Bow Styles

Here you will find all the different types of bow and archery styles.
For the techniques you will need to master these styles, see technique.
Also note bow styles are the types of bow you shoot, which are different to types of archery: which are the targets you shoot; more about those can be found in archery types.


This is by far the most popular discipline at the club, or in general, and is usually the style most archers learn first. You have the bow, which is made up by a riser and a pair of limbs, equipped with a sight, stabilisers (ie a long rod + pair of side rods), a clicker, and all sorts of optional accessories depending on the archer’s personal choice. These accessories may aid the archer executing a sharper shot, or modify the way the bow feels in the hand, be it weight, balance or the bow’s reaction to the shot. The recurve style is finger-drawn, unlike the compound style, with the index finger above the arrow and the middle + ring fingers below. The anchor-point is just underneath the chin.
More about the bows can be found here.


Take the sight, stabilisers, clicker and all bits of fancy accessories off a recurve bow and you get a barebow (no it’s not naked archery, sorry). Instead of using the sight, you aim by using the arrow tip, or your hand, or part of the riser and align these reference points to reference points somewhere on the target. The lack of sight and stabiliser rods arguably makes barebow archery harder than recurve archery, but when you get solid sight marks, you can shoot as well as any recurve archer. The barebow is again finger-drawn, but this time with three fingers under the arrow. The anchor point is usually the corner of the mouth (as well as the cheek bone), allowing the archer to look/aim down the shaft of the arrow.


These fancy bows that look like dragons utilise pulleys to cleverly reduce the amount of draw weight at full draw. These were originally developed for bow-hunting, so the archer can stay at full-draw for minutes, waiting for a perfect opportunity for a clean shot. In target archery, a 65% let-off may allow a bow with a draw weight of 60lb, for example, only feel 25lb or so on your fingers at full draw. Meanwhile, the pulleys ensure that the power of the 60lb draw weight is stored in the bow. This will make an arrow fly much faster than a typical recurve bow. Compound archers also use mechanical release aids which means you release with a much more accurate trigger, rather than finger-loose.
More about compound bows can be found here.

Traditional bows

For example, ye olde longbow. This is the medieval bow we all think of when we first think of an archer. A longbow is a piece of (very good and expensive) wood with a string. The arrows are also traditional, made of wood goose-feather and steel tips. This aid-free style makes the longbow very hard to shoot, but it certainly looks very good indeed. The style is not exclusive to the longbow: you have horsebows, Korean, Mongolian and Japanese bows, all with their own shooting styles and technique (The Mongolian draw uses thumb rings, for example). They aren’t just history, either: for example, a modern hybrid bow, which is a mix of traditional recurve and traditional flatbow. When competing in the UK however, the longbow is a class on its own due to popularity, and the others are put into the barebow category.
More about the bows themselves can be found here.