When the SHTF, a good survival bow will be worth its weight in gold. I’ll have one of the best survival bows for preppers ready to go. I highly recommend you do the same!
I’ve got guns — lots of ’em. Big guns, little guns, fat guns, skinny guns, black guns, camo guns, and guns you may never have even heard of — I’m a bit of a collector.
Guns keep me safe and keep my family fed. They also won’t be bad to have around when this house of cards we call “civilization” comes tumbling down.
As much as I love guns though, I’d have to say the best investment I’ve made in my survival cache might be my archery equipment.
Getting Started with Bows
Bows have a handful of attributes that make them ideal for long term survival situations. However, not all bows are created equal.
If you’ve never spent much time around an archery range, you might want to learn the basics starting with a few different kinds of bows.
There are more types of bows than what we’ll discuss in this article. I’m just giving you the “Bows 101” intro! These would be the best options to carry with you on a successful bug-out, too!
Probably the most common bow shot today is the modern compound bow. These bows are high-tech, accurate, shooting machines. They shoot fast, accurate, and have a zillion accessories to customize to your fancy.
Compound bows are easily recognized — it has pulleys or cams at the end of the limbs. These cams accelerate the string and compound the stored energy. There’s less weight to hold back because of the compounding, so it’s much easier to hold it at a full draw for a lot longer than a traditional or recurve bow.
Although fun to shoot with and hunt with, compound bows are pretty high tech. Maybe more than is needed for the post-collapse world. Instead, you might to have a traditional bow.
Traditional bows are low tech and get the job done. These bows are both simple, and store energy in the limbs when drawn.
There are a few different kinds of traditional bows, but the two most common types are recurves and longbows.
First off, longbows are just that — long bows. They were the weapon of choice for the famous English archers of Medieval Europe. Today they are capable hunting and target weapons.
Recurve bows – while they are very similar to longbows in terms of simplicity – have one design feature that makes them stand out. Rather than straight limbs, recurve limbs curve away from the shooter at the tips.
This re-curve design is what gives them their name and gives the limbs more stored energy. More energy makes for a faster shooting bow than a comparable longbow.
There are also modern takedown survival bows available as well. These bows have lots of uses and are great for ease in transport.
Durability is also a key feature of a survival bow — they’re made to take a few knocks.
A takedown survival bow might be more difficult to learn on than a well-made traditional bow. They won’t come with so many attachment points for sights or quivers. There also isn’t a shelf to shoot from, so your aim is usually offset.
Takedown bows typically don’t have ergonomic handles, either – only bare metal.
Both types of crossbows shoot bolts (crossbow arrows).
Which one you might choose would depend solely on the application for which you want it.
While Daryl might use one in The Walking Dead, a crossbow wouldn’t be my choice of kit.
Why? Because they’re complex, slow to load, difficult to re-string, don’t breakdown easily, and are usually more expensive than other bows.
Which bow should I choose?
If you don’t have any archery gear yet, I definitely recommend you consider getting some.
What should you buy though? Here are a few recommendations:
First off, go with a traditional bow of some sort.
High tech crossbows and compound bows may be faster and easier to become accurate with, but what do you do when the string jumps the cam?
How about when your string breaks? How would you go about fixing the fancy drop-away rest?
The short answer is, it would be dang hard to accomplish any of that without buying special gear.
If you actually were able to come up with some solution, odds are the performance of the bow would greatly suffer.
Traditional bows on the other hand are very simple.
First off, they have almost no moving parts. There is no arrow rest to shoot off. You shoot from the shelf built into the bow. If your string breaks you can create another one that will substitute just fine.
For the long term, a traditional bow is hands down the best choice!
The best of the best? That’s a tough call but there is a lot of helpful info in my best recurve guide. As mentioned earlier, there are recurves and longbows available. Recurves provide a little more speed so they might be a slightly better buy.
There is also the option of a survival bow. Survival bows break down and pack nicely. Personally, I’m buying a bow to hunt with when things go south. That being the case, I’m buying a bow built for hunting, not for packing.
There are many folks who are plumb happy with their takedown survival bows though.
How much should I expect to spend on a bow?
For a quality bow you can expect to cough up $150 or more. Custom bows can even go for well over $1,000 — but don’t spend too much time fretting over those.
For $150 you can find a good bow that will shoot for darn near your whole life.
Good survival bows for preppers on the other hand generally run upwards of about $200.
Which arrows will I need for my bow?
Whatever bow you choose to buy, you’ll need arrows.
When it comes to arrows you want to go with good carbon shafts.
Although arrows can also be bought as wood, fiberglass, or aluminum, carbon is really the best choice. Unlike wooden arrows, carbon arrows are tough and can stand up to serious abuse, and they’re far more accurate than fiberglass arrows.
In a sport where accuracy is everything – especially in survival situations – that’s ultra important!
Carbon arrows also have much better penetration properties than aluminum arrows.
When you’re hunting, penetration is highly important and carbon arrows have great penetration abilities. Compared to other arrows, carbon performs higher in every category.
The only downfall to carbon arrows might be the cost. For a dozen arrows you can look to spend about $100. That might seem a little pricey, but when you consider you get hundreds of shots out of each arrow it actually isn’t that bad.
Think about it like this — how long would it take you to shoot through $100 worth of bullets or shotgun shells? $100 worth of arrows will certainly last longer.
What else will I need?
Survival bows for preppers are more than just bows and arrows. Nonetheless, when you’ve got those bought, you’re getting pretty close to completing your gear kit.
But there are a few additional odds and ends that will make your splash in archery much better:
- Quiver – Quivers hold your arrows. You can get a back quiver that also attaches to your side, but personally I like a bow mounted quiver. These are good for hunting and for 3-D shoots (shooting at life-sized models of game).
- Finger protection – Finger tab or shooting gloves are used to protect the fingers from the pressure of the bowstring.
- Arm guard – Most new archers also want a good arm guard to protect against string slap. (Trust me – get one!)
- Practice points – You’ll need a set of practice points for your arrows while you’re training.
- Broadheads – I’d also recommend getting your hands on some broadheads (and a broadhead wrench) for hunting.
The upfront cost of archery can be a little daunting. All told you might drop $500-$700 when you walk out of the store. But if you look around you’ll sometimes be able to find a good takedown bow starter package for $200-250 that contains all the bits you need.
After your initial purchase though, the costs are very limited. Basically you’ll be buying arrows once a year, and maybe a few new broadheads and points.
It really becomes a $100 insurance policy after the initial investment. Also, when you consider the money spent on a bow vs. the life of that bow, the cost comes down dramatically.
Final Thoughts on Survival Bows for Preppers
I would encourage new archers to Google search to find their local archery club early. In the matter of an hour, the pro staff should be able to teach you all the basics you can work on.
Simple tools like a bow and arrow are what we can depend on when all our other high tech gadgets fail.
The bow is a beautiful, effective tool which can be learned easily, and archery practice is a highly enjoyable way to spend a few minutes each day.
Whatever type of bow you feel best suits your situation, makes sure to start practicing with it today!
What do you think?
It’s been said archery is a sport where you can learn the basics in 15 minutes, and spend the rest of your life perfecting.
If you’re an archer — even a beginner — leave me a comment and let me know if you learned to shoot a bow pretty fast.
If you’re not an archer yet, leave me a comment to tell me if you might be thinking of getting started. We’d love to do more archery posts here on Survival at Home!
Also, tell me which bow you think is the ideal survival bow for preppers!