compound bow questions

Answering All Your Compound Bow Questions

Are you looking for quick and clear answers about your beginner hunting and archery questions? You have come to the right place! Our team of expert bowhunters here at Tooth of the Arrow Broadheads have answers to all of your questions!

What is a compound bow?

A compound bow is a bow that uses a system of cables and pulleys to provide a mechanical advantage to the user. The system allows for greater power output of the bow, with less effort exerted by the archer. Compound bows are modern pieces of archery equipment and are not considered traditional archery bows. Compound bows are designed to be used in conjunction with many accessories such as sights and arrow rests and require more components to shoot than a recurve bow.

What is the difference between a compound bow and a regular bow?

What you might think of as a ‘regular bow’ is likely a recurve bow. While both compound bows and recurve bows fire an arrow by using energy which is stored in the bow’s limbs, a recurve bow does this in a much simpler, but more difficult manner. A recurve bow will gain potential energy as it is drawn, and the archer must hold all of that weight until they choose to fire the arrow. A compound bow uses a system of cables and pulleys to reduce the weight that the archer is holding when the bow is fully drawn, making it easier to aim and make a good shot. This feature is called let off, and is a feature that only exists in compound bows.

What is the purpose of a compound bow?

Compound bows are mainly used for hunting, as they are more accurate, faster shooting, and have a greater range than recurve bows. Many recurve bow hunters believe that compound bows are cheating because they are easier to shoot than recurve bows. This is not true. Compound bows offer the hunter the advantage of greater accuracy, which is important in being an ethical hunter. Compound bows are also used in competition target archery.

Is a compound bow good for beginners?

A basic, low-poundage compound bow can be a great option for beginners. While they are more expensive than recurve bows, they are also more accurate and may be more fun for beginners.

What are the disadvantages of a compound bow?

Compound bows are significantly more complex in their function than a recurve bow. They are made up of many more moving parts, so if something goes wrong, they are much harder to repair and often require equipment which can only be found in an archery shop to fix. Compound bows also must be fitted to the user. Draw length and weight must be customized to fit the archer, much like getting a suit made to your measurements. Any recurve bow can be shot by any archer, as long as the draw weight is not too high.

Do you need an expensive compound bow?

You do not need an expensive compound bow to have fun and success in archery. Expensive compound bows offer more features, and often a nicer fit and finish than cheap compound bows, but the differences are often marginal. Think of it like cars. The cheapest car in the lot will get you from point A to point B just like a Ferrari will, the Ferrari just might be a smoother and nicer ride. The biggest factor in your success as a beginner archer is you. If you learn proper form and spend lots of time practicing, you can be a very good archer with an inexpensive compound bow. 

Do compound bows break easily?

Compound bows do not break easily, but you must take care of them. Avoid dropping your bow or bumping it against trees and rocks. If your bow takes a hard hit, it may need to be re-tuned or sighted in again, but it is very rare that a compound bow gets damaged or broken beyond repair.

How long will a compound bow last?

With regular maintenance, a compound bow could last you for decades. You will need to replace the strings and have the bow tuned every couple of years. Most archers decide they want to upgrade to a newer model before they ever wear out a compound bow.

Are compound bows hard to pull back?

Almost anyone will be able to pull back a compound bow on the first try if the draw weight is light enough. At 30lbs, an adult should have no issue drawing a compound bow. However, it would be almost impossible for someone who has never shot a bow before to draw a 60lb or 70lb bow. The good news is that the ‘archery muscles’ that you use to draw and shoot a bow develop very quickly. With practice, anyone can shoot a high poundage bow once they develop the strength by starting with a low poundage bow.

How many pounds do I need to shoot a compound bow for hunting?

Every state and province will have a law which states the minimum draw weight required to legally hunt in that area, so be sure to check the most updated hunting regulations. Most states and provinces require at least 40lbs of draw weight to legally hunt. While this is enough to hunt ethically, you will be limited to closer shots, and you will have much less power than with a higher poundage bow. 60lbs is the most common compound bow draw weight for hunting, with many adult men shooting 70lbs and even up to 80lbs. Most women find success in hunting with 50lbs of draw weight.

Are you interested in learning more? Checkout our full bow build series on YouTube.


Shop All Broadheads

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the topic further, please feel free to reach out to us at

If you liked this article, make sure to subscribe below to receive more helpful bowhunting tips, hunting news, and product releases.