comfort and stability while shooting is essential.

Adjusting for Personal Preference

While considering all the technical aspects of selecting a recurve bow, it is also essential to consider personal preference.

Personal Comfort

Ultimately, you will be spending a significant amount of time shooting with your recurve bow. Choose a bow that feels comfortable in your hands and suits your shooting style. Comfortable grips, limb designs, and overall balance are factors to consider when selecting a recurve bow.

Bow Style

Different bow styles, such as takedown or one-piece bows, offer different advantages and shooting experiences. Research and try different bow styles to find the one that suits your preferences and shooting goals. Remember, it’s about finding the bow that feels right for you.

Hand Orientation

Consider your dominant hand when choosing a recurve bow. Most bows can be used by both right-handed and left-handed archers with the right bow configuration. Ensure that the bow you select suits your hand orientation for optimal shooting.

Seeking Professional Advice

If you are unsure about which recurve bow size is best for you or have specific requirements, seeking professional advice is highly recommended.

Consulting with an Archery Shop

Visit an archery shop that specializes in recurve bows. The experts there can provide personalized assistance, help measure your draw length, recommend appropriate draw weights and bow lengths, and guide you through the selection process.

Hiring a Coach or Instructor

If you are new to archery or want to improve your skills further, consider hiring a coach or instructor. They can provide valuable guidance, assess your abilities, and help you select the right bow size for your needs. A professional’s expertise can greatly enhance your archery experience.

By considering factors such as draw length, weight, overall bow length, purpose of use, and physical strength, you can confidently choose the right recurve bow size. Remember to prioritize comfort, seek professional advice when needed, and enjoy the art of archery with your new recurve bow!

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