Archery: What Is A Beginner Bow?

by | Nov 20, 2022

When starting out in archery, the most commonly asked question is, what is a beginner bow? It’s a perfectly normal question, but one that comes from a place of misunderstanding.

When starting out in any sport, the immediate assumption for beginners is that they must follow a set list of progression when it comes to equipment. In archery, however, this is not necessarily the case. So what does that all mean, and what exactly is a beginner’s bow in archery?

Beginner bows, in general, feature significantly low prices, providing the fundamental functionality and all the essentials required to embark on your archery journey. However, they don’t often provide a clear pathway for consistent progress.

While most people may find the differences between beginner bows and professional-level bows obvious, it is crucial to comprehend various characteristics in order to make a clear distinction.

In this article, we’ll take a look at exactly what defines both.

What Is A Beginner Bow?

In many sports and hobbies, entry-level equipment is often much cheaper than the gear used by the professionals at the top of their game. Archery is no different.

It would be extremely rare (and probably misguided) for a beginner archer to spend thousands of dollars on their first set of bow and arrows if they’re not sure how long they are going to commit to the sport.

If you compared two bows at opposite ends of the price scale like the ToPoint-R2, and the Win and Win Inno CXT, it’s obvious that they are both bows. They look similar, and functionally, they are exactly the same. The main difference between the two? About $800!

ToPoint R2

Going by price alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the ToPoint-R2 is the beginner bow.

But there’s no real reason why a beginner couldn’t pick up and use the Win and Win CXT from the very beginning.

Win and Win Inno CXT

The general perception is that the more advanced bows have more features and more functionality than the cheaper bows and that’s why people shy away from purchasing some of the more advanced models.

Are There Any Differences Between Cheap and Expensive Bows?

So what do you lose if you go from a $1000 bow to a $100 bow? If we’re going to stay with our two bow examples, the ToPoint R2 and the Win and Win CXT, the ToPoint does share some characteristics with the Win and Win but misses a few of the others.

Both bows share the same basic functionality. The ToPoint has the mountings for a sight, plus a plunger hole and front stabiliser bushing, but what it might lack is the limb pocket system may differ from the ILF (International Limb Fitting system).

With ILF limb pockets fitted, you aren’t confined to only using the bow’s manufacturer’s limbs.

Fitting ILF limbs is a simple case of sliding them into place until they click, and off you go. Most modern risers use the ILF system making most limbs interchangeable. The cheaper risers often don’t have this feature, so if you need to change the limbs, you have to order from the same company or supplier.

However, if you are a beginner in archery, there is no need to worry about your bow lacking both upper and lower stabilizer bushings.

What Makes A Good Beginner Bow?

One of the main points to consider when thinking about what makes a good beginner bow, is as a new archer, would a $100 bow provide you with a good shooting experience?

The answer is a resounding, YES!

While there may be certain limitations to a cheaper bow, an absolute beginner doesn’t;t need all the bells and whistles of the more expensive brands.

As they progress and become an intermediate or more advanced shooter, you’re going to want something that’s more customised.

I wrote a complete article on how to choose your first bow. You can read that right here!

But asking if something like the ToPoint R2 is a good beginner bow, then yes. They’re perfectly suited to someone looking to start archery with one eye on their budget.

But that doesn’t mean that every cheap bow is a good bow.

Before making your choice of bow, you need to ask yourself:

How likely are you to grow into your bow?

Will your bow allow you to learn good habits? Some bow designs are less intuitive than others. You can get a good user experience from bows like the Mandarin Duck Phantom. For its low price point of $80, it’s a great entry-level bow, but it probably isn’t the most user-friendly.

The shape of the design, its grip and its performance doesn’t really help a beginner to learn, so you would probably need some archery experience to benefit from it fully.

What Is The Best Bow For A Beginner Archer?

A true beginner bow that is low in price and can be picked up, used and learned by anyone is somewhat different. A bow like the PSE Razorback is the type of bow that you will find in most clubs, and there is a reason for this.

The bow is a simple, wooden Recurve bow. The shape and design are going to be similar for every wooden Recurve, so much so that the design is almost standard among similar models. From club to club, shooting with one of these bows, the experience is going to be exactly the same.

If you’re looking for a good beginner bow, then a good wooden Recurve bow is a good benchmark to aim for.

Good examples of wooden Recurves include the Samick Polaris, the Mandarin Duck Windrunner, and the Samick Sage.

Mandarin Duck Windrunner
Mandarin Duck Windrunner

There isn’t really much that can go wrong with these wooden Recurves. All are affordable and will give the beginner archer a great user experience.

The ToPoint R2, frequently included in beginner packages, serves as a step up from wooden recurve bows. Despite being entry-level bows available at an affordable price, they are favoured by certain clubs for teaching beginners.

Should I Buy A more Expensive Bow?

As mentioned earlier, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a beginner starting off with an expensive bow like the Win and Win CXT. It may seem like a big financial investment, but that’s what you’ll need to do if you’re after a quality piece of kit that is going to allow you to grow and develop as an archer.

If you’re still on the fence when it comes to your level of commitment to archery, then forking out over a thousand dollars for a bow can seem a little risky.


The biggest difference between beginner-level bows and professional bows is definitely cost.

New archers face a decision: Should they purchase a cheaper archery kit that provides everything they need in one purchase, or should they opt for a bow they can grow into and advance with as they improve and become more committed to archery?

The lower cost of cheaper bows often comes at the expense of quality, comfort and finish. The higher-end bows are made from much better materials, are a better fit for the archer, have better quality control and are aesthetically more pleasing.

So if you don’t mind not having the best-looking bow or the most comfortable bow, then a beginner bow is completely fine, if you just want to have a bow to shoot with.

The balance you need to strike as a beginner is in finding a bow that doesn’t break the bank but also gives you enough scope in which to progress and grow as an archer.