Knowing how to string a recurve bow is one of the first things you’ll learn as you get into archery. Here, we’ll take a look at the “Step-Through” method to stringing a recurve bow. Historically, the “Step-Through” method was one of the original ways we would string our bows. While using a bow stringer is recommended whenever possible, the “Step-Through” method is an option if done properly and safely.

The “Step-Through” method consists of the following 4 steps. To unstring your bow, simply reverse these steps.

Step 1

Hook the bottom loop of the string around the bottom of the bow. Make sure the string is the right way up. The shorter finger guard should be on top.

how to string a recurve bow - step 1: make sure the bowstring is the right way up

Step 2

While holding the bow in front of you, step through the bow and the string. Hold the bow securely between the back of your thigh and the front of your shin.

how to string a recurve bow - step 2

Step 3

Bring the limb of the bow towards the end of the string. Turn your torso to help your arms with bending the bow.

how to string a bow - step 3: step through method

For Dacron strings: Give the string about 10-12 twists before hooking on the bow

Step 4

Check each end of the bow to ensure the string is seated correctly and securely.

holding a strung recurve bow
Vector - Stringing Bow - Ref

That’s it! After following these steps, you should know how to string a recurve bow using the “Step Through” method.

Basic Bow Maintenance

  • NEVER dry fire your bow
  • Unstring your bow when not using
  • Avoid exposing the bow to extreme temperatures
  • Adjust the finger guard before shooting
  • Inspect the string for any frays (for Dacron strings)
  • Wax your bowstring regularly to protect it (for Dacron strings)

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Continue Reading How to String a Recurve Bow (with Pictures)

You may be considering buying a recurve bow to start your journey into archery. There are many benefits to starting with a recurve bow, including:

  • They are light and easy to transport
  • Recurve bows are much more affordable than compound bows and are great for beginner archers
  • You get a traditional archery experience with a recurve bow; recurves are favoured by “purists” who want to build their skill without gadgets
  • There are less parts to upkeep (vs. a compound bow) while you learn the fundamentals of archery

There are two factors you will want to consider when buying your first recurve bow: Draw Weight and Draw Length.

Let’s go over what these terms mean and how you can use them to choose the right bow for you.

Note: This is a guide for beginners who are interested in buying a recurve bow for target shooting. Bow hunters and compound bow shooters will have other criteria to consider.

Draw Weight

In archery, draw weight refers to the amount of force required to draw the bow string to full draw. The amount of force being applied against your finger tips increases as you draw the bowstring back further.

For example, a bow with 29 pounds of draw weight will have 29 pounds of force being applied to your finger tips at full draw.

Draw weight on fingertips at full draw - things to consider when buying a recurve bow
A bow with "29lbs of draw weight" will have 29lbs of force being applied to your finger tips at full draw.

If you buy a bow that has a draw weight that’s too heavy for you, you’ll have difficulty drawing the bowstring to full draw. Your accuracy will suffer and you may start fatiguing too early.

Since shooting a bow requires you to use specific muscles that you might not be using on a regular basis, it’s recommended to start with a lighter poundage bow as a beginner. This will allow you to get more reps in drilling the fundamentals with proper form. Over time, your form will solidify and your muscles will adapt, allowing you to safely advance to a higher poundage bow.

To determine the right draw weight for you, consider factors such as the shooter’s physical strength, motor skills, and stamina. Below you’ll find recommended draw weights of recurve bows for people of different ages. Use this as a starting point.

Draw Length

What is draw length? Note that this is different from bow length . Draw length refers to how far back you can pull the bowstring. Drawing a bow too short or too long can negatively affect your shooting form, accuracy, comfort, and the performance of the arrow. You can calculate your draw length by doing a few simple steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your arms naturally extended in a “T” shape at shoulder height.
  2. Have someone measure the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the other.
  3. Take that number and divide it by 2.5.  This is your calculated draw length.

Compare Bows

With the right draw weight and draw length in mind, let’s take a look at a few beginner recurve bows.

While there are many new brands and companies offering recurve bows, Bear Archery® has been a pioneer in the industry, crafting fiberglass recurve bows for beginners since 1947.

