# What is a recurve bow?

When I hear people talking about archery or I read something about it, there is often a "recurve bow" mentioned. Altough I know how it's shaped etc. I wanted to know what exactly makes a bow to a recurved one?

## A bow whose string touches a section of the limb ...

Yeah, all these different bows may confuse a beginner. However, it's generally really easy like in this case. A recurve is simply defined as "a bow of which the string touches a section of the limb when it is strung".

To further explain this definition refer to this image:

• The string: as you might have guessed it's the straight, drilled cord
• The limb: the bent wood

As you can see the string "touches" the wooden limb for about 3" on the top. As soon as this happens, the bow is a recurve bow.

## But what about the shape?!

Ah, a nice topic. One might guess that a recurve is shaped in a particular way and that's why it's a recurve. That's (surprisingly) wrong!

Note: Before you read further. There are a few more details which make a "horseman bow" different from a "recurve" but that's another topic.

Let's examine a so called "horseman bow":

And now a recurve bow:

Okay, besides the "waves" in the limbs pretty much the same, eh? But have you mentioned the tips?

Horseman bow string doesn't touch the limb:

Whereas a recurve's cuddles:

## Conclusion

A recurve bow has tips that curve away from the archer when the bow is unstrung. By definition, the difference between recurve and other bows is that the string touches a section of the limb when the bow is strung. A recurve bow stores more energy and delivers energy more efficiently than an equivalent straight-limbed bow, giving a greater amount of energy and speed to the arrow. A recurve will permit a shorter bow than the simple straight limb bow for a given arrow energy and this form was often preferred by archers in environments where long weapons could be cumbersome, such as in brush and forest terrain, or while on horseback.