Are Recurve Bows Ambidextrous?


Left handed olympic recurve bow

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Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.

Recurve bows can be designed for both right-handed and left-handed archers. That being said, manufacturers mostly make recurve bows for right-handed archers because they represent a more significant section of the market. 

A smaller portion of recurve bows are designed for ambidextrous archers, and an even lower percentage of recurve bows are designed for left-handed archers.

A few recurve bows in the market are designed for ambidextrous archers. In these recurve bows, you’ll notice that the riser can be used interchangeably by both left-handed and right-handed archers. The shape of the grip is molded for each hand. 

It is worth noting that some models are more ergonomic than others. For a comfortable grip, the riser should comfortably sit along with your thumb.

If the grip is exclusively shaped for right-handed users, left-handed users won’t be able to use the recurve bow comfortably. It doesn’t mean they can’t use the recurve bow at all. It just means they won’t be able to use it effectively or comfortably. This can throw your balance off, and your accuracy will be drastically reduced. 

Of course, you could try to re-shape the grip of the riser with make-shift components such as tape or even polymer to accommodate the opposite hand, but we don’t recommend doing this.

Most recurve bows have risers with windows that are cut out on one side. This means you can only place the arrow on one side. So, for example, if you’re using a right hand recurve bow, your entire view through it will lie on the right side of the bow. 

If you try shooting on the opposite side, your face simply won’t line up well with the arrow, and in most cases, you may not be able to see the arrow at all. This probably won’t be a problem for you if you’re using a traditional style of shooting, such as the horse-bow or the Korean method. In this case, you are meant to shoot on the opposite side.

That being said, it wouldn’t work very well with the Olympic style archery. So if you bought yourself a Western-style recurve bow with a sight cut-out, you wouldn’t want to shoot from the opposite side that it isn’t rated for. 

Most recurve bows are generally not well suited to traditional styles of archery, so if you’re doing a Lars Anderson or speed shooting, you should buy bows that are designed for this specific style of archery. 

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How To Determine The Direction Of The Recurve Bow 

woman practicing archery

You will need to look at the physical features of the recurve bow to determine its side. The manufacturer already labels most of them. 

Simply hold the recurve bow out in front of you to see the arrow rest above the grip. 

  • If the arrow rest is on the left side, you have a right-handed recurve bow.
  • If the arrow rest is on the right side, you have a left-handed recurve bow.

Is It Better To Use An Ambidextrous Recurve Bow?

If you are comfortable using your dominant hand and eye, then you don’t need to use an ambidextrous recurve bow. 

It is essential to figure out which side you’re most dominant with. But if you’re not able to arrive at an answer, you probably should use an ambidextrous recurve bow. Since the arrow rest, riser, the grip of the hand, and sights are compatible with both sides, and you should have no problems shooting with either hand.

An ambidextrous recurve bow will help you decide your dominant side. But if you happen to be among the rare one-percenters who are genuinely able to alternate between both hands, you will love using an ambidextrous recurve bow. Ambidextrous archers shouldn’t feel any difference when drawing either a right or left-sided recurve bow. 

Just make sure to be careful about the accessories you purchase for your bow. Not all attachments are ambidextrous. This means if you’re buying right-handed sights to mount on your recurve bow, all other accessories must also be right-handed. More on that later. 

Which Type of Recurve Bow Should I Use?

This answer ultimately depends on you. Here are a few tips to help you make up your mind:

  • If your dominant hand and eye are right, then you should use a right-handed recurve bow.
  • If your dominant hand and eye are left, then you should use a left-handed recurve bow.

The two can be switched up. For instance, your dominant hand is right, but your dominant eye is left. In this case, we suggest experimenting with the ambidextrous recurve bow. 

Here are a few suggestions when you have conflicting hand-eye dominance:

  • Right-handed archers with dominant left eyes should use a left-handed recurve bow.
  • Left-handed archers with dominant right eyes should use a right-handed recurve bow.

However, if you’ve determined that neither right nor left eye is dominant (also known as ambiocular), then choosing the side of the recurve bow is entirely up to you. This is one of those rare situations where an ambidextrous recurve bow will be your best option. 

Accessories – Left, Right, and Ambidextrous 

Archer pulls on the sport bow string, taking aim at his target at the competition. Male, concentrated.

When it comes to the accessories for your recurve bow, you should know that some are ambidextrous, while others are specifically designed for left and right-handed shooters. For example, most sights are ambidextrous because you can quickly turn the mounting block on either side of the riser. 

But some sights are rated for a particular side, which means you won’t be able to use it for the opposite hand. Make sure the mounting block and sight bar are correctly configured before using the recurve bow. 

Here’s a summary of accessories that are ambidextrous and hand-rated. 

  • Elevated arrow rests are based on hands. For example, if you’re a right-handed shooter, you will have to buy a right-handed arrow rest, which will be placed on the left side of the recurve bow. It is worth noting that high-end arrow rests aren’t rated for a particular hand because you can flip them around on the other side. 
  • Finger tabs are designed for a particular hand, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. So in the case of a right-handed shooter, you should be using a right-handed finger tab.  
  • Quivers are made for a specific hand. They go on the side that you shoot with. For example, if you’re a right-handed shooter, you will have to use a right-handed quiver that will sit on your right hip. 
  • Chest guards are made for a specific direction also. For example, a right-handed archer will use a right-handed chest guard (which sits on the left side). The reason for this is simple: when you pull the string with your right hand, it will slide across your left chest, and therefore, require a right-handed chest guard. 
  • Plungers and clickers have no sides rated for them. 
  • Armguards do not have many sides to them and can go in either direction.

