Longbows vs. Shortbows. Which one is better?

Basit Ali Chaudhary

When it comes to archery, there is no shortage of debate when it is about the best type of bow. Whether you’re an experienced archer or just getting started, chances are you’ve heard of longbows and shortbows and wondered which one is right for you. Let’s dig into the pros and cons of each type of bow and analyze the major differences between the long and short boe so it becomes easier for to choose which one is best for your individual needs.

Longbows vs. Shortbows – What’s the Difference?

long bow

Longbows are taller than shortbows, and usually have a stave construction (a single piece of wood). They are also typically much more powerful than shortbows, making them better suited for hunting larger game such as deer or elk. Because they require more strength to draw and hold, longbows are also often used in competitions where accuracy is key. There are some fun games to level up your archery skills, if you are new to archery.

short bow

Shortbows are shorter than longbows and have a recurved design and are more flexible. This makes them easier to maneuver and draw, so they’re better suited for beginners or those looking to practice their aim in a relaxed setting. They also require less strength to draw back the string because the curve helps reduce the amount of force required. While they may not be as powerful as longbows, they can still be used for hunting small game like rabbits or squirrels.

Major Difference Between Short & Long Bow

1- Size

The size of a longbow is typically the same as the height of the archer and its length can range from 5 to 7 feet, making it much bulkier to carry around. The handle of a longbow has thickness ranging between 25% to 70% of its width and its limbs are slightly slimmer than its mid-section. This larger build creates better stability and accuracy when taking shots at large game animals in open areas, which is why they tend to be more popular with hunters who plan on covering lots of ground while searching for prey.

While the length of a short bow is averaged between 30 to 60 inches, anything longer than sixty inches wouldn’t be considered a short bow anymore. That’s because one of the defining characteristics of a short bow is its shorter length compared to traditional long bows. Not only does its limited size provide increased maneuverability, but it also makes it particularly suitable for use in tight spaces or under the cover of trees. Moreover, the smaller size lends itself to many different types of archers, such as those desiring mobility and versatility.

2- Range

Understanding the range of a bow is important for various tasks and activities, especially when it comes to hunting. Longbows are designed specifically to shoot targets at further distances, so they require more effort and energy to draw the string fully. The benefit of this greater range is that it offers more versatility and ability in aiming for specific targets at large distances.

If you are looking for a lightweight bow, the shortbow is a great option. Due to its smaller size, the draw length is considerably shorter than that of a regular bow, allowing for more accurate shots within a closer range. While this can be advantageous in some scenarios, it does limit the range at which it can hit its target, making it unpractical for long-distance shots. However, for up-close-distances, short bows are ideal!

3- Shooting Experience

Shooting a longbow is an intense full-body exercise. You really get to understand why archers are so finely tuned athletes. It isn’t just about being able to draw the bow, though that obviously helps, but you need a full array of muscles working in harmony in order to achieve maximum speed and distance. Power from your shoulders and back isn’t enough – you also require core stability, leg strength and even some serious wrist and finger coordination too with those heavy draw weights!

Unlike longbows which demand great strength and only allows you to shoot in one position, the shortbow is much more accessible and requires less strength. This makes it possible for you to shoot accurately in many different positions – although be aware that aiming can be more difficult because shortbow arrows are shorter and lighter, meaning things like wind can drastically affect your shot. On the plus side, when you do find your target within a reasonable range, the accuracy of these bows is very impressive but unfortunately its accuracy quickly falls off for long distances.

4- Cost

When it comes to bows, the cost is always a useful measure for comparison. Short bows are typically less expensive than longbows, with prices varying depending on the wood type used and overall quality of the bow. If you have good budget I would recommend buying a handcrafted bow, as they are crafted with the best quality wood and strings, but are more expensive than a regular one. Longbows can typically cost anywhere from $150 to $450 in price. For those looking for a budget option, short bows can usually be found for around $50 to $220. So whether you’re a novice or an experienced archer, there’s sure to be a bow that meets your needs within your budget!

5- Draw Length

When looking for the right type of bow, size matters. In archery, the draw length determines how far back you can pull the bowstring and this greatly affects your accuracy and success at shooting. Longbows are made using a slightly longer than average stave length and tend to have a longer draw length than short bows. Longer draw lengths yield higher level of torque which gives the arrow more energy, speed and accuracy when shooting farther distances. On the other hand, because of its compact size, shorter bows can’t exceed five feet long and tend to have a shorter draw length which is better suited for close up targets. As an archer looking to shoot at either closer or farther distances, having knowledge of how both types of bows work is essential in order to properly equip yourself with the right choice in order to be successful in your endeavors!

Pros & Cons of Short Bow         


  • Gives you more mobility and flexibility in shooting positions
  • Less energy is required for draw length
  • Beginner friendly
  • Great for short distances


  • The arrows are small and light
  • You can only shoot at short distances

Pros & Cons of Long Bow


  • Great for long distance shooting
  • Strong and long arrows
  • Great for big game hunting


  • Bigger and heavier in size
  • Less flexibility is shooting position, you can only shoot while standing
  • More energy is required for draw length

How Do you Choose Which Bow is Right for you?

When it comes to archery, knowing the specifics of your bow and how they interact is important. Firstly, the size of the bow should be taken into account when determining what draw length you will use – a larger bow means that you need to pull back farther on the bowstring in order to create the desired draw weight. Also larger bow requires more skill and caution, or else you can face archery injuries. The draw weight, in turn, affects how much force is put behind each shot you take with your bow. Accurately gauging it can help prevent fatigue during extended sessions of shooting. Knowing more about your bow and its limitations will make for a better overall shooting experience for any archer!

Sum up

In conclusion, when choosing between a longbow and a shortbow there really is no wrong answer! Both options offer advantages in different scenarios so it’s important to consider your individual needs before making a decision on what type of bow will work best for you. However, one thing is certain; no matter what type of bow you choose you will surely have hours upon hours of fun honing your skills while enjoying the outdoors!

Leave a Comment