The noble art of archery is nearly as old as humankind itself. There is no doubt that these skills are not going to disappear anytime soon, but they are not equally accessible for all. Left-handed archers have always had a harder time finding quality equipment, but that problem is not so bad these days. All major archery manufacturers make left-handed products, even if you might have to look a little harder for them. Unfortunately, most review articles will focus only on right-handed products. They seem to forget that there are thousands of left-handed shooters in the world (maybe even millions), but we don’t intend to make that oversight. Our recommendations will focus entirely on finding the best left handed recurve bow for your game no matter what your skill level is.
Even if you don’t do many tasks with your left hand, you may be left-eye dominant. In that case, it is better to go with a left-handed bow because the eye is more important than the hand. If you want to learn more about eye dominance, we have a guide to explain that and help you make a decision on whether to buy a left handed or right handed bow.
We have chosen to focus on recurve bows because they are the only kind that can be used in Olympic-level archery. This article is aimed at competitive shooters (pun intended), so no other choice would make sense. Besides, the recurve is a time-tested favorite that offers many advantages over compound models and longbows.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Picks…
- 2 How to Choose a Recurve Bow for Target Shooting
- 3 Best Left Hand Recurve Bows for Adults
- 4 Left Handed Youth Recurve Bows
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 FAQs
In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Picks…
Southwest Archery Spyder 62″ Takedown Recurve Bow
- 62″ length
- Draw length 27″-29″
- Draw weights 20-60 lb
Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow
- 62″ length
- Draw length 22″-28″
- Draw weights 25-60 lb
SinoArt 68″ Takedown Recurve Bow
- 68″ length
- Draw length max 32″
- Draw weights 20-36 lb
How to Choose a Recurve Bow for Target Shooting
The last thing you want to do is make an impulse purchase. High-quality bows tend to be a little expensive, so it’s important to choose carefully. Let’s talk about some of the key factors that must be evaluated when choosing your new recurve bow.
Bows come in many different lengths. To be specific, we are referring to the length of the limbs (when unstrung). You can’t really measure the limb length when the bow is strung because it will vary slightly throughout the shooting process. When we are talking about a recurve bow, limb length doesn’t matter all that much. It is the draw length that’s important and then the bow length will depend on that.
The whole point of a recurve is to take the power of a longbow and condense it down to a smaller and more convenient size. The backward curves of the limbs create extra resistance and thus, extra power. These bows are meant to be compact, and most will have a length between 46-72 inches.
In the end, this factor is all about what feels best to you. Longer limbs will give you a longer and slightly smoother draw length, but that may not necessarily be what you want because it will also be slightly slower than an equivalent poundage shorter bow. For instance, youth bows will definitely need a shorter draw length. For longer-range shooting, we would recommend longer limbs, but that is the only real performance differential.
Takedown or Single Piece
Some bows can be disassembled for easy transport and some cannot. You will definitely need to decide which of these options you prefer in advance. Obviously, the takedown bow offers a certain convenience advantage (which is the main point). As an added benefit, it can be much easier (and cheaper) to repair a takedown bow. The limbs are likely to be the main weak point since they are detachable, which is a downside. However, it’s much cheaper to replace the limbs than to have them repaired. You can’t usually do that when the limbs fail on a one-piece model.
One-piece recurve bows will probably have a durability advantage, and they also tend to be cheaper. Some people also say that you can get a little more velocity from a single-piece bow. Single-piece bows are also less likely to suffer from alignment issues.
The riser is the center section of the bow, which includes the front grip. Traditionally, this section of the bow is called a riser because it is the widest part of the bow. Thus, it “rises” from the tapering limbs. As you might expect from reading that last part, the riser is the part of the bow that must cope with the greatest stress. As such, durability is of the utmost importance when looking at this part.
Many other parts will connect to this section of the bow, so you need to make sure it is compatible with any attachments or accessories that you may wish to use. Steel would seem to be the most durable material for this part, but it is just too heavy. Thus, most bow risers are made of hardwood or machined aluminum. On a lesser note, you also want to make sure that your riser provides a comfortable grip.
Whether they are detachable or not, the properties of your bow limbs are also important. Obviously, you want to make sure that they are made of strong material. Traditional recurves were normally made of wood and reinforced with horn, but modern science has created many other good options. Regardless of the material, you need to look at the thickness and structure of the limbs. Make sure you are confident of their ability to withstand great force.
