When it comes to outdoor survival and general wilderness traversal one of the most important and utilized tools is the survival bow. Very few survivalists will trek out into the unknown without their trusty bow at hand, which is why it’s ideal to find the perfect one for you.
Every serious survivalist will know how to hunt game and food when needed, which is exactly what a bow excels in and why they are so important. From draw length to different draw weights, each bow has unique measurements used to aid them in a specific task. This can make finding a good all-rounder a pretty painstaking chore, which is why we have devised a list of our top 10 survival bows available today!
We have gone through thousands of products to find exactly what you should be looking for and how this can help your bow perform. Towards the end of this feature, we have also answered a few of the most common questions we have come across as well as a guide to point you in the right direction.
Surviving in the wilderness can be a grueling task but looking for your next bow shouldn’t be. Read on to see what we think of the 10 best survival bows available right now!
Best Survival Bows
Bows are an incredible addition to any survivalist roster as they offer a means of hunting food without being a pain to carry. Below you find our top 10 picks for the best survival bow today!
1. PSE Bow Stinger Max
Draw Weight: 70 lbs. | Bow Length: 21.5-30 inches
First on our list we have the incredible PSE Bow Stinger Max, a highly functional survival bow with a fairly aesthetic design. This true American classic is an incredible popular choice due to both it’s low cost and exceptional high quality design.
This ambidextrous survival bow is suited for all users regardless of your dominant eye, whether right or left. This is especially suited to advanced archers as it features a maximum draw weight of 70 lbs, which may be too heavy for archery novices. The new model also features shorter limbs providing incomparable arrow speed capable of piercing the sturdiest of materials.
With an incredible smooth draw backed up by compelling power, the Bow Stinger Max is a perfect bow suited for any survival situation.
2. Spectre II Compact Take-Down
Draw Weight: 35-45 lbs. | Bow Length: 46-50 inches (Assembled)
An incredible budget option, the Spectre II Compact Take-down offers everything you would expect and more from a bow of this price. Quick to assemble similar to most takedown hunting bows, this bow will be ready to use in minutes offering you instant bow access in a flash.
Due to it’s takedown design you can un-assemble this bow and carry it with you wherever you go, whether that’s through the wild or down to your range for target practice. This lightweight and easy to carry model is an exceptional addition offering more bang for your buck – or for taking down one. Especially suited for novice archers due to low 35 – 45 lbs draw weights ensuring this is universally accessible.
If you are looking for a bargain option with bendable bow limbs providing an easy method in which you can string your bow, then look no further than the Spectre II Compact Take-Down.
3. PSE Archery Pro Max
Draw Weight: 35 lbs. | Bow Length: 62 inches
Recurve bows with as much quality as the Archery Pro Max are few and far between, which makes this an ideal option if you are looking for high quality. This traditional looking takedown bow has been designed to provide an all inclusive package accessible for beginners and experts alike!
This survival bow comes with a whole host of additions such as a well made arm-guard, 3 sturdy carbon arrows and a durable quiver to name but a few. Beginners especially an rejoice as this bow features a maximum draw of up to 35 lbs meaning you won’t have to strain yourself to get the most out of it.
Few survival bows features today offer quite as much as this low cost package does. When it comes to getting the most for your cash, then you will struggle to find a bow as good as the Archery Pro Max.
4. D&Q Takedown Recurve Bow
Draw Weight: 20-60 lbs. | Bow Length: 60 inches
Easily one of the most stylish survival bows featured today, the D&Q Takedown Recurve Bow is without a doubt one of the best options. Beautiful fiberglass limbs are reinforced throughout by a hard maple lamination offering both a stylish design alongside some of the best bow materials.
Designed for adult beginners, this bow has a draw of up to 60 lbs which is more than enough for most archers regardless of experience level. The length of the bow is around 60 inches, providing a decent sized bow without sacrificing mobility.
Portability has also been considered as this bow can be quickly assembled and deconstructed using a stringer. This make it an an excellent choice whether you plan on either hunting or bow fishing due to it’s mix of power, mobility and speed.
If you are on the market for an aesthetic option that still offers compelling functionality and durability then the D&Q Takedown Bow is a great choice.
5. Southland SAS Sage Takedown Recurve
Draw Weight: 20 lbs. | Bow Length: 62 inches
Formerly known as the Samick Sage, this well made Southland survival bow is one of the highest rated survival bows you can get. This 62″ bow comes with a a super quality B-50 bow string and arrow rest especially suited for outdoor traversal and survival environments.
