Archery: One-Piece Or A Takedown Bow?

by | Oct 2, 2022

When it comes to window shopping for bows, there are many comparisons out there in the marketplace: Recurve or Longbow? Recurve or Compound? Recurve or Traditional? But one of the most overlooked comparisons when it comes to bow selection is whether should you get a One-Piece or a Takedown.

What seems obvious to most, may actually be a hard choice for someone just starting out in archery.

With a Takedown bow, you get the convenience of having a bow that performs well, looks good and is easy to transport and store, as well as having the options of swapping out limbs that need replacing, or going up or down in draw weight if you find the bow too heavy or too light.

While this may seem like a foregone conclusion, let’s take a closer look at the advantages of a Takedown Bow versus a One-Piece, and why you should choose one over the other.

Should You Get A One-Piece Bow Or a Takedown Bow?

If you’ve discovered your love for all things archery through the magic of film, TV, or video games, then you probably have a One-Piece Bow in mind. They’re long, aesthetically pleasing, they can shoot arrows, so therefore you basically become Robin Hood if buy this bow.

When it comes to Takedown Bows, which is actually the majority of the bow market today, especially the sports segment, you see that your bow now comes in three parts, not one.

You may be thinking to yourself, how is this even a bow?

If you’re driven by the aesthetic design and what you think a bow should look like, you might be put off by that odd looking recurve you’re staring at in the shop window.

So what are the differences between the two? Let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of both designs.

One-Piece Bows

A One-Piece bow is the simplest kind of bow there is. It’s basically a stick and a piece of string. No matter what style of archery you choose to shoot, you won’t find anything complex in the design of a one-piece bow.

One-Piece Bow


  • Minimal setup – without any moving parts to the One-Piece, there’s very virtually no setup. You just string your bow and you’re ready to go.
  • No maintenance – There really is nothing that can go wrong with a One-Piece.
  • Aesthetic appeal – one-piece bows are instantly recognisable as most people’s ideal of what a bow should look like.
  • Authenticity – a One-Piece Bow has that connection to history. It looks just like a bow should look.


  • You can’t replace anything – the main disadvantage with a one-piece is that if you need to go up in draw weight, you’re basically going to have to buy a new bow. Similarly, if there is any damage to one of the limbs, the bow will need to be replaced.
  • Transportation is also another major drawback of the one-piece. If you have to take public transport with your bow, things could get a little awkward. From a practical standpoint, the one-piece’s length makes taking it anywhere problematic.
  • Storage can also be an issue. Finding a case or a sleeve that’s long enough for the bow may be a challenge
  • Shipping costs – if you buy your one-piece online, the cost of shipping an oversized container may be higher.

Takedown Bows

Takedown Bows require a bit of assembly, depending on what system of limb fitting you are using. You may come across something called the ILF system, which is a universal limb fitting system that allows you to change out your limbs with a ‘click and connect’ fitting system.

This system is much easier to use compared with some other limb-fitting systems that require you to unscrew and re-tighten bolts.


  • The number one advantage of the takedown bow is the fact that you can (as the name suggests) take it down. This makes transportation and storage of the bow much easier.
  • The takedown bow is modular, which means that you can swap out parts if you need to change something. For example, if you wanted to increase draw weight, you could simply replace your old set of limbs with a new, heavier set. This is especially useful if you shoot with the universal ILF system as you can use any ILF limbs with any ILF riser as well as mix and match with different brands.
  • You can also make some fine-tuning adjustments to your takedown riser depending on your limb fitting system. You can adjust the limb pocket alignment to correct any mismatch or misalignment, and on some risers, you can configure the tiller and the draw weight by adjusting the limb bolts. This means that you get a much better match to your choice of arrows.


  • A takedown bow is heavier than a one-piece, but that extra weight can also be to your advantage as it can help to reduce hand shock.

If you’d like to know more about Takedown bow limbs, you might be interested in this article.

But of course, you don’t even have to take it down. If you want to keep it in One-Piece, you can. A Takedown Bow can stay in one piece for its entire life span with no effect on performance whatsoever.


When it comes down to which bow you prefer, Takedown or One-Piece, you will get a great experience from shooting with either one.

However, the majority of bows on the market today are takedown bows. There is very little in the way of disadvantages with these bows. You retain all the performance of a One-Piece, without any malfunctioning in a bow that comes in three parts instead of one.

There are no advantages with the One-Piece over the Takedown, but they do have several drawbacks, mostly coming from a practical standpoint.

Both bows shoot exceptionally well and will last for years, but if you want something that you can grow into as well as adapt as your skill level improves, then a Takedown Bow is probably more for you.

But if you want to feel that connection to more traditional archery, then a One-Piece will give you that in spades.