What is a Recurve Crossbow?

Are you new to crossbow archery?  Have you ever heard of a recurve crossbow?  When someone thinks of crossbows, are we not all thinking about modern crossbows (ie. with cams or wheels)?  What exactly is a recurve crossbow?

It might not seem obvious.

A recurve crossbow is a bow with one string, so it is simple to use and maintain. The term recurve is derived from the shape of the frame. This crossbow has small curves that point away from the shooter and usually found at the end of the bow. These curves serve as a lock and strain to prevent the string from flocking out when the bow is fired.

Difference between recurve and compound crossbow

One of the hot topics within the hunting circle is the debate about recurve verses compound crossbows. Probably, you have heard of people mentioning that one crossbow is superior to the other, but the reality is that these people are correct from their perspective; it all depends on your situation.

Nonetheless, these two crossbows differ in the manner they accumulate the tension needed to fire the arrow. Therefore, they differ in strength and size.

Recurve relies on the same principle that most bows have applied for years. When pulled back, the single string makes the two flexible limbs to bend outwards. Since recurve crossbows don’t use cams and cables, they usually have fewer moving parts. This is one of the reasons some hunters prefer this crossbow.

The recurve design is probably the oldest layout for crossbows. In fact, its original bow shared more features with ancient recurve longbows of Greece, China, and Egypt. The only changes they made were to shorten the recurve and mount it on a handle with triggers and locks. Ancient shooters preferred recurve bows because of their shorter curves, so it was easy for them to shoot while riding horses. Modern recurve crossbows are still useful for sport shooting and hunting, only that most of them are made from wood, carbon fiber, magnesium or aluminum alloy.

Compound crossbows are more modern, and they use several cables and cams to offer some mechanical advantage when the bowstring is pulled. In general, compound crossbows fire arrows at higher velocities, but they are less dependable than recurve crossbows. So, if you want something less complicated, more dependable and inexpensive, then recurve will be a better crossbow. But if you are a savvy hunter and love more compact and quieter crossbow with better stopping power, then compound crossbow will suffice.

What are the most common types of crossbows?

The diverse types of crossbows on the market today are different in construction and purpose. Each crossbow is good for a specific use case based on its design. With that said, here are the main types of crossbows.

Recurve Crossbow

This is probably the oldest crossbow in the world of archery. It has special curves that keep the bowstring intact so that it doesn’t flick. A majority of modern recurve crossbows models are made from aluminum or magnesium alloy. Carbon crossbows are also common. They are noise when fired because more energy is used to draw fire a shot.

Compound Crossbow

The compound crossbow is one of the two crossbows that are used by a majority of archers. It features a more complex design, so it is often used by more experienced hunters. That said, it is highly energy efficient and relatively easy to use. This crossbow is defined by shorter limbs with a string that is connected to a pulley system.

Repeating crossbow

As the names may suggest, this crossbow makes it possible to repeat shots as much as you like. With a repeating crossbow, you only take a single movement to launch a shot. For this reason, it is simple and convenient to use. It is reported that repeating crossbows shoot three times faster than most crossbows. This crossbow is suitable for novice archers who may not be keen to put much effort to launch an accurate shot.

Pros and cons of a recurve crossbow


A recurve crossbow is more reliable: As alluded to earlier, a recurve crossbow is more dependable than a compound crossbow because it has less moving parts. It is a general consensus among hunting boys that shot placement is important if you want to score more points. In other words, you need a crossbow that points the arrow to where your target is, shot after shot.

It has a straightforward decoking: Unlike compound crossbows, recurve crossbows have a decoking mechanism. This means that there is no need to end the hunt by firing an arrow into the target. With a recurve crossbow, all you need is to remove the arrow and reset the bow.

Easier and cheaper to sustain: Because of fewer moving parts, a recurve crossbow is easier to maintain. Moreover, it doesn’t require you to hire a pro to service the bow when you want to replace a string. All you need to replace a string is to use a de-stringing aid that comes with the crossbow.

Lightweight: Despite their big size, they are lightweight, which means they are easy to carry around. So, if you are planning to hunt on foot, you definitely need to consider the weight of the crossbow.


Big draw length: In terms of size, compound crossbows seem to have a slight advantage. Recurve crossbows are larger, so if you were to climb a tree and sitting on a branch, it would be more difficult to fire shots with a recurve crossbow. Besides this, recurve crossbows apply more strain to the bowstring. So, if you are using less durable strings, you will need to replace them more often.

Who makes the lightest crossbow?

It is difficult to find a lightweight crossbow with fairly impressive speed. But X16 Crosby by GearHead Archery is one of those crossbows. At 4.25lbs, this crossbow is surely the lightest one on the market. Thanks to the engineering genius of GearHead Archery. What is even more impressive is that it has a firing speed of 340 fps. Unfortunately, the crossbow doesn’t come cheap, but if you are serious on weight, then it is worth every buck. If GearHead Archery continues on the same lane, then it looks like future crossbows will be lighter than what we have today.

What crossbow has the highest FPS (feet per second)?

Well, if you are like most people, you are most likely to get thrilled with the idea of working with a powerful crossbow. At the very least, you need to invest in a crossbow that won’t let you down on your most crucial games. If you are just looking for the fastest crossbow, then the Scorpyd Aculeus (460 fps) is your ideal choice. At 460 fps, you will hardly find any other crossbow that can stand side by side with this crossbow in terms of speed. It is even clear from its aggressive looks that this equipment is designed for serious hunters. While it may not be as lightweight (7.5 lbs) as some recurve crossbows, there are many other crossbows that are heavier than this model, yet they don’t offer anything near to Scorpyd Aculeus.

While Scorpyd Aculeus comes with several functional features, there are some that are worth mentioning. Its AcuDraw cocking mechanism can reduce unnecessary draw weight by half, so it is easy to manipulate this crossbar. The draw weight for Scorpyd Aculeus is 180lbs making it a good option for a majority of hunting situations.

But if you want the fastest crossbows among the recurve category, then you will find Excalibur Matrix Mega 405 extremely powerful. It is an absolute powerhouse among Excalibur models. At 405 fps and a 350-grain downrange, it means you will have a pass most of the time. But, you need to have enough energy to cock this bad boy every time you are sporting.

What is the best recurve crossbow? (Balance of lightweight, accuracy, and ease of use)

Modern crossbows have been modified to help users improve their hunting adventure. Some advanced recurve crossbows come at a price, but you will worry less about accuracy and ease of use. Many crossbow archers have found that the most reliable and user-friendly recurve crossbow on the market is Excalibur Matrix 380 Xtra. Weighing only 5.9 lbs, Matrix 380 Xtra is suited for any hunting game. Its flexibility makes it a deadly crossbow. Generally, the package has high-quality accessories. Probably, what you will like most about this recurve crossbow is that it is quiet, accurate, and compact with a high-quality safety system. With almost zero flaws, you will rarely find another recurve crossbow on the market that beats Matrix 380 Xtra.