Beginner Recurve Bow

I’m really stupid. No really, I am. The reason I say that is because I seem to have completely forgotten what it is like to be a beginner archer looking for a good bow to buy, and I took way too long to create this article. In fact, I should have written this guide the first day I launched my website; that’s because there are a few important nuggets of information a beginner needs to know, but which he can’t possibly know unless someone specifically tells him. Ok, enough of that. What’s a good beginner recurve bow?

Best beginner recurve list (2021)

Top beginner bows (2013-2020) – legacy rankings

The list below compares recurve bows that received top rankings between 2013-2020. Some of these bows are no longer on sale or are temporarily out of stock due to COVID-19-related problems, but I decided to leave the table here for the record.

#1: Beginner Recurve Bows For Target Practice And Hunting:

Samick Sage Recurve BowMartin Saber Recurve Bow
Bow length62 in.64 in.
Bow weight3.4 lbs.3.4 lbs.
Draw Weight40, 45, 50, 55 lbs.30, 40, 45, 50, 55 lbs.
Our ReviewOur Review

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#2: Quick notes on the above beginner bows:

Martin Jaguar Recurve

This is an excellent bow at a very affordable price which easily made it to my list of the twelve finest recurve bows in the world. It’s reliable, durable, precise, and even looks good – all for a really low price. It even comes in a variety of different draw weights so you can choose the most suitable one for you. If you aren’t sure where to start and would just like to dive right in, this is what I’d recommend getting.

Martin Saber Recurve

Another great choice for a beginner bow-shooter at a really affordable price. To be honest it doesn’t matter whether you get this one or the one mentioned above (the Jaguar) – both are excellent recurves at very affordable prices. You can safely choose based on personal preferences.

Ragim Wildcat Takedown Recurve Set

This is an excellent choice for those who are simply looking to get started as soon as possible. Granted, you won’t be able to use the Ragim Wildcat to hunt with (maybe for squirrels in your backyard but that’s pretty much it) due to the relatively low draw weights available. However, and as you can read in the capabilities of different draw weights article, even 25 pounds is more than enough for target practice and you can successfully hit targets from 70 yards and more if you’re a good shot.

From a beginner’s perspective, the great thing about the Ragim is that it can be bought as a whole set, which includes the 62″ Take-down recurve itself, arrows, a belt quiver, 4 arrows, an adjustable sight, instruction booklet and more. The perfect choice for novice wannabe-archers looking to dive right in.

#3: Other Recurve Bow Resources:

#4: Beginner Hunters: You Must Read This

As a general rule, a hunting recurve bow really shouldn’t have a draw weight of less than 40 pounds. There are two reasons for that:

  1. If below 40 lbs., you’ll be limited in the distance your arrow can travel, and
  2. If below 40 lbs., often times your arrow won’t pierce the target as well as it should.

As you can imagine, both of the above are things we want to avoid. You want to be able to easily hit a target from a relatively large distance (20+ yards), and you also want to make sure that when you do hit, the animal will quickly die and not suffer.

Please note that every recurve bow that is suitable for hunting will also be suitable for target practice.

Basically, not everyone is going to be able to handle a 40 lbs. and more, particularly if you are a beginner recurve bow enthusiast. If the bow is for a teenager, for example, or a female with a very petite frame, chances are they will not be able to hunt at all, at least for now. They could give it a shot of course, as the draw weight chart is not set in stone – there are many deviations from it, so nothing is lost for sure. If you are from any of these two groups (petite female or teenager), then I recommend trying out a 40 lbs. recurve bow in a store before actually making a purchase, just to make sure that you can handle it. For everyone else (mostly males of 16 years or more), it’s pretty safe to assume that you can handle a 40+ lbs. recurve.

#5: Choose The Draw Weight For Your Beginner Recurve Bow

Unlike compound bows, a recurve usually requires you to be decently strong in the arms and back – that is of course if you want to aim it properly and would like to do so with consistency. In case you didn’t know, bows are identified by their so called “draw weight.” What is that, you might ask?beginner recurve bow

Draw weight refers to the amount of force you, as the archer, need to apply to the string in order to fully draw it, and to allow for the most efficient transfer of energy from the bow and to your arrow. So the higher the draw weight of a recurve bow, the more energy ends up being transferred to the arrow, and therefore the straighter and the more powerful your shots will be. This could lead some novices to thinking that they should simply choose the a beginner recurve bow with the highest draw weight. Unfortunately, that is a wrong assumption.

You see, if the draw weight proves to be too much for your level of physical fitness, you will find it really hard to properly handle your bow; you simply won’t be able to steadily hold the drawn string for those few seconds when lining up your shot, your arms will start to shake from the effort, and you’ll end up missing miserably. As a result, you’ll find yourself losing motivation due to the lack of progress, and could even decide to ditch archery altogether. So how can you choose the right draw weight for your beginner bow to avoid that?

