As a hunter or recreational shooter, you may be considering purchasing a crossbow.
But with so many different types on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we’ll be comparing the compound crossbow vs recurve crossbow, two popular options among crossbow enthusiasts.
We’ll go over the key differences between the two and their pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision.
So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this comparison will help you choose the perfect crossbow for your needs.
What is a Compound Crossbow?
A compound crossbow is a modern crossbow that uses a system of pulleys and cables to reduce the force needed to draw back the string.
This system, known as the “compound system,” consists of several pulleys and cables that work together to create a mechanical advantage.
As a result, the compound bow is easier to cock and hold at full draw than traditional, recurve crossbows.
What is a Recurve Crossbow?
A recurve crossbow is a type of crossbow that has limbs that curve away from the shooter when unstrung.
This design allows for a longer power stroke, generating more kinetic energy and increasing arrow speed. Recurve crossbows are also typically lighter and more compact than compound crossbows, making them easier to carry and maneuver in the field.
Compound Crossbow vs Recurve Crossbow: Draw Weight
One of the key differences between compound and recurve crossbows is their draw weight. The draw weight of a crossbow refers to the amount of force needed to draw the bow string back and cock the crossbow.
Compound crossbows typically have a lower draw weight than recurve crossbows, as the compound system helps to reduce the amount of force needed.
This makes compound crossbows easier to cock and hold at full draw, especially for shooters with lower strength or smaller stature.
On the other hand, recurve crossbows have a higher draw weight, as they do not have the benefit of the compound system to reduce the force needed.
This can make recurve crossbows more challenging to cock and hold at full draw, especially for shooters with lower strength.
Compound Crossbow vs Recurve Crossbow Speed
Another key difference between compound and recurve crossbows is their speed. The speed of a crossbow is measured in feet per second (fps), which refers to how fast the arrow travels after being released from the crossbow.
Speed of The Compound Bows
Compound crossbows are generally faster than recurve crossbows, thanks to their compound system, which generates more power.
However, the actual speed of a compound crossbow will depend on various factors, such as the size of the crossbow, the length and weight of the arrow, and the shooter’s strength.
Speed of The Recurve Bows
Recurve crossbows, on the other hand, are generally slower than compound crossbows due to their lack of a compound system. However, they can still achieve high speeds, especially when paired with the right arrows and used by a strong shooter.
Accuracy of the Crossbows
Accuracy is an important factor to consider when choosing a crossbow, as it will determine how well you can hit your target. Both compound and recurve crossbows can be accurate, but there are some key differences to consider.
Compound crossbows are generally more accurate than recurve crossbows due to their compound system, which helps to stabilize the string and reduce vibration. This results in a more consistent and precise shot. Recurve crossbows, on the other hand, may be less accurate.
Which is Easier to Use?
One of the biggest advantages of compound crossbows is their ease of use. The compound system helps to reduce the amount of force needed to cock and hold the crossbow at full draw, making them much easier to use than recurve crossbows.
This can be especially beneficial for shooters with lower strength or smaller stature, as they may have difficulty cocking and holding a recurve crossbow at full draw.
In addition, compound bows often come with built-in cocking devices, such as cranks or levers, which can further reduce the effort needed to cock the crossbow.
Recurve crossbows, on the other hand, do not have the benefit of the compound system and may require more strength and effort to cock and hold at full draw.
Differences in Maintenance
Both compound and recurve crossbows require regular maintenance to keep them in good working condition. However, there are some key differences to consider.
Maintaining Compound Crossbows
Compound crossbows tend to require more maintenance due to their complex compound system, which consists of a series of pulleys and cables.
These components can wear out over time and may need to be replaced. In addition, the strings and cables on a compound crossbow will need to be waxed and replaced more frequently than those on a recurve crossbow.
Maintaining Recurve Crossbows
Recurve crossbows, on the other hand, are generally simpler and require less maintenance. They have fewer components and the strings and cables do not need to be replaced as frequently.
Price is an essential factor to consider when purchasing any piece of equipment, and crossbows are no exception.
Compound Bow Price
Compound crossbows are more expensive than recurve crossbows due to their complex compound system and the additional features they often come with.
In addition, as you know, compound crossbows may require more maintenance, which can also drive up the overall cost.
Recurve Bow Price
On the other hand, recurve crossbows are generally less expensive due to their simpler design and fewer components.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that price is not always an indicator of quality, and you should consider other factors such as accuracy, speed, and durability when making your decision.
Compound vs Recurve Portability
Another key difference between compound and recurve crossbows is their portability. Compound crossbows tend to be larger and heavier than recurve crossbows, due to their compound system and the additional features they often come with.
This can make them more difficult to carry and maneuver in the field, especially for longer periods of time.
Recurve crossbows, on the other hand, are generally lighter and more compact, making them easier to carry and maneuver.
This can be especially beneficial for bow hunting, where you need to cover a lot of ground or those who need to pack their gear into tight spaces.
Both compound and recurve crossbows are durable and can withstand regular use, but there are some key differences to consider.
Compound crossbows tend to be more durable due to their complex compound system and the additional features they often come with. This can make them more resistant to wear and tear and less likely to break or malfunction.
Recurve crossbows, on the other hand, are generally simpler and have fewer components, which can make them less durable.
However, this does not necessarily mean that the best recurve crossbow is less reliable, as it can still be built to withstand regular use and be very durable.
Differences in Noise
Noise is an essential consideration for crossbow hunting, as a loud crossbow can alert small and big game and ruin your chances of a successful hunt.
Compound Crossbow Noise
Compound crossbows are generally quieter than recurve crossbows due to their compound system, which helps to dampen vibration and reduce noise.
However, the actual noise level of a compound crossbow will depend on various factors, such as the size of the crossbow, the strength of the shooter, and the type of arrows used.
Recurve Crossbow Noise
On the other hand, recurve crossbows tend to be louder due to their lack of the compound system and their longer power stroke, generating more vibration.
Which is Right for You?
Compound and recurve crossbows are both popular choices among shooters and hunters, and each has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
Compound crossbows are generally easier to use, more accurate, and faster than recurve crossbows, but they are also more expensive and require more maintenance.
Recurve crossbows are generally less expensive, simpler, and more compact than compound crossbows, but they are also harder to use, potentially less accurate, and slower.
Ultimately, the best crossbow for you will depend on your needs, preferences, and budget.