How To Buy a Recurve Bow: Ultimate Guide

Important Note:
Once you’ve decided what recurve and arrows you want, we recommend reading our list of bow accessories you need to get to start shooting your recurve.

Step #1: Determine Your Draw Weight Requirements

Your first step should be determining your draw weight. This refers to the amount of force you need to apply to fully draw your bow (pull the string). To figure out a safe draw weight range for yourself, please see:

This is a critical step and you should start with it before you start looking at actual recurve bow models to buy.

Step #2: Do You Want To Hunt?

Every recurve bow is appropriate for target practice, but not every recurve bow is appropriate for hunting. Whether your bow will be suitable for hunting is determined primarily by its draw weight. Not everyone though is capable of handling the draw weight required for hunting (see draw weight chart above).

To figure out how much draw weight you need to hunt, see:

Will take you 30 seconds to read it.

Step #3: Compare Recurve Bows

Now that you know what draw weight you need, you can choose your recurve bow. We have prepared a number of excellent comparison charts to help you do just that. Each chart makes it easy for you to compare draw weight and other stats. Here are our most popular comparison lists:

Take your time to browse through these lists and find a few recurve bows that you like. Make sure they feature a draw weight appropriate for your needs as determined earlier.

Step #4: Read Our Reviews

The next step is to read reviews of the recurve bows you are interested in. You want to learn about the pro’s, con’s, what to expect, how much they cost, and so on. Please see:

Each of these reviews was written by an expert who has shot the bow in question on multiple occasions.

Step #4: Choose Your Arrows

Important: there is some experimentation involved with arrows. Don’t attempt to buy the “perfect arrows” your first time around as this is impossible. Start out with some good arrows and after you acquire a bit of experience, you can buy some different ones and experiment. Arrows behave differently depending on the archer, the bow you have, shooting distances etc. There is no such thing as “the right arrows for a certain bow.” You’ll need to experiment a bit, there’s no way around this.

To get you started in choosing the right arrows for a beginner, please see:

Again: don’t waste your time trying to buy the perfect arrows if you haven’t got some experience shooting a bow yet. Just get some good ones and experiment.

Step #5: Other Necessary Items To Buy

Highly recommended reading: List of Accessories To Buy With Your Recurve Bow

Most recurve bow packages you buy come “raw.” The package will only include:

  • Bow (riser / limbs)
  • String

Arrows are almost never included with quality recurve bows. Follow the instructions in step #4 above to choose the right arrows and buy them separately. There are two other things you will need to buy:

  • Nocking point for the string
  • Bow stringer

The nocking point is attached to the string and its the part that comes in direct contact with the nock of the arrow. Without a nocking point, you can’t shoot a recurve bow. Nocking points are typically not included with recurve bows (unless you buy a whole set). You must buy the nocking point separately.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Some questions you might be asking yourself:

Q: What should the draw length of my recurve be?
Answer: pretty much all recurve bows are “set” for a draw length of 28″. Even if your draw length is 30″ or 31″, you will still be able to comfortably shoot a 28″ draw length recurve bow, albeit it may feel slightly heavier to draw.

Q: Should I get a right- or left-handed recurve bow?
this of coure depends on your hand orientation, which is determined based on the hand you draw the bow with. If you draw the bow with the right hand, you need a right-handed bow, and a left-handed bow if you draw with your left hand. orientation has nothing to do with the hand you hold the bow in; only with the hand that pulls the string.

Q: What should the length of the recurve bow itself be?
Answer: you should strive for a minimum length of your draw length x 2. So if your draw length is 30 inches, a 60″ bow or longer will be ideal. While longer bows are generally more accurate, keep practicality (transport, etc.) in mind as well.

Q: What should the weight of the recurve bow itself be?
Answer: as long as it weighs 3.5 lbs. or less, you’ll be fine. The only difference the bow’s weight makes is in how easy it is to carry on long hunting trips. Bows for youth and women will usually weigh closer to 2 lbs. If you’re an adult male, don’t worry about the weight.

Q: Will the bow be ready for shooting out of the box?
Answer: no it won’t. You’ll need to string it first, and then tune it. The tuning process can take a few hours, but it’s really fun and will teach you a lot about the weapon. Please see:

How To Buy a Recurve Bow – Summary

Here’s a really quick rundown of what we’ve learned above:

  1. Determine your draw length
  2. Determine whether you want to hunt or not
  3. Compare recurve bows together and find a few that you like
  4. Read our detailed reviews to determine pro’s and con’s of each model
  5. Use our guide to quickly determine proper arrow length and type
  6. Buy the bow, arrows, some nocking points, and preferably an armguard as well

Hopefully this helps, and that you are satisfied with your purchase. Good luck.


Add a Comment
    1. Depends Dan on your requirements. I recommend reading my reviews of both these bows and deciding for yourself.

  1. I’ve learned so much from this guide I feel like I should tip you! I now know exactly what I’m buying and what I need to do. I can’t thank you enough.

  2. I’m a 12 year old male, 5’7″ and 125 pounds but my doctor says I am going to be about 6 feet and 140 at 13. Should I use small frame male or larger children?

  3. On the Q & A page , about should I buy a left or right handed bow, depends on hand orientation, don’t you think it should be if your left or right eye dominate. This determines whether your left or right handed.

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