“What’s the best beginner recurve bow?” is one of the most common questions I get asked by people looking to get into archery. There are a lot of things to think about when looking for your first recurve bow and this can be intimidating. The bows come in different sizes, weights, styles and also have different features. Don’t worry though!
I have written this guide to show you my recommendations for 2019, as well as what you should look for.
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The Best Beginner Recurve Bow - Reviews
A perfect bow for a beginner and even someone with some experience.
The Samick Sage is low cost when compared with alternatives and is made from quality materials. It is probably one of the most recommended bows for people looking to get started in target archery.
The limbs are upgradeable, so as you improve your skills and strength you will be able to change the limbs. Saving you money in the long run as you wont need to change the entire bow.
In terms of comfort, it feels really good and the grip feels very natural to hold. Weight wise, the bow is light weight which is ideal for when you are just getting started.
The Spyder from Southwest Archery makes an excellent beginner recurve bow, but is also good for intermediate archers. One of the most well-known entry level bows is the Samick Sage, this bow has been named the Sage 2 as it is said to be an improved bow but engineered by the same people.
This bow is excellent quality and is great value for money. It’s a comfortable bow to hold and actually provides a fairly smooth shot. The string is basic so you may want to upgrade this in the future but is fine to begin with.
A low cost bow that is good quality and durable, perfect for a beginner.
The PSE Razorback has a fairly low range of draw weights, so even though it is good for those just starting its really aimed at women your children. Due to the low draw weight, it is only suitable for those that are wanting to do target archery.
The bow is really light to hold and the grip on the riser has been designed to fit perfectly into your hand. I personally love the way the bow looks, the white limbs on the wooden riser really go well together.
One of the great things about the PSE Razorback, is how easy it is to assemble. It will only take a couple of minutes as you simply need to screw the limbs onto the riser and this doesn’t require any tools. The bow doesn’t come with any stringer, so you will need to purchase one. (never string the bow without a bow stringer)
- Draw Wight: 25-35lbs
- Handed: Left & Right handed options
- Length: 62"
- Limbs: Maple & Fibreglass
- Takedown: Yes - (No Tool Needed)
- Riser: Wood & Pre-drilled
The SAS Courage is a good option for beginners, simply because it is low cost and is very easy to take down and assemble again. There are some limitations on being able to upgrade it but its still a very good option.
The bow is decent sized at 60” and draw weights ranging from 35-60lbs, so more suitable for male archers. It’s also comes in both left handed and right handed versions. The bow itself looks good and when fully drawing the bow, it doesn't feel as hard as some similarly weighted bows.
- Draw Wight: 35-60lbs
- Handed: Left & Right handed options
- Length: 60"
- Limbs: Wood & Fibreglass
- Takedown: Yes
- Riser: Wood & Pre-drilled
A high quality bow at a reasonable price
The Martin Saber is not the cheapest bow but is actually very reasonable for the quality of bow you will get. Martin Archery are very well-known for producing excellent recurve bows and thus one is ideal for beginners. (It’s also a great option for intermediate archers)
There is a decent range of draw weights available, so regardless of what type of archery you want to do this bow will do it. The bow itself is quite heavy when compared with alternatives but I wouldn’t let this put you off.
One of the reasons id recommend this bow is because of the riser, it’s made from high quality aluminium and is incredibly comfortable to hold. It also uses technology to reduce the amount of vibration of the string causes, which can really help improve your shot.
It’s worth noting that the bow is only available for right handed archers and the arrow rest is not the best, so this might want replacing in the future.
- Draw Wight: 30-55lbs
- Handed: Right handed only
- Length: 64"
- Limbs: Laminated Wood & Fibreglass
- Takedown: Yes
- Riser: Aluminium
How to Buy a Recurve Bow for Beginners
In this buyers guide, my aim is to try and simplify the options on a beginner recurve bow. Ensuring that you get the right equipment for you just starting out and not having to spend more than you really need to.
The draw weight is basically the amount of weight your pulling and holding when the bowstring is pulled back. Generally the higher the draw weight, the faster and more powerful the shot. It is however important as a beginner, that you don’t go for a high draw weight as this will impact technique. Using a bow that has a draw weight that is too high could also cause an injury.
