Recurve bows, like traditional longbows, have been around for a long while. As time has passed, a number of manufacturers have begun to shine in recurve production. Some brands sport rare, exotic wood construction. Others may champion top-quality craftsmanship or technologies. Still others are happy to provide you with the best deal. Regardless, there are a few recurve bow brands you should be aware of.
The recurve bow brands reviewed in this article all produce recurve bows of the highest quality. While they are all competitors, their collective passion for archery is unrivaled. They bring the best quality, customer service, and knowledge to the recurve bow market. We will examine the following recurve bow brands:
- Precision Shooting Equipment (PSE)
- Bear Archery
- Martin Archery
- Southwest Archery USA
- Black Widow Bows
This article seeks to provide a short background for each brand listed, and highlight noteworthy accomplishments, qualities, and products.
Precision Shooting Equipment (PSE)
Precision Shooting Equipment was founded in 1970. It’s founder quit his job as a product engineer and turned his passion for archery into a behemoth of a privately owned company that specializes in archery equipment. While trying to discover the identity of his company, Pete Shepley (founder), experimented with building his own bows in many different styles and with many different accessories. Like the old adage goes, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” That is exactly what Pete did. While experimenting with different styles of bow, he decided to focus his energy on perfecting the compound bow.
After taking the compound bow market by storm with their improved technology, PSE decided to take some of the same technology to the recurve bow market. The very sturdy carbon risers and carbon/graphite composite limbs make these bows extremely durable and balanced. The vibration-free technology helps keep the bow steady when you need it most.
Education by PSE
PSE also offers a top quality archery education at the Tucson, Arizona campus. Their top instructor, Alexander Kirillov, is a Three-Time National Coach of the Year and a multiple time Olympic archery coach. Their list of accomplished students is constantly growing and includes Three-Time American Olympic Archer Jennifer Nichols. From beginners to professionals, the PSE Shooter and Technical Schools provide instruction and education for all skill levels.
Precision Shooting Equipment not only offers top class equipment built on a rich history of entrepreneurial know how and pure passion for archery, they also offer to share this knowledge through their archery and technical schools. PSE is a fantastic company offering wonderfully innovative products with the reputation to back them up.
In 1939, Fred Bear, an auto industry worker in Detroit by way of Pennsylvania, launched Bear Archery. With a life-long passion for archery, Fred Bear learned to craft his own bows, arrows and bow strings under the guidance of famous bow hunter Art Young. In the years leading up to the modern day Bear Archery, Fred was hand making bows and arrows for his ever growing group of friends that appreciated his quality goods. Soon, his side project became a full time business, thus, Bear Archery was born.
Fred began staring in and producing films of his bow hunting trips as a way to show off his products and get the word out about his new company. The films along with articles published in outdoor magazines gained Fred and Bear Archery great amounts of publicity. One such expedition resulted in Fred downing an African bull elephant. With a bow and arrow! Fred’s already booming international prominence grew as the trip was reported to an international radio audience.
Craftsmanship of Bear Archery
Comprised of a one or two-piece wooden riser, using different woods for different models of bow, Bear Archery’s recurve bows are beautifully crafted. Another fine piece of craftsmanship used in each Bear Archery recurve bow lies in the Bear hair thumb rest. This unique addition is not only functional, but provides the Bear bows with a trademark unlike any other bow on the market. Also included on each bow, the model, length and serial number hand painted on the riser.
When it comes to pure craftsmanship, Bear Archery does it better than anyone. It is the little details and pure beauty of these bows that make them so unique. The Bear hair thumb rest, the hand painted serial numbers, the one or two-piece risers. These are high quality, outstandingly crafted bows ready to preform just like Fred Bear intended, ready to take down the biggest game.
Hoyt has been around since the 1930’s and prides itself on employing the very same people that love archery as much as they do. The passion for archery shared throughout the company is very prevalent in their top of the line, high technology bows. Because the owners and employees alike live and breathe archery, they are always coming up with the next best, groundbreaking idea or technology. Being on the forefront of the archery technology space has afforded Hoyt the honor of providing bows to some of the top target archers and hunters in the world.
During the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, #TeamHoyt earned 15 total medals in archery competition. Hoyt is undoubtedly world-renowned, producing top-class bows and boasting 15 Olympic medals and archers from all over the world. Hoyt is immensely dedicated to ensuring they create the best bow for the archer, whether that is in their hunting or target shooting spaces. Quite notably because their target bows are sold as individual risers and limbs. Meaning the archer essentially customizes the bow they feel will make them the best archer they can be.
Superior Technology of Hoyt
Hoyt’s hunting bows employ aluminum risers paired with classic, yet sophisticated combinations of wood and fiberglass limbs. Hoyt uses the most advanced technology on their hunting bows to ensure maximum smoothness, mobility and quietness.