I have actually done all the work for you by preparing a recurve bow draw weight chart for beginners – just click that link (opens in a new window, I hope that’s ok) and scroll down to the chart. There you will see two columns:

  • Archer’s Weight
  • Suggested Draw Weight

Simply look at the first column to find your body weight and gender, then look to the second column to find what kind of draw weight is recommended for you. This chart was designed specifically for beginner archers interested in the recurve, so it’s gonna be pretty accurate.

#6: Summary

Here is a quick run down of what you should do:

  1. Determine what the ideal draw weight for you is right now, by using the chart I linked to above.
  2. Decide whether you want to hunt, target practice, or do a little bit of both.
  3. Pick one of my recommendations above based on what you want to do with the bow.

Finally, I would like to add that this list isn’t set in stone; there are a few other recurves which will fit the bill just fine. I picked the ones above in particular because they provide excellent value for the money you will spend, which I thought was a very important factor for a beginner archer (at least I know it was for me when I was starting out).

If you want to check out more bows, just head over to my best recurve bow page to see an extensive comparison chart including over a dozen of the world’s finest recurves. I’m sure that one of them will suit your fancy and that you’ll be scoring your first bulls-eye as soon as a few days from now.


Add a Comment
  1. Hey my name is Roan and I am a very enthusiastic archer wanna- be. Im 18 and go to college full time and work part time. My biggest concern is the weight chart. Im super small natuarall 115 lbs. And about 5’8 height skin and bones. The closest archery shop is very far and I have to ride my bike to get there. But I know that I dont want to buy a bow online before I know my own fitting. Also I dont know any proper form and I have bent spine. Im just looking for a little more help. Ive done plenty of research and I know that I want recurve. Ive got about $500 to drop on a bow/ equipment. Your website is great and very informative, I was just hoping to get a little more pointing in the right direction if at all possible. Thank you.

    1. Hello Roan

      Thank you for the great comment and I’m happy to hear you want to get into recurve shooting. Based on what you’ve told me about your weight/height, I think it will be important for you to get a take-down bow. You will probably have some trouble handling higher draw weight at first, but as your form improves and you get used to the motions your strength will go up drastically. As a result, buying a one-piece recurve with say 25-30 lbs. of draw weight would not be a good idea; even though this would be a good place to start, you will probably be able to easily pull 30-35 lbs. after a few months or even weeks of shooting. Basically, the lower the weight threshold you start from, the faster you can expect to improve. So to move from the 25# draw to the 35# is MUCH easier and will happen much faster than moving from say 45# to 55#.

      As a result, you need to plan ahead and realize that you’ll need to upgrade to a heavier bow pretty quickly. That’s why I recommend a take-down bow (the Martin Diablo would be a great place to start), because you can replace the limbs for heavier ones when the need arises.

      So I’d strongly recommend getting a take-down and avoiding one-piece recurves for the time being. Of course, the best solution would be to borrow a 25# bow and go through a few weeks of practice, and only then decide on what type of weight to get.

      As for form, here is a really quick guide to the basics:

      There’s of course much more to proper form than that, but the above is more than enough to get you started on the right track. Once you start shooting and if you have any questions about form, feel free to post here in the comments and I’ll do my best to help. I’m also working on a series of archery shooting form and technique articles, though it may take at least a month before that’s complete. At any rate, the article above will get you started nicely.

  2. I’m 35 and starting to get involved with archery. This site was extremely helpful and exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time to write this up! I will reference this site to anyone looking to get into archery. Have a good one!

  3. Hi,
    I used to shoot 40 years ago and I’m looking to get back in since my son and his son are actively shooting. our whole family used to shoot.
    This site is really a super site on archery and ideally for a beginner and novice. Thanks for putting it together.

  4. I must say that as a teen I archery had a very special place in my heart. Recently I began to revisit this love of mine and found your site to be so helpful in helping me remember why I love shooting a bow. Thank you for all the great info! I’m slowly building my confidence again when it comes to shooting a bow and arrow-especially a recurve. Very awesome and so excited to really start shooting even more so.

  5. What a great website! thank you for your precious work you do for beginner archers. There’s a lot of information to take in, and this is the best place to start!

  6. I really appreciate you posting this! Last time I shot an arrow I was 14 years old. Now my 16 year old daughter is interested and I would love to get back into it. Beautifully constructed article – easy to read, navigate and understand. Thank you so much! 🙂

    1. Thank you for this fantastic compliment, you are most welcome! I hope you and your daughter enjoy archery together for many years to come 🙂

  7. What have you heard about archerypros bows. I have seen the Storm and the F1. Never heard of them before. Didn’t know if there are any reviews on them.


  8. I am very interested on learning to use a bow, however, I am 59 years old and short (5’3″). My weight falls in the large frame woman range but I am not large so I was not certain if it would apply.
    I really just plan to shoot at targets and not hunt.

  9. Hi, thanks for all of your great advice! I’m wanting to get into archery and I was just wondering if bow length is super important? I’m a 5’7″ tall woman, would a 62-inch bow work for me?


