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16 Different Types of Archery – Carefully Explained for Beginners

types of archery
Written by Catherine Weeks

If you are new to the game of archery, going through this article will increase the level of your knowledge and mastery. In a short while, you will learn about all types of archery in demand and the archery bows that are commonly used. Going through this article will also inform you about the stack difference between flight, 3D, Ski, Clout, and Target archery.

Different Types of Archery

Different Types of Archery

Archery can be carried out with either a recurve, longbow, or compound. Aside from the bow hunting archery, there are other verities archery like traditional archery, 3D target archery, the field archery, and many more. In most of the cases, the archer aims and shoots at different archery targets for amusement.

1. Traditional Archery

A longbow, or self bow or recurve, can serve as traditional archery. Though people are of different opinions about traditional archery, to some, it’s about shooting a longbow or a recurve bow without the use of a bow sight or a bow stabilizer or any form of equipment. The process is also known as barebow.

Types of Archery - Traditional Archery

Some are of the opinion that traditional areal consist of arrows and bows alone that are designed with natural wood with an additional feather at the end that allows fletchings.

Traditional archery is designed to cover a maximum distance of 20 -30 yards, although the distance also varies depending on the rules of each club.

2. Kyudo

The word Kyudo means “The path of the bow.” Kyudo is a form of martial art that is focused on the bow. This act of archery is practiced for spiritual and physical development, its principle is based on Kyujutsu (which means ‘Art of archery’), and it founded from the samurai class based in japan.  Archers who practice Kyudo use Yumi bow. The bow is designed to have an approximate height of 2 meters. The bow can be craft out of bamboo, leather, or wood.

Types of Archery - kyudo archery

3. Crossbow Archery​

Crossbow archery is a form of archery governed by (IAU) an international Crossbow Shooting Union, with an intercontinental championship across all forms of disciplines like Match and Field. The match Competition explains a target competition that covers over 10 meters to 30 meters. The difference in crossbow archery is linked to that of a field archery –but it requires competitors to focus on different target elevations. Some common bow uses for cross archery are crossbows, crowbars, and compound bows.

Types of Archery- Crossbow Archery​

4. Archery​ Tag

This is a contemporary way to shoot up enemies with bows and arrows without causing serious damage.  Archery tag involves the use of specially designed arrows that are built with foam heads. The archers wear arm guards, protective headgear. Fiberglass is the most recommended bow.

Archery​ Tag

5. Target Archery (Indoor and Outdoor)

Target archery is one of the major archery types, mainly featured during the Olympics. The game can be practiced both outdoors and indoors.

Target archery appears to be easier to set up in an outdoor/indoor environment within any space of target range. This archery involves its practitioner firing an arrow toward a target that is stationary and has a goal or bull-eye in the center. There are various kinds of archery bows available depending on the type you’re interested in.

6. 3D Target Archery

The 3D target archery is generally used for outdoor activities, but in some cases, where the facility appears to be large enough, the game can be played indoors. In most cases, shooters can choose the longbow, a compound, or a recurve.

Types of Archery - 3D Target Archery

The 3D Target archery is used to target on 3-dimensional animals like alligators, deer, turkeys deer, etc.

7. Field Archery

This type of archery is very similar to 3D archery but only differs in the use of targets. Paper targets or Bag targets are mostly. Most archers prefer using compound bows while others longbow or recurve.

Types of Archery - Field Archery

8. Target Archery

This is a strictly timed event. You can either choose to use a recurve, longbow bare, bow, or a compound bow. Its targets are designed to be round and large and are rightly positioned at a specific distance that ranges from 45 to 95 meters (approximately 40 to 100 yards). This can be done outdoors or indoors.

Types of Archery - Target Archery

9. Bowhunting

Types of Archery - bow hunting

Bowhunting involves the use of arrow and bows to hunt down animals. It can be carried out with any type of bow, regardless of its shape or size. The use of a primitive bow will demand more skill, as hunting with a bow can often be more daunting than it is with a rifle.

10. Bowfishing

Bowfishing appears to be funfair archery for those folks who love angling and hunting. Bow fishing can be carried out with any bow; all you will need is to create a set up that is similar to a reel or rod.

Types of Archery - Bow fishing

The arrow has a unique line attached directly to any arrow with a barbed hook on one part.  Once you spot and shoot at the target (fish), it’s automatically get reeled. You can also purchase an already made bow or set your own bow for the hunt.

11. Mounted Archery

Mounted archery is a special type of archery designed specifically for those who love challenges. It involves shooting at a specific target while galloping on a horse. To be effective in this act can most time be very daunting because it requires it requires training yourself and the horse, to get effective.

Types of Archery – Mounted Archery

Each target has a specific point that is marked out to signify a specific value. A winner is identified whenever a participant finished with some points in the game.

