Any ardent archer/ hunter out there understands the need to arm themselves with the right bow for a specific task.

Here, I’ve have written a "longbow vs shortbow" combat guide to help you further understand the fundamental differences and benefits derived from them respectfully.

Keep reading:

Longbow vs Shortbow – What’s the Difference?

See also: best ground blind for traditional archery

Longbow vs. Shortbow Brief Comparison:




  • Long draw length
  • Stores more energy
  • Able to shoot heavier arrows
  • Better accuracy and velocity
  • Arrows fly straighter thanks to its design
  • Can’t be used from horseback
  • Needs more room to fire


  • Fires arrows faster
  • Very effective in tight space
  • Less elbow room required to fire
  • Easier to carry as they are lightweight
  • Cheaper
  • Shorter draw length
  • Can only be used with light arrows

A bow, similar to any other gadget, significantly affects your overall performance and archery experience.

Archery is the art of using different types of bows to shoot arrows.

Thus, understanding the key benefits and drawbacks of each model is of prime necessity.

Your choice of a bow is mostly determined by its allocated use.

What is a Longbow?

what is a longbow

Just as its name states, a longbow is a type of bow that is relatively long - it’s almost roughly the same length as the archer.

This type of bow has been around for centuries with past hunters using it to find food, protect their homes from wild animals, etc.

Longbows have a “D” shape curve that allow more energy to be stored in the wooded part of the bow.

This curve is what contributes to the longbow’s overall performance.

A good longbow is made from a one-piece wood, making it more durable.

Crafted from a single wood, a bowman can produce a longbow in shorter periods of time.

Longbow Pros:

Aside from its artistic craftsmanship, this type of bow provides the user with incredible benefits.

The length plays a very crucial part of how and when the bow is used.

# Draw Length

The draw length refers to the distance an arrow can be pulled back towards the archer before shooting it.

A longbow offers ample space for you to pull your dart back – you will be able to pull the arrow back to your cheekbone.

# Stored Energy

How far you can pull your string back dramatically determines the force and speed of your arrow.

This draw length allows the wood to retain more energy, thus shooting the shaft farther out and at higher speeds.

If you have an eye for precision, you will be able to hit your targets better as more energy equates to force and accuracy.

# More Versatile

Since your longbow is more massive, it’s safe to deduce that you can accommodate heavier arrows with ease.

Archers understand the need to use heavier arrows as stronger winds are less likely to interfere with your exactitude.

This is not to say that you cannot also use lighter shafts.

A longbow will seamlessly accommodate arrows of different weights.

Longbow Cons:

Well, since the bow is quite large, you will not be able to use it in tight space.

More arm surface area is required to execute a perfect shot.

However, if the basis of your purchase is solely for horseback use.

What is a Shortbow?

what is a shortbow

Similar to a longbow, a shortbow is technically a smaller version of longbows.

These bows are typically shorter than 5 feet with the majority of them falling under the 3 feet long range.

They work analogously to a longbow, but they do offer different benefits.

A shortbow has a smaller draw length.

It allows an archer to draw to a shorter distance from somewhere between your elbow and your shoulder.

Some examples of short bow include crossbows, airbows, etc.

Shortbow Pros:

# Faster Arrows

Since these models are quite compact, they offer speedier shooting experience.

Granted the wood is not able to retain as much energy, you will still be able to release faster as you won’t need as much power to draw the string back.

# Great for Small Space

Thanks to its compact design, shortbows can be used in tighter spaces.

Since less elbow room is required, you will have the freedom to use your gadget in confined areas with ease.

# Lightweight

These models tend to be more portable making them ideal for archers participating in horseback archery shooting.

They are also great for outdoor activities where you might encounter branches or trees.

Shortbows are very handy for firing while hiding or kneeling.

If you enjoy hunting in the woods, then this is exactly what you need.

# Affordable

Thanks to the simple and light design, these units are more pocket-friendly.

Compared to longbows, you are more likely to purchase a shortbow on less budget.

Shortbow Cons:

Since draw length is significantly shorter, you will not be able to fire your darts over long distances.

Also, you will be forced to apply more force even when firing over short distances.

The draw length restraint means that your arrows will not be able to fly far or as fast as the energy used to shoot them.

Final Thoughts:

Depending on your specific needs, a longbow and a shortbow both offer tremendous benefits to any user.

However, select your preferred option carefully as this can make or break your archery or hunting experience.

As you can see, longbows are ideal for anyone looking for more accurate firing experience.

Your arrows will be able to travel longer distances and at higher speeds.

Shortbows are a perfect option for people firing in tight spaces, in the woods, or for anyone planning to shoot while on horseback.

Hopefully you're more clear of longbow vs. shortbow.

Have you ever used a one of them before?

What’s your preference and why?

We would love to hear from you so do leave us a comment below.

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic.

I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.