Recurve Bow Draw Weight Chart

I will make this real simple for you, as there is no need to over-complicate things when it comes to choosing your recurve bow draw weight. With all these numbers and poundage values floating around on the subject, I know it can get very confusing. Let me try to lift all of this confusion quickly.

To find out what different draw weights are capable off, please read this guide on Draw Weight Capabilities.

Below is a chart that will help you determine your starting draw weight limit, based on your own body weight and gender. All you have to do is choose the description in the left-hand column which best describes you, and to the right of that you will have a safe draw weight range that you can pick from. Please remember that if you have never shot a bow before, you should always aim for the lower draw weight range in the chart below. There is one thing I’d like you to keep in mind:

As you gain more experience shooting recurve bows, you will obviously gain strength and will be able to handle more draw weight, at which point you can forget about everything you see in the chart below and just go with what you think you can handle – it won’t be hard for you to tell once you’ve shot a few hundred arrows. So the chart below is mostly suitable for beginners who have never shot a real recurve before, or who have very limited experience with this form of archery.

Archer's WeightSuggested Draw Weight
Small Children (70-100 lbs.)10-15 lbs
Larger Children (100-130 lbs.)15-25 lbs
Small-Frame Female (100-130 lbs.)25-35 lbs
Medium-Frame Female (130-160 lbs)25-35 lbs
Small-Frame Male (120-150 lbs)30-45 lbs
Medium-Frame Male (150-180 lbs)40-55 lbs
Large-Frame Females (160+ lbs)30-45 lbs
Large Frame Men (180+ lbs)45-60 lbs

Now that you know what draw weight you should go for, check out one of the following lists:

How To Increase Your Draw Weight

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Draw Weight For Hunting

If you plan on hunting game, keep in mind that you will need a recurve bow with a draw weight of 40 pounds minimum. Anything less than that will result in a lot of missed opportunities during a hunt, particularly so when you need to shoot an arrow from a distance of more than 15 yards (which will often be the case). So if you plan on hunting, but the chart above suggest that you are unable to handle 40 pounds or more of draw weight, you should first purchase a bow that you are able to handle, then gain some experience by target practicing and improving your strength (particularly that of your back’s lateral muscles). Once you feel that you are capable of easily handling that draw weight, you may upgrade your bow to one that is a 40+ pounder and then go on your first all-natural bow hunting trip.

Once you’ve determined what your ideal drawing weight is, you should check out my best recurve bow comparison chart, where I’ve listed 10 of the best bows on the market, including full specs, reviews, and everything else you need to make a decision. No matter what your current draw weight potential is, you’ll find a recurve on my list that will be suitable for you.


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  1. Shared the link on facebook but couldn’t watch the video… it took several tries to share the link as well. Is it broken or am I? I’d love to see the video.

  2. My son tried bow shooting at camp this summer and really enjoyed it and asked me to get him a bow. The only problem is I know nothing about bow and arrows. He is 14 5’4″ and around 115lbs. He would use the bow just for target shooting. Also any recommendations on arrows would be appreciated. Thanks!

  3. My son and I recently started up with archery again after a 10 year sabbatical. We are enjoying it very much. Your articles have been extremely helpful. However, I have not been able to get the social links to work so that we can view the video. Please help.

  4. Hi I am looking at getting a take down bow I have done the odd indoor range shoot and I think it was a #35. If I was to get a lower pound bow can I swap out the limbs to up the pound without buying a new bow?

  5. Our grandson enjoyed archery this summer at scouting daycamp so my husband and I wanted to get a bow for him. He is 8 years old and of slight build and not tall. I believe he weights about 53 pounds. He is very good at soccer, using mainly, of course, his legs for that sport, but from looking at the chart above, I don’t think our grandson could use a recurve bow at this time. Tomorrow I can find out just how tall he is and how much he weighs for sure, but I’m know he isn’t 70 pounds, which is the smallest weight on your chart above. Does this mean he could not use a recurve bow at this time? Our son-in-law found a compound bow (Tiger-10 pound draw)that would be easier for my grandson to draw. My concern is, though, that if he starts using a compound bow, then he’ll want to move on to those bows which have all of the accessories. I’ll probably step on someone’s toes here, but I feel that using a recurved bow is more of a “real” sport than a bow with all of those accessories that practically enable the bow to shoot itself. Also, our grandson is left handed, which may complicate a proper bow selection. Please tell me if there is a recurved bow that is not expensive, that a smaller person could use. Thank you for your help.

    1. Cynthia Vance a Samick Little Fox recurve bow seems like a good start. They are reasonably priced and a pretty bow. Some will argue that it is poorly made/poor performance but I have had mine for several months and I love it. Everyone has their own opinions but I love mine and am looking into another Samick bow.

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