12. Ski Archery​

The biathlon is a cross country track system that is grouped into round shooting with a rifle on a specific target, and a failure to strike the target can lead to a one-time penalty. The ski archery is pretty similar to the biathlon contest, but this time the rifle it been replaced with arrows and bows.  It is basically 8 km long for women and 12 km for men. Its contestants are required to shoot out four arrows at every four and a half kilometer from a kneeling spot.

Types of Archery – Ski Archery​

Every participant is required to carry their bow behind their back. The target is positioned 18m from each archer and has a diameter of 16 centimeters. An archer strike is either considered as a miss or a hit. Once a strike is considered a miss, the archer is required to ski a circuit of 350 meters as a penalty before departing from the targeted position.  Any participant who successfully makes a cross above the line is considered as a winner.

13. Flight Archery

Flight archery involves shooting off arrows to fly over a given distance. The game is done outdoor in an open field to gain access to a wider range of distance. The archery requires special types of equipment that are of lesser air resistance. As to this effect, the arrows used in flight archery are specially optimized to travel over a greater range, and each arrow is tapered and short toward each end from its middle. This is designed to decrease weight and also reduce air resistance. Foot bow, compound, Crossbow, Traditional are some of the examples of the bows that are used in flight archery.

Types of Archery – Flight Archery

14. Run Archery​/Arcathlon

The techniques employed in Run archery is pretty similar to Ski archery, although the contest involves each participant traveling along a course or a distance track. Run archery is a form of ski archery that is done specifically in countries that are warm.

Types of Archery – Run Archery

The course range from 5 to 12 kilometer, and each archer is only allowed to make three shooting stops. The bows used are store in the shooting range, and in some cases, targets are with a target of 16cm with a distance of 18cm from each archer.

15. Para Archery

Archery is broad and open for everyone. Para archery is especially for those athletes who are physically impaired. The world competition organization has a series of categories of classification of sport – all made for different categories of athletes. This is similar to a sport like visually impaired V1/2/3 and Open, W1.

Types of Archery – Para Archery

16. Clout Archery​

Clout archery is pretty related to target archery, although it has a bigger target and is mapped out flat on the ground. It has a flag that is considered as its bull’s-eye. A participant is required to arrow upward toward an arc as its target, causing it to drop as very close to the flag. A perfect scenario for this is the way a golf ball is played. Some examples of bows used in clout archery are the crossbows, traditional bows, compound bows and recurve bows.

Types of Archery – Clout Archery​

All of the above-listed sets of archery has their code of conducts and rules that participant must adhere too. If you are still considering which of the archery is available within your area? You can Google out archery clubs or bow shops close to you. Doing this will be one of the easiest alternatives to locate a better spot, have fun, and hook up folks who share the same value as you.


1. What is the most popular type of archery?

Ans. Target archery is the most popular where archers shoot at a static circular target from different distances. This competition uses all types of bows and can be held both indoors and outdoors. Distances for indoor competitions are 25m or 18m. Outdoor competitions take place from 30m to 90m distances.

2. What’s better recurve or longbow?

Ans. Taller archers find longbows smoother to draw than the short bows. Cleverly-designed longbows may perform smoothly, especially when their length matches the draw length of archers. Recurve bows also have a smooth draw but that significantly depends on the bow design.

3. Which is more powerful? Longbow or recurve bow?

Ans. Recurve bows have more speed and power than longbows. Their accuracy is also better than the longbow types. You will shoot at a lighter draw weight with takedown recurve bows. These bows allow you to buy new limbs when you need to increase the draw weight. This means you can skip buying new bows.

4. What kind of bow is easiest to shoot?

Ans. That should be the recurve bows. People of any age can use them and can find them easily. Shooting with them is also a forgiving experience.

5. What type of bow is the most accurate?

Ans. Recurve bows have better accuracy compared to longbows. The accuracy of longbows ranges from being okay to good but modern recurve bows are built for accuracy. This is also the reason Olympians only use these bows in the target archery event.

6. Should I start with a recurve or compound?

Ans. Start with bare-bow recurves if you have only begun to learn archery. You will get to learn the history, art, and real basics of this sport. You can move onto compound bows once you master the barebow recurve.

About the author

Catherine Weeks

Cathy believes that hunting is not about downing an animal; rather, it’s about enjoying the purity of this challenge and making a connection with nature.

She loves country music, horses, shooting, and hunting; and spends her weekends in the great outdoors with her husband and two kids.

Though Cathy has hunted most of her life, it was not until her partner gave her a bow that she realized she had finally found her passion.

She is always determined to share her missed opportunities, dedication, emotions, and small details that people often forget to mention when they talk about their hunting experiences.

Cathy also works to promote wildlife preservation and protect natural resources. She thinks “patience” is the most important thing that can make a big difference.

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