Best Recurve Bow Reviews and Guide in 2019

Bows have been part of our culture for thousands of years and are heavily featured in the media. If anything, archery has been on the uprise due to increased visibility in media and popularity of medieval reenactments.  Most people associate bows with the traditional design that has been in use for centuries. However, they are unaware of the fact that there are different types of bows, which all have their own advantages and disadvantages.  There are different designs and one of the most popular designs is the recurve bow.

To understand what is a recurve bow it helps to distinguish it from the more traditional alteration. A traditional bow shape employs a simple arc design from one end to another. Recurve bows, on the other hand, have curves that reverse at the end of the limbs, that is to say, both designs have bow limbs that curve toward the archer but recurve bows have a recurve similar to a snake. This design delivers a more powerful and faster shot than a traditional bow with the same amount of draw weight.

Top Recurve Bow Reviews:

Keeping in mind all the important factors to consider (listed below), let’s have a look at the best recurve bows for the money:

Best for ~$400 or more: Super Kodiak Recurve Bow Review

The consensus among critics and consumers is that the Super Kodiak is the classic recurve bow that has no peers, the Rolls Royce of recurve bows. It has been in production since 1967 and it has earned a loyal following due its high quality and design that is truly tried and tested. For hunters, this bow is a very reliable and powerful tool. It is available in a left-handed or right-hand versions, the right-handed version has the option of allowing for a draw weight of 30-60, whereas the left-handed variant allows for 45lbs – 55lbs. The Super Kodiak is manufactured by the legendary Bear Archery, which stands by their quality products. This bow truly stands on the top of any list of most popular recurve bows. More detailed review here.

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Best for ~$300-399: Bear Grizzly Recurve Review

If you are within this budget range, you can have the Bear Grizzly bow that was introduced decades ago. Although there have been modifications, the core has stayed the same due to the quality of the design. Not only does it offer durability but it is also an excellent choice for hunting and general target shooting. It also delivers excellent velocity. It is available for right handed and left handed shooters and the right-hand variant has a draw weight of 30lbs to 60lbs. The bow length of this model is 58 inches, making it a fairly maneuverable hunting instrument in tight spots. It features a traditional wood design, while the limbs are coated with fiberglass. The Bear Grizzly bow weighs around 2lbs making it an ideal overall choice. Best for $400-500 range, no doubts. More detailed review here.

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Best for ~$200-299: PSE Blackhawk Recurve Review

If you appreciate aesthetic quality, then the PSE Blackhawk Recurve Bow will be right up your alley. It can remind one of the bows imagined in Robin Hood’s hands or seen in Game of Thrones or videogames such as Zelda. It has a timeless and elegant design and is made from pure hardwood and laminated to give it the extra elegant touch. Some may argue that 3lb weight of the bow itself may not be comfortable for all beginners, but we believe that nothing can convey traditional hunting ambiance like a heavy solid bow in hand. The bow offers draw weights of 45lbs-50 lbs so the PSE Blackhawk Recurve Bow may be a great recurve bow for beginners, as long as they are sure that they can handle this draw weight. PSE Blackhawk has a bow length of 60 inches which is great for hunting and target archer alike. All in all, this is an excellent choice for the great value and in our opinion, this is the best recurve bow for beginners. More detailed review here.

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Best for ~$100-199: Martin Jaguar Recurve Review

The final entry in recurve bows and the best cheapest recurve bow is the Martin Jaguar. It is a take-down bow, so it is very portable and you can add accessories such as sight or stabilizer if you choose to. For all it’s features and flexibility, beginners might enjoy this bow immensely. Another benefit is that is quite light, weighting 2.7 pounds due to the aluminum used in the riser, in comparison to many other models that clock in at around 3lbs. The bow length is 60 inches and the draw weight of the Martin Jaguar ranges from 30lbs to 55 lbs, so beginners do not have to worry about having enough weight. It should also be noted that this model has a brace height of 7 inches, which is very forgiving for beginners. As for the design, it comes in a range of colors, including a camouflage design. The riser features Martin’s patented technology Thermal V-Grip, which ensures that your palm does not lose its grip, no matter what the weather conditions are. The verdict: Martin Jaguar is the best cheap recurve bow for those starting out with archery. More detailed review here.