The technology and engineering that goes into the Hoyt Target Recurve Risers and Target Recurve Limbs is second to none. Praised as the “most awarded riser in modern history”, the Formula Series Recurve Risers are the choice of professional target archers the world over. They have features for maximum adjustability and accuracy. High performance geometry ensures the archer is getting the maximum arrow speed possible all while maintaining the smoothest release. If you are serious about competition shooting target archery, Hoyt makes the bows for you. They are unrivaled and the obvious choice of Olympians all over the world.
Martin Archery was founded in Walla Walla, Washington, being established in 1951. Having been one of the leaders in pioneering new bow technology for 50 years, in the early 2000’s Martin Archery had fallen on hard times. Gail Martin, the founder, died. The company’s assets were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. That is, until lifetime bow hunter and archery enthusiast turned businessman, Rich Weatherford stepped in and purchased Martin Archery. Upon taking over, Rich’s goal was simple. Get Martin Archery back to national prominence and develop industry leading and changing technology.
As Weatherford began revamping Martin’s line of takedown recurve bows, one model caught the eye of Hollywood. In the third and fourth chapters of The Hunger Games franchise, “Mockingjay” parts 1 and 2, the main character, Katniss, known for her superior archery skills, shoots a Martin Savannah recurve bow. Due to the pleasing aesthetic and shootability of the bow, the prop masters selected this bow to showcase Katniss’ archery prowess.
Variety of Martin Archery
Martin provides archers with a few different options when it comes to recurve bows. They have takedown style recurve bows available with both a wooden and metal riser. The metal riser models tend to be a bit pricier, but will provide a lighter weight for the shooter to carry around. This is especially important while hunting. The takedown recurve bows with more traditional metal risers could be a good option for an archer just starting out, as they are generally a bit cheaper and come in lighter, though not as many, draw weights.
Also within their recurve bow offerings, Martin produces traditional, non-takedown recurve bows. These are the highest end recurve bows they offer, ranging from $400 to almost $700. The traditional, non-takedown aspect of these bows reduces weight and provides archers with a great deal of draw weight adjustability. From 52” to 62”, there are traditional recurve bows available for any type of archer.
Southwest Archery USA
They are a bit different than the previous recurve bow brands reviewed in this article. A small brick and mortar archery shop, Southwest Archery USA focuses on producing quality recurve bows and accessories as well as providing customers with the top quality customer service and support they deserve.
Affordability of Southwest Archery USA
At Southwest Archery they pride themselves in producing premium wood recurve bows and a price that won’t break the bank. Whether you are interested in a recurve bow set or if you’d rather build your own, Southwest Archery has both options. The full bow kits they produce are all takedown style bows and very reasonably priced, under $200.
Apart from the full recurve bow kits, Southwest Archery produces riser and limb separates. You can put together the separate parts to make the ultimate small shop recurve bow. While sizing options at Southwest Archery are limited (60”, 62”, 64”, 68”), they provide quality products that make fantastic bows.
Black Widow Bows
Black Widow Bows are perhaps the most unique bows that can be bought because they are so customizable. Each bow is hand-made to-order, taking many hours of manual labor. According to Black Widow, the limb and string combo they most use can reduce your necessary draw weight for a normal recurve bow, and reduce it as much as 25% if coming straight from a compound bow. The superior flex and stability of the limbs provide the greatest mechanical advantage for the shooter, allowing for minimized effort.
When an order is submitted for a Black Widow Bow, they specify that because of the custom nature of the bow, draw weight will be plus or minus two pounds of the indicated draw weight. For additional fees, they can make sure the draw weight is within one pound, or spot on the specified draw weight. Apart from the standard grip the recurve bows are wrapped in, an upgrade to a beaver tail wrap can be arranged. Furthermore, one can personalize the face or lower limb of the bow with their name or a short message for no additional charge.
Exotic Woods of Black Widow Bows
So what makes these custom bows so desirable? Besides the obvious craftsmanship, it is the wood risers they offer. They offer a wide range of exotic woods not found on any other bow in the world. Honduras Rosewood, Bocote, Birdseye Maple, Zebrawood, Tiger Myrtle. These are just a few of the many offerings that provide their elegant and colorful grains to the riser of these one of a kind bows.
The options are seemingly never ending when looking to customize a Black Widow Bow. There are certainly too many to talk about in this article. If you are an experienced archer looking for the best of the best in custom bows, look no further. Fantastically crafted and beautifully made, Black Widow Bows are darn near flawless. If there are flaws, Black Widow offers a great 5-year warranty. Black Widow repairs or replaces the bow for free if anything happens within one year. If you’re afraid to make the jump into spending $1,000+ on a custom bow, Black Widow offers a one week “test drive” of one of their “in-stock” bows, created just for this purpose. To me, that is pure confidence in their product.
In this article, we have discussed six of the top recurve bow brands on the market today. From the entry level, basic recurve takedown bow, to the technologically advanced aluminum riser, and all the way to the completely custom, exotic wood recurve bow. With so many options out there, knowing what kind of archery you wish to pursue is important. After determining that, picking a bow is going to leave you with hundreds of options to choose from. From the beginner to the expert, there are options for everyone. Good luck!