This is not an opinion-based question. For example, if someone were shown doing a quintuple axel on figure skates, anyone who knew anything about skating would point out that a "mere" quadruple axel has never been done, at least not in competition. (The "quad" is a quadruple toe loop.)

The link provided by Zack L in his comment, below, has a lot of pertinent information. But I still want to know: could an archer shoot down a low-flying jet plane, even with an arrow with an advanced high-explosive tip? Or is this an HE question?


Basically I agree with ShemSeger's answer:


But don't take my word for it, see for yourself:

Stan Lee's Superhumans: Deadly Shot

This guy is a real-life Hawkeye, he very matter-of-factly states that if he can see it, he can hit it with his bow and an arrow. And if you watch the video, you'll see that it's true, he hits everything, including a tiny pill flicked up into the air.

However, I want to add a few things.

Shooting style

In the film(s) we see that she uses the bow to hunt. Therefore, she has learned a "hunting style" to shoot.

So, here comes the part where I disagree with ShemSeger. I don't think that Lars Anderson is a good analogy. I want to reference some great shooters which shoot to kill (so, to hunt). It's the style of shooting which would fit best in the film's framework.

Here's a list:

Just comment if I've forgotten someone :)


So, the answer to your question is: "Yes, it's absolutely possible (even to top that)." Just look at a few of their videos. The accuracy is absolutely fascinating. Also, for example Jeff hunts with a 65 pound bow which is pretty much. A bow like this would be absolutely able to shoot an explosive arrowhead towards a plane (if it would really go down etc. is another question :)).


The funny thing is that the actor was trained an Olympic shooting style which differs from the hunting one. I don't want to go to deep into these differences, because it would be a topic for another question.

This video sums it up pretty well: https://youtu.be/nKS5dDQxp3M

From https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/108633/does-katniss-depict-proper-handling-of-a-bow:

Jennifer Lawrence was trained by Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig.

From this article:

To prepare for her role as "Hunger Games" heroine Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence trained with professional archer and Olympian Khatuna Lorig to learn how to properly shoot with a bow and arrow.

Edit: The thing with the plane

Because it was mentioned in the comments, I'm going to say something about the plane.

First of all a woman is absolutely able to draw a 65 pound due that the power to draw such comes out of the back muscles.

How far can one shoot with a 65 pound bow? That is of course dependent on the arrow, the bow and the draw length of the individual shooter. All these factors are included in the final value: the arrow's speed. So, to shorten this, we assume a speed of 210 fps (feets per second) or ~64 m/s. She has the longest range when she holds the bow to 45°:

R = (v²/g)*sin(2*a)

R = ((64 m/s)² / (9,81 m/s²)) * sin(90°)
R = 417,53 m

Okay, air resistance apply and so we have about 400m: if the plane was flying beneath 400m it would have been possible for her to shoot it.

Also, the speed of the plane shouldn't be that big problem if you consider videos like this:


One is able to hit exactly the point where two pendulums overlap. It's common sense that it's also possible then to find the right moment to hit something big like an airplane.

  • Assume the plane is flying at 200 mph (I'm asking an ex- bomber pilot neighbor how fast and how low plane might fly on a strafing run); 200 mph seems like a lower limit. In the scene where Katniss shoots the plane, it was low, but above her. Say at 50 feet? I'm having difficulty visualizing how far away she was -- say 50 feet? As for a 65 pound bow, it that plausible for a woman, even a woman in superb shape? How high/far away would the plane have to be for it to be a difficult shot to hit it amidships? As for the damage it could do if it hit, as you say, another question.
    – ab2
    Dec 1 '15 at 3:13
  • @ab2 I've answered you in the answer (see beneath "Edit:") :)
    – OddDeer
    Dec 1 '15 at 5:44


But don't take my word for it, see for yourself:

Stan Lee's Superhumans: Deadly Shot

This guy is a real-life Hawkeye, he very matter-of-factly states that if he can see it, he can hit it with his bow and an arrow. And if you watch the video, you'll see that it's true, he hits everything, including a tiny pill flicked up into the air.

Then there's Lars Anderson, if you think Katniss is dangerous, this guy is real, he can shoot 3 arrows in 0.6 seconds, he can shoot incoming arrows out of the air, or he can catch incoming arrows and shoot them back. I'm waiting for the next cinema archery hero to emulate the styles of archery Lars has resurrected. It won't be Lars though, he's kinda goofy looking... Legolas woulda been 1000 times more intense if he shot arrows the way Lars does.

  • 2
    Oh c'mon! Lars Anderson, really!? Jeff Kavanagh, Fred Bear, Howard Hill (the guy who inspired the Robin Hood myths), Fred Eichler - these are the folks who shoot straight. My personal favorite is Jeff Kavanagh btw :)
    – OddDeer
    Nov 30 '15 at 7:41
  • 3
    almost -1 for lars anderson. he is a trick shot and yes he can do some fast shooting but it's with a very low poundage bow (doesn't take much effort to pull) and his views on war / historical archery have been widely debunked. there are many, many better examples of accurate / speed / trick shooting that use bows & techniques comparable to those depicted in the film. Those 3 arrows in .6 seconds wouldn't penetrate much more than a sheet of cardboard.
    – jammypeach
    Nov 30 '15 at 13:13
  • 1
    @odddeer That first link is Byron Ferguson.
    – ShemSeger
    Nov 30 '15 at 13:33
  • 2
    @ShemSeger agree about his views. I don't agree about the 30lbs bow though. having shot plenty different types, weights and styles of bow, I can say from experience that chainmail is easily peirced with off-the-shelf field points (30lbs would do that fine), and that shooting an arrow that weighs alot (for instance, one with an explosive charge on the end) requires more than 30lbs unless it is a very light charge (i.e 50-100g total arrow weight)
    – jammypeach
    Nov 30 '15 at 13:51
  • 2
    @ShemSeger I'm not saying you haven't. stick em with the pointy end and you'll always do some damage. back to the topic.. In my opinion, in the film the OP is asking about, performing shots over the range depicted with the equipment depicted is likely to mean heavy arrows over long distance with a fairly flat trajectory. this requires a fast, powerful bow. In lars anderson's video, the speed shooting he does is a partial draw with a low powered bow, over short distance, with light arrows. for these reasons I consider that video a poor comparison to events depicted in the film.
    – jammypeach
    Nov 30 '15 at 14:34

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