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Choosing The Best Survival Bow

From the beginning of time, hunting and self-defense have been among the most basic of practices and instincts. In modern times, guns have become the primary weapons used for these types of things. However, for thousands of years and even today, bows and arrows were the weapons of choice all over the world. Bows have certain advantages that guns simply don’t have which still makes them a valuable survival commodity in today’s modern age. In this article, we’re going to look at why bows are still a viable survival option and what the best survival bows are.

Young archer training with the bow
Young archer training with the bow

What to Look for in a Survival Bow

Once you’ve made the decision to purchase your very own survival bow, there are a number of things to take into consideration. You don’t necessarily want to choose the cheapest or the easiest bow because those aren’t always the best ones. However, they are things that you need to consider when making your purchase. Here are some of the main things to keep in mind when choosing your survival bow. 


If you’re putting together a full-blown survival kit, you’re going to need more than just your bow and arrows. There are many other items that should be a part of your survival kit and some of those items are quite costly. Depending on your level of income, you won’t want to break the bank on a survival bow and you’ll need to do some careful research to make sure you get one that’s affordable, but that isn’t a piece of junk. 


There are many different types of bows in many different shapes and sizes. Traditional bows such as longbows and recurve bows are made of a single, long piece of wood anywhere from 48″ to 64″ in length. This length can make them somewhat bulky and difficult to transport if you’re lugging a ton of other survival or camping gear. 

Take down bows, on the other hand, are newer types of bows that are assembled in three separate pieces that can be taken apart and disassembled. This makes them much easier to transport, but it can be inconvenient in a surprise situation when you suddenly find yourself in need of your bow. It’s important to consider and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different types of bows. 


Durability and cost are two factors that are often at odds with each other. However, it’s possible to find a middle ground where you get decent durability at an affordable cost. Durability is often a direct result of the materials that are used to make a bow. It’s not something that you want to sacrifice in the name of saving a few dollars, because your bow is guaranteed to take a few lumps throughout its lifetime. 

A big part of durability is finding a bow that’s made of rust-resistant material. Whether it’s the rain, dew, humidity, or a light mist, your bow is definitely going to get wet from time to time. You don’t want a survival weapon that’s going to rust and break down prematurely if you’re serious about surviving. 

Ease of Use

You also don’t want a survival bow that’s difficult or complicated to use. Certain types of compound bows and takedown bows are more complicated than traditional bows and can be difficult to assemble and troubleshoot for beginners. However, compound bows are also easier to aim and shoot in most cases, so you’ll have to decide what’s more important to you. You’ll also be responsible for putting the practice in for whatever bow you decide to choose. 

Advantages of a Survival Bow Versus Other Weapons

If you’re thinking that it sounds outdated and old-fashioned to choose a bow as your weapon of survival over a gun, then you haven’t given enough thought to the matter. There’s no denying that guns are more powerful and can hit targets at longer ranges than a bow, but there’s more to consider than just power and distance. 

Ability to Re-use Ammunition 

Bows fire arrows rather than bullets, and arrows can be resharpened and reused indefinitely if properly cared for. Bullets, on the other hand, can only be used a single time and it’s a difficult and lengthy process to make new ones. If you plan on living away from hunting or outdoor stores for any length of time, you’ll either need a bow or a massive stockpile of ammunition to keep from running out. 

Bow laying beside arrows in a leather quiver
Bow laying beside arrows in a leather quiver

Silence and Stealth 

While guns make a loud explosion when you shoot them, bows are quiet and stealthy. Whether you’re hunting or defending yourself, bows will offer you the opportunity to fire multiple rounds before your target even realizes they’re being shot at. If silence and stealth are a priority for you, then having a good survival bow is a must. 


There isn’t quite as much of a price gap between guns and bows as there once was. However, while there are bows available that cost upward of a thousand dollars, it’s still possible to find a decent bow and set of arrows for between $100 and $200. The Obert Original Recurve Bow, for example, costs only $109 on Amazon. While this bow doesn’t have all the capabilities and accessories that a $1,000 compound bow does, it’s still a great option for a survival bow. 


Bows also offer the added bonus of being multi-use weapons. They’re great for hunting on land or for shooting birds on tree limbs, but they’re also a good fishing option. By tying a fishing line to the back end of your arrow, you can optionally shoot fish in the water and reel them in once you’ve hit them. The string on your bow allows you to pull your target to shore, but also helps you keep track of your arrows so you don’t lose them if you miss. 

Ease of Access

If you’ve been paying any amount of attention to the news lately, you’ve probably noticed that’s more difficult than ever to purchase a gun. A series of background checks and other hoops have to be jumped through if you’re a first-time gun owner. The laws and difficulties of buying a gun are different everywhere you go depending on your local jurisdiction. 

Bows and the arrows that accompany them, on the other hand, are much easier to attain. There aren’t any laws or restrictions on purchasing a bow and as long as you have the money, you can buy a bow at outdoor stores or even online, no questions asked. If you don’t want to deal with the headache and hassle of purchasing a gun, a bow is a great option for you. 

What’s the Best Survival Bow? 

Now that you know why it’s important to have a survival bow and what the advantages of having one are, let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market. 

SAS Tactical Survival Bow 

When it comes to taking cost, portability, ease of use, and durability into account, the SAS Tactical Survival Bow has no equal. At its full size, the SAS is over five feet long and has draw weights of 45, 50 or 55 pounds. However, what makes it so special and unique, is that the bow folds down into an easy-to-carry package that’s only 21 inches long and only weighs 2.2 pounds. Even the arrows that accompany the SAS are collapsible and can be stored inside the bow itself. 

