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Elswood Bowmen The friendly St Albans archery club Recurve Bow

A modern recurve bow has ends that curve away from the main curve of the limb.  The string touches a sections of the limb as well as the tip when the bow is strung.  This shape of limb stores more energy than an equivalent straight limbed bow, giving a better cast to the arrow.

Most recurves bows are "take-down" as the limbs can be detached from the riser for ease of transportation.  This also makes them interchangeable for greater choice.  The limbs are usually made from layers of fibreglass or carbon with a wood or foam core.  The riser is generally made from wood or plastic for beginners and aluminium alloy or magnesium alloy for intermediate and advanced.

Unlike a compound, recurve sights are just an adjustable pin.  Magnifying and rear sights are not permitted.  Other pieces of equipment, like stabiliser rods, clickers and slings, help to give more consistent and accurate performance.


The modern recurve is the type of bow used in the Olympics (Compound is permitted in some categories at the Paralympics).