bow and arrow for defense/tactical


November 13, 2010, 11:40 PM
what modern bow would be best for self defense/tactical? a compound bow or modern recurve bow?

(p.s.- what if a bow and arrow was all you had in a emergancey. some placess you cant get firearms. so dont get mad at the question.)

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Rail Driver
November 13, 2010, 11:46 PM
I'd go with a youth sized compound bow... Small enough to be quickly maneuverable, and powerful enough to put a razor broadhead through a large man at ranges inside 40 ft.

If you plan on using a bow for a defense weapon, PRACTICE A LOT. A bow is MUCH slower to fire and requires more fine motor control to use effectively than a pistol or long gun. I don't mean just practice a lot... I mean a LOT.

Think of it this way... An experienced bowman can get off 5 - 7 shots inside 10 seconds or so (quick estimation off the top of my head, no citation)... It takes me significantly longer to hit a 25 yd target just 3 times. Plan on NEEDING a second shot, and practice getting shots off as accurately as possible as quickly as possible. If nothing else, use an arrow as a stabbing weapon as a last resort. Or design and build a semi-auto or at least self-cocking crossbow (no idea how it would work lol)

November 13, 2010, 11:54 PM
Smaller bow would work better in any confined space or being transported.
So I would have to pick a recurve bow. Another problem is arrow heads. Would not want to carry a nocked modern hunting broad head.
On second thought I think a fighting staff would be better for self defense then any bow. It can be brought into action much faster then a bow.
A cane might be perfect for the modern unarmed urban environment.
You might consider a edged weapon to complement the staff or bow.
I see little future for a tactical bow.

Double Naught Spy
November 13, 2010, 11:57 PM
What modern bow for defense/tactical? For what circumstances? Indoor? Outdoor? Short range? Long range? Home, business, vehicle defense? Or, do you want a universally applicable bow?

November 14, 2010, 12:00 AM
is there such thing as a mini compound bow(for adualts)?

how fast can you nock a bow and arrow? what is the rate of fire of a modern bow and arrow?
(how many rounds per minute?)

Rail Driver
November 14, 2010, 12:04 AM
is there such thing as a mini compound bow(for adualts)?

how fast can you nock a bow and arrow? what is the rate of fire of a modern bow and arrow?
(how many rounds per minute?)

Yes, it's called a crossbow. It's very slow to cock and load, but the real ones (not those cheap $15 flea market toys) can be VERY powerful.

It depends on the type of bow. A compound or recurve, or even a short or longbow nocks and fires fairly quickly as things go. A crossbow, by comparison, fires MUCH more slowly.

In the end it all depends on the shooter. The more you practice, the faster you get.

November 14, 2010, 12:10 AM
yes i know clubs and blades can be used.

with a bow and arrow you could take down a threat from a distance.

one reason i consider the bow and arrow is because i cant think of a good way to unload and un draw a modern crossbow without dryfiring.

November 14, 2010, 12:23 AM
i tried to uncock/un draw a 150 pound pull cossbow by removeing the bolt(arrow),then holding on to the string/cord and pulling the triger.that caused the string/cord to rip in half.
the crossbow manual said not to keep it loaded for more than 5 hours i think.
i know crossbows are powerful and accurate.
with a bow and arrow you can draw and un draw at a moments notice.

November 14, 2010, 12:32 AM
personally i would go with a recurve. follow up shots are much faster (at least for me) and they tend to be lighter weight. the downside is they require more practice...a LOT more practice!

November 14, 2010, 12:38 AM
A modern compound bow would afford the most power in the smallest package. With that being said its probably the easiest to shoot but the most cumbersom to nock a arrow. Depending on style of arrow rest.

A recurve bow while loading faster that a compound and having only slightly less power depending on draw weight of the bow. This style is for the most part considerably longer than todays compounds.

The long bow while having the benifits of the quick loading of a recurve and slightly less powerful yet in terms of arrow speed. This style of bow in the golden days of yor had one end typlically the bottom that was sharpend to a slightly spear point. The idea was that if the archer ran out of arrows the bow could be un-strung and used as a staff and inflict damage with the sharpened end.