So, what difference does this make in terms of performance? Quite a big one, actually. Heavier limbs will impart a higher draw weight. This makes the bow harder to draw but also gives it more velocity and penetration. You don’t want something that wears out your arms after a few shots. Thus, this matter is related to the draw weight factor as well.
A bowstring must be strong, but that’s not the only need. It must also give consistent performance, and some strings just cannot do that. It all comes down to a question of tension. When the bowstring is made in a completely uniform manner, its tension will be the same throughout its length. If this isn’t the case, there will be tiny inconsistencies in the tension that is exerted against the arrow. These differences are tiny, but they can make a big difference when going for a hard shot. As long as you avoid the cheapest tier of bowstrings, this shouldn’t be a major problem.
Draw Weight and Length
We already talked a little bit about draw length, so let’s address that first. Your draw length is partially determined by the length of your arms, and this will vary a lot from person to person. That’s why ancient bowmakers would usually size the bow for the user when possible. Unless you are having your bow custom-made, you will simply have to find one that is comfortable for you.
On the subject of draw weight, the strength of your arms should be the main determining factor. You generally want more power, but you cannot exceed a certain poundage level without making the thing too difficult to shoot. Don’t go for the maximum poundage that you can pull, as it is very hard to aim while you are exerting all your muscle just to hold the string. You need to make sure you can hold the string long enough to take careful aim. Youth bows should stay between 10-35 pounds, depending on the age and size of the child. Adult bows generally range from 35-60 pounds.
It’s important to understand the difference between an arrow rest and an arrow shelf. As you may have noticed, most recurves do not have a raised arrow rest. They just have a “notch” in the top-middle of the riser and that is where the business end of the arrow rests. There is nothing wrong with shooting this way, but some shooters will swear that an elevated rest is better.
We can understand why some prefer the elevated rest. Shooting off the shelf creates a little bit of friction as the arrow slides across the surface. Over time, this can wear down your bow (although this problem can be fixed with a simple protective plate). An elevated rest isn’t necessary, but many beginners find it to be very helpful.
You might think you can’t use a right-handed sight with a left-handed bow because it hangs upside down. This makes reading elevation numbers difficult. However, all sights are fully ambidextrous except some specialty hunting sights.
It is possible to remove the elevation module from the sight arm. This makes you able to adjust the elevation bar and turn the entire contraption upside down. This will make it suitable for left-handed archers. However, the controls of the left handed recurve bow sights won’t be mirrored.
We don’t recommend switching between using it for left-handed and right-handed archers because it’s not fast. When you switch the sight, you will have to remove the elevation bar and the aperture.
Easy to Assemble
Finally, we come to the assembly factor. This isn’t really so important for a single-piece bow, as you will only need to string it from time to time. For a takedown bow, on the other hand, ease of assembly is a crucial factor. If it takes too long to put the thing together, that defeats the entire point of using a takedown bow.
Best Left Hand Recurve Bows for Adults
Samick Sage Takedown Left Handed Recurve Bow
Archers of any skill level will love the Samick Sage Takedown Left Handed Recurve Bow. This is a tough, all-around choice for novice to intermediate archers. The 62” total length makes it easy to use for even the shortest of torsos, and the draw weight is adjustable up to 28”. This bow is made with durable hard Maple limbs that are laminated with fiberglass on both sides for supreme durability. The limbs are interchangeable, so this bow can grow with your skill level or your arm strength.
The limb bolts are user-friendly and cleanly designed for quick changes and complete takedown for transportation and storage. The sturdy riser construction can accommodate a range of bow and limb weights. It has an ergonomically designed grip crowned with an elevated arrow shelf, but you can choose to use the included arrow rest instead. It features a 14 Strands Dacron recurve string and comes pre-installed with brass bushings for various attachments and upgrades.
It is lightweight, yet durable, with a fast action, a short, smooth draw cycle, and forgiving brace height which makes it easy to shoot, draw, and release with remarkable accuracy at close, medium and long ranges.
Southwest Archery Spyder 62″ Takedown Recurve Bow
The Southwest Archery Spyder is another left handed takedown recurve bow and it’s even nicer than the first one. It has a comfortable grip and an attractive finish over a combination of 4 natural kinds of wood. It’s about the same price as our last one. This one is obviously designed with the beginning archer in mind, as the advanced package includes a re-stringer tool and the bow is one of the lightest you can get. In fact, we think that when it comes to adults, this is the best left handed recurve bow for beginners.
