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Best Survival Bow for Beginners & Experts

best survival bow

When you think of a survival bow, images of Daryl from The Walking Dead slaying zombie scum may come to mind.  However, a survival bow can be used in many different ways besides surviving the zombie apocalypse.  So in this post, we are going to talk about how a bow can be used in survival and help you find the best survival bow.

What is a survival bow?

In survival situations, you will be limited to the tools that you can use. I’ve said in previous posts, in a survival situation you will be forced to survive using the things that have on you or near you.  It probably isn’t practical to be carrying around a bow and arrow on you at all times.  That is assuming you aren’t facing a zombie apocalypse at the time.

However, in a survival situation, there may come a time where you will need to hunt for food.  You may or may not be able to carry a rifle due to laws or mobility. In some states or countries, you may be prohibited from owning a rifle even for hunting.  In a collapse scenario, it may be hard to even find a rifle.  That is where hunting with a bow will come in handy. 

Before guns were invented, many armies used bow and arrows as weapons to wage war.  So there also may come a time when you may be forced to defend yourself without the use of firearms.  The survival bow may be a good alternative although you may still be at a disadvantage against an opponent armed with a firearm.  But it is better than having nothing.  Some of the bows are takedowns, so that means you could potentially pack it with your bug out gear.

Criteria for the best survival bow

Portability

Portability is a must have when looking for the best survival bow.  This is because in a survival situation you will want to be able to pull your bow quickly.  On top of that, you will want to be able to carry it easily.  Therefore, the best survival bow should be lightweight and compact enough to carry with you.

Ease of use

Now if you are new to archery, you will especially want a survival bow that is easy to use.  With that being said, there is a learning curve when it comes to learning archery.  So starting off, you will want to start with the basics.

Even experienced shooters will want something that is easy to use. Ultimately, ease of use comes down to personal preference. Typically bows with harder draws require more energy and focus. A lot of shooters will prefer to have a bow that is easy to draw and aim. The two are connected. If a survival bow is hard to draw then your aim will be affected.

As we get into the different survival bows, there are tradeoffs that come with those preferences. For example, some that are easier to use may not be as easy to assemble. So you will want to keep that in mind when searching for the best survival bow.

Durability

To be considered the best survival bow it must be durable.  This may be the last weapon that you have access to in a survival situation. So the last thing that you want is for the bow to break.

You will want something that you can depend on. Of course, you will want to have backups to your backups. So you should consider having additional survival bows. However, if you buy something of great quality then it can last you many years.

Easy to maintain/repair

Even the best survival bow will require some sort of maintenance. The key is finding one that is easy to repair and maintain. Even with rifles there is going to be some sort of maintenance that is required.

If you are in a survival situation you may not have the time or resources to easily perform maintenance or repair the bow.

Accuracy

This criterion seems like it goes without saying.  However, accuracy with a survival bow is dependent upon a few factors.  Those factors include the draw strength and durability which we covered in the previous points.  Accuracy is also going to be dependent upon how well of a shooter you are.

Every shot that you take during a survival situation has to count. Yes, you may be able to recover your arrows. However, you only have a few chances to take down your game or enemy that you have in your sight.  So every shot counts.

Stopping Power

In a survival situation, you will want a bow that has enough stopping power to take down big game.  Some bows only have enough stopping power to take down small game.  However, if you can only hunt small game then you will have to spend more time, energy and resources in hunting.  In such a situation, you may not have a lot of that.

By hunting the big game you can take down a game that can last you for weeks and sometimes even months.  Stopping power is also important when it comes to defending yourself.  You don’t want to merely hurt an offender, you want to stop them by any means necessary to protect your life.

Distance

A bow that can shoot accurately at further distances will provide you with an advantage.  The closer that you have to get to your game the more likely you are to scare it off.  Also, the closer that you have to get to an offender the more likely that you are to get hurt.

What is the best type of survival bow?

The best survival bow for you will depend on your level of experience.  Starting off with a longbow or recurve bow can help you build experience and skills.  If you are able to perfect your aim using a bow without the ability to add sights then you will be great with them as well.

Starting the other way around isn’t useful or possible in some cases.  In a survival situation, you don’t want to be dependent upon sights and other gadgets.  If those sights are destroyed then you will have to once again rely on your own abilities and skills.

Trying to build these skills during a survival situation may be challenging or even impossible.  That is why it is important to practice and build those skills now.

The Different Types of Survival Bows

Longbow/Traditional Bow

These types of bows have been used throughout history.  Medieval armies relied on the longbow as their go-to weapon before the introduction of firearms.  Even most recently, a longbow was used in World War 2 to take down an enemy.

As time has progressed, so has the evolution of bows.  These bows are typically the longest, hence the name longbow.  They are typically the length of the shooter’s body.  It is also shaped like the letter D and made of Yew Wood.  These types of bows are easy to make in case you need to make one in a survival situation.

One of the biggest negatives of a longbow when comes to considering it as the best survival bow is that the maximum draw weight is 70 pounds.  That isn’t enough power to take down big game from long range.  Despite the lack of power, the longbow is accurate.  But once the bow is broken then it needs to replaced and can’t be fixed.

Recurve Bow

The Recurve Bow also has a D shape but the tips curve away from the shooter.  These bows produce more power than the longbow and are a lot smaller. 