Both the long bow and recurve should not be left strung as the limbs will memorize the flex and weaken with time. stringing one of these bows is a little cumbersom and the bow can be damaged without being done properly. While being the fastest to load and shoot they also require the most practice. The average beginner in the archery world can go from never picking up a bow to hitting fairly consistantly with a compound in a 1/2 hour of practice. By no means are you a expert at that point but you understand the basics. A traditional bow with no sights takes hours is not days to consistantly hit the same groups.

Perhaps a shelf bow would be a good choice it was similar to the long bow but very short and typically used by mounted horseman. Due to its short size the limbs were considerably thicker to make up for the lack of flex given with its longer cousin the long bow. This made the shelf bow considerably harder to pull to give the same arrow speed.

Like all defensive tools they each have there pros and cons. Like stated before all will require practice and a ton of it. But for a fairly close confrontation I guess I would opt for the long bow in maybe a 40-50# range with a scary sharp wide cut broadhead. No mechanical crap just a good old fashion zawickey or magnus cut on contact eskimo head.

November 14, 2010, 12:49 AM
compound bow seems easyest to lurn.
how many rounds per minute can you shoot a compound bow?
how fast could you make a folow up shot?

November 14, 2010, 01:01 AM
Here is a pretty cool link to a hungarian archery the huns and the mongols were expert archers.

One of the archey clubs that I belong to has a fun shoot/competition every month called the quick shot. The traditional guys own the event hands down. You shoot 6 arrows as quickly as possible at 20 yards. Both speed and accuracy are important. The quickest I have ever done it was 16 seconds and some change. I have been shooting for 27 years now.:eek:. some of the traditional shooters can do it with amazing accuracy in 10 seconds or slightly less. These guys two of them come to mind can put six arrows in a grape fruit sized group or slightly smaller 6 arrows in 10 seconds. Makes my old compound look pretty slow and thats even shooting fingers a release would double that time.

I am still thinking a traditonal styled bow with a no glove string wrap would offer the most speed and accuracy.

November 14, 2010, 01:04 AM
Assuming you realize a bow is a horrible choice for a self defense weapon for a wide variety of reasons, your best bet for speedy shots is probably something like a good old fashioned stick bow.

If you want something that will create distance and be far more effective, get thee a spear. More effective than a sword, it creates distance, and it is a whole lot easier to use than a bow. Think of it this way, dude: Bowhunters that practice tons and have TV shows miss deer on a pretty regular basis, from treestands, all while waiting for the shot. Yes, they are jacked up on adrenaline and I can understand it, but if you think you aren't going to be about twice as jazzed up before you launch an arrow at a human being in defense, your nutso. Also, unless you have skills on par with Rambo-Ninja, you probably aren't going to be able to get off a second, accurate shot ever.

Don't give me the argument that it will work. I KNOW it will work and has worked. Dropping a safe on somebody's head from the third story will also work, but no one is suggesting that, right? Look, even people in medieval tymes didn't use bows in close because they realized pretty quickly that was a bad tactic. If your defending yourself and require the advantages of indirect fire, then maybe it makes sense, but if not, there are a whole bunch of better weapons. I don't want to be the forum jerk who knows everything, because I certainly do not, but I do know that a bow as a home defense weapon is an idea that seems good, looks cool in the movies, but is overall not a smart move.

(p.s.- what if a bow and arrow was all you had in a emergancey. some placess you cant get firearms. so dont get mad at the question.)

I am not mad at the question, dude. I like shooting a bow, even! And yes, I grant you, if it's what you have then it might work and is certainly worth a try. I also grant you that I have no desire to get stuck with a broadhead. It's just that there are literally 10 weapons off the top of my head, that have zero moving parts and allow for distance, that are superior in every way when it comes to self defense.

November 14, 2010, 01:14 AM
I agree with the above post that yes this is not a good idea of a defensive weapon. While I have had fun messing around with speed shooting my bow and challenging myself. As a first choice of defense it makes about as much sense as carrying ceramic plates in your briefcase to protect from sniper fire. (inside joke some members will understand) If that is all I had well I would probably give it a try but only as a last ditch effort.

November 14, 2010, 01:26 AM
jbkebert is mostly wrong about recurves and longbows.

Many modern longbows have a deflex/reflex shape and are faster than recurves while being a bit more quiet.

Laminated and glass backed bows built from about 1960 on can be left strung indefinitely without losing weight or causing any memory in the limbs. Stringing these bows can be done in a few seconds without a stringer if you know what you're doing.

