Crossbow or Recurve bow for survival

Crossbow or Recurve Bow for Survival (Ultimate Guide)

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Archery has been around for millennia. It stems from the Upper Paleolithic when it was the most popular hunting method back in the days. Primitive bows have evolved into powerful and accurate weapons you can use to hunt anything from small to big game and even for self-defense. And unless you are a hardcore archer, you probably don’t know which type to go for – a crossbow or recurve bow for survival?

It all depends on your archery skills.

If you are somewhat experienced in archery, a recurve bow might your best bet.

Otherwise, a crossbow would be a better choice as you don’t need any previous experience or training to achieve amazing accuracy with it.

Yet, you should always double-check whether or not crossbows are banned in your state. 

Crossbows and recurve bows have multiple similarities but can’t compete in any way, although you can use them as complementary weapons.

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of bows!


Crossbows have always been one of the deadliest weapons, especially during ancient times.

Even inexperienced archers could achieve remarkable power and accuracy with these instruments of war.

A crossbow typically rests on the shooter’s shoulder and this shooting mechanism makes it super-intuitive to aim at a target, to trigger and release the string.

The string is placed horizontally and fastened to a wooden support.

While the base of a crossbow boasts an aluminum construction, onto which multiple-layered fiberglass limbs are embedded.

Eccentrics (wheels placed on the limb tips) produce kinetic energy, which increases the bow’s efficiency while the limbs store that kinetic energy.

Crossbow or recurve bow for survival, a crossbow on a table

However, the Width of the Bow can Make a Crossbow a bit Tricky to Fire!

You should uniformly stretch the crossbow and bring it as close as possible to the center, at least if you want to improve its impact.

Most manufacturers use heavy strings and narrow bows that require slightly more effort to fire an arrow.

But crossbows are bendable, which makes aiming from the arrow rest easier.

And they have amazing power stroke (the length of the string) so the arrow can travel quite fast, albeit only for a short distance.

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Recurve Bows

Archers who prefer horseback riding typically go for recurve bows.

This type of bow is super-convenient for use in bushy and forest areas as well.

Recurve bows are upgraded versions of crossbows, made of either aluminum alloy, carbon, or wood.

Fiberglass limbs are there to make firing more convenient and the eccentrics that produce kinetic energy are attached to parts of the limbs.

When you unstring the bow, a part of the limb contracts while its tip curves away from your body.

The bow of recurve bows is shorter than that of crossbows, which results in an amazing shooting range (hundreds of yards).

And an added bonus is that recurve bows are very light so your bug out bag won’t feel any heavier.

Be careful about the noise production when using recurve bows.

If you apply greater stress to the string, it will produce a loud and sharp sound, which is something to avoid, especially when hunting in the wilderness.

Fun fact: Recurve bows are the only type of bows allowed in the Olympics!

Crossbow vs Recurve Bow

Now, here are 3 key factors to consider when wondering what type of bow to go for.


Recurve bows fall in the category of competitive archery and you should use one if you are already somehow skilled.

Also, recurve bows could do for hunting, although a crossbow would be a better choice here.

You can take down your prey within seconds as this bow type features greater arrow speed that proves invaluable in such scenarios.


Crossbows are easy to use but also easy to mishandle.

Be careful when loading and unloading it, and solely focus on this task.

Otherwise, you may endanger your or someone else’s safety.

Injuries from crossbows can cause severe trauma that require medical intervention.

Recurve bows are generally safer than crossbows, which is why they are allowed in the Olympics.

Either way, make sure to double-check the firing area before shooting, as everything depends on your awareness and focus.


Crossbows contain multiple mechanical elements that make them extremely durable.

They’re meant for heavy-use and most crossbows can last a lifetime.

Recurve bows are relatively durable but require some degree of maintenance (destringing after each use).

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Crossbow – Pros and Cons

Here we’ll take a closer look at the main pros and cons associated with using crossbows.


  • Beginner-friendly
  • Very accurate and powerful
  • Ideal for hunting
  • Higher FPS
  • Short-range


  • Most states have banned crossbows
  • Loud firing

Recurve Bow – Pros and Cons

And below you’ll find the pros and cons related to recurve bows.


  • Most states allow recurve bows
  • Ideal for competitions and horseback archery
  • Lightweight frame
  • Long-range
  • Available in multiple styles


  • Not so suitable for hunting


If you are starting to change your mind about the crossbow or recurve bow for survival topic, don’t forget that both can help you stay alive when outdoors.

Crossbows have numerous highlights but are still very restricted.

But in case you don’t mind messing up with the laws – just go for it.

Otherwise, a recurve bow would be a safer option.

Now, are you an experienced archer?

And what are your thoughts about crossbows and recurve bows?

Leave your answers in the comments below!

Survival copywriter at Atlantic Survival Gear | Website | + posts

Evelyn is a young and adventurous spirit fueled by her unwavering passion for the outdoors and survival. From an early age, she was captivated by nature's beauty, and her thirst for exploration knows no bounds.

Evelyn's love for the wilderness extends beyond admiration. She has dedicated herself to mastering survival skills, from building shelters to foraging for food. Fearless and determined, she embarks on thrilling expeditions, conquering rugged terrains and embracing the challenges that come her way.

As an advocate for environmental stewardship, Evelyn strives to protect and preserve the landscapes she cherishes. Through her inspiring journeys and responsible outdoor practices, she encourages others to connect with nature and discover their own inner strength.

She stands as a beacon of inspiration for young women seeking adventure and a deeper connection with the natural world. Join her on an unforgettable journey of discovery, self-reliance, and the boundless beauty that awaits in the great outdoors.

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