A lot goes into whether or not a recurve bow could kill a human. There are many factors at play including the draw weight and placement of the arrow in the person’s body.
The short answer is:
Yes, a recurve bow can kill a human. Typically it would either take at least 40lbs of draw weight or a very well-placed arrow. Because of this, we need to be more cautious with how we use recurve bows.
Recurve bows are used for hunting all around the world. If a recurve bow could kill a 700lb elk it absolutely could kill a 200lb human.
When it comes to bow fatality, it is more about arrow placement than draw weight. Although draw weight is important, placement is everything.
A poorly handled bow can lead to serious injury or death. We will go over how to use a recurve bow for self-defense if you need to as well as how to use a recurve bow safely and responsibly.
Recurve bows themselves are not inherently dangerous. They get dangerous when they are in reckless hands.
Using a Recurve Bow for Self-Defense
Although not recommended, recurve bows could be used for self-defense. I actually wrote a whole article about the best recurve bows for self-defense.
Personally, I would recommend leaving recurve bows as a secondary form of self-defense. If you or your loved ones are being threatened by someone with a gun, it is unlikely you’ll have a good chance with just a recurve bow.
A recurve bow could be an excellent backup self-defense weapon. I leave mine in my garage for when I am unable to get to my primary weapon. Although recurve bows were not designed to be used for self-defense, they can certainly do the trick if the time arises.
If you plan on using the bow for self defense, you may want to practice firing quickly and instinctively. There is a whole specialty of archery called instinctive shooting.
Set up your target 5-10 meters (15-30 ft) away. Rather than holding up the bow and firing it as you normally would, practice firing off the cuff. What that means is picking up your bow, quickly nocking an arrow, then firing in a matter of seconds.
It is a very different kind of archery than what most people are used to but is a great way to practice using your bow for self-defense.
I try to take 100 shots a day to work on my aim, then I’ll spend about 15 minutes working on my self-defense archery.
If you are wondering if a recurve bow could kill a human for self-defense purposes, you’ll have to have the skill to do so. Just because you can hit a target, does not mean you can protect yourself using a recurve bow. like everything, it will take practice to be able to do it efficiently.
Recurve Bow Safety
Recurve bows are very serious tools. They can be classified as weapons and yes, they are more than capable of killing a human. This is why as an archer, you need to know proper recurve bow safety.
There are two major parts to recurve bow safety, the first is proper bow safety when the bow is in use. The other is when the bow is not in use.
In-Use Recurve Bow Safety
There is much more that goes into recurve bow safety when the bow is in use. This is a powerful weapon that is being fired at high rates repeatedly. The chance of something going wrong is not low and you need to know how to use the bow safely.
When target shooting, be sure to have a clear idea of your surroundings. I cannot tell you how many times my children ran into the backyard while I was target shooting.
My friend used to target shoot in his backyard with earphones on. that’s the kind irresponsible kind of archery that could get a person killed. Be sure to always be aware of people or pets crossing the line of fire while you are target shooting.
Also, be aware of the background of your target. Sometimes we have these shots that just miss by a long shot. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Even NBA players airball a shot sometimes.
When that occurs you need to be sure that you have a strong backstop to your target. Your backstop can be anything. Most archers use the side of their house or brick fence as a backstop. As long as there is clearly something to stop the arrow if you miss the target completely.
Also never dry fire a bow. If you don’t know what that means, dry firing a bow means pulling the string back and firing it without an arrow being nocked. This is actually very harmful to the bow and potentially dangerous to the archer.
Not In Use Bow Safety
When recurve bows are just laying around, they can still pose a safety risk to others. Especially if you leave your recurve bow strung.
In most cases, if you have a newer recurve bow, you can leave it strung when not in use but that does come with some potential safety hazards. The first being that anyone can pick up the bow and dry fire it.
Be sure to talk to others in the home about proper bow safety. If you have children in your home be sure to either unstring the bow after use or put the bow in a safe location. Children have been known to either damage recurve bows or hurt themselves fiddling with them.
Recurve bows are not dangerous if handled properly. Nearly if not all, recurve deaths and injuries are caused by negligent use.
A recurve bow is not a toy. It has the capability to kill an adult human. If you plan on using a recurve bow for self defense you may want to consider get a bow with a draw weight of at least 40lbs.
In most cases, recurve bow safety is just common sense. Stay safe and enjoy your recurve bow!
Archery is my hobby & I usually hunt and play on weekends and after work. It’s a passion since I was very young and I love writing about it as well to continuously learn more and share the love of archery with others!