The ABC of Beginner Recurve Bow Choosing

“What do all these crazy numbers and symbols represent?”

Here are some useful explanations that will help you better understand the meaning of the different markings on the archery gear that you are already using or that you are planning to buy.

Normally, archers start their training with a recurve bow. This is the type of bow that is traditional looking (as opposed to its very technical brother – the compound bow), but still has a lot of modern technology packed in its components (as opposed to its old uncle – the traditional bow). A recurve bow has a riser (the central, fixed part) and two limbs (the flexible parts attached to the riser) connected with a tensioned string. An arrow rest and button get attached to the riser. They both help with supporting and adjusting the arrow trajectory during the shot.


Juniors: they use smaller risers and lighter limbs. Junior risers and limbs come together to form bows of different lengths, starting from the smallest 48” bow up to 62” or even 64” bow. The shorter the riser (and limbs), the shorter the bow. The limbs recommended for juniors vary in poundage (strength) between 10# and 22# and they are marked to fit the different risers (for instance, a set of 10# limbs for a 48” bow).

Adult beginners: as a general rule, adults will use a 25” riser that will combine with 3 lengths of limbs to form a 66” (short), 68” (medium) or 70” (long) bow. Shorter people can use a 21” riser and very tall people can use a 27” riser. You can see markings on the limbs for the total length of the bow when used with a 23″ riser or with a 25″ riser.

At first glance, it can look a bit daunting to select the right recurve bow for you, especially if you are a beginner. Nevertheless, once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy to navigate through the different sizes, strengths and hand orientations.


Keep in mind that strings are made to correspond the length of each bow. You cannot use a string made for a 66″ bow on a 68″ one and vice-versa. To make things simple, when you buy a string from our website, you need to select the length of the bow, not the actual length of the string. So you will be buying a string for a 66” bow (not a 66” string).


Normally, your riser and limbs are likely to change in size (length) if you grow taller. If you grow stronger (after some months of practice) you will only need to upgrade your limbs to a higher poundage. This is why we always recommend, for adults, to invest in a good quality riser, as this is the backbone of your bow and it can stay with you for years to come.


Don’t forget that your coach is the best person to get personalised advice from. He or she knows your measurements, archery needs and training development plan. We usually work together with coaches to offer our customers the best archery products they need.


We have put together a few ready made beginner kits that will suit any budget and style. Have a look at our best sellers:

If you want to keep your options flexible and still benefit from the savings of a ready made kit, why don’t you try our Beginners Bow Builder here.

Ultimately, if you still don’t know what to choose – just give us a call (01202-745 065); our trained specialists will be more than happy to help.

If you found this article useful, please leave a comment below. We would be delighted to hear what topics you want us to cover in future blog posts.

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