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How to Choose the Best Recurve Bow for the Money

Whether or not you are a complete beginner or not, there are certain things you must take into account. If you intend to hunt with your bow, then the best hunting recurve bow will be the one with draw weight should not less than 40 pounds. In fact, if you live in the United States certain states will have guidelines and regulation regarding minimum draw weight. Essentially, this is done for the prey. If the draw weight is below 40lbs your arrow may not penetrate the intended target, thus not resulting in a quick kill shot and can cause unneeded suffering of the animal. Regulation on draw weights is an important factor to be considered and there are a few more factors worth mentioning.

1) Draw Weights 

Likewise, it is important to realize that a recurve bow differs immensely from a compound bow since you will not have release aids, sights or stabilizers to aid you in achieving precise accuracy. Therefore, selecting the appropriate draw weight is paramount since it is useless to aim for speed when your accuracy is off. Also, if you do not have the appropriate draw weight for your physical stature, it can result in physical strain or even injury. When starting out it might be prudent to purchase a bow that is in the range of 24-30 lbs to practice your technique and skills. Once you have obtained proficiency with a bow in this weight range, a heavier bow could be used in order to shoot further and also perhaps to compete in archery tournaments. In certain instances, you can increase your draw weight with strength training and this is also advised. Nonetheless, it is crucial to find the draw weight that fits your physical profile as an archer and offers enough draw weight to tackle any prey.

Recurve Bow Draw Weight Table:

WeightDraw Weight
70 – 100 lbs10-15 lbs
100-130 lbs15-25 lbs
130-150 lbs25-35 lbs
Women:100-130 lbs15-25 lbs
130-160 lbs25-35 lbs
160+ lbs30-45 lbs
Men:120-150 lbs30-45 lbs
150-180 lbs40-55 lbs
180+ lbs45-60 lbs

2) Bow Length and Draw Length

Another important factor in selecting the proper bow is the bow length, which should be aligned with your draw length in order to maximize the velocity of the arrow, as well as giving the bow a smoother draw. This is because bow limbs are designed to be used at a certain draw length range. If the draw length is insufficient in comparison to the bow length, you will not be able to flex the limbs of the bow enough to make them energy efficient for your draw. On the other hand, if your bow is not long enough, you risk almost breaking the limbs in half because of the tension.  The best bow length accommodates you so when your arm length has been fully reached you can flex the bow far enough to transfer the power to the arrow while avoiding overstressing the bow and its limbs.

Rule of thumb in choosing the recurve bow’s draw length:

how to choose recurve bow draw lenght

4) To take-down or not to take-down?

If portability is an issue for you as a hunter, you might want to consider a take-down bow since they are essentially three-piece sets that can be taken apart and even upgraded. When you buy a take-down bow, you purchase the riser and the two limbs. The two limbs are attached to the riser and you string the bow. Obviously, transportation of the bow is more convenient with a take-down, nonetheless, some individuals might prefer the simplicity of a traditional recurve bow. If you like upgrading your bow from time to time and if you are also need of a portable bow, well then a take-down is right down your alley.

5) Quality and price

When searching for a quality bow, you must be aware that the more costly models are usually top of the line models from the manufacturer. These bows utilize the newest technology in the field, which has often garnered excellent results in performance tests. Thus, a high retail price is often indicative of the high quality of the bows. Investing in a high-quality bow is definitely worthwhile in the long run when you take into account durability and effectiveness.

Purchasing a Recurve Bow: Pro-shops vs Online Stores

Selecting a recurve bow to purchase may seem a bit daunting especially when you hear myths that you can only purchase a quality recurve bow at a pro-shop. Nothing could be further from the truth. The word pro-shop is just an umbrella term for different shops and stores that sell the same type of bows; the only difference is marketing and branding due to politics. Purchasing a recurve bow online is easy and just as good an option as purchasing one from a pro-shop. In fact, it can be more convenient, you also get to see honest feedback from other customers, and most importantly (!) you receive the same quality product because the most popular archery manufacturers do sell their products online. These manufacturers create the exact same bows as they sell offline for their online brands with the only real difference being the name. So do not be afraid to purchase the recurve bow of your choice online.

Alternatively, you can try and build your own recurve bow.

More reviews: OMP Mountaineer 2.0