Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

There’s more than one distinction between short and longbows. If you’re new to the field of archery, there are a few points to be aware of to be able to recognize the distinctions between the two.

What are the major differentiators between short and longbows?

The most significant distinction is the length of a longbow and a short bow there are seven other differences in the bows of both types. These are the eight differences:

  1. Size
  2. Range
  3. Arrow
  4. Speed
  5. Draw length
  6. Usage
  7. Force
  8. Cost

Every bow is designed to be suitable to be used in specific ways and understanding the distinctions will help you choose which bow is most suitable for your specific needs.

While short and longbows are made in different ways and have different purposes, they are both designed to perform effectively. When deciding the bow you want to purchase you must be able to recognize the distinctions between longbows and short bows.

Keep reading to learn about the differences along with additional information regarding short bows and longbows.

Short bows and Longbows

Short bows and longbows are very similar bows. They were used throughout time for hunting as well as weapons in the conflict.

Even if you’re not acquainted with bows, their name itself of the longbow and the short bow is the most important distinction that one bow is longer and the other one is short.

Traditional short bows and longbows are constructed using different kinds of wood, including elm or maple. They are simple to make since they are usually constructed using a long length of timber. However, certain longbows can be constructed using various kinds of pieces of wood.

Additionally, there are more contemporary types of bows that are classified as longbows simply because the string doesn’t come to contact with the limbs’ ends of the bow.

There are different styles and variations of longbows that belong to that same group, the standard and classic design of a bow has an old-fashioned feel that archers love.

The most important information to learn about bows and arrows is that they:

  • A longbow is immediately identifiable due to its capital “D” shape the bow and the bowstring form. Bows are roughly the same as that of the archer. The longbow of the past, often called self-bow, is constructed out of a single piece of wood.
  • A short bow is constructed using wood that is more flexible. It can be constructed with just one piece of wood. However other bows are made using several pieces of timber.

First, let’s discuss what exactly we refer to when we talk about short bows and longbows.

What is a Longbow?

As we’ve already mentioned, the length of a longer bow is indeed around the same height as an archer, while that of a shorter bow is significantly shorter.

We also are aware that a longbow is classic and traditional and is constructed from a long piece of wood which is also known as a self-bow.

If you examine a longbow, it is shaped like the closed”parenthesis ” ) ” and the form of a capital “D”.

Through time in the past, the English have always been famous for their amazing longbows.

One thing to be noted regarding the bow is the fact that the strings at the bottom of the bow won’t be able to touch the bow and that is the reason it has that distinctive look.

Longbows are traditionally been constructed using yew wood. They will take approximately three years to construct before using the bow. It is the part that will be utilized for bows is where the inside and the outside of the tree meet.

What is a short bow?

Short bows are simply an example of a shorter bow. Technically speaking, it is said that the size of a shorter bow shouldn’t be greater than sixty inches. They may be smaller “longbows” that have a string that doesn’t touch the limbs. However, the majority of shorter bows can be bows that recurve. One of the best examples is the classic horse bow.

A short bow could be constructed from one chunk of wood (like the longbow) as well as more than one wood piece. It is easy to make and is made of hardwoods like bamboo or hard maple.

The longbow of the medieval era was also constructed from the wood yew, which was used for hunting and was used for hunting by Vikings. Short bows of this kind are generally positioned and drawn closer to the chest.

Due to its length, the short bows are compact enough to shoot it on horseback. Some bows with shorter lengths can be used even when sitting. Even though the shorter bow is smaller in terms of size, you require both hands when using one.

Different bow types can be reduced in length. For instance, there’s an alternative to bows that are compound bow and the Recurve bow.

What’s the difference?

After we have figured out the differences between a longbow and a short bow are, it is apparent that there are many similarities between short and longbows.

This information may not help you determine the kind of bow you’d like to choose.

It is nevertheless important to be aware that bows are designed differently and can be utilized for specific purposes.

