Can You Use Compound Arrows On A Recurve Bow?

by | Aug 14, 2022

Choosing arrows for your recurve bow may be one of the last things you do before you start to shoot, and it’s a much more complex issue than you might think. Especially if you already have both a compound and a recurve bow. So you might be thinking, can I use compound arrows on a recurve bow?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to arrows. An arrow that works well on a compound bow, could potentially flop right out of your recurve bow. If you do manage to shoot an arrow out of a bow that hasn’t been designed for it, then the arrow will simply not fly straight.

With so many modern materials around and with so many customizations available, selecting the right arrow for your recurve bow is not as easy as it looks. In this article, we’ll look at the most common materials used today, and what goes into selecting the right arrow for the right bow.

Can You Use Compound Arrows On A Recurve Bow?

Finding the right arrow for your bow is actually based on two things, your draw length, and your draw weight. There are plenty of charts out there that can tell you exactly how to measure this, but if you’re still in doubt, you can ask at your local archery shop or a coach at your club. They will give you all the advice you need.

Arrow selection is mainly down to purpose, and not preference, and this is where a lot of people will get confused.

Some arrows are designed specifically for target, field, or clout archery. Others are more suitable for competition or hunting.

The same goes for bows. Recurve bows are more suited to target, field, clout shooting, and also some types of hunting.

Compound bows, on the other hand, are designed specifically for hunting and competition shooting.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Compound Arrows On A Recurve Bow

In the same way, that compound bows and recurve bows have been created for different purposes, compound and recurve arrows follow suit.

Recurve bows – the purpose for recurves is mostly practice, tournament, and target shooting, with a draw weight of between 30 – 55lbs. Arrows that are made for target practice will be lighter and shorter with a softer tip designed only to penetrate practice targets.

You could also use the recurve for hunting limited game like chickens and rabbits, but for true stopping power, you need a compound bow.

Compound Bows – a compound bow is designed for power and velocity. With hunting being the compound bow’s primary purpose, compound arrows need to be heavier and more robustly built. The main reason for this is to provide more stopping power for larger game. Compound arrows are also capable of carrying the bigger broadhead tips without losing any velocity.

What are The Differences Between Recurve and Compound Arrows?

Arrows for both recurve and compound bows come in more variety than any other piece of archery equipment. The choice on offer can be quite overwhelming. They come in a variety of materials including, wood, fibreglass, aluminium, carbon, and aluminium/carbon. So which arrows go with which bow?

Recurve Arrows

Recurve arrows are built for practice, target, and tournament shooting. You can typically buy most recurve arrows in bulk for a fairly decent price.


Wooden Arrows

Very cheap to buy, wooden arrows are the perfect choice for recurve beginners. They are light in construction and will easily penetrate those practice targets.

Plus they are lighter in colour so not too hard to find when you lose them! They are also the arrow of choice for more traditional archers shooting longbows as well as recurve.


Fibreglass arrows are also very lightweight and designed with beginners in mind. More forgiving than wooden arrows, they are also perfect for target practice, school camps, and kids just starting out in archery.


Aluminium Arrows

Another arrow designed for recurve bows is the aluminium arrow. As this is a light alloy arrow, the price tag is a little higher.

A typical aluminium arrow, fully fletched will run to around 7-8USD. This is one for beginners who have a little experience under their belt. Aluminium arrows are a little more forgiving due to their extra weight.

If you want to learn how to fix a weak recurve arrow spine, then you might like to read this article.

Compound Arrows

With their higher draw weights, compound bows need a much stronger arrow capable of withstanding the high amounts of force generated by the bow.


At the other end of the scale, you have carbon arrows. These are much more expensive and are used for hunting and competition level. Perfect for the needs of the compound bow user.

Compound Arrows on a recurve Bow
Carbon Arrows
  • Lower-end carbon arrows can cost 7-15 USD fully fletched, but they don’t perform very much differently from aluminium arrows.
  • Mid-range carbon arrows are made completely out of carbon and are great for general-purpose shooting and competition.
  • Higher-end carbon arrows like the EastonX10 and the ACE can cost around 28-35USD each!
  • Carbon/Alloy – these types of arrows are made from carbon fibre laid over an alloy core. This makes them ultra-light and much faster than regular carbon arrows. The tapered shape of the arrows makes them less susceptible to the effect of wind, but with the arrow being so light, there is more chance of there being errors and inconsistencies with your shot.

An archer that has not perfected their technique will find carbon alloy arrows more of a challenge to handle. If you feel like there’s a chance of losing these arrows, you might want to consider holding off on your purchase until you have more confidence!


With all that being said, whichever bow you decide to use, all arrows generally do the same thing.

You need to be aware that recurve bows have lower draw weights than compound bows, and therefore need the right arrows to be matched accordingly. A weaker, lighter arrow shot from a compound bow will have a high chance of breaking as it leaves the string due to higher forces.

Keep your budget in mind when purchasing your arrows and remember that certain brands won’t grant you any special abilities, they’ll just cost you more money when you lose or break them!