longbow vs composite bow: eight essential factors to consider

If you are an archer or hunter, your mind has an actual question about the difference between a composite bow and a longbow. Don’t panic! This longbow vs composite bow guide is for you. You will get some essential factors like design, materials, draw length, advantages and disadvantages of the Longbow and the composite bow. So let’s start your journey with chooseabow.com.

longbow vs compound bow


Composite bow:

A composite bow is the popular form of the traditional bow, which consists of different parts. The most common materials used are wood, horn, and sinew. Wood, horn, and sinew are incorporated with the glue to make a composite bow.


You can understand by its name that the ‘Long bow’ word comes from the Longbow’s length. A longbow is also known as a ‘war bow.’ A longbow is made from a single piece of wood.

Design and Materials

Composite bow:

I mentioned earlier in this guide that a composite bow consists of several parts. This section will discuss these three parts with some valuable information. So let’s start.


Wood is the bending part of the limb of the composite bow. The different demographic region uses different types of wood. If you think about the Turkey region, you will notice that they use ‘hard maple wood’ whereas the Chinese use mulberry family woods. Some composite bows are made from non-bending materials like ‘Sitka spruce’ stiff and light.


Horn is a thin layer that acts as a belly of a bow. Goat, sheep, water buffalo, and cow’s horns are used as the raw source of horn, but water buffalo is the most suitable for better use.


Sinew is glued at the back of the bow. It is collected from the back part of the deer and some domestic animals. Sinew is better than wood in case of elastic tension.


Longbow is made from wood, and it has layered fiberglass. When Longbow is coming from a single piece of components, it is called a ‘self bow.’English longbow is one type of self bow. The manufacturer uses different kinds of wood for making the Longbow, like Yew wood, hardwood, laminated wood, lemonwood, etc.

Draw length

It varies with the age and size of the archer. There is a question on how to measure the draw length of the bow? Measuring the draw length of the different bows is the same. There are a couple of ways to measure the draw length.

The first one is the ‘arrow method,’ place the bow vertically where your neck meets your head, as shown in the picture, then measure the length from the neck to where your hand out. Add or subtract ½” from the obtained length for getting the perfect result.

draw length measurement

The second method is the ‘draw check method’ In this method,  draw the bow back to the corner, and measure the length where it lands on the riser. This method will give you the exact result of the earlier method.

draw length

Composite bow:

The ideal draw length of the composite bow is about 150cm.


The ideal draw length of a Longbow is about 180-200 cm.

Draw weight:

Composite bow:

One hundred pounds is the ideal draw weight for the composite bow.


Like a composite bow, the draw weight for Longbow is about 100 pounds.


Composite bow:

When an archer throws the composite bow, the maximum range it will travel is about 450 m.


275 m is the maximum distance traveled by the Longbow.


Composite bow:

Though composite bow comes from the exact origin called nomad, it will change with cultural diversity. there are different types of traditional bows, such as

  • Mongol bow
  • Chinese bow
  • Turkish bow
  • Japanese bow
  • Hungarian bow
  • Korean bow etc


English Longbow and Laminated Longbow are two common traditional longbows. There are many other Longbows available in the market.

Uses and benefit

Composite bow:

As we discussed earlier, that composite bow is made up of two to smaller pieces, so we can say that this smaller size is responsible for the high power of this bow. An archer in moving objects like horseback feels convenient for these smaller sizes to use this bow. A composite bow is compact and lighter in weight. These types of bows are powerful, strong, and flexible. It can shoot long distances.


Longbow is beginner-friendly, and it produces minimal noise when you shoot. For its large dimension, it is a better choice for hunting.


Composite bow:

A composite bow consists of several components, so it takes much more time to make it other than self-bows. For joining the two components, the manufacturer uses animal glue which is moisture sensitive. So, as a result, the draw weight will be dropped.


For their extraordinary length, they could be easily breakable, so the archer should take extra precautions. arrows will go more slowly after they shoot the bow.

longbow vs composite bow : table comparison

FeaturesComposite BowLongbow
Design and MaterialsConsists of wood, horn, and sinew glued together. The wood is used for the bending part of the limb, horn is the belly of the bow, and sinew is glued at the back. Different types of wood and animal horns are used based on the region. Sinew is collected from the back part of the deer and domestic animals. Some composite bows are made from non-bending materials like Sitka spruce.Made from a single piece of wood, with layered fiberglass for added strength. Different types of wood are used, such as yew wood, hardwood, laminated wood, and lemonwood.
Draw LengthIdeal draw length is about 150cm.Ideal draw length is about 180-200cm.
Draw WeightIdeal draw weight is about 100 pounds.Ideal draw weight is about 100 pounds.
RangeMaximum range is about 450m.Maximum range is about 275m.
TraditionsDifferent types of traditional bows exist, such as Mongol, Chinese, Turkish, Japanese, Hungarian, and Korean.English Longbow and Laminated Longbow are common traditional longbows.
Uses and BenefitsCompact and lighter in weight, powerful, strong, and flexible. Suitable for moving objects like horseback. Can shoot long distances.Beginner-friendly, produces minimal noise when shooting. Better for hunting due to its large dimensions.
LimitationsTakes longer to make due to its multiple components and animal glue, which is moisture sensitive and can cause the draw weight to drop.Could be easily breakable due to its length, so extra precautions are needed. Arrows travel more slowly after being shot.


As discussed earlier 8-important points about longbow vs composite bow hopefully help you choose the better one. If you ask me which one is better for the novice or young archer, I suggest going with the longbow. But if you are an expert archer, I am going with the composite bow.

Related Articles:


Which is a more powerful longbow or recurve bow?

The longbow is a more powerful weapon than the recurve bow. The recurve bow is faster and more accurate, but the longbow is stronger and can penetrate armor better.

Are composite bows good?

Composite bows are good as it is smaller and more powerful than traditional self bows.

What is the difference between a longbow and a regular bow?

A longbow has a longbow string that touches the bow’s limb, whereas a recurve bow has a shorter bowstring that doesn’t touch the bow’s limb. 

A longbow is made with a longer bowstring, which gives it more power to shoot arrows. A recurve bow, in contrast, is shorter and has a narrower bowstring, which gives it less power to shoot arrows.

composite bow vs compound bow,which one is better?

There are a variety of different bows that people can choose from when they are looking to purchase one. two of the most popular types of bows are composite bows and compound bows. Both composite and compound bows have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages that you should take into account before making a purchase. 

Here is a more detailed look at the difference between composite and compound bows:

Composite bows are usually made from a combination of materials, such as wood, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. This gives them greater flexibility than other types of bows, which can make them more comfortable to shoot. 

However, composite bows can be more expensive than other types of bows and can be difficult to repair if they break.

Compound bows, on the other hand, are made from a single piece of composite material. This makes them more durable than composite bows but also means that they are harder to repair if they break. Compound bows also typically have a higher draw weight than composite bows, which can make them better for hunting purposes.

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