The following bow types are the most commonly used in field archery, other types you will find in the handbook.
This bow has straight limbs with nocks (the bits at the end where you attach the string) of self nature, horn, wood or plastic. There are no stabilisers, sights, arrow rests or cut-away (shelve) for the arrow to rest on.
The longbow is usually preferred by purists, interested exclusively in the necessities, no fancy bells and whistles. The longbow has to be used with wooden arrows only. In competitions it may be classified as historical or traditional.
Also known as the American Longbow this bow is similar to the English Longbow with its straight limb design but it has a different cross section. It may also have a cut away in the hand grip to facilitate an arrow rest. To be shot with wooden arrows and no allowance for any attachments like stabilisers or sights.
This can be a one piece or takedown (that is it comes apart at the handle). In Field Archery the norm would be to fit a Brush Button and possibly a Stabiliser. However in Target Archery you can get all kinds of fittings to attach. A very versatile bow. The illustrations show a one-piece wooden Recurve and a modern modular Recurve. Shafts of arrows used with recurve bows are usually made of an aluminium alloy, or carbon, or a combination of these. Wooden arrows can be used as well.
The bow on the left has been crafted from different types of wood and most likely fibreglass for the laminated limbs.
This bow has been manufactured from Aluminium or some other metal for the handle section and a material mix for the detachable limbs. One of the features of a takedown Recurve is the fact that you can replace the limbs with stronger or weaker ones, so, if you outgrow your original bow you do not need a complete new one, replacing the limbs will do.
The limbs of a compound bow are usually much stiffer than those of a recurve bow or longbow. This limb stiffness makes the compound bow more energy efficient than other bows, but the limbs are too stiff to be drawn comfortably with a string attached directly to them. The compound bow has the string attached to the pulleys (cams), one or both of which has one or more cables attached to the opposite limb. When the string is drawn back, the string causes the pulleys to turn. This causes the pulleys to pull the cables, which in turn causes the limbs to bend and thus store energy.
The use of this levering system gives the compound bow a characteristic draw-force curve which rises to a peak weight and then "lets off" to a lower holding weight.
Shafts of arrows used with compound bows are usually made of an aluminium alloy, or carbon, or a combination of these.