I've never heard of a shelf bow but self bows are common and usually longer than laminated bows. They're no more difficult to pull than other bows but are harder to shoot acccurately because of the way the riser is cut and being less tolerant of arrow spine.

Some Plains Indians had very short wood or antler bows with draw lengths of 23" or less. These were inefficient but simple to make.

Composite bows are/were probably the best of the bunch. They're capable of long draws and high weights while being very short but they can take 2+ years to build.
A competent mounted archer can shoot more arrows faster than any I've seen using a thumbring and holding the arrows in the draw hand.

Check out youtube videos of Kassai, Grozer or Lukas Novotny for the real deal.

November 14, 2010, 01:29 AM
with a bow and arrow you dont have to close whith your enemy.(you can stand off.)
"It's just that there are literally 10 weapons off the top of my head, that have zero moving parts and allow for distance, that are superior in every way when it comes to self defense."

what are these 10 weapons?

Rail Driver
November 14, 2010, 02:01 AM
what are these 10 weapons?

I can think of a few offhand...

1. Golf club
2. Baseball bat
3. Brick
4. Rock
5. Hammer
6. Machete
7. Shovel
8. Beer Bottle
9. Sling and stones

There's 9 makeshift or simple weapons other than a bow and arrow that can be VERY effective as ranged or melee weapons. (maybe the golf club and baseball bat aren't so much ranged weapons, but any of the others can be thrown to deadly effect)

November 14, 2010, 02:21 AM
machete ,baseball bat,Golf club are good however they dont have the range of projectile weapons.

and bricks and rocks are not as fast as an arrow.

November 14, 2010, 03:32 AM
Mad Jack Churchill

November 14, 2010, 04:39 AM
Mad Jack Churchill
that's what i call proof of concept!

November 14, 2010, 08:51 AM
While that I admit that I am not a expert on traditonal archery equipment. I do beleive wholeheartedly that leaving a traditonal bow strung for a indefinte period of time is not a good thing. A short period of time like over a weekend hunting trip no problem. I have yet to see a competitive archer show up to a shoot with their bow already strung. I shoot a recurve for fun I do not hunt with one. I could very well be wrong about this and it maybe a old wives tale. However the 100+ traditonal guys I see at these shoots are enough to convince me its bad.

A shelf bow and maybe called by other names as well. Was a traditional bow made from a single peice of natural wood. No laminations to increase flexion. So the shorter the bow the stiffer the limbs were made to handle being pulled and storing enough energy to launch the arrow. The longer the stick the easier it is to bend yes. You are right that these were a simple and somewhat ineffective bow. The ones described as being used by the plains indians. However their small size certainly gave them a place within that period.

While yes modern technology has increased speeds in long bows to match or exceed that of a recurve. However in the evolution of archery the long bow came first then the recurve. The curve in the limbs of this new bow allowed a slightly more compact design while being able to store more energy. The more energy transfered into the arrow typically allows for more speed and a greater impact force. New materials do not always agree; and modern traditional bows vary greatly in price and quality. A low end to mid range bow will not deliver the same benifits as a high end. I am not thinking the OP is a seasoned archer but more curious into archery.

November 14, 2010, 09:18 AM
I have had to revamp the pronunciation or the actual word used for a thing due to where I grew up so no offense is intended, but the term is "self" bow, not "shelf" (just so we're all talking about the same thing). Also, a self bow is a single material bow (usually recurve) as opposed to a composite recurve bow.

Having been used for thousands of years as a ranged weapon and hunting tool and having benefitted from modern materials and development, a bow may be an effective weapon, but has practical limitations based on its size and the skill required to put to use. I would think that rate of fire for non crossbows depends more on the skill and nerve of the archer than whether you're using a compound, recurve or self bow. Remember that ROF is really an issue if you miss or have multiple targets and that nocking, drawing, aiming and releasing with speed and accuracy will require steady nerves under threat to life and limb. You're most likely to result in fumbling than a hit unless you dedicate the time to doing this under stress. While a crossbow takes longer to load and shoot it is surer for most of us to shoot with less practice due to our familiarity with rifles and the use of familiar triggers. When you consider fumbling and botching a release of a recurve or compound bow vs. the time to load and shoot a crossbow it may be that there's little practical difference.

