What is the Best Beginner Bow & Archery Style?


When you’re just starting out as an archer you’ll probably have a few questions about what bow you need to buy and what style of archery you should try first. In this article we’re going to answer your most asked questions and take you through everything you need to know to get you started out!

What the best archery discipline for a beginner?​

The best archery discipline for a beginner is indoor or outdoor target archery. It’s the most popular style or archery, is widely practised in many locations and gives the best introduction to the other disciplines of the sport.

Target archery is practiced in a lots of places such as this rooftop range in Vienna (ARCO Vienna)

​What’s the best type of bow for a beginner?

​The best type of bow for a beginner is a recurve bow. This will enable you to learn the basics of archery with the most versatile and cost effective type of bow before you consider getting a more expensive compound.

We have much more information on this type of bow and some great examples of beginner bows in this piece on the best recurve bow. But if you’re searching for a child or a youth you’ll be better served by this article we’ve written on the best youth recurve bows.

If you were considering a longbow or a compound as your first choice then we’ve a couple of guides that compare the pros and cons of these other styles of bow to the recurve. Check them out here: compound vs recurve, longbow vs recurve.

​What essential equipment does a beginner archer need?

  • A bow (see: our recurve roundup)
  • A bow stringer
  • An arm guard or bracer (see: our arm guard product roundup)
  • A finger tab or glove
  • Arrows​ (see: our target arrow roundup)
  • A target (see: our archery target roundup)
See also 

Why is Target Archery Best for Beginners?

The best place to start in archery is either indoor or outdoor target Archery. Of all the types of archery, It is the most popular and is practised at differing distances dependent on skill level. Because target archery is both and indoor and an outdoor sport you’ll find it available year round and undoubtedly one or both will be available at your local archery club.

Other disciplines of archery such as Run, Ski, Flight, Field, Target, 3D and even Bowhunting all involve shooting at a target of some description just in different circumstances, so learning the basics with a stationary indoor or outdoor target first is a great place to start.

The Olympic games discipline is target archery, and also the World Archery Championships so if you have aspirations to be a champion one day, you may as well start off on the right foot!

Why is the Recurve the Best Beginner Bow Type?

As a beginner archer we’d suggest a recurve as the best choice for a beginner archer for the following reasons.

Cost : Recurve vs Compound

An entry level recurve bow will cost less than its corresponding compound bow equivalent simply because the compound bow is more complex to manufacture and has more moving parts.

Availability : New and Second Hand

The answer to this one is probably a little subjective and depends on where exactly you live as most things are readily available nowadays, but in countries where there is no hunting you’ll find the recurve bow to be more commonplace in archery clubs and therefore shops and secondhand markets such as Ebay.

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Archery Disciplines : All allowed

All archery disciplines, target, field, 3D, run, ski, para, flight, and clout have a competitive division for the recurve bow.

The Olympic Bow

Recurve is the only bow allowed in the Olympic games, and the ‘World Archery Champion’ generally refers to the recurve shooter even though there are more than just recurve World Championship divisions.

Recurve bows are more popular…

Because the recurve is allowed in all disciplines, had Olympic and World categories and has a generally lower price point than the compound bow there’s more of them around.

Takedown Models are Easy to Transport and Store

The recurve bow is available as a takedown bow which means the bow can be split into 3 pieces (riser and limbs) and easily transported and stored.

Easy to Maintain vs Compound Bows

A compound bow has a cam or pulley system at the end of the limbs and this system means that re-stringing the bow is nowhere near as simple as re-stringing the recurve bow, this means the recurve has the lead in ease of maintenance. Also the recurve takedown bow allows for you to easily switch out limbs or risers without replacing the whole bow.

Recurve Bows : Who Are The Best Manufacturers?

Here’s a few manufacturers names for you to take in.

PSE Bows

PSE is the largest privately owned archery equipment manufacturer in the United States. PSE stands for “Precision Shooting Equipment” and is a US company founded by a product engineer with a love of archery. PSE was one of the first companies to machine bow risers and accessories from solid aluminium and pioneered the four stage forging process to create strong and lightweight bows.

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Samick Bows

Samick Sports was originally a division of Samick Piano in 1975 but now distributes products to more than 50 countries worldwide. Samick is a Korean company with a passion for archery and top performance.


Southwestern Archery Supply have been in the business for over 20 years, these guys don’t just make bows they make art and they understand what it means to be an archer.


The people behind Hoyt are hardcore bowhunters and target archers who demand the best from their equipment. They’ve been making bows since 1931.

Southwest Spyder – A Bow We Love

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Sean Campbell’s love for hunting and outdoor life is credited to his dad who constantly thrilled him with exciting cowboy stories. His current chief commitment involves guiding aspiring gun handlers on firearm safety and shooting tactics at the NRA education and training department. When not with students, expect to find him either at his gunsmithing workshop, in the woods hunting, on the lake fishing, on nature photoshoots, or with his wife and kid in Maverick, Texas. Read more >>