The modern recurve is a development of the American flat bow. This style of bow is used in the Olympics and many other competitive events. Most recurves are take downs; that is, the limbs can be detached from the riser for easy transportation and storage. This style of bow can be shot as bare bow or by adding sights and weighted rods, Olympic style. Both aluminium and carbon arrows are used with this style of bow. Many styles of fletching are used, from ridged plastic to curved and paper thin. Recurve archers normally wear both a chest guard and wrist guard to lower the contact of the string with clothing and the archers arm. The most common type of release aid are a metal body with a fitted leather tab. The archer carries and stores arrows and other useful bits in a side quiver.
The English longbow is steeped in history. Most famously in the battle of Agincourt 1415. These bows are beautifully hand crafted. The preferred material to make the longbow was Yew, although Ash, Elm and other woods are used. The bow is tipped with horn nocks to hold the string in place and usually has a leather hand grip. The longbow archer uses wooden arrows and as with the bow are all hand crafted. These arrows can be fitted with many different tips from modern tips to medieval bodkins. The arrows are fletched with feathers that can be cut to shape and length for different uses. Long bow archers normally use a more traditional style of arm guard and quiver normally made from leather - suede. Either a leather tab or glove are used as a release.
The Compound bow was first developed in 1966 and this style of archery has become increasingly popular in the United States. The cam system confers a benefit called the "let off." This gives compound bows their characteristic draw force curve. A quick rise to peak force and then diminishing to a lower holding force. Compound archers use both aluminium and carbon arrows with rigid fletchings. Unlike other styles of bow, the archer uses a mechanical release aid which the archer clips on the string via a D loop. The release can be activated by trigger or back tension. Compound archers mostly use a field quiver. The body of the field quiver is angled backward rather that forwards due to this style of archery's origins in hunting.