The 60 ft. distance that this becomes most practical for makes this whole idea less practical. A moving target in that proximity, the fear and adrenaline and unfamiliarity, the more important issue of finding a safe place to withdraw to all make the idea of using any bow difficult to consider for self defense purposes. Even if you're denied access to a firearm due to government regulation you have better options than a bow for self defense.

November 14, 2010, 09:24 AM
Actually, there is a new, very small compound bow that some adults could use. The Bear Apprentice is 27.5" long, has a max draw of 27", with a max. lb. pull of 50. If you have short arms like me, the little bow is perfect. My draw is just under 27 inches. The bow can also be backed off to as low as 30 lbs. and to draw lenths as short as 19 inches.

Tactical use of a bow is a thinking problem. If you're facing multiple assailants, be ready to shoot and scoot; shoot and scoot; and make good use of cover!

November 14, 2010, 09:34 AM
Lawful self defense means you are in "fear of imminent serious bodily harm or death, or your are defending the life of another victim."

I struggle to think of a modern scenario where you have both time and situation to lawfully need and employ a bow.

The bow only really shines at distances from around 15-50 yards. What "self-defense" situations are likely at that distance?

If someone is in close quarters, they'll be on you before you can noc an arrow. At best you might get one shot and then the person, with their deadly force (knife, bat, etc) will be on you. God help you if he has a gun and you have a bow.

Nearly anyone can scrape up the $200 for a used 12 gauge shotgun, which is one of the best home defense weapons available. Or for $400 there are loads of great handguns out there. That would be your best bet, even if it means selling/trading your bow.

The bow has so many disadvantages and not practical advantages over the gun... you can't easily transport or conceal it, shots are slower, and the bow requires a ton of skill.

And by the way, I love the bow and have 3 compound bows. I just would never reach for one for self defense or home defense.

Double Naught Spy
November 14, 2010, 10:07 AM
I struggle to think of a modern scenario where you have both time and situation to lawfully need and employ a bow.

Off the top of my head, I would say every one of those 911 calls from folks report somebody trying to break in to their homes would all be perfect examples. This is a great example - The lady in this story had enough time to prepare a bow and arrow, load and make ready a home defense trebuchet, and get a good start on the giant vat of boiling oil to poor on those attempting the scale the walls of her home. This incident with the New Bohemians musician is excellent as well.

There was this guy who saw the bad guys coming on his video security system. He had time.

This lady had plenty of time...

Joe Horn's incident in Pasadena, Texas would qualify.

Any situation where you opt to search your home or grounds would be a situation where you had time to prepare a bow and arrow and then if needed, you could then legally use it if the need arose.

Yep, there are lots of times when folks have plenty of time to prepare for eventual confrontations and have to use lethal force to save their lives or the lives of loved ones.

November 14, 2010, 10:10 AM
HSO thanks for the correction. Perhaps thats why I kept having trouble finding info on the shelf bow.

I still am under the impression that a bow is a poor self defense weapon in modern times. Granted I have 7 bows within a few feet of my bed with a few dozen arrows. Not my first choice by anymeans but if some reason I could not get to a firearm. Why not although if someone where to make it into my bedroom the arrows themselves would be more benifical that used with the bow. A 30" stick with three razor blades on the end would certainly get someones attention if jabbed into their chest or swung into the face or body.

The Bear apprentice bow mentioned above is a great little bow at a moderate price. Its design is to accomadate young shooters and women. Draw length is adjustable from 17.5-29" and draw weight from 20-50#. A surprisingly quick little bow that provides tons of growth as shooters age and progress in skill. Another similar product is the Menace by Mission archery. Sightly more expensive but a good product. And yes these things are powerful. I have seen numerous hogs and deer killed with these setups. My family owns one of each for the kids.

November 14, 2010, 10:22 AM
For the price of a good compound bow, a 12 gauge can be easily found that would be a much better choice for home defense. One of the big problems with a bow (besides the problem of multiple shots) is the size. Recurve bows start around 50 inches, Compounds average in the 30's, that's tough to maneuver with in the confines of a house! Certainly not my first choice.

November 14, 2010, 11:15 AM
honestly, the thought of using a Bow and arrow for self defense sounds Zombie apocalypse mall ninja-ish.........

i really cannot think of a situation where a bow would be more effective than a shotgun....

if you cant own a gun...a baseball bat is a good choice...

if you need to something to protect yourself from someone at "a distance" that you couldnt use a bat or a shovel.....its not self defense.

