Reflex Archery Bows: The Reverse C

Reflex archery bows are a style of bow that's shaped differently from traditional bows. The arms curve away from the archer at nearly all points along their length. When unstrung, the entire bow curves away from the belly in the shape of the letter "C". This key aspect is what differentiates it from the recurve bow, which only has the ends of the limbs turned away.

Quick Reflexes

Because of the curves on the reflex archery bows, the materials are all under very high stress when the bow is strung; because of this, a relatively short bow can have a surprisingly high draw weight and an equally surprisingly long draw length. For this reason, archers on horseback favored this model; it gave them a tremendous advantage over their un-mounted counterparts with longer bows. An expert mounted archer could effectively take an arrow, draw the bow and shoot before the enemy even had time to react. It's kind of like the gunfighter days of the Old West; the quickest draw lived to tell about it.

Usurpers Beware

Due to the tremendous stress on the materials, a reflex bow is hard to string unless you know the right technique; in fact, a sitting position is best for stringing this bow. There is a reference to this in Homer's Odyssey: when Odysseus returns to a banquet at his home where suitors, considering him dead, are vying for the hand of his beautiful and wealthy wife, Odysseus is said to have easily strung the bow that others could not. In fact, it says that he did it 'without standing up'; this gives us a clue about the spread of the reflex bow around the Aegean Sea area at the time the Odyssey was written. The craftsmanship as well as the materials required to make such a bow should be of a very high quality. Because of the inherent design of this bow, it could just suddenly reverse itself without warning; actually, this might be the very bow that Wile E Coyote used when he accidentally launched himself at the Roadrunner, but more research into the subject is needed.

Reflex Bows In Sports Archery

Good reflex archery bows are generally very hard to find because of the expertise required. In the past, these were all hand-crafted by expert artisans, and the specialist knowledge was passed on from master to apprentice purely through word of mouth. Nowadays they are also referred to as composite bows because they are made of several types of materials like wood, bones, glue and even metal laminated together. Because of this, they are more durable than self bows, or those made of a single material. Composite bows are either factory made or handmade; apart from the finish, you will also be able to tell the difference by the price – there's a wide price gap between the mass-produced models and the hand-crafted ones.

Reflex Archery Bows: Variations

Other more common forms of the reflex archery bows are the reflex-deflex bows. These designs incorporate the best of the reflex bow, but the riser or handle curves towards the archer. To a certain extent this provides more stability for the archer, but still retains the smoothness of the draw even at extended draw lengths. A typical model of this style is the Eastern reflex-deflex bow. It retails at about $300, and is built for speed as well as accuracy. They come highly recommended for target archery as well as field archery or hunting. It comes in a 55-inch bow length, but has tremendous power because of the inherent design. You can also take your pick of draw weights and lengths to suit you perfectly. Another great model is the Traditional Bamboo reflex deflex bow; the riser and the arrow rest are both covered with genuine leather for added comfort. These bows deliver accurate shots with very high power, and are typically used for hunting.

No matter what the type of bow, it's certain that archery is here to stay. Leaps and bounds in modern science have left the basic bow and arrow design essentially untouched, if a little disheveled.