Difference Between Longbow and Shortbow

Longbow vs Shortbow – A bow is a flexible piece of wood that has been shaped at one or both ends by a skilled craftsman into something resembling an arched, curved structure. Bow is one of the apparatus used in armed combat to shoot arrows.

Difference Between Longbow and Shortbow

The difference between the longbow and shortbow is that the shortbow has smaller and lighter limbs.

The draw weight of a longbow is not as high as a short bow because you need to pull more with less power.

This can make it hard for beginners to get off of the ground quickly, but beginners are usually using what they have available.

A long bow can be made from almost any size piece of wood; some people even make them out of PVC piping or metal tubing.

The longbow may be easier to draw, but unless you have a powerful strength, it is difficult to shoot accurately. The bow itself can also make a great hunting weapon.

A long bow goes further than a regular bow will because it uses more of the energy from the draw to propel the arrow forward instead of carrying it back.

The limit for distance is often determined by where someone stands in relation to their target.

Determining this requires some experimentation with each person’s strength and style of shooting and terrain.

What is a Longbow?

The word “longbow” can only be used correctly when referencing the type of bow that did not require additional materials to make.

A longbow does not refer to a class of bows, such as composite longbows, which do require additional materials in order to create.

Composite longbows were often used by medieval armies. These bows were made from both natural and man made materials with hardwood serving as the primary component of composite bows.

The natural material was then strung together using sinew, hair and animal guts. Composites were primarily used for archery competitions and on the battlefield.

Pros of a Longbow

Longbows have a slower and more predictable reloading speed, which can be an advantage when facing more trained opponents.

Longbows have a higher range and longer shot times compared to shorter bows. A longbow’s arrows are easier to aim, especially in rainy weather or in thick foliage.

Though a longbow lacks the short range of a short-bow, its physical power makes up for it. This is why it is the weapon of choice for seasoned archers who usually carry crossbows as backup weapons.

Cons of Longbow

Longbows are very difficult to shoot particularly if you are not used to shooting them. It is also very difficult (if not impossible) to shoot accurately without strong arms and shoulders.

The longbow was never intended for war. As a weapon it is very unwieldy and basically limited in what you can do with it.

For most of history, there was no great need for the longbow. While it does have a few advantages over the crossbow, it has several disadvantages as well.

In terms of size, the longbow is very long and unwieldy, making it difficult to assemble on a battlefield and carry into battle.

What is a Shortbow?

A Shortbow is a type of bow that is shorter than a Longbow, but longer than a Recurve.

This type of bow was most commonly used by specialized troops such as archers and crossbowmen in medieval warfare.

In modern times, it is mainly used for hunting by those who have limited mobility or are just beginning to use the weapon.

The Shortbow has an approximate overall length of 4 feet, and can be drawn back on the string an average distance of 2 feet.

The draw weight varies from 25-35 pounds with an arrow that ranges from 15-25 inches long.

These arrows were typically worn with feathers so they would fly straight through the air before impacting their target.

Pros of Shortbow

A shortbow is a type of bow that is shorter than the traditional longbow that spans several feet in length.

They are sometimes referred to as a “pony bow” or “shorter longbow.” Though they’ve been around for centuries, they’re becoming more and more popular among modern archers because of their compact size and lighter weight.

An advantage of shooting with small bow projectiles like the shortbow is that it has less kinetic energy behind each shot than the longbow.

Getting your limbs off of the rest will cause less damage on impact, preventing further injuries than those experienced from shooting longer bows.

A short bow is also more easily wielded for shorter, weaker individuals who may have trouble bracing their body against longer bows.

It’s also easier for the archer to develop muscle memory and lose bad habits by using a shorter bow.

Many people today find it difficult to shoot with a longbow after suffering an injury, which often restricts them from shooting from the left side or above the waist.

A shortbow provides an alternative for these individuals, giving them an opportunity to pursue their enjoyment in archery just like everyone else.

An archery instructor or course can teach a new archer to shoot with a shortbow, but it is recommended that they first practice with the bow before attempting to shoot in competitions.

Cons of Shortbow

A shortbow is a crossbow with a much shorter draw than that of a longbow. This makes it easier for the archer to fire arrows quickly in bursts, and also makes it less costly to manufacture than longbows, which require more wood.

A short bow is often constructed from metal or wood and has relatively small amounts of clearance between the string from its release point on the bow (the bottom section) to its locking point on the arrow (the top).

The size of these gaps minimizes friction and allows for rapid drawing of the strings, making short bows much more efficient at firing arrows compared to longbows.

The drawback? Short bows have longer reloading times. It takes longer to load arrows into the longbow.

This process can take up to a minute, while in the shortbow, it only takes a matter of seconds.

This disadvantage is offset by its shorter reloading time and higher efficiency when actually firing arrows.

Shortbows also allow for easier concealment than longbows, which are much larger and can be heard from farther away.

The smaller size also makes them easier to manufacture, thus making their supply more prevalent in the market compared to that of longbows.

However, despite their size advantage, short bows require more skill to use than longbows, which are easier to master.


In summary, the pros and cons of longbows and short bows are generally balanced.

Longbows have a longer range, but also a higher cost to manufacture. They are slower to load than shortbows, but provide more recoil energy on impact.

Shortbows can be shot faster than longbows due to their low weight, and provide less recoil on impact as well.

In today’s society, where archery has become a popular recreational activity, both types of bows serve an important role in the sport.

A good archer needs to be familiar with both bow types in order to decide which type best fits his skillset and preferences.

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