November 14, 2010, 12:24 PM
Common, inexpensive household items that are as good or better than a bow in a typical home defense situation:
Hammer, axe, baseball bat, machete, hunting knife, large steak knife...

A moderately skilled person could certainly use a bow in home defense. That's not my point. Keep in mind that you may only get one shot and in that tense situation you may either miss or be outnumbered and get only one...

Why limit yourself to a bow if guns are available? Makes no sense... if it's due to the laws of where you live, MOVE... if the laws are so anti-gun strict, I would venture that home defense laws will also be strict.

November 14, 2010, 12:36 PM
For defence I would put the bow just in front of the accordion. As a tactical weapon where stealth was needed and backup was just over my shoulder then maybe but we are bumping teotwawki territory so that is all I would say about that. Arrows at close range as in hand to hand may be useful as I have heard reports over the years of hunters defending themselves with arrows from bear attacks.
A good compound bow will make consistent hits at 50 yds if the shooter is capable, some will say much more than that.

November 14, 2010, 01:15 PM
with a bow and arrow you dont have to close whith your enemy.(you can stand off.)

What? Who is attacking you? The Armies of King Phillip? If you're defending yourself, chances are you aren't standing anyone off. Chances are you are waking up to a loud noise and clearing your hallways. Further, who is going to arrive at your house and allow themselves to be stood off? I understand your concern about distance, but I think your being a little unrealistic in what you will be able to do with a bow.

Also, Mad Jack Churchill is not "proof of concept". Look, that guy obviously was awesome on a level most of us will never achieve, but I am betting Mad Jack would have either stabbed, shot or beat to death anyone that broke into his home, not stood them off with a bow.

Double Naught Spy
November 14, 2010, 01:43 PM
What? Who is attacking you? The Armies of King Phillip? If you're defending yourself, chances are you aren't standing anyone off. Chances are you are waking up to a loud noise and clearing your hallways. Further, who is going to arrive at your house and allow themselves to be stood off? I understand your concern about distance, but I think your being a little unrealistic in what you will be able to do with a bow.

What, so now am I going to have to go through and find all the threads with reports of folks shooting bad guys at distances longer than contact range? Oh wait, several I listed for leadcounsel apply because the shooters shot at beyond contact ranges. Take that nice lady in Oklahoma. She stood off at a distance across the room from the door they would-be was trying to enter.

No, not all self defense shootings are at contact distances. Most certainly are, but not all. As such, stand off weapons offer some real advantages to some very realistic situations that do really happen and that don't involve the Armies of King Philip. You to want have to advance to contact distances to use a contact weapon such as a knife, baseball bat, hammer, or hatchet unless you don't have any other choice. The closer your proximity to a threat, the greater the risk to you.

November 14, 2010, 01:56 PM
The only reason a bow would have any merit is if you are not permitted firearms of any sort.

As pointed out, in a self defense situation it defies reason that a bow would be more practical than barricading the house and calling for help.

November 14, 2010, 01:57 PM
i still dont understand why someone would choose a bow over a gun........?

November 14, 2010, 02:10 PM
hey, if Rambo can do it, anybody can!

November 14, 2010, 02:13 PM
There isn't any reason to choose a bow over a firearm for personal defense. If you're determined to go archaic, or have to for legal reasons, the flintlock 10 bore blunderbuss would work vastly better. If you can't get the buss, then use a spear. It's simple, deadly and best of all requires no fine muscles at all. It's just brute force. A spear in someone's torso is a pretty darned effective manstopper.

Even assuming you can get the bow prepared, get the arrow, draw and fire in time you have the real problem that a hit with a modern arrowhead may be lethal, but it isn't a very good stopper at all. It cuts through, it does not lacerate. The razor-tipped arrow is likely to shoot straight through cleanly, leaving your target unaware that he's even been fatally hit. Plenty of time remains for him to shoot you before he dies of blood loss.

Elemer Keith did a lot of pretty brutal testing with bows on livestock as discussed in "Gun Notes" and he found the arrows simply didn't kill quickly enough for his liking. That was not a man known for his delicate sensitivities. I think they'll work fine for hunting under good conditions, but as a man or anything stopper they're a bad choice.

November 14, 2010, 03:38 PM
The premise of this thread is straight-up fantasy.

Bows can be used to hunt. They could be used to assassinate, though not as effectively as with firearms. They are completely unsuited for home defense.


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