What Is Bow? [Which Bow Do You Need? Let’s Find Out]




A few days ago, My friend Jack called me at his home. Recently we have spent a lot of time, but I don’t know the reason. When I reached his house, he told me that he was very fascinated with hunting and wanted to learn how he could hunt easily. 

I told him to use a bow to hunt efficiently. He asked me what is a bow. 

I answered-

What Is Bow


  • A bow is a weapon that is made of a long piece of material ( commonly used wood and other materials). It is connected to the two ends with a cord.
  • It has three main parts: limb, riser, and bowstring. The additional components are an arrow rest, nock, sight window, etc.
  • These are specialized made for target and hunting archery.

Well! I am an experienced archer, and my friend is just interested in using a bow.

Wait, there is more to share! If you are interested in knowing about bows in detail and what are the different types of it with pros & cons. Read on to learn all about it.

Key Point

  • A bow is a weapon for shooting arrows for target practice or hunting.
  • The three main components of a bow are limbs, riser, and string.
  • The compound bow offers some unique features on the bowstring, such as mechanical speed, nock speed, etc.

What Is Bow?

What is bow in archery? Or, what is bow weapon? A bow is a weapon that is made of a strip of wood (flexible strip or material or a long piece of material) and with a cord that connects the two ends and holds the strip bent.

In a simple word, a bow is a weapon for shooting arrows for target practice or hunting. In Middle Dutch the word for the bow was “boog,” and the bow term comes from the Middle English boga, which means bend or arch. And bow length measured from the nock to the nock along the bow’s back.

What Is Bow

It is mainly used to propel an arrow for recreation, competition shooting arrows, target practice, and sometimes for hunting. The bow has been used since ancient times for recreation and hunting purposes. In ancient times, bowhunting was an excellent way to get food.

However, there are  types of bows that are commonly used nowadays, including recurve bows, longbows, barebows, compound bows, etc. If you are interested in knowing more about bows, please visit the HarperCollins publishers.

What Are The Main Parts Of A Bow?

Basically, a bow consists of four main parts, and sometimes some additional parts can also be seen. In this section, I will describe all of them. Let’s see:

What Are The Main Parts Of A Bow


It is the flexible parts that absorb energy when the bowstring is drawn back. This energy is indeed to propel the arrow when the string g is released forward. It has two parts: the top limb is called the upper limb, and the bottom is known as the lower limb. What are they made of? Well,

In the case of traditional bows, 

  • The limbs are made of a piece of wood, and they can also be constructed from metal or combined with metal.
  • While resilient wooden or metal bows may have fiberglass laminated or coated on them, compound bows are made entirely of fiberglass. 
  • The limbs will come in pairs and have slight flexibility.

In the case of the compound bow,

  • So, what does a compound bow look like? They will have limbs made of one piece of fiberglass, or they will have limbs made of two pieces split into one piece. Each limbs end with a cam.
  • As compared to split limbs, solid limbs often cause more hand shock and are less durable. 
  • Parallel limbs, which are set horizontally at a location parallel to each other, are another form of limb seen on compound bows.


It is like the curved stick central part, and it helps to hold both limbs and offers the proper grip to keep the bow and rest the arrow.

In general, It is a relatively curved piece, and it is made from wood in a standard bow. These also can be constructed of material and composite materials. In the case of the modern compound bow,

Aluminum is used to make it, and sometimes carbon is also used to make the bow lighter in weight. It has some particular components of the bow, such as the arrow shelf, grip, and sight window.


It is the string used to transfer energy to the arrow when an arrow is released from the bow. 

Some features of bowstrings are:

  • In general, they are made of various stringed instruments or materials such as hemp, leather, linen, silk, or vegetable fibers.
  • It must be strong enough and durable.
  • It must be resistant to water.

But, nowadays, most bowstrings are made of fiber, and these are hand-made by man. The nocking point and the center serving are the two primary parts of a traditional bowstring. The compound bow offers some unique features on the bowstring, such as mechanical speed, nock speed, etc.


It is the most curving section of the riser, approximately in the middle. Here, the archer will use one hand to grip the bow.  Your hand must extend as high onto the grip as it can comfortably go while holding the bow correctly. 

The fingers should rest on the front of the bow, with the thumb aimed at the target. The hand that supports the bow should feel somewhat relaxed rather than firm. 