This one really is great for the shooter who wants plenty of options. It’s available in a wide range of draw weights to cater to archers of any physical ability and to allow a beginner to start low and progress to heavier weights later. You can even interchange them with Spyder XL limbs or Samick Sage limbs. It’s got a lot of strong brass bushings in key places, making it easier to use a wide variety of optics, quivers, rests, etc. Also, the limb tips have been reinforced to accommodate Flemish and Fast-Flight strings.
The quality of shots with this bow is very similar to the Samick Sage and you will notice an almost vibration-free experience.
However, we do see a few problems. While the riser lets you directly use the arrow shelf, the included arrow rest is just stuck in place with adhesive and that is absolutely not good enough. Fortunately, there is a provision for a screw-in rest if you want to use your own. Further, it uses Philips-head screws for limb takedown instead of snap-ins, so you have to travel with an appropriate tool.
Lots of options on draw weight.
Compatible with other limbs.
Compatible with most specialty strings.
Stick-on arrow rest is not good.
Takedown uses Philips-head screws
Southland Archery Supply SAS Spirit 66″ Takedown Recurve Bow
The SAS Spirit 66″ Takedown Recurve Bow is a simple, no-nonsense recurve that seems very well-liked. The reviews for this left handed recurve bow seem to indicate very consistent performance, as there are very few negative ones. This one is made from Maple and fiberglass for the limbs, and a mixture of Chuglam, Gmelina Arborea, Beech for the riser. By mixing various Asian hardwoods with more flexible woods like Beech, they have created a fine composite.
This one is recommended for people that are shorter than 6′ in height. There are just 4 draw weights available from 20 lbs to 34 lbs but these are just fine for an entry level archer. You will shoot the arrow off the shelf. There isn’t much room to add accessories here and the included string isn’t the best, but this is still a low-cost and high-quality option with a 3-year warranty.
Simple but popular.
Good mixture of soft and hard wood.
Great for beginner archers.
Affordable with a 3-year warranty.
Not much room to accessorize.
Included string isn’t great.
SinoArt 68″ Takedown Recurve Bow
The SinoArt 68″ Takedown Recurve Bow is a slightly bigger model with a length of 68 inches and a maximum draw length of 32″, making it the biggest recurve on our list. You can choose a draw weight between 20 lbs and 36 lbs.
We like the smooth and contoured design, as there are very few surfaces that can be snagged on nearby objects. It has a hardwood rise with fiberglass-reinforced maple laminated limbs.
We also like the big bag of accessories that comes with this thing. In addition to the main bow components, you also get a bow stringer, an arm guard, a finger tab, a bow sight, an arrow rest, and 2 string nocks. It’s not a fancy option, but a lot of people have found it to be one of the best left hand beginner recurve bows. At that price, you can’t really complain if it lacks the bells and whistles of the higher-end models.
That being said, we did find some negative reviews for this one and most of them were consistent. It seems that this bow has had some arrow rest durability issues, so expect to buy a new rest sooner rather than later. You may also find this bow to be slightly noisier than more expensive models so you have make sure to twist the string as tightly as possible to minimize vibrations. If that isn’t enough, you can quieten it some more with Otter hides. Also, more recent reviews complain about the upper limb being twisted, making it hard to string the bow.
Perfect for those who need a longer draw.
Very few sharp corners.
Comes with a bunch of accessories.
Higher rate of limb defects.
Cheaply made arrow rest.
A bit noisy.
Left Handed Youth Recurve Bows
All four of the above are great choices, but most of them wouldn’t be suitable as youth bows. The best archers will usually start young, so the importance of a good youth bow should not be overlooked. Most young archers will need a much lighter bow and a lower draw weight and draw length. Here are a few great options for those younger left-handed archers.
PSE Archery Snake 60″ Recurve Bow
This PSE Archery Snake Recurve Bow is a simple one-piece composite-fiber practice bow that’s made in the USA. It does have recurving limbs but they don’t curve very much. As such, this is a pretty low-powered bow. Still, it’s just right for a younger or smaller archer. Its low 3.2 lb weight allows them to practice for many hours without getting tired. It doesn’t offer a lot of range, but at least it’s fairly accurate within its range. Considering the low price (and the fact that it’s basically just a training device), you can’t realistically expect it to be a nail driver.
