Archery bows can be classified by construction, design, and use. They can be divided into two categories: those that require the archer to pull the string and those with a mechanism to pull it. Bows can be categorized by their materials and shape, with compound bows being popular for hunting. Crossbows, once used for warfare, are now mainly used for hunting and shooting practice, with laws varying by region.
After considering the basic construction and function that all bows share, archery bows can be classified in several ways. Regional laws regarding the use of certain bows for certain purposes can vary, but typically the types of factors used to classify bows include those relating to their specific construction, design and use. For example, some bows are classified by how their wires should be drawn. Others are grouped according to their shape. Some archery bows are categorized by their materials of construction and others are sorted by design features that require the archer to exert less force.
While there are numerous variations, all archery bows have the same basic construction. Simply put, the construction and design of a bow consists of a string attached to the limbs. The limbs are elastic which means they are flexible enough to provide some “give” and store mechanical energy as the archer pulls the string. Given the basic construction, archery bows can be divided into two broad categories. The former includes bows designed to allow the archer to pull the string himself, and the latter includes bows that have a mechanism designed to pull the string.
Most archery bows are designed in ways that require the archer to pull the string himself, but under this broad category are other categories. For example, self bows, laminated bows, and composite bows are types of archery bows classified by their materials of construction. Other types of archery bows, such as the recurve bow, longbow, and flatbow, are classified according to their shape. Perhaps one of the most common of these types of bows are compound bows. Compound bows reduce the amount of force the archer must exert to hold the string which allows the archer more time and less effort and makes them popular choices for hunting bows.
Generally, archery bows that include mechanisms for pulling their strings are referred to as crossbows. Crossbows were once a popular weapon for warfare, but nowadays they are mainly used for shooting practice and hunting. Anyone wishing to use a crossbow for hunting should first check their local or regional hunting laws. Some areas may allow crossbows, while others reserve use only for hunters who have injuries that make it impossible for them to use traditional bows. Such injuries could include injuries that limit the use of an archer’s shoulder, elbow, or wrist.