Longbow vs Shortbow – What’s the difference?

Latest posts by Isaac (see all)

You have decided to become an archer and need to find a bow. But which is a better bow for you to use, the longbow or shortbow? Which one has more power? These are the questions you’ll be asking yourself before buying one. Here we enlist the comparison of both, and all you need to do is read our article to provide you with a clear sense of which bow to use.

Is one bow better than the other?

While an expert in archery will suggest you buy the best bow for their benefits, it helps to know each design. As the name implies, the short bows are shorter in height and lightweight than the long bow. You use the bow to shoot at an object from a short or middle range as it has a shorter draw length with ample power for short-range shots.

You will need short light arrows as it has a smaller draw length, yet the lightweight design makes it comfortable to carry. However, the Recurve bow and crossbow also fall into the same segment. You can use short bows for hunting or practicing archery target shooting. The longbow has a larger design, and the height can even reach the archer’s height. Most archers consider the larger bow as ancient, dating backs centuries. You might also be interested in my tips for beginners.

Choosing a longbow depends on the using purpose and region you plan to use it. You can use it for hunting long distances. as the draw length is longer. Still, it is heavyweight depending on the material used to construct the bow. What makes the bigger bow an attractive weapon is a precision and speed when hitting the target. However, modern archery does not consider it a professional bow.


Comparison between Short Bows and Long Bows

Invention – the short bow people used in the Bronze Age invented by the Greeks for shooting and hunting. Most people consider the bigger bow dates back to Anglo-Saxon time used for military purposes.

Size – the short bow is smaller than the bigger bow measuring 1.87-2.11 meters. The shortbow size varies between 3-5 feet from one region to another in archery.

Uses – the short bow was used to attach enemies on horseback, while the English longbow was used in England warfare.

Design – the shortbow you find has a curve among the limbs that looks like a bird’s wings. The latter has a D-shape due to the extended heights.

The Arrows – for the longbow, you need longer bolts to shoot up accurately, and it has a heavier draw weight, while the smaller bow needs a shorter lighter arrow. With shorter arrows, you can shoot the arrow at a shorter distance.

Material – to make handcrafted bows such as the larger bows, you can use multiple materials, anyone can do it using bamboo, wood, and a stick, and it does not cost as much as your short bows do. The primary equipment of the shortbow is metal, aluminum, or wood.

Shooting Range – using a short bow, it can unstring arrows at 50-150 yards at a time, while the bigger bow can reach up to 200 yards.

The Speed – the longbows arrow can travel at 300 FPS made for longer ranges and lose speed due to the arrow’s weight. The short bow arrow can reach up to 250 FPS and varies from one model to another.

Accuracy – with the short bow, you can fire from point to point. Simultaneously, the longbows’ heavyweight makes it difficult for the archer to hit a point accurately as you shoot at longer distances.

Maintenance – when you buy a short bow, it needs a lot of attention than the bigger bow. The short bow is complex as the limbs must not bend, and you cannot use long arrows with it. With the longbow, you need to change the string and wax it when used.

So which one is superior?

These are the essential difference between the longbow VS shortbow, and the choice is up to you to decide which one works for you. Each bow has its own identity, features, and purpose. The important thing is to focus on the main components when buying one.


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts