Archery: “Traditional” and “Primitive” Defined

Gabriel at LVA RangeMany new archers get confused with the terminology, so I thought it would be a good idea to break it down.  There is a difference between the terms, “Traditional Archery” and “Primitive Archery.”   Many of you may have seen me explain the differences between the two in the Rasher Quivers Archery Tip of the Day on our Twitter or Facebook Page.  I hope to explain here even more without the character limits of the social media platforms.

Traditional Archery is a shooting classification.  This classification includes bows without sights, stabilizers, cams, or other gadgets that may assist in the shooting process.  The traditional class also excludes the use of release aids.  A shooter in this classification must shoot with fingers only.

Bows included in the Traditional Classification:

  • Longbows
  • Recurves
  • Reflex – Deflex Hybrids
  • Horsebows
  • Hornbows

NOTE: Recurve Bows with sights and stabilizers are not included in the Traditional Classification.

There are several shooting styles that fall under the Traditional Classification.  These shooting styles include:

  • Instinctive
  • Gap Shooting
  • Face Walking
  • String Walking.

Primitive Archery is a reference to equipment within the Traditional Classification.  Primitive archery equipment is made all natural materials and crafted in a fashion resembling the craftsmen of the old ways.

Materials used in Primitive Archery:

  • Wood
  • Sinew
  • Horn
  • Antler
  • Pitch

Modern – Traditional

Modern – Traditional describes equipment in the Traditional Classification that are crafted, in part or in whole, with synthetic materials or are manufactured in a non-traditional manner.  Some of the materials are:

  • Fiberglass
  • Aluminum
  • Carbon
  • Plastic

I hope that my definitions were clear and easy to understand.  I hope that you have a better understanding of the differences between “Traditional Archery” and “Primitive Archery”.  If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below.

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About rasherquivers

Owner/Operator of Rasher Quivers
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7 Responses to Archery: “Traditional” and “Primitive” Defined

  1. fslack says:

    Thank you VERY much for this! I am building a set of archery definitions, and (as you probably know!) it is often difficult to find such terms laid out so clearly and concisely.

    I liked this so much, I posted it on our FB page this morning,,,, More, please, sir!

  2. wildshepherd says:

    right on, Primitive archery get’s lumped into traditional archery far too often. Luckily there are so many people on board with it these days, and I feel the primitive archery community has been gaining popularity. I make self bows for a living, and that in itself shows that some people are learning the difference. Thanks for posting this, if you want to check me out I’m over at your site is awesome by the way!!

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