Whether you’re a long-time hunter or have no experience with shooting a bow, the SAS is a great option for everyone. It’s made of durable, rust-resistant material that isn’t going to break down or give out the first time it gets wet or takes a tumble. It’s also available for a reasonable price of between $200 and $300 at most retailers. 

Spectre II Survival Bow by Xpectre 

The Spectre II Survival Bow is another great takedown bow that packs a big punch but can collapse into a 23-inch package for storage use. Where the SAS Tactical Survival Bow has folding arms that are collapsible and easy to set up, the Spectre II is slightly more complicated to break down. The different components of the bow need to be taken apart and disassembled any time you want to break the bow down, which can be time-consuming for both taking it apart and putting it back together. 

However, despite being slightly more difficult to take apart and reassemble than the SAS, the Spectre II is still one of the best takedown survival bows on the market. It comes in more draw weight options all the way down to 25 pounds which makes it easier to use for newbies and smaller survivalists. It’s also slightly smaller when it’s fully assembled which makes it easier to shoot for shorter archers. All-in-all, the Spectre II is one of the best survival bows on the market. 

Samick Sage Recurve Bow 

If you’re a fan of the traditional bow that can’t be taken apart, then the Samick Sage Recurve might be the bow for you. It’s extremely lightweight and easy to shoot and comes in draw weights of anywhere from 25 to 60 pounds, making it a versatile option. It’s made of maple wood which makes it light, ergonomic, and extremely easy to shoot. As an added bonus, the Samick Sage can be shot by right-handed or left-handed people. You don’t need to special order a left-handed bow if you’re a southpaw. 

Hunting & Survival Recurve Bow by TopArchery 

The Hunting & Survival Recurve Bow from TopArchery is one of the most affordable survival bow options on this list. They can be purchased for less than $100, which makes them a great option if you’re on a budget. While they’re cheap in cost, the Recurve Bow by TopArchery is still a great option due to its wide range of draw lengths (18-50 pounds) and its light weight and durability. 

The downside of this bow is that it’s only available in right-handed versions which means you’re out of luck if you’re a lefty. It’s also slightly bulky to carry around because it’s not a takedown bow. However, it’s still strong enough to take down most animals and is very user-friendly due to the sights that accompany it. 

Different Types of Bows 

A man with a crossbow in the woods
A man with a crossbow in the woods

Now that we’ve looked at the specific products that are the best survival bows, let’s take a look at some of the different types of bows. 

Recurve Bow 

A recurve bow is one of the most common types of survival bows due to its ease of use and simplicity. They’re usually made out of a single piece of wood and traditionally aren’t able to be broken down and disassembled for easier carrying. Recurve bows have the unique feature of having curves at the top and bottom of the bow that points away from the archer. This feature makes them just as powerful as longbows and some compound bows but in a smaller overall package. 


A longbow is similar to a recurve bow in its appearance, save for the fact that it doesn’t have the curves at its ends and is usually slightly longer than recurves. Most longbows aren’t takedown bows, which makes them less practical when it comes to being used as a survival bow. They’re often over five feet in length and are quite bulky to carry from place to place. 

However, thanks to modern ingenuity, there are several longbows that are available as takedown bows, which makes them more survival-friendly. The Southwest Archery Ghost Takedown Longbow is a great option for survivalists and hunters alike. It’s available in a variety of different options and has versatility, power, and is lightweight to boot. 

Compound Bow 

Compound bows are the most popular types of bows for hunters, but they’re less than ideal for survivalists. They use a system of pulleys in order to pack the most power with the least amount of draw weight. However, they’re often considered too complicated for survivalists and beginners so you should stay away from them unless you have previous shooting experience. Compound bows are also heavier, aren’t foldable or takedown, and are more difficult to lug from place to place than other types of bows. 

Related Questions 

Can a crossbow be used for a survival bow? 

While crossbows look cool and are fun to shoot, they aren’t the best option for survivalists. They’re usually heavier, take longer to reload, and are more complicated to maintain and troubleshoot than other types of bows. However, if you’ve got crossbows on the brain, the Steambow Stinger II mini crossbow is the best survival option when it comes to crossbows. It’s smaller, lighter, and specifically designed for survivalists in that you can fire an arrow every two seconds. 

What is draw weight when it comes to bows? 

Draw weight refers to how much force is required to pull back the bowstrings on your bow. Generally speaking, the heavier the draw weight, the more powerful your bow is. 

How big of a bow do I need to kill a deer? 

The bigger the bow, the easier it is to kill a deer. However, as long as your aim is dead on and you hit your mark, a 40 to 45 pound bow is large enough to kill larger animals like deer. 

Modern survival bow
Modern survival bow

Survival Bows Are a Necessity

Whether you’re a hardcore survivalist, a hunter, or enjoy going off the grid on weekends, survival bows are a necessity. A good survival bow will offer food and self-defense in a way that guns simply can’t provide. Personally, I would recommend a combination of the two. A survival bow with ample arrows combined with a handgun or rifle is a great survival combination. Use the bow for everyday hunting and fishing situations, and use the gun for larger animals or for self-defense. 

No matter what route you decide to go, survival bows are multi-use, easy to purchase, silent, and deadly. It’s important that you do your research and choose the bow that’s right for you.