What are Recurve Bows Used For? – 5 Common Uses

Recurve bows also known as traditional bows have made a comeback in the past decade. What was first thought to be a dying sport has been brought back to life by enthusiasts such as myself. The question is, what are recurve bows used for?

Recurve bows are most commonly used for sport, hunting, and entertainment. These are the primary uses for a recurve bow but others use it for things such as self-defense and even home decoration.

How you use a recurve bow is up to the archer and can change over time. When I first purchased my recurve bow it was exclusively for spending time with my kids, but over time I’ve begun using it for other things like hunting. Asking what a recurve bow is used for is like it what a cup is used for. It can be used for water, tea, or soda. It just depends on what the user prefers.

Not all recurve bows are built the same. When you are choosing a recurve bow, you need to have any idea what you’ll be using it for. The recurve bows used for competition are different than the recurve bows used for hunting.

Most Common Uses for a Recurve Bow

Here are the most common uses for recurve bows and the best recurve bow in each category.

1. Sport/Hobby

The first and most common use for a recurve bow is for general sport or hobby. These are your average archers that enjoy target practice in their backyard every once in a while. Like basketball for example it is an activity to enjoy with friends and family.

What are Recurve Bows Used For

My father introduced me to recurve bow archery when I was only a teen and it was an activity we did together on weekends. As I got older and had my own kids, I did the same with my daughter. The average recurve bow archer is likely to be found in this category.

Although any recurve bow can be used when using it as a hobby, the Samick Sage Recurve Bow is a great all-around bow, especially for casual archers. You can read my full Samick Sage Recurve Bow Review here.

2. Hunting

Another use for a recurve bow is hunting. Although hunting with a recurve bow is more difficult than hunting with a rifle, many enjoy the extra degree of difficulty. A recurve bow is the most primitive, realistic hunting tool (unless you’re going to pull out a spear).

No matter what part of the world you’re from your ancestors likely used a recurve bow for hunting. Many, including myself, enjoy the primitive aspect of using a recurve bow for hunting. Shot placement, wind direction, and preparation become significantly more important when hunting with a recurve bow.

It’s common for archers to purchase a recurve bow as just a hobby and move on the hunting later. I never thought I’d use a recurve bow for hunting until a friend of mine suggested I try it. There are many advantages and disadvantages to hunting with a recurve bow. I dive keep into the process on my article Recurve Bow Hunting a How-To Guide.

When choosing a recurve bow for hunting, you need to be more careful. You need to take into account how loud the bow is, its accuracy, and most importantly the bow’s maneuverability. I’ve written a full article going over the 5 Best Recurve Bows for Hunting.

3. Self-Defense

Although uncommon, some archers use a recurve bow for self-defense. I didn’t even know this till recently. A friend of mine asked me if I’d ever use a recurve bow in the case of a home invasion and my answer was probably not. This did trigger my curiosity enough to start doing research and apparently there are archers out there that use a recurve bow for self-defense.

I’ve considered the idea and have come to the conclusion that using a recurve bow for self-defense is probably not a good idea. They are hard to maneuver, aim, and are less fatal. They are however a good backup. I keep a recurve bow in my shed. In the unfortunate event that I am unable to get to my handgun in a self-defense situation, a recurve bow is better than nothing.

I would not recommend using a recurve bow as your primary source of self-defense but the reality is, it’s better than nothing. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to use a recurve bow to protect yourself.

  1. Shot placement – You have to be able to hit your target accuractly even while it’s moving.
  2. Arrow Head – You’ll need hunting broadheads to maximize your chances.
  3. Recurve Bow Location – Just like with a gun, your bow needs to be easy to get to.
  4. Firing Speed – Self-defense, much like hunting, requires you be able to fire off the arrow quickly.

Choosing a recurve bow for self-defense is tricky. You want a recurve bow with high accuracy, that’s quiet, and that’s easy to maneuver. Check out my article on the Best 3 Recurve Bows for Self-Defense.

4. Decoraction

Another potential use for a recurve bow is using a recurve bow for decoration. Recurve bows are objectively beautiful. Personally, I use a recurve bow for all of the following reasons including hanging one in my office for decoration.

Check out this picture below of my recurve bow in my home office.

There are countless wall mounts and bow stands you can use if you’d like to use your recurve bow for decoration purposes.

Recurve bows are literally a decoration you can use. Modern recurve bows, in particular, have a certain aesthetic appeal to them. Although it should not be a primary factor, I do take the design of the recurve bow into account when shopping around.

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to decoration but as you can tell I use my Samick Sage Recurve bow for decoration.

5. Competiting

Like with any sport or hobby, some do it on a professional level. Although not a mainstream sport yet, recurve bow competitions have been growing in popularity every year. If you didn’t know it’s actually a sport in the Olympics!

Archery in itself is not an expensive sport but if you are going to take it to a professional level, you’ll have to spend some money. Regular recurve bows range from $100-$250 while an Olympic recurve bow will cost you $700-$1,000.

The good news is there isn’t the same level of competition as you have with other sports.

My favorite detail about competitive archery is that it’s all about practice. Unlike most other sports, physical talent plays a very small role. No matter how much you practice if you’re 5’5″ you’re never be a professional basketball player.

On the other hand, if you look at competitive archers, they look like normal people. Many have them have normal day jobs like accountants or lawyers.

When it comes to competing your best option is Sanlida Archery Miracle X10 Olympic ILF Recurve Bow. This Olympic recurve bow might put a dent in your wallet but it’s a necessity for very high accuracy.

Final Thoughts – What are Recurve Bows Used For?

Recurve bows can be used for a wide variety of activities. Anything from decoration to self-defense.

Be sure to keep in mind what you plan on using your recurve bow for before you purchase. Using a recurve bow for competing will be a very different bow than using it for decoration.

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