We’ve put our trust into Bear Archery® and offer their line of beginner recurve bows with our foam-tipped arrows. Checkout the Bear Archery® beginner bows below (you’ll find suitable draw weights & lengths for all ages).

WIZARD Kids Bow

DRAW WEIGHT: 10-18lbs | DRAW LENGTH: 17-24 inches

beginner kids bow (bear archery "wizard" bow)

The WIZARD is a highly recommended beginner bow for small kids. The limbs are made of fiberglass, making it a strong and cost-efficient bow for kids starting out.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one package, grab a WIZARD with the Complete Beginner Archery Set, which comes with six foam-tipped carbon fiber arrows, a beautiful backyard target board, and a beginner’s manual + engaging games that kids can play while practicing archery.

We recommend the WIZARD for kids starting at age 7.

CRUSADER Youth Bow

DRAW WEIGHT: 10-20lbs | DRAW LENGTH: 20-28 inches

The CRUSADER is one-step-up from the WIZARD, and has the same fiberglass limbs with added length and draw weight. It’s a classic and is widely used at summer camps, school archery programs, as well as combat archery venues.

We recommend the CRUSADER for beginners starting at age 9. With that said, many teenagers and some adults enjoy using the CRUSADER to practice because of its affordability and light poundage.

beginner youth bow (bear archery "Crusader" bow)

TITAN Beginner Recurve Bow

DRAW WEIGHT: 20-29lbs | DRAW LENGTH: 22-28 inches

Archery bow for beginners (bear archery Titan bow)

Here’s where we start getting into more intermediate-beginner territory.

The TITAN bow carries enough poundage to intrigue both teenagers and adults. While Bear recommends the bow for ages 12+, we find that adults and late-teens get the most value from this bow. The higher draw weight sends arrows flying much faster than its precursors, and gives beginner adults and teens a good, challenging bow to grow with.

Based on what we’ve seen, we recommend the TITAN for teens starting at age 13+. It’s around this age that they’ll either be comfortable with it or be able to grow into it quickly and continue to use for years to come.

FIREBIRD Adult Recurve Bow

DRAW WEIGHT: 29-35lbs | DRAW LENGTH: 22-28 inches

The Holy Grail for our grown-up shooters is the FIREBIRD recurve bow. It’s a beautifully crafted Bear Archery® recurve bow that comes with premium bowstrings made of dacron.

Like its precursors, the limbs are fiberglass. However, the FIREBIRD features an additional arrow rest to stabilize the arrow before release.

With 29-35lbs of draw weight, this bow packs enough power to shoot across a building, but is still very beginner friendly – it’s commonly used by adults in combat archery.

We recommend the FIREBIRD for adults and teenagers age 16+. It’s a beautifully made “beginner” bow, and will serve you long after you shed your beginner status.

Bear Archery Firebird adult beginner archery bow

Remember, buying a recurve bow with a draw weight that’s too heavy can hinder your ability to adopt a proper shooting form. When in doubt, it’s recommended to lean on the lighter side. A lighter bow will still allow you to practice with proper shooting form while preventing unnecessary fatigue and mitigating injuries from occuring.

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Continue Reading Which Bow Should I Buy? A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Recurve Bow

So you’re looking to learn how to shoot a recurve bow.

 Archery is making a comeback as a modern sport, and not merely due to the olympics. Kids, teens, and adults are buying recurve and compound bows and shooting at their local archery ranges, parks, camps, and backyards.

If you’ve picked up a beginner recurve bow (or if you’re on the market for one, checkout our collection of Bear® Archery beginner bows) and want to start putting it to use, here are some fundamental shooting techniques (with pictures) to help you learn how to shoot a recurve bow.

*An important note, this guide was written using a right-handed shooter to demonstrate. If you are left-handed, simply reverse any mention of “right” to “left”, and any mention of “left” to “right”.

