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Shortbow vs. Longbow - What’s the Difference

Shortbow vs. Longbow – What’s the Difference?

Shortbow vs. Longbow - What’s the Difference

Do you want to use your bow for target shooting,g or your sole purpose is bow hunting? Do you want to fire an arrow at a rapid speed at a shorter distance or powerfully at a longer distance? When comparing a short bow vs a longbow, these questions stick in your mind.

Well! Both bows have their advantages and disadvantages. It depends on personal skills and preferences. Horseback riders have used short bows in history, especially in the era of Genghis Khan. On the other hand, LongBows were used by the British during the war. 

Archery and target hunting have remained famous sports and skills over thousands of years, so with the advancing era, bows have evolved to meet different purposes. They are different in power, range, weight, accuracy and usage. In this article, we deeply compare the short bow vs the longbow. 

Short vs Longbow – a Quick Overview

What is a Shortbow? 

The Shortbow was specially designed during the era of Guerilla war as it is easy to handle and is perfect for target shooting because it fires multiple shots quickly. Because of its shorter draw length, most horse riders use it. It usually measures around 3 feet, but all bows under 5 feet are considered short bows.  

Shortbow has the following advantages.

  • Shoot multiple quick shots within a second
  • Lightweight
  • Allow quick movement
  • Close range combat 

What is a Longbow? 

While watching a Hollywood movie related to ancient history, have you ever noticed what kind of bow the defender had? A longbow? Well! The longbow was the weapon of choice in mediaeval Europe because of its speed and longer draw length. It is a single curved bow which measures about 5 metres. 

Longbows have the following advantages.

  • Long-range combat
  • Bowhunting and shooting 
  • More effective and precise
  • Launches 20 arrows within a minute

Key difference Between Shortbow vs Longbow

Every bow is different from others and has attributes and properties. For instance, Shortbows are easy to handle, and suitable for beginners and close-range combat, while longbows are more powerful, have a longer range, suit and are able for hunting and long-distance combat.

Let us clear the short bow vs longbow selection by comparing their different properties. 


Are you a beginner trolling for a bow that is easy to manoeuvre and handle? The design of the bows plays a fundamental role in hunting. Shortbows are shorter, almost 4-5 feet long, so they are easy to carry. On the other hand, longbows are almost 5-6 feet, therefore challenging to handle. 

Draw Length

The longer the draw length, the more influential the shot. A bigger bow requires more force to pull the bowstring; as a result, more energy is conserved in the arrow which allows the arrow to move faster. The short bow has a shorter draw length as compared to longbows. 


If you are a beginner and want a lighter bow, then a shortbow is best for you. They usually weigh 2 lbs and are easy to carry and manoeuvre. At the same time, longbows weigh 100 lbs to 140 lbs and therefore are challenging to handle. 


The shape of the bow also affects its performance in various ways. Shortbows are slightly curved, therefore, are a popular choice for skirmish warfare and hunting because they are easy to carry and operate. Longbows, on the other hand, are larger and are used for hunting moving objects. 


The most apparent difference between short bows and longbows is the power. The shortbow has a shorter draw length, so they store less energy and thus has less force or power. However, they have great power for short distances. The longbow has greater kinetic energy, so they have more excellent short- and long-range power. 


If we talk about accuracy, short bows are more accurate at shorter distances and used in confined spaces where a longbow is cumbersome and accurate for short and long distances.


Most of the time, archers prefer to use a bow depending on the arrow’s length, weight, and material. For example, for short bows, the weight and length of the arrow are small, making it perfect for a short distance, but it can quickly change direction for long distances. 


Are you searching for a bow for your next hunt seat riding? Well! Shortbow is best as it is designed for shorter ranges, such as in the forest or close-range combat, almost 30-40 yards. They are capable of shooting arrows at greater speed. 

However, the longbows are in the upper hand as they have greater draw length. They are designed for longer distances. The extra power stored in the back string allows archers to shoot arrows at greater distances, almost 100 yards, with considerable accuracy.


Anything that values while buying is the material used in its making. Same the case with a bow. Short bows are made from wood, sinew, and horn. That’s why they have more energy than longbows, which are made up of single branches like Yew. 

Ease of Use

Archers always like those bows that are easier to handle and operate. In this regard, short bows are an excellent choice for beginners. They are light in weight and more comfortable to handle, allowing the archer to focus on their target and technique. 

Short bows are suitable for you if you want to apply less physical strength while pulling the bowstring back. It is designed for all ages and gender. While the longbows demand more physical strength and require a lot of practice to master. 

Shortbow vs Longbow: Which One Is Best

While deciding which is best, either Shortbows or Longbows, it is essential to focus on your skills, demands and preferences. Both bows have been used for centuries and have significant roles in hunting and shooting. Short bows are to handle for beginners as they are lightweight and have short draw lengths.

Longbows are undoubtedly designed to shoot arrows at more incredible speed with more power at longer distances; therefore best for target hunting. But longbows are challenging to handle because of their longer draw length and heavier weight. So from us, short bows are best for you as they are designed according to the needs and demands of all ages and genders. 


Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to the archer’s skills and preferences. As both bows have their advantages and disadvantages. Shortbows are easy to handle and suitable for beginners and close-range. Longbows are powerful and suitable for long-distance combat. Ultimately the choice is yours.

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