How to Aim with a Recurve Bow: Brush up on the Basics!

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Aiming is probably the most crucial part of archery.

Good aim means you have solid, consistent posture and the necessary skill to hit the target.

Although aiming is generally straightforward, there are plenty of bow types that require you to learn specific techniques.

Here, we’re going to show you how to aim with a recurve bow, both with and without a bow sight.

Before getting in all that, we’re first going to provide a piece of detailed information about the recurve bow and its features.

What is a Recurve Bow?

A recurve bow is a bow having limbs that curve away from the archer when they’re unstrung.

When strung, the limbs curve away then back toward the archer, which is why they are called “recurve” bows.

These bows store a hefty amount of energy and are more efficient than a bow which doesn’t have the two curves.

Related: How to Choose the Best Arrows for Your Recurve Bow

Recurve bows can be identified by their curved tips1.

These curves contribute to why the velocity is increased and the release is smooth on a recurve bow.

These bows can also be spotted in mainstream culture as a lot of movies use them. A notable example is Marvel’s Hawkeye.

They’re also used as the standard bow-type in the Olympics2.

How to Aim Recurve Bow with without sights instinctive shooting

Features of Recurve Bow

The main features of a modern recurve bow is that they are easy to learn and many are modular.

This modularity allows you to install heavier or lighter limbs on your recurve bow’s riser to dial in the right draw weight for maximum accuracy3.

Also, as compared to other bow-type, recurve bow ‘s ease of use is miles ahead. The individual parts of the bow can be interchanged without any hassle.

Some advantages of the recurve bow are:

  • Recurve bows speed up the processing of learning archery for novice archers through their versatility
  • Some recurve bows have takedown capabilities so they are more portable than other traditional bow styles such as longbows
  • Some recurve bows can take accessories such as stabilizers and bow sights to improve your bow’s capabilities

As far as compatibility is concerned, recurve bows are compatible with bow hunting, bow fishing, and target practice.

Bowfishing requires additional equipment that can be installed on some recurve bows but not other types of traditional bows.

With the target practice, recurve bow is a common option.

Major competitions such as the Olympics only allow recurve bow so it’s a safe bet to start practicing with the recurve bow.

How to Aim with a Recurve Bow Using a Sight?

A sight is basically a non-magnified scope for a bow.

Using a sight can indeed get you more accuracy and a precise aim.

However, some people find them difficult to master.

Here, we’re going to show you the ways with which you can properly aim a recurve bow with a sight.

  • The first thing to consider is your form. You know how the drill goes: posture, anchor point, and draw. First, get this step right.
  • Keep in mind that you need to be consistent when sighting in your bow’s sight.
  • Now, the next thing you need to do is to adjust the sight. The main trick here is simple: If your arrow is off a bit left, adjust the scope to the right, and vice versa.
  • The main thing to keep in mind while adjusting the sight is to not overdo it. Don’t go around shifting right and left like a lunatic. You need to keep paying attention to where your lands and then carefully adjust the sight. Find the difference between each of your shots and try to minimize the errors.
  • Don’t make adjustments after each shot. Maybe try out half a dozen shots and then make the adjustment based on the center of your group. It’ll take you longer to sight in your bow if you adjust it after every shot, with less success.
  • Hit the practice range and try out shooting from different distances. Master one distance and move to the other.
  • Do a thorough examination of where you’re shots are going and then you will be able to aim a recurve bow with a sight in no time!

How To Aim With A Recurve Bow Without Sights?

There are mainly four ways that you can follow to shoot a traditional recurve bow.

These techniques aren’t the only way to go about it but they’re proven to be effective.

The main thing to remember while aiming the target is that when the arrow is released, it travels upward initially and then loses height until it hits the target.

Closer targets need a lower aim. Farther targets require you to go high.

The 4 techniques of aiming without sight are briefly explained below.

Gap Shooting

Gap shooting refers to when you aim the arrow tip at a spot present on a vertical line that you can imagine running through the target’s center.

Adjustments depend on the distance and the weight of the bow.

Knowing the distance between you and your target is essential here.

Learning how to open or close the gap takes practice at each range.

String Walking

The string walking technique requires your arrow tip to be aimed at the target’s center4.

You should move your hands up or down the string for adjusting to the distance.

When the target is close, lower your hands and vice versa.

As this method generally lets you focus on the bull’s eye, it is considered a more advanced shooting technique than gap shooting.

Face Walking

The face walking technique requires you to draw your hand in a way that it doesn’t move from draw to draw.

Your anchor point, however, moves up or down your face.

This method is pretty good for shooting precisely but it is banned at some competitions.

You should be fine hunting with this technique, however.

Instinctive Shooting

In instinctive shooting, you shoot with instinct, you don’t focus on your arrow’s point.

Make sure to have a consistent form, draw, and anchor point when you practice instinctual shooting.

You focus on the target, draw, and release. The adjustments are all done by your brain.

This may seem a little vague at first, but it is pretty applicable in real life.

Instinctive shooting takes more practice than the other forms.

However, once you can shoot accurately on instinct, you’ll be able to draw and hit your target faster than if you have to focus on lining up your arrow with the target.

Must Remember Tips When Aiming with Recurve Bows

These are some useful tips that you might want to consider if you’re opting for a recurve bow:

  1. The first thing is to select a bow that is perfect for you. Your aim won’t be precise if you are using a bow that is too light or a too heavy. Also, shooting an uncomfortable bow might be a bummer. You need to select the bow that complements you.
  2. Choose arrows that fit your bow. Often times, people experience poor accuracy because they’ve selected an arrow that doesn’t work with the bow.
  3. Practice with perfect form. People also tend to discard the fact that their form might be off. You need to make sure that your stance, draw, and anchor point are correct and consistent in order to be accurate.

Final Words

In conclusion, aiming a recurve bow is pretty easy whether you have a sight or not.

There are 4 main techniques to aim a recurve bow without a sight. It’ll take some experimentation and practice to see which works best for you.

Aiming with a sight can be a little bit more difficult a poorly-calibrated sight will make shooting a frustrating experience and they can be time consuming to align properly.

No matter which technique you use, the most important factor is you.

Be sure to practice and have fun doing so!



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