What is a Compound Bow? [ Mechanics of Compound Bows, How They Work ]

In simple words, A compound bow is a type of bow that uses a system of pulleys or cams to reduce the amount of force needed to hold the bowstring back. This allows the archer to hold the string steady for longer periods of time, increasing accuracy and power. 

The compound bow has a long history, with the first patent for a compound bow being filed in 1966. Since then, the compound bow has become a popular choice for hunters, recreational shooters, and competitive archers alike.

Modern History Of Compound Bow:

Over the next few decades, the compound bow quickly gained popularity among hunters and archers and became the preferred weapon for bowhunting. 

The first major competition featuring the compound bow was the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) tournament in 1979, where it was introduced as a separate class of bow. 

Since then, From local archery clubs to international events like the World Archery Championships, the compound bow has become a staple of the sport. 

Additionally, the compound bow has continued to evolve and improve over the years, with new innovations in technology, materials, and design that have made it even more effective and efficient for hunting and archery.

Compound Bows: The Different Types.

Compound bow types are not just what you’re naming them for. It has a unique source of different names that are based on specific parts.

Suppose, If you asked archer professionals about types of the compound bow, most frequently they will reply based on the types of cam options, because this is the key part that differentiates it from other types of bow.

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I have been using all types of cam (Single, Dual, Hybrid) and found their own sorts of advantages and usages on the field or practice level.

Here, There are several types of compound bows available, each with its own unique features and advantages. Some of the most common types are:

Type of Compound BowDescriptionAdvantages
Single camOne cam at the top and bottom of the limbSimple and easy to use.

More compact and lightweight than other types suitable for beginners.
Dual camTwo cams, one at the top and one at the bottom of the limbBalanced feel and smooth shot

More adjustable than single cam bowsGood For All
Hybrid camCombination of single-cam and dual-cam featuresSmooth shot and has good adjustability,

More compact and lightweight than dual-cam bows

Should You Choose a Compound Bow? ( Advantage )

Yes, Why not? In fact, there are major advantages to using a compound bow over a traditional bow. 

One of the biggest advantages is it is easier to draw, aim, and perfect shoot with the highest accuracy. 

Again, it will provide a maximum of (+_) 90% let off.

Besides, the mechanical advantage of the cams allows the archer to hold the string steady for longer periods of time, allowing for a more precise aim.

In terms of speed, the compound bow can shoot arrows at higher velocities than traditional bows. 

This can be especially useful for hunters, as a faster arrow can increase the chances of a successful shot.

Finally, compound bows are highly adjustable, making them suitable for a wide range of shooters. 

The cams, cables, and bowstring can all be adjusted to suit the specific needs of the shooter, whether it be for hunting, recreational shooting, or competitive archery.

Should I choose a single-cam or dual-cam Compound Bow?

The choice is yours. Single-cam Compound Bows are known for their simplicity and ease of maintenance, while dual-cam bows offer increased efficiency and speed.

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Suppose you’re not a regular archery practitioner then you shouldn’t use dual cam bows. It requires more expense, and maintenance and requires more time to learn it for proper use. You can simply use a single-cam bow to get started.

On the other hand, for regular and passionate archers, a dual-cam compound bow will give much more convenient and better results in the long run.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Single Cam and Dual Cam Compound Bows

Single Cam Compound BowDual Cam Compound Bow
Advantages1. Simple and easy to maintain.1. Improved accuracy and consistency.
2. More budget-friendly.2. Smoother draw cycle.
3. Traditional shooting experience.3. Increased speed.
Disadvantages1. Limited technology.1. More expensive.
2. Less consistent draw cycle.2. More complex design.
3) Lot of maintenance 

Moreover, if you’re tense about which one is perfect for you, You must know, more than 50% of professional archers prefer dual cam Compound Bows for their improved Speed and power.

On the other hand, single-cam bows have a more traditional feel. It is favored by professional archers for its simplicity and ease of maintenance and accuracy. 

How Does a Compound Bow Work?

The key feature of a compound bow is its pulleys or cams. These are round wheels located at the top and bottom of the bow’s limbs. 

When the bowstring is drawn back, the cams rotate, creating a mechanical advantage and reducing the amount of force needed to hold the string steady. 

This is known as the “let-off” or “holding weight.”

Let-off is the percentage of the draw weight that is relieved when the bowstring is held at full draw. 

Holding weight is the amount of force needed to hold the bowstring steady at full draw.

As soon the string is released, the cams rotate back to their original position, propelling the arrow forward with increased speed and power.

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That’s the end of the first arrow thrown with a compound bow.

You can measure or get an idea about the holding weight by observing this info-table below-

If the Draw weight is –And Let-off is-The Holding weight will be-
50-70 lbs80%10-14 lbs
60-80 lbs75%15-20 lbs
70-90 lbs70%20-25 lbs

As an example: If the Draw weight of the compound bow is – 50-70 lbs – And Let-off is-80%- Then The Holding weight will be 10-14 lbs

How to Choose the Right Compound Bow For You?

Choosing compound bows will be ok for field archery, hunting, or competitive archery. 

So, whether you’re ready with a compound bow, there are several factors to consider. 

For beginners, it’s important to choose a bow that is easy to use and comfortable to hold. Single-cam bows are often a good choice for beginners, due to their simplicity and ease of use.

It’s also important to consider the draw weight or the amount of force needed to draw the bowstring back.

It’s a good idea to start with lower draw weight and work your way up as you gain strength and experience.

For more advanced shooters try the dual, or hybrid bow.  And always try to properly fit your size and shooting style. This can help to improve accuracy and reduce the risk of injury.

How to Maintain and Care of a Compound Bow?

Proper maintenance and care of your compound bow is essential to ensure its longevity and performance. 

This is especially important when you’re having the dual cam compound bow. Because it has to be properly synchronized, perfect stance, and many technical terms.

However, though both types of have the same maintenance, Here are a few tips for keeping your bow in top condition:

  • Store your bow in a dry, cool place, away from extreme temperatures and moisture.
  • Clean and lubricate your bow regularly to prevent rust and wear. This includes the bowstring, cables, and cams.
  • Replace your bowstring and cables as needed. After seeing Signs like fraying, stretching, or loss of tension try to replace these components immediately. 

Before You Go

A compound bow may be uninteresting or unwavering for other professionals who didn’t even take a tour of this great sport. 

But fortunately, you took this opportunity. And I can assure you that you will have a great time with compound bow practice. 

Your seniors are having this feeling already, So Why shouldn’t you?