Confused? Here’s a general rule of thumb to help you remember which accessories to buy: if you’re a right-handed shooter, all your accessories should be right-handed. Simple 

Do They Make Left Handed Bows? ?

Left-handed people only make about 10 percent of the population, which means that most manufacturers will design tools for right-handed users. While brands do make left-handed bows, they are few and far between. 

Your search for a left-handed recurve bows may end up going nowhere because you’ll hardly find 2 or 3 in the market. Most of the ‘left-handed’ recurve bows are ambidextrous. Brands do this primarily to cut their losses in case left-handed users don’t buy their product. While ambidextrous bows cater to a niche market, they have a much higher chance of selling than purely left-handed recurve bows. 

That being said, if you’ve got the time (and money), you might be able to convince a bowyer to build you a left-handed recurve bow. 

Here is our countdown of left-handed bows (recurve and compound) that we managed to find. As you’ll notice, the list is minimal. 

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow (left-handed) 

The Samick Sage Takedown Recurve bow is perfect for beginners. Its defining feature is the riser, which looks like it’s straight out of a fantasy film. The left-handed recurve bow boasts a simple design, which is one primary reason why beginners are so comfortable using it. 

The Samick Sage Takedown has an extremely durable riser. It is made from a mixture of dymondwood and maple. The grip could have been a little more comfortable because the plain wood doesn’t make for a very stable grip. 

The bow is compatible with all types of arrows, which means you won’t have a hard time finding cheap arrow sets to practice with.  

Pros ✅Cons ❌
Very customizable
Good for hunting
Affordable
Durable string and bow that will last for years 
The grip is made of wood and may affect accuracy

Click here to check prices.

Obert Black Hunter 60 Inches Takedown Recurve Bow 

The Obert Black Hunter recurve bow features a grand design that will make you feel like a real hunter on an adventure. The limbs are made with a combination of wood and fiberglass for extra durability.

The riser is made with a rather sturdy, beautiful piece of wood that feels smooth in your hands. Overall, the Black Hunter is rather comfortable to use, and left-handed archers will instantly get used to its feel.

This bow is ideal for use with hunters as well. Do keep in mind that this is a takedown bow, which means you can easily conceal and transport it. Reassembling it is a breeze because everything fits together perfectly. This bow has a draw weight of between 20 to 60 lbs and a draw length of 28 inches. 

Pros ✅Cons ❌
Easy to transport
Easy to use by beginners and experts alike
High-quality bowstring that won’t break
None we could think of

Click here to check prices on Amazon. 

Left-handed Compound Bows For Sale

Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro 

If you’re looking for a left-handed compound bow, then make sure you start your search with the very popular Infinite Edge Pro. It comes with three settings, A, B, and C. To set your draw weight, all you need to do is adjust the limb bolts using a hex wrench, and you’re good to go. Do keep in mind that each mark represents around ~8.5% of the bow’s peak weight.

Despite being a powerful bow, the Infinite Edge is very lightweight, making it the ideal option for hunters. Furthermore, the riser is made using ultra-light aluminum. The Infinite Edge Pro comes with enough equipment right out of the box, which means you won’t have to worry about finding accessories for your new bow. You just unbox it and get shooting. 

All in all, this left-handed compound bow has received a lot of positive feedback. It’s customizable, lightweight, quiet, and powerful. It’s the perfect combo.  

Pros ✅Cons ❌
Adjustable and comes with many accessories 
Affordable
Boasts lifetime warranty
Friendly towards beginners
Speed is average 
May need some fine-tuning for accurate shooting

Click here to check prices on Amazon. 

Diamond Archery 2016 Edge SB-1 Compound Bow 

The Diamond SB-1 is one of the most robust bows you can ever come across. It is geared towards young archers who are just getting acquainted with archery. The most prominent feature of the Edge SB-1 is that it can be adjusted without going to a professional in an archery shop.

If you’re a parent, you’ll appreciate the bottom-end draw weight of only 7 pounds, which is enough for just about any child to handle from day one. You won’t have to wait for your kid to grow strong enough to start flinging arrows. The Edge SB-1 lets your child get to the fun part as soon as they can!

You can easily adjust the weight from 7 to 70 pounds, which is massive. The draw length is just as versatile and can range from only 15” to 30”.

Pros ✅Cons ❌
Can adjust draw weight and length over a wide range
High quality binary cams for faster shooting
Easy to configure
Loud so can’t be used for hunting
A lot of vibration when shooting arrows

Click here to check prices on Amazon.

Wrapping Up

So to sum it up, yes, brands do make ambidextrous recurve bows. But this is a niche market with few buyers, which explains why the stock is usually low. Manufacturers just don’t have the incentive to make a product that they know isn’t going to sell very well. The case is even weaker for left-handed recurve bows, which are almost non-existent. 

Some of the left-handed bows that are featured on our list may or may not be available in your area, in which case, it is better to either go with an ambidextrous option or having one specially made for you by getting in touch with your nearest bowyer.

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Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. He has been hunting and fishing since a child, and has over 20 years of experience in the outdoors. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.

Sam

Hi, I'm Sam, and I love archery! I used to work as a caregiver, and I'm in medical school now. I started this blog to help people like my parents get healthier in fun and exciting ways, more than just going to the gym. If you like one of my articles, I'd appreciate it if you share it with your folks and help them get healthier too!

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