This is a big subject, and not one that we can cover in detail here, but we will cover the basic bow types. We can always provide advice on what equipment is best for the individual archer. The wrong kit can hamper your shooting or even cause injury, so if you are a new archer please don't buy anything until after completing a beginners' course and taking advice from one of the coaches. Beginners can continue to use club equipment until you are ready to buy your own. At current prices a complete new set of personal equipment can be bought for about £150 upwards. Used equipment is also available from various sources, but it has to be suitable for you or it isn't worth the saving. Again, the coaches will be happy to advise.
There are three types of bow covered by our rules.
This is the Olympic competition bow, with curved limbs laminated in wood, fibreglass, carbon fibre and more exotic materials. The rigid handle provides a stable mount for the sight and other components and can be separated from the limbs to carry it around.
These have pulleys at the ends shaped in such a way that the bow stores more energy in the limbs, so the arrow flies faster. They are normally shot with scope sights and mechanical trigger devices to hold and release the string. They are generally capable of higher scores than recurves, and do not compete directly against them.
Basically unchanged for centuries, there is growing interest in shooting the traditional English longbow. They are difficult to shoot accurately, and tend to need higher draw weights than modern bows to compensate for the lower efficiency. There is a great joy, however, (and sometimes great frustration!) in shooting a bow made from such simple materials.
Other Bits and Bobs
You will also need arrows, which can be wooden for longbows, aluminium tubes for recurve and compound bows through to composites of aluminium and carbon fibre. Arrows need to be correctly matched to the archer and the bow in order to fly straight, and have a vast array of options of length, stiffness, vane shapes etc. (another good reason to talk to us before buying anything).
Archery dealers have a huge choice of other accessories. Some are essential, like armguards, others are down to personal preference, such as sights and quivers, whilst some are arguably of little value other than to relieve you of your money!