You’ll need to try on different grips while purchasing a bow in order to determine which one best suits your hand size because grips come in various sizes.

Arrow shelf (also known as arrow rest), nock, and sight window are also the parts of a bow. These can be customized as necessary and can be attached individually.

What Is Bow Material Called?

You know that bows are available in various forms and shapes. But from which material are they made of, right? Let’s see:

Most bows are composed of wood or carbon fiber. There are several options for bow materials, though. These consist of numerous materials, such as fiberglass, carbon foam, metal, and plastic.

  • Wood: It is the most common material because of its availability and simplicity. Many archers also prefer it due to its connection with nature and history. The traditional bow mainly comes with wood material.
  • Carbon Fiber: This type of material is very strong, flexible, and light. So, carbon fiber is commonly used to make recurve bows. These are very durable and easier to make. As a result, it is the most commonly used material.
  • Fiberglass: These types of materials are also commonly used because of their ease of use and form. These materials are very strong and durable. Therefore, these are commonly used for recurve bows and sometimes with longbows.

These are necessary for PVC and laminated wood materials to be widespread in archery. The laminated wood materials also come with various decorative interlacing (designs and patterns).

As a result, these are the most popular bow materials. Each of them has pros and cons. So, please choose one of them which is go with your personal preferences and shooting style.

Types Of Bow 

Here are the different types of bow with their uses and characteristics:

Types Of Bow
  • Recurve bow(Classical bow): These are commonly used for hunting situations without sighting. These traditional bows are typically used for target and 3D archery.
  • Compound bow: These are the most modern types of bow with some unique features such as cam, pulleys, and cables. It requires less energy to shoot accurately.
  • Longbow: These are made of a very straightforward design and are typically constructed from wood. These are basically used in historical reenactments and traditional archery competitions.
  • Crossbow: Because of its system for drawing and releasing the string, the crossbow can maintain its draw without requiring any effort from the archer.
  • Barebow: In this type of bow, archers shoot arrows without sight. These are the bows that rely solely on the archer’s skill. 

How To Know Which Type Of bow You Need?

Wanna know which type of bow is needed for you? It totally depends on the archer’s skill. But there are a few ways to find out the right type:

How To Know Which Type Of bow You Need

Determine Your Skill Level

  • Beginner Archers: Are you a novice archer? As a beginner archer, it will be better to use a recurve bow due to its easy use and simplicity.
  • Advanced Archers: If you are an advanced archer, it is suggested that you use a well-constructed compound bow. It would be appropriate to have a quality recurve bow that is adjusted to their exact draw length and weight.

Purposes To Use

Are you a hunter? Wanna use your bow for hunting purposes? It is suggested to employ a compound bow because of its higher power, accuracy, and ability to shoot an ethical shot at the animal.

These types of bows help to absorb more momentum and kinetic energy. As a result, this helps to make a quick and humane kill. Suppose you want to use it for target archery. Choose one that meets your specific needs.

Physical Capability & Affordability

It is crucial to match the bow’s draw length, stature, and strength to make a suitable form for a perfect shoot. If you don’t balance the bow properly, it will show an erratic flight of the arrow. So, it is the key to a bow. 

Budget is another factor in choosing a bow. A dependable bow is essential, and several options meet different budgetary constraints without sacrificing performance or quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What Is The First Bow?

The first bow was known as the self-bow.

What Materials Are Commonly Used For Bowstrings?

Synthetic material and natural materials such as rawhide, plant fiber, and animal sinew are commonly used for bowstring.

What Safety Gear Should Be Used When Shooting A Bow?

The armguard, finger protection, bow stringer, arrow quiver, etc, are the essential safety gear to use while shooting a bow.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, the above discussion was helpful for you, and you have a clear vision of What Materials Are Commonly Used For Bowstrings?

of “what is bow?” 

It is a good source of recreation, target shooting competitions, and good job hunting. Various types of bows are available, and each of them has pros and cons. So, choose one of them according to your personal preferences and shooting style.

Bob Magic

Written by

Bob Magic

Meet Bob Magic, the archery maestro. A National Champion, “Coach of the Year,” and gold medalist. Bob simplifies archery, ensuring your bullseye success. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, let Bob’s magic guide your arrow.

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