  10. I am a 5’1 petite woman and am just starting archery. Right now, I am borrowing a friends recurve and it’s too much for me (63″, 40# recurve). But I really enjoy shooting and I’m ready to get my own bow. I need one I can string myself, however. I use a stringer but I’m not strong enough to hold it while I string it (I have to use both arms to pull the bow up so someone else has to string it. My arms are also very short (I have a 25″ draw length). I live alone and would like a bow I can string myself. Your site has been helpful in determining a draw weight, but I’m still lost when it comes to length and string-ability.

  11. Have you ever heard of Fuse Archery’s Intrepid recurve? The fellow who owns the local archery shop didn’t know much about that particular one but is able to get it.

    I’ve been looking for a nice LH 60″ bow with 50# draw that I can get back into target shooting/hunting with . I grew up on compounds but have always been drawn to stick bows. I appreciate how your site gives me all the tools to start me on my way.

  12. Looking to get into recurve hunting and out of compound. I am 6’4″ tall and about 175 lbs. I currently have a 30″ draw on my compound. Looking for advice as where to start for a bow and draw weight.

  13. Hi Mark,

    I’m male, 6’2″ and in fairly good shape, I think I’m going to get the Samick Sage as my first bow. I noticed that it comes from 25# to 60#. Using your chart, I should go with something around 50#, but seeing as I’m as novice as they come, I was wondering if I should go with a 45# to practice my form, and buy heavier limbs as I learn to shoot properly. If you could give some personal feedback on that, I’d be extremely appreciative.


  14. I have been doing archery for about a year. (I love it.) I’m a 14 year old girl, 5’3 and I weigh about 120. I shoot 45-50 pounds. I wanted to know if my draw weight was compared to average people around my age, and on most sites I have seen I’m not on the list for suggestions. Is it weird that I shoot so much higher? Thank you sooo much, I don’t see my instructor for 3 weeks so I was just hoping for some clarification before that. Also, this site is amazing!

  15. Thanks for the great site. Not sure if it is still being maintained or not, but nonetheless, Thank You! I think I’ve decided to go with the Samick Sage and you’ve cleared up a lot for me with so much great information. I went to the “Pro” shop locally and they sell an OMP Mountaineer, and the owner that runs the place apparently is apparently a local champ in the area, takes 1st place everywhere he goes I’ve heard, and I believe it as he is pretty full of himself it seems. I mentioned being interested in learning some basics and getting started, he grabbed a 28″ pull, 40# model off the wall and said this is what you need. No others in the same(or similar) setup to even handle.
    Upon going home and doing research on the Mountaineer, I found mentioned in a couple of places that it is a Chinese made bow, exactly like the Samick Sage, same factory, just rebranded, to the point that you can interchange limbs. The Mountaineer limbs are $115, vs. $75 currently for the Sage.
    He said if I bought from him that he’d fit it to me, I assume that means setting the nock? with a short starter lesson, and if I have problems with the bow it would be taken care of by him….and get in his good graces I guess. Oh, and for $40 an hour he gives starter lessons…However if I bring in a Sage bought elsewhere, he wants a $40 service fee in addition to any other costs incurred. I am completely new to this and plan to order the Sage once I decide on arrows, to see if I can get everything from one source to minimize shipping. I guess my question would be to anyone with an opinion, is whether it’s worth paying the “pro” service fee to set me up and give me a short lesson, or spend $40 more on his bow to get in his good graces. Thing is, the guy would barely answer a question. I mentioned the Sage online for $150 setup like I want it, once he heard I even looked online at anything I think he assumed I was there to try to milk free beginner info or something. He kept saying we’d go over whatever I asked after I bought something from him and that really irked me and left a bad taste in my mouth. But he IS the local recurve champ. LOL

  16. I am really stupid. No, really I am. I want to buy my first bow but how do I know whether to buy a right handed or a left handed bow? Does “right hand” mean you hold the bow with the right hand or that you release the arrow with the right hand?

  17. Hi!
    Your site is absolutely one of the most informative. THANKS for making it free!
    To my query …
    I’m a director of a camp in Monticello NY with about 360 acres of open space & woods. We’re starting a teen division with 11 & 12 year old boys & girls. I love archery (The Adventures of Robin Hood was my absolute favorite book growing up 😉 But I knew very little to nothing until reading yours & others sites. I need to purchase & build a bunch of stuff for the program. First, because the camp wants to purchase good but generically usable bows (that is, bows & arrows for boys & girls of deferring strength, weight & size, but similar age) I’d like to know what bows, arrows, stringers, replacement string, arm guards, finger guards, sights, targets, etc. you would recommend. If they come in sets? Also would hanging targets on trees or against hay stacks (most cost efficient way, I thought) work? Or do I need to build proper outdoor wood & plywood target range sets? Basically, I’m asking for a wish list of items (with a limited budget of $1500 to $2000) for 10 sets (7 right handed, 1 left handed, 1 right & 1 left handed adult). Thanks again. I truly appreciate the help.

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