Some great things about the recurve bow are easy to repair in the field since the limbs can be replaced.  They are a lot sturdier and lighter than the longbow.  However, the draw is a lot harder but provides more power. As a result of having more power, the bow is louder than a typical longbow.  Also, they are cheaper to start with but can be pricy to fix.

One reason that a recurve bow can be considered for the best survival bow is the portability.  This means that most recurve bows are takedown.  That means they can be assembled and disassembled for portability.

Compound Bow

This type of bow uses a levering system made of cables and pulleys to bend the limbs.  This makes it easier to draw while still packing more power.  As a result of that, the compound bow is the most widely used bow for hunting.

The pulley/cam system makes the limbs stiffer than the longbow or recurve bow.  This helps to produce more energy resulting in more speed and power.  The system improves accuracy by reducing the bow’s sensitivity to changes in temperature and humidity.

There are some downsides to compound bows as well.  They do tend to jerk a lot.  On top of that, there are a lot of pulleys and cables to maintain.  So they can be challenging when attempting to fix them in the field.

Despite those downsides, the compound bow shoots quieter allowing you to take down your target without scaring away other potentials.  The compound bow is lighter than a crossbow but heavier than a recurve bow. It allows for better accuracy by reducing the amount of stress on the shooter.

Crossbow

The crossbow is most famously known from the Walking Dead.  It looks like an archery bow that was laid on top of the frame of a rifle.  Instead of arrows, the crossbow shoots bolts and quarrels. 

There is a lot of historical significance behind the use of crossbows in warfare.  It played a major role in East Asia and Medieval Europe.  They were originally invented in ancient China.

The crossbow provides better-stopping power, easier to aim, better portability, requires less upper body strength and provide a shorter learning curve.  One major downside of the crossbow is that it requires a lot more maintenance and aren’t as easy to repair as compared to the other options.

Recommendations

Ultimately you have to decide what the best survival bow is for you.  There isn’t a one size fits all.  Yes, the previously mentioned factors are important.  However, as you rely more on technology the less self-reliant you become.  If we are talking about survival you have to think about what kind is more accessible and easier to use in that situation.

I would say that you should become more familiar with longbows and recurve bows initially.  Then gradually practice with compound bows and even crossbows.  For beginners, I would recommend a recurve bow as a starter survival bow.  Then for more proficient shooters, I would recommend the compound bow.

The reason that I recommend a compound bow over a crossbow is that crossbows use bolts instead of arrows. Arrows are easier to find than bolts and quarrels.

What to do before buying

Figure out which eye is your more dominant eye. I’m not saying that you should figure out what your dominant hand is.  Most bows have a right or left-hand option.  Just because you are right-handed doesn’t mean that your dominant eye will also be your right eye.  Your most dominant eye is going to be the most accurate eye.

When a bow says right handed that means that you are drawing with the right hand and not the hand that you are holding it in.  I would also advise you to visit a local archery store.  They typically will assist you in figuring this out and will even allow you to rent bows to try out.  Most of them will even provide you with lessons.

The Best Survival Bow for Beginners and Experts

 

This is a perfect draw unless you are extremely short.  Make sure that the bows you purchase are rated for the poundage of the bow.  You don’t want to purchase a 20-pound arrow to shoot from a 55-pound bow. It will break easily.

Pick For Beginners - Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

For newbies, I would recommend buying a 25 or 35 pound lower pound limb.  This will help you to learn traditional archery form which is essential to learn in order to become proficient.  It is easier to learn your form with lighter limbs and once you have mastered that then you can buy heavier limbs.

It is easier to buy heavier limbs since it is a takedown bow.  They are easier to replace.  This recurve bow is extremely quiet which will give you an advantage when hunting or in combat.

The Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow is completely customizable.  You can add on an arrow rest, sight ring and much more.  It has a 28-inch draw so you will get an arrow with one more inch than the draw strength.   This is the perfect draw unless you are extremely short.

Make sure that the bows that you purchase are rated for the poundage of the bow.  With that being said, you don’t want to purchase a 20 pound arrow to shoot from a 55 pound bow. It will break easily. It doesn’t come with a stringer so you will need to purchase one separately.

 

Pros

  • Easy to setup
  • Lightweight
  • Stopping power
  • Smooth shooting

Cons

  • Nocking point not included

Pick For Experts - Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow

 The Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro Bow is my recommendation for the best survival bow for veterans or those that have moderate experience.  The draw length is adjustable but the maximum is 31 inches.  You really don’t need anything larger than that.

The draw weight can be adjusted from 5 pounds to 70 pounds without having to swap limbs.  So this can definitely be strong enough to hunt larger game like deer.  However, you will need to keep in mind that the accessories do not come pre-installed and the bowstring you will need to split yourself.

Pros

  • Smooth & comfortable draw
  • Adjustable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • String silencers need replaced frequently
  • Peep sight isn't pre-installed
best survival bow

About Aaron

Aaron is the founder of Smart Prepper Gear which is a blog dedicated to helping people prepare the smart way now so that they can thrive later. He has been involved with preparedness since 2009 after feeling the effects of the financial crisis that affected most of the country. Aaron also volunteers with CERT (community emergency response team), ARC (Amateur Radio Club), Red Cross and currently studying to be a certified NRA instructor.