You want to pick a draw weight that is fairly low and then as you practice you will be able to increase this. When I started I was using a 20lb bow and within a couple of weeks moved onto a 24 and then 26lb.
This is why I would always recommend a bow that has interchangeable limbs, as you can increase the amount of draw weight by simply swapping the limbs.
Bow Size/Draw Length
You can find a useful article on bow size, this does go into more detail on getting the right size for your starter recurve bow. Now its worth noting you will probably not get the exact right size, as entry level bows don't usually have a wide range of sizes.
Often getting a bow that is slightly bigger is actually better than getting one that is a bit smaller. This is because bigger bows with larger limbs do tend to be a bit more forgiving, making shooting a lot more enjoyable.
Usually the recurve bows for beginners are a standard size and this will be perfect for getting started, so don't worry about this too much.
Weight of the Recurve Bow
How heavy the bow is, shouldn't really impact your decision on which is right for you. Most of them are around the same weight. The only time I would suggest thinking about it is how you intend to use the bow. If its for target archery then it doesn't matter, however if you intend to hunt then you do need to consider something light as you would be holding it up for longer periods of time.
Right or Left Handed
This one is a bit self explanatory really, if you are right handed then you need to get a right handed bow and visa versa. It can however confuse some people, if you are right handed then you will actually be holding the bow in your left hand. There are some bows that can work with both left and right handed archers.
Type of riser
The riser is the section of the bow that you hold and that the arrow rests on. Some will have a rubber grip for you to hold, whereas others might be bare wood. You will also find that the riser has some pre-drilled holes, these allow you to add additional accessories such as sights or stabilisers.
Risers are made from either wood or metal, it is generally down to person preference on the look of them. Wooden ones are often cheaper than metal, so usually recommended when just starting out.
Takedown or Not
A takedown recurve bow is a bow that you are able to remove the limbs and therefore “take it down” and make it smaller. This is ideal as bows are actually pretty big, much bigger than many people think and not everyone has the space to have a bow lying around.
By removing the limbs and taking it down, you are able to store it in a case or in a cupboard. There are two types of takedown bows, those that can just unclip and don’t require any tools and then those that will normally require an allen key.
When you are a beginner in archery, you will find that you will quickly develop your skills and strength. I would therefore recommend when looking for your starter recurve bow, you get one that can be upgraded.
Initially you might be on a low poundage, however within a month or so you will already be increasing the amount of poundage. You will save money in the long run by getting a bow that can be upgraded.
You don’t really need to worry too much about the string quality, usually a beginner recurve bow will have a very standard/basic string and over time this will wear and eventually break. Once you have improved your archery, you could look into a better quality string.
As a beginner I would always recommend getting a bow that comes with a manufacturer's warranty, as this will give you peace of mind. These warranties will cover the riser and limbs but the string is usually not covered.
More often than not the warranty is for either 6 months or 12 months, which would be more than enough.
It is worth noting that somethings do make your warranty voided, the most common being when you dry fire your bow. This is when you shoot the bow without an arrow knocked, doing this will break the limbs. (Do not ever do this!)
Pricing is what I would consider as one of the most important things to consider, you don't want a cheap bow that’s going to break within a couple of weeks but at the same time you do not want to spend too much.
Your first recurve bow doesn’t need to be the most expensive, you may give up after a couple of months or you might be ready to upgrade to an intermediate bow. I would therefore recommend looking for a beginner recurve bow that costs between $90-$150.
Verdict: Best Beginner Recurve
There are so many great options but if I was to choose then I would recommend the Southwest Archery Spyder, with the Samick Sage taking a very close second place. The spyder is lightweight, made from high quality wood that feels so smooth and comfortable to hold.
You do require a tool to takedown the limbs, but that’s not a real problem as they do provide everything needed. Included in the package is a bow stringer and a basic string, which will suit all beginners.
Interestingly as it was made by the same engineers that creating the Samick Sage, the limbs from the Sage will also fit it.
Even though I do say its the best beginner recurve bow, its also suitable for those that have some experience. Therefore this bow will grow with your skill level and won’t require you to purchase a whole new one.