Basic Archery Stance

Having a proper stance is important for stability, posture, and aiming, and will enable you to draw and release the bowstring without injuring yourself. Two simple and popular archery stances that you can start with are the Square Stance and the Open Stance.

how to shoot a recurve bow - square stance
Square Stance
how to shoot a recurve bow - open stance
Open Stance

In the square stance, place both feet shoulder width apart and on both sides of the shooting line. Have your left foot leading the right foot and perpendicular to the target.

In the open stance, take a half-step backward with the left foot and point it slightly towards the target. This is best when standing on uneven ground.

Nocking the Arrow

how to shoot a recurve bow - nocking an arrow
Push the arrow's nock into the bowstring

Holding the arrow in your right hand, place it on the arrow rest on the left side of your bow. Position the arrow with the index fletching* facing away from the bow. Push the arrow’s nock into the bowstring, in-between the finger guides.

Do not wrap the index finger of your left hand around the arrow shaft. Let the arrow rest on the bow by itself.

how to shoot a recurve bow - improperly gripping the bow
Do not wrap the index finger of your bow hand around the arrow shaft
how to shoot a recurve bow - gripping the bow
Let the arrow rest on the bow by itself

Hooking the Bowstring

The most common way to hook the bowstring is using the Mediterranean Draw. Using three fingers, place the index finger on the upper finger-guide and the other two fingers on the lower finger-guide. It is best to hook the string with the first joints of the fingers. Avoid gripping the string with your fist or pinching the arrow.

how to shoot a recurve bow - hooking the arrow
Place the index finger on the upper finger-guide and the other two fingers on the lower finger-guide
how to shoot a recurve bow - hooking an arrow with 3 fingertips
It is best to hook the string with the first joints of the fingers

Holding the Bow

Grip the bow so that the handle rests on the large padded surface between your palm and thumb. The idea is to push the bow in place, rather than gripping it tight in position. A good indicator you are holding the bow correctly is if your knuckles create a 45-degree angle to the center line of the bow.

how to shoot a recurve bow - proper elbow rotation
A good indicator you are holding the bow correctly is if your knuckles create a 45-degree angle to the center line of the bow

Elbow Rotation

Gripping the bow correctly is important for proper rotation of the arm. Gripping too tightly will rotate your forearm in-line with the bow string, which will hurt if you’re not wearing an arm guard. If your arm is properly rotated, your elbow will point away from you and your forearm will clear the string.

how to shoot a recurve bow - proper elbow rotation
If your arm is properly rotated, your elbow will point away from you and your forearm will clear the string.

Shooting Form

Prepare your shot by bringing the left arm to shoulder-height and hooking the bow string. When you pull the arrow back, you want to pull with your right elbow high and in-line with the arrow. Drawing the bow is best done with the back muscles. Imagine squeezing your shoulder blades together; using only your arms will tire you out.

how to shoot a recurve bow - standing with proper shooting form
Pull with your right elbow high and in-line with the arrow

Releasing the Arrow

Releasing the arrow should be slow and smooth. Relax your right hand and move it back slightly until the bowstring slips out of your fingers. After releasing the string, follow-through with your shot by continuing to relax your hand until it hangs by your ear. The bow will naturally tilt forward a little bit during the follow-through.

how to shoot a recurve bow - releasing the arrow
Follow-through with your shot by continuing to relax your hand until it hangs by your ear. The bow will naturally tilt forward a bit during the follow-through.

Summary

By learning how to shoot a recurve bow with proper shooting form, you’ll be able to add more sophisticated shooting techniques with confidence. If you’re still on the market for a beginner archery set, checkout our Complete Beginner’s Archery Set. You can set it up aywhere with at least 20 feet of shooting space, such as a backyard, park, beach, cottage, and more.

It comes with your choice of a Bear® Archery beginner’s bow (with bows for all ages to choose from), as well as 6 foam-tipped arrows and a giant target board.

Millions of campers, schools, and beginners use Bear Archery® bows to teach and learn archery, and over 20 thousand Canadians have learned archery with this target board set. Buy one set and get a second set as a gift for 25% off (use coupon code “gift25” at checkout when purchasing 2 sets).

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Continue Reading How to Shoot a Recurve Bow: A Beginner’s Guide to Practice Archery (with Pictures)
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