What Are All The Parts On An Olympic Recurve Bow?

by | Oct 7, 2022

If you’ve ever considered trying your hand at Olympic Style Recurve Archery but are completely put off by all the stuff hanging off the bow, then worry no more. We’re about to break down exactly what all those gadgets are, where they go, and most importantly, what they do!

An Olympic Recurve bow consists of a riser, the bow limbs, the bowstring, the sight, and stabilisers. Then you have the button, the grip, the clicker, and last but not least, the arrow rest. The riser, or central hub, houses all the different parts through various points of attachment.

All of the above may seem a little overwhelming when it comes to putting everything together. The most often asked question is usually, where do I start? So let’s dive in.

What Are All The Different Parts On An Olympic Recurve Bow?

Ok, so you have your collection of strange-looking objects that are supposed to attach to your Olympic Recurve Bow. While you may have a vague idea about some of them, there are still a couple of gizmos that have flown under the radar. Here we’ll break them all down:

1. The Riser

Starting with the fundamentals, the riser, or central hub is the only non-moving part of the bow. Made from aluminium, carbon, or metal, it houses the grip and the attachment points for everything that fits onto the bow.

2. The Limbs

The limbs are the engine of the bow, they store and transfer energy to the string during the draw and release, and like any takedown down bow, attach to the riser via a limb fitting system such as ILF. They can be made out of carbon, foam, or wood.

3. The Bowstring

The bowstring connects both limbs together by attaching at the limb tips. In the centre of the string, you have a serving and the nocking points, where the arrow nock attaches to the string. This makes sure that you get a consistent arrow placement every time. The string also acts as a rear sight when aiming at the target.

4. The Arrow Rest

Where you place the arrow to aim at the target. Along with the nocking point, the rest makes sure that you are setting up your arrow in exactly the same way every time you shoot.

5. The Grip

The part of the bow where the archer places their hand during the shot. This is used to direct the bow towards the target and hold it during the shot process.

6. The Stabilisers

Comprising of the long rod, side rods and extension, these are the odd-looking sticks that most people are often curious about. The stabiliser setup will be different for each shooter. Some prefer shorter long rods or have no extension.

The purpose of the stabilisers is to improve aiming, reduce hand shock and stabilise the bow during the shot and after the release.

7. The Sight

The sight is attached to the front of the riser. Upon aiming you look through the sight aperture to line up with the gold on the target. The string acts as your rear sight in the same way you would aim a gun.

You can change the position of the sight based on the distance you’re shooting. Moving the sight to the top of the slide will optimise your aim for shorter distances. Move it down when you’re going for longer distances. It can also move left and right to improve horizontal impact.

If you’re interested in learning how to use the sight on a Recurve bow, you might like to read this article.

8. The Clicker

The clicker does exactly what its name suggests. It’s a small strip of metal that attaches above the arrow rest. It acts as a draw length check to make sure that the archer is pulling to the exact same distance every time. The second the archer reaches that fully drawn position, the clicker goes off, and the arrow is released.

Check out this article if you’d like to find out when you should start to use the clicker on a Recurve bow

9. The Button

The button comprises a small barrel with a spring inside and a button that sits adjacent to the arrow rest. This is used to adjust the tuning of the bow, including making the arrow react more forgivingly upon a bad release.

Olympic Archer

Additional Equipment Used By Olympic Archers

1. The Arm Guard

Worn on the forearm, this is purely to protect the archer from string burn. Arm guards are not worn by every archer, but some find them helpful in protecting the arm from the string when the arrow is released from the bow.

2. The Finger Sling

The finger sling is no more than a piece of string that archers wrap around the bow’s grip. This allows the archer to allow the bow to ‘roll’ after the arrow is released. It avoids the need for the archer to grip the bow.

3. The Tab

The tab is essentially a finger guard. It can be made completely out of leather, or it can incorporate metal to provide a more solid structure. It’s worn over the 3 middle fingers and the leather can be customised to suit the archer’s grip.

The purpose of the tab is to aid in a smoother, more consistent release and also to protect the archer’s fingers from the string.

4. The Chest Guard

Another protective device, the chest guard simply slips over the archer’s arm and attaches via a clip across the chest. It keeps the archer’s clothes tight to the body and out of the way of the bowstring.

Most archers will wear a chest guard as catching the string on clothing will completely ruin any shot.

How Do You Put An Olympic Recurve Bow Together?

This is less complicated than you would think. The thing to remember is that there is no particular order in which the assembly takes place.

Take it one step at a time. Once you have the limbs attached and the bow is strung, you add whatever accessories you choose. Each riser comes with the attachment points already manufactured so it’s just a question of tightening nuts and bolts.


Once you’ve identified each individual part of the Olympic Recurve set-up, it makes it much easier to understand that Olympic Recurve Archery is all about precision.

Each component has its own part to play in achieving that perfect shot every time. Without them, the archer would be at a distinct disadvantage out on the field.