So, after more research, there are eight major distinctions between them which distinguish them.

If you are pondering which type of bow to make use of, take into consideration the following factors:

  1. Size
  2. Range
  3. Arrow
  4. Speed
  5. Draw length
  6. Usage
  7. Force
  8. Cost


The major distinction between a longbow and a shorter bow is the dimension.

Longbows’ length may be anywhere from six to seven feet and is usually identical to the archer’s height. It is, therefore, heavier and bulkier to transport around. The longbow is most effective in open spaces since arm space is required to draw the bow.

The handle’s thickness of the longbow, the largest part, could be anywhere from 33% up or 75% length of the bow. The wood that runs toward the limbs of the bow is thinner than the middle section of the bow.

The most important thing to know about two different versions of longbows is:

  • The Victorian-style longbow doesn’t include bends or forms inside the bow.
  • A Medieval longbow has a slight curvature within the longbow.

A short bow is smaller in length. The thing that is considered a short bow is its length. The length of a shorter bow is between 36 to 60 inches. But, it should not exceed 60 inches.


The scope of a bow refers to how far it’s able to shoot an archer. Each bow type is made to shoot at different distances as they serve various purposes.

A longbow is designed to shoot targets with a wide distance and at a distance that is ideal for hunting. Due to the long length of the bow, you can draw the bowstring to an extended length. This gives you more power for the bow to shoot and allows the arrow to strike targets from a greater distance.

The length of a longbow’s range will also depend on:

  • The bow’s weight
  • Length at which you draw the bowstring
  • The amount of weight on the Arrow’s weight

A short bow is roughly half the size of a longbow. Because it is shorter and the shorter length at which you can draw your bowstring is also shorter. The shorter draw length indicates that the arrow can be able to hit targets with precision at a smaller distance. If you shoot with a shorter bow at a distance that was long it could be difficult hitting your target. It may not be suitable to hunt with.


The range of arrows is also affected by the arrows of a short and longbow. Due to the bow’s size, the weight of the arrows can vary. They are also constructed from different materials, like carbon fiber, wood, or aluminum.

By using the correct arrows, you can make sure that they shoot precisely. Also, certain sizes of arrows should be used using a longbow as well as shorter bows.

  • Because a longbow is heavier as well as longer in length, bows should be larger and heavier than those for shorter bows. If you choose to use shorter arrows for a longbow the wind could cause the arrow to drift off course while shooting at a greater distance. This can make it difficult to hit the goal.
  • Since a shorter bow is smaller in length and it’s best suited for targets with a greater distance You should employ arrows that are smaller and lighter. A heavier arrow on short bows isn’t efficient as its weight bow will result in it falling in front of the intended target.


The length, range, and the arrow’s size are all factors in the speed at which a longer and a shorter bow shoot an archer.

Based on the information we’ve gathered Based on what we’ve learned, the length of a short and longbow determines the distance the arrow shoots at and the mass of the arrow differs for each bow.

Because a longbow is lengthy and you can draw the bowstring farther away and more energy pushes the arrow to the side quickly and also at greater distances.

But, since the shorter bow is longer while the string of the bow is pulled shorter so that there is less power for shooting the bow from an extended distance. However, because it is stronger than an arrow shot with a longbow, it shoots more quickly.

The drawback of short bows is that the velocity of the arrow may not be sufficient to hit an even greater distance.

Draw Length

The length of the longbow and short bow determines the draw length. A bow’s draw length refers to the distance you can draw the string. The length of the draw is determined by the length of the bow and the archer.

If you are planning to make use of a longbow, it is crucial to choose the right size to match your size.

Because the longbow is lengthy and the string is also longer, it allows you to draw the string for longer. The size of the bow is what makes it have a larger draw length. The draw length is longer, which allows the arrow to have the power to shoot over long distances.

