Recurve bow: How to aim accurately

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While many archers are compound bow shooters, more people prefer the traditional way of using a longbow. You make every shot without using added accessories such as a bow rest, stabilizer, or sight, leaving your bow bare.

All you have is your judgment and instinct with the draw length to make a shot. Here are four different bow firing techniques to make accurate shots that work well for the beginner. Before discussing the different aiming methods for recurve bow shooting, we want to look at the arrow’s flight over a distance towards the target face. When using sight and aim at the objective, it is straight to the bull’s eye.

The arrow flight is upward when your fingers release it from the bow string, loses height until it comes to the mark. Therefore, the closer the mark, you point lower as the arrow is still in the upward flight. The further your target, you have to raise recurve bows higher to compensate for the fall in the arrow trajectory. Now let’s discuss the different aiming techniques. A bow square can be useful too for setting up a bow properly for accuracy.

#1 Instinctive Shooting

With this archery stance, you do not point at the target when you draw the bow and one of the purest discharging forms. Stand in a square stance with your feet and knock the arrow to the string. Keep it pointed to the ground in front of you. Keep your focus on the objective, bring your bow up in a horizontal line and make the shot. With practice, your brain automatically creates an adjustment allowing you to shoot accurately.

#2 Gap Shooting

Here, you aim the tip of your arrow at a spot perpendicular to the target. The adjustments you need to make for the distance you shoot depend on your bow’s draw weight. You need to know the distance between you and the mark before firing. Direct the arrow point at the center, pull the string, and shoot and see where the arrow lands. Make two more shots each time with your arrow pointing at the middle of the target. If the arrow group around below the center, point higher and shoot three more arrows. Repeat until you can hit the area around the bull’s eye.

recurve bow

#3 Face Walking

Your draw hand must not move along the string with this method, but the anchor points move up/down your face. You can use this procedure in the gap method when firing at further distances.

#4 Bow String Walking

With the technique, your arrow tips are aimed at the middle of the bull’s eye. Your draw hand can move up or down the string of the recurve bow at different distances. With each shooting line, the point remains the same.  When closer to the objective, you lower your hand down the string and count the string’s grooves for each firing distance. However, after a certain distance, you are not able to use this discharging method.

Try Each Method To Shoot a Recurve Bow

You can use each of these techniques to determine which one you would like to use. You can find your archery becoming more enjoyable to keep hitting that sweet spot by practicing each one. These are some of the methods you can use to learn how to use your bow without sight as an archer.


I'm Isaac Murphy and at the moment I am a student. I took up archery as a hobby about 3 years ago and built this blog to share some of the things I have learned and to help those starting out in this sport. Check out my bio here

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