From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A compound bow is a modern bow that uses a levering system, usually of cables and pulleys, to bend the limbs.

The limbs of a compound bow are usually much stiffer than those of a recurve bow or longbow. This limb stiffness makes the compound bow more energy efficient than other bows, but the limbs are too stiff to be drawn comfortably with a string attached directly to them. The compound bow has the string attached to the pulleys, one or both of which has one or more cables attached to the opposite limb. When the string is drawn back, the string causes the pulleys to turn. This causes the pulleys to pull the cables, which in turn causes the limbs to bend and thus store energy.

The use of this levering system gives the compound bow a characteristic draw-force curve which rises to a peak weight and then "lets off" to a lower holding weight.

The compound bow is little-affected by changes of temperature and humidity and gives superior accuracy, velocity, and distance in comparison to other bows. The compound bow was first developed and patented by Holless Wilbur Allen in Missouri in 1967 and has become increasingly popular. In the United States, the compound is the dominant form of bow.

In literature of the early 20th century, composite bows have been described as "compound".

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