If you choose to use a shorter or longer longbow, depending on your height, you’ll not be able to use the full length of the draw. If you use a shorter draw length and arrow won’t have enough power to shoot at greater distances.

When using a short bow the bow’s size is not more than five feet. The draw length is shorter than that of a longbow. Because of its size, you’re restricted to the length one can pull the bowstring. With a shorter draw length, archers can shoot from a greater distance.

In addition, as we’ve already mentioned the draw length influences what speed the arrow travels, as well as the distance that the arrow can travel.


Bows are typically employed for hunting or practice with targets. The main difference between bows is the range and distance an arrow can reach.

If you’re hunting in the woods, you’re at an extended distance from the game. Longbows are specifically designed for longer distances. However, they can be used to target practice with the goal likely to be further away.

The shape of a bow that is short has a smaller draw distance and it is made to shoot at targets at close ranges and distances. It makes using a shorter bow to practice target shooting or for competition more efficient.

Space is another aspect to consider when choosing either a long or short bow.

  • Because a longbow is larger and requires a larger area to pull the bowstring.
  • Because a bow with a shorter length is less long, you will not require much space to pull the bowstring.


The force of a bow can be determined by the draw’s weight. The draw’s weight is what causes the force to shoot the archer.

If you own a large size bow your strength (draw weight) is higher. This means that the longbow will extend the arrow with more force than a shorter bow.

Additionally, due to a larger drawing weight bow will be capable of shooting over higher distances.

Therefore, logically:

  • The draw force of a longbow is indeed higher than that of a shorter bow.
  • The more weight the draw weight is the greater the distance the arrow can shoot.
  • A bow’s mass longbow and short bow vary. Both have a heavy draw weight.

A great example of a shorter bow that has a large draw weight would be the Saracen sinew bow made of a horn.


If price is the only thing stopping you from buying either a long or shorter bow, analyzing the cost of each and the budget you have set is essential.

Although a short bow is more affordable than a longbow, its price can differ due to the bow’s quality. Each bow is made of different materials, which impact the cost of manufacturing as well as the cost to sell.

The hand-crafted bows are more expensive to make and are also more expensive. Most often, bows made by hand are made from the highest string, wood, and workmanship.

In addition, accessories that are pre-attached to bows can raise the cost. The customization aspect is another thing that will increase the cost.

If you look for a traditional longbow in an outdoor retailer that is nationwide, The cost of a traditional longbow can vary from $100-$400. Bows that cost this much typically come from bows manufactured in mass quantities and designed the same way.

A well-constructed longbow could be priced at the range of a thousand dollars. Manufacturers will make use of the finest quality materials and will take their time shaping the bow to perfection.

Along with making the bow look more attractive, other aspects that give the bow top quality are the use of strong and long-lasting bowstrings. A type of material that can create a premium bowstring is made of Dyneema that is known as the strongest fiber in the world. The bowstring is crucial and essential to shoot the accurate arrow.

The bowstring could be constructed using a less expensive material, resulting in a lower cost.

The material and the time required for making a shorter bow also have an impact on the cost. Short bows, however, are more affordable than longbows since they require fewer materials. If you are looking to purchase the shortest bow, you can locate ones that cost between $100 to $200.

How do I Decide Which Bow Is Right for Me?

Before you choose which kind of bow you want to use it is important to know the differences and similarities between short and longbows.

Things to be aware of are:

  • The bow’s length determines the length at which you can draw on the bowstring.
  • Drawing weight, as well as length influence the bow’s force.
  • The draw length determines the distance you can pull the bowstring back.

Furthermore, when you have an extended draw length there is more energy and force that the archer uses to shoot the archer’s arrow.

If you are using shorter draw lengths it is difficult to draw the bowstring further away and you will have less energy that is projected out.

The benefit of a draw length that is shorter is that the arrow can shoot with precision at close-range targets. The disadvantage is that there isn’t enough force to allow the arrow to hit targets over a greater distance.

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