How to Shoot a Recurve Bow

How to Shoot a Recurve Bow in 2023

How to shoot a recurve bow? Well, there are many who search for this every day and so you aren’t once in a blue moon.

Actually, with practice and training, anyone can learn to shoot arrows. It’s a useful skill for hunting wild game or defending against predators in the wild.

As I’m sure you’ve been told many times, that there is no secret to shooting a bow and arrow, then please allow me to open your eyes and ears to at least two ways in which the mighty recurve bow can be used.

How to Shoot a Recurve Bow?

Recurve bows are a staple of the archery world. These are the bows that archers use to target practice, compete, and hunt with. These are not your ordinary bows. These bows are made for accuracy and are known to be the most challenging kind of bow to shoot.

But if you practice, you can become pretty decent at this. If you’re thinking about getting into archery or just need a refresher on how to shoot a recurve bow, keep reading. We’ll be taking you through the basics of shooting a recurve bow.

Compound Bow Vs. Recurve Bow:

compound vs recurve bow

Why is a recurve bow a better option than a compound bow in many situations? For starters, consider that while a compound bow can be found, it’s not always the most readily available option; sometimes it may take weeks to procure one.

That’s assuming that you know how to construct said bow which may or may not be the case. A recurve, on the other hand, is typically more easily accessible being that they are smaller and less complex in design – though some say they don’t pack as much of punch as their compound counterparts.

The beauty in using a recurve though is purely in its simplicity: they require little to no tools to assemble and some have even been able to build them from scraps left behind.

If in the event you’ve made your own compound bow before or after a worse day, good for you. But unfortunately in a survival situation that is most likely where you will be found, you will likely have to make a recurve bow from available natural resources.

Although compound bows are useful for their increased draw weight and their increased accuracy, they also have some downsides. While it does provide a much heavier draw that requires less force, compound bows are also a little more complicated to use at first.

Compound bows are often more expensive than recurve bows, so purchasing one may not be the best option for some people.

Keep in mind that a compound bow is different from a recurve bow. Although it may carry less pull weight than its counterpart, a compound bow shoots much faster and due to this increased velocity, it might go through your practice target with more force than you intended, potentially causing harm to what’s beyond your practice area.

Grip a Recurve Bow

As you’re going to be holding this bow with two hands, it’s important that you get the right grip. The most common way to grip a recurve bow is with your dominant hand on the lower limb and your weaker hand on the upper limb.

Then, tucked close to your body, pull back on both strings until they meet in a comfortable position behind your ears. From here, raise the bow up and aim at the target. Before letting go of the string, pull it back slightly before releasing.

Aim a Recurve Bow

Now that you know how to properly grip a recurve bow, let’s talk about aiming your arrows. To make sure you hit an arrow close to the center of where you’re aiming for, place an arrow’s point on the string so that when you pull it back and release it will fly away from you. This will ensure that when your arrow hits its target, it will be as close to the center as possible.

Hitting a target is all about getting perfect form and timing down pat. If you can do these two things correctly then by following these few steps correctly then there should not be any reason why you won’t have success with shooting a recurve bow.

Draw a Recurve Bow

To start, you’ll need to draw your recurve bow. To do this, hold the bow in the middle and pull it back until the arrow is at rest against the side of your hand. You’ll want to make sure that your fingers are wrapped around the handle and you’re pulling it back with both hands. You may want to use a finger tab or glove if your fingers are uncomfortable or not strong enough to grip the bow tight. Then, pull down on both ends of the string until you feel a little tension.

Shooting the Recurve Bow

Shooting a recurve bow takes years of training, dedication, and practice. As such, it’s extremely difficult to master this skill. The following steps will help in mastering shooting a recurve bow successfully:

1. Make sure you are alert and agile before your shoot. Stand upright with your feet an arm’s length apart in front of the nearest target. Your dominant hand should be behind the target, near the ground. And there you have it: The square stance. This is a great way to ensure you focus on your shooting motion, which is essential to accuracy.

2. Nocking your arrow in archery is extremely important to your overall enjoyment and proficiency in the sport. To nock, the arrow means to attach it, or nock it onto the bowstring! First things first, you have to have a good quality bow – this means it doesn’t snap back when you release an arrow, that it’s durable, has a good draw, and is comfortable.

3. An archer should grip the bow in such a way that the bottom edge of his hand is parallel to and rests on the back of the grip just below where it broadens out to form a shelf for the arrow rest.

To check that this hand position is correct, see if the knuckles of your gripping hand when relaxed make a 40-45 degree angle with this part of the bow grip.

Remember, you should never hold a bow too tightly or else it will brace against your fingers uncomfortably and throw off your aim.

4. Hold the tip of the string with your index finger and wrap it once around the bowstring between your index and middle fingers.

The bowstring should rest in the crook that you’ve made by wrapping it around your top knuckles, lying in the ellipsis made by your ring finger and thumb.

If holding the string is uncomfortable or painful for your hands, wear gloves or a tab to protect them from chafing.

5. Your bow-handling arm should be steady and should remain at about shoulder height. With a firm grip, draw the string back with your fingers.

A lot of beginners think it is enough to use their biceps and arm to pull the drawstring back, but that can tire you out faster and you won’t get the maximum power if you don’t pull it all the way back.

Make sure to engage more muscle groups by trying to “squeeze” your shoulder blades together—this will give your arms more power because now more muscles are being involved in pulling the drawstring back.

Remember – It’s not just your arm and elbow moving up and down! It is important to keep in mind that when shooting a bow, one not only uses their arms, but also includes a variety of extra muscle groups such as their arms, torso, neck, legs, stomach… You know how it goes!