At the same time, this product does fulfill its niche very nicely. It is ambidextrous with left and right arrow rests, allowing children to shoot with their right-handed friends. If you want to teach them to shoot ambidextrously, this is a good place to begin. At 60 inches, we do wish the length were just a little bit shorter, but it’s not that excessive. With a draw weight of 25 pounds, this one has just enough power for a child to use effectively.
Good accuracy within its range.
Draw weight is a good medium for a youth bow.
Simple and straightforward design.
Doesn’t offer very much range.
Some youth may find it a little too long.
SAS Spirit Jr 54″ Beginner Youth Wooden Archery Bow
The SAS Spirit Jr 54″ Beginner Youth Wooden Archery Bow one is a little bit shorter, but it’s a great example of a takedown youth bow for anyone 5’4″ or below in height.
We really like the ability to upgrade the draw weight, as it will allow a youth shooter to “grow into” the higher settings. Thus, it should be the only bow they need until they are able to use an adult model. As it’s meant for lighter draw weights and shorter draw lengths, it’s often a good choice for young girls. The limbs are removed using a single hand-turned knob, so it’s quick and easy to assemble this thing.
Stabilizer, bow sight, and other brass bushings are preinstalled but you’ll need to buy those fittings along with an arrow rest, nocks, etc.
The draw weight starts at 12 lbs and maxes out at 22 pounds. That isn’t bad, but we would have like to see them go just a bit higher. Still, this is a minor complaint. We wouldn’t have wanted to see a youth bow going above 30 pounds anyway. We do, however, have some concerns with the warranty. The length is good (3 years), but there are quite a few limits.
Adjustable draw weight.
Well-suited for female archers.
Limbs are quite easy to change.
Maximum draw weight of 22 pounds.
All accessories have to be bought separately.
Bear Archery Wizard Youth Bow
Bear Archery is one of the most respected recurve manufacturers, so we have high expectations for the Wizard Youth Bow. Still, it is just a simple child’s bow that’s 44″ long, so don’t expect it to perform above its pay grade. Speaking of which, this is the cheapest bow on our list. We would say it is a perfect choice for a young child’s first bow. It includes the necessary equipment to protect their arms and hands, and the adjustable draw length of 17-24 inches and draw weight of 10-18 lbs should help them to build their draw strength. The set comes with two Safetyglass arrows, a sight pin, finger tab, armguard, and arrow quiver.
Here’s the thing, though: This isn’t a true recurve. It’s a simple D-shaped longbow made of durable composite plastic, but you can easily turn it into a recurve by stringing it backward. This will add a little more power, giving the child an extra stage of learning before they graduate to a larger model. it’s a small and limited tool, but it’s a great little training bow for kids.
Perfect for a child’s first bow.
Can easily be reversed and made into a recurve when ready.
Cheapest bow on our list.
Includes child-sized finger tab and arm guard.
Maximum 18-pound draw weight.
Not a true recurve.
We hope that we have given you all the information you need regarding the purchase of a high-quality recurve bow for left handers. Bear in mind that the science of archery has been perfected over thousands of years, so you aren’t going to learn everything at once. Still, it isn’t necessary to do that. Just follow the guidelines that we have given you, and there should be no trouble in selecting the perfect bow for left handed archery.
Do they make left-handed recurve bows?
Yes, even though the range of left handed bows is smaller, there are some very good lefty options made by the top recurve bow brands.
Which hand do you shoot a bow with?
Left-handed individuals typically shoot a left-handed bow whereas right-handed individuals use a right-handed bow. It may sound simple, but eye dominance can make things more complicated, as that is usually more important than hand dominance in archery. Once you know which hand and eye are dominant, you’ll know which hand draws the bow and, therefore, which orientation of bow you should get.
The hand that draws the bow, not the hand that holds the bow, determines the orientation of the bow. A right-hand bow is gripped with the LEFT hand and drawn back with the RIGHT. A left-hand bow, on the other hand, is held with the RIGHT hand and drawn back with the LEFT.
Are left handed bows more expensive?
Lefty bows are priced the same as right-handed ones, but because the range is limited, you may be forced to choose a left handed one from a slightly higher price bracket if the cheaper one isn’t available in a lefty version.