6. Choose the location of your anchor point. This can be a spot on your nose or a corner of your mouth. For consistency’s sake, make this part of your shot an unchanging piece whenever you draw and shoot at a target!

7. Before you begin, be sure that your bow is unfrayed and as strong as possible, push on the bowstring with your thumb to release the arrow by moving it out of the way so that it will not catch on the fletching of the arrow.

Allow your hand to continue moving until you reach a point below your ears. This will allow for more energy to be transferred from the bow to the arrow; don’t resist or counteract any movement.

Now some words maybe confusing for you if you’re a beginner, actually those are parts of a recurve bow, which we will explain later in this article.

Importance of Eye Dominance:

Before you begin firing your bow, make sure that you are using the correct eye for precision and accuracy. People tend to assume the dominant hand=dominant eye but this is not always the case. Your dominant eye is often different than your dominant hand.

To be precise in your aim, make sure your dominant eye is placed firmly against the arrow with its tip pointed directly at a target. Some people are cross-dominant. This means that their dominant eye is opposite to the hand they use the most for tasks.

To find out which of your eyes has the greatest visual acuity, try the “blink test”:

1: To maintain the calm of a much-needed rest, one must place his hands in front of him with his palms facing outward like he is asking someone to stop.

2: When bringing your thumbs together for this exercise, you are supposed to place them so that the fingertips of your thumbs are touching.

3. To make a move, pinch the tips of your index fingers together and form an original shape between your hands by pushing them apart.

4. The smaller the hands that peer through the triangle, and the clearer it is to see through it, the better.

5. Use the triangle you made with your hand and “aim” at a specific object a few meters away from you; it should have a surface area of about 0.5 to 1 square meter.

6. Alternately wink each eye and notice that you won’t see the object in the triangle with one eye but will see it with the other. Whichever eye allows you to view the object is your dominant eye.

Know each Part of a Recurve Bow:

When buying a recurve bow, some may come with bowstring nocking points and arrow shelves to help you release an arrow properly, but some bows will be more barebones in terms of additional apparatus.

How to Shoot a Recurve Bow

Here are some of the more common parts of a recurve bow for your reference:


In archery there is a part on the topside of an arrow that goes over the bowstring, called a nock. The notch that you hook onto the string of a bow to hold it while firing an arrow is also called a nock.

On compound bows, each end of the limb has a nock that holds where you loop and tie up the bowstring. When people are notching recurve bows they place an arrow against the bow’s pendulum so as to keep it stable while getting ready to shoot.

Putting an arrow in this position is called nocking it because one “nocks” or hooks an arrow onto one’s string before taking aim and shooting.

Arrow Shelf/Arrow Rest:

The arrow rest is what ensures that the arrow will not move on the bow until it’s pulled. This helps to keep the bow steady and also keeps the arrow from accidentally hitting one in the face.

Some bows may place a tuft of animal fur on the shelf to reduce friction and stop abrasion between arrows and your riser, as well as keep them from getting stuck inside your blind bag.


The section which typically used to hold against the body; this is often made of steel or wood and may vary in length according to the style and physical size of the user.

Nock Locator:

Nock Locators help keep your bowstring in proper alignment for you and your arrow. Proper alignment of the string and arrow is imperative to have a perfect shot. When an archer shoots the shot is delivered so quickly that this short distance can be difficult to judge, but the nocks are there to help point out exactly where you need to place your arrow on the string.

Most bows have 2 nocks spaced evenly apart, they are normally found centered along the length of the string. These nocks aid a shooter by making it clear where they should space their arrow as long as they have properly aligned all other components (including stringing) of their bow prior to shooting.


A Riser is the part of a bow that functions as the middle layer and has a handle attached to it.

Limbs (Sides of the Bow):

The limbs, or sides of the bow, are where you place the string, and it’s where the bow flexes and springs back to shoot an arrow. In other words, they’re what makes the energy provided by string and convert it into kinetic energy (motion) put into action by sending an arrow flying towards its target!

Hold your bow steady and aim the tip of the arrow at your target. Don’t let other elements like wind direction cloud your mindset. You should focus on the target but keep an eye on other things that can affect how you shoot, such as keeping your arm steady, releasing the string at just the right moment, etc.

Why Choosing the Right Arrowheads is Important?

You can make your own arrows, or purchase ready-made ones, but make sure to use the correct type of arrowhead to ensure they don’t break when you pull back on them.

Use bullet or target arrowheads for practice, fishing arrowheads for fishing, hunting heads for hunting animals of size, and blunt or judo heads for small prey.

Never use arrows for any reason other than their intended use; the arrowheads can become dull and damaged when for example you attempt to split them down the middle, or even worse the arrow could become useless and no longer sharp.

Stores sell various kinds of broadheads which are not very sharp unless perhaps you are totally skilled at handling a bow and making your own sorts of arrows and archery equipment because they come with some kind of plastic covering that is meant to ensure that it doesn’t make direct contact with anyone before the final release.


Bows and arrows are some of the oldest weapons on the planet, can be made simply from nature’s materials, and are known for their ease of use. These advantages make bows one of the best examples of non-powder projectile weapons you can find in your survival skills repertoire. As such, it is important to learn how to use these ancient tools if you wish to survive in the forest.

If you already have a bow, why not take it out from your closet and get a feel for how it works? And as soon as you put it away, don’t leave it there. Take the time to use it for practice. Not only will you learn how to use your weapon properly, but if ever a monster does come knocking on your doorstep unannounced, you will be prepared for combat!

Practice shooting your bow especially when you are not actively hunting or fighting and make it into a natural reflex for you to act if the situation demands for your survival.

I hope this definitive guide on how to shoot a recurve bow will help you in gaining more knowledge about your equipment.

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