Hard maple and black fiberglass limb provides uncompromising durability ensuring your compact takedown bow can withstand even the most extreme weather conditions. That’s not all however as Southland have gone above and beyond by providing the means to upgrade this SAS tactical survival bow.
Pre-installed brass bushings and plungers allow you to attach the Samick Sage hunting kit offering a premium upgrade unit if you so require.
Extreme quality materials featured in a takedown design is exactly what this bow provides, and could be exactly what you need!
6. SAS Recon Folding Survival Bow
Draw Weight: 50 lbs. | Bow Length: 31 inches
Made in the US in very limited quantities, if you are able to get your hands on the Recon Folding Survival Bow then you may just be holding one of the best bows in the world. As the name might suggest this bow folds in offering the means to carry it around with you across a host of terrains and environments.
This tactical survival bow was designed by industry experts that have years of experience, so you know without a doubt this is one of the best designs on this list. The draw has a 50 pound weight limit which can be altered by adding a separate string – making this an ideal unit for archery experts.
The Recon Folding Bow is an easy contender for the best compact survival bow you will find today.
7. William Tell Survival Mini Bow
Draw Weight: 50 lbs. | Bow Length: 21 inches
Named after a famous Swiss folk hero, the William Tell Survival Mini Bow could very well be the smallest bow on the market. Measuring in at 20 inches from axle to axle, this is an incredible mobile option if that is what you are looking for.
Another huge advantage of this bow is the different draw weights attainable, with an average of around 50 pound, this bow stems the gap between beginners and experts. An ergonomic gun style grip design offers incredible handling that provides incredible precision suited for any hunting situation. The fiberglass limbs are extremely durable and feel good to hold.
Much like the eponymous character, with this bow you will be shooting apples and deer’s alike with impeccable accuracy.
8. Bear Archery Bullseye X
Draw Weight: 25 lbs. | Bow Length: 48-62 inches
If the name doesn’t scream power, then just handling this bow will as the Bear Archery Bullseye X gives your arrows the velocity they need to take down the largest of prey. The right handed riser supplied with this bow also offers an arrow rest providing consistency as the arrow will remain in the same position each time.
Multi-laminate limbs adorn the base of this compact survival bow providing a clean but natural and traditional wooden aesthetic . These limbs can be removed fairly easy, which provide a means of easy storage without taking up too much space. There are also 3 different sizes available ranging from 48 inches to 62 inches which makes this especially suited for archery lovers aged 12 onwards.
If you are trying to introduce your kid to archery or you just want a smaller compact bow to take on your wild treks, then the Bear Archery Bullseye X is an ideal option.
9. Southland Archery Supply SAS Scorpii
Draw Weight: 30-55 lbs. | Bow Length: 29 inches
Southland are one of the biggest names when it comes to survival bows and with offerings such as this Southland Archery Supply Scorpii it is clear to see why. Fast becoming a popular option for hunters and survivalists alike, this compound bow is suited for both right and left hand orientations.
Commonly referred to as a compact powerhouse, expect your arrows to reach speeds up up to 260 feet per second which is more than capable of hitting any target. An adjustable draw weight features anywhere between 30 and 55 lbs of power suitable for hunting.
Shooting survival bows rarely feels as good as this, if you are after a unique experience then this could be the survival option you are looking for.
10. Xpectre Inc Rapture
Draw Weight: 40 or 50 lbs. | Bow Length: 23 inches
Featuring an ambidextrous design, the Xpectre Inc Rapture is one of the most accessible survival bows in this article today. This takedown option is made in USA from the finest materials so you know the power it provides is incomparable.
A sturdy aluminum riser skeleton adorns each limb that will reinforce your archery skills and will withstand everything you may throw at it. Each riser features an anodized finish providing a smooth and sure grip. The centered arrow rest is perfectly in line with the rest of the bow giving you perfect sight and alignment need to take down any game.
A sleek black design suited for self defense in the wild as well as hunting game, the Rapture is one of the top survival bows available.
Survival Bow Buyers Guide
There are a few things you should familiarise yourself with before perusing the many wonderful survival bows on sale today. Thankfully, we have compiled a few of the most important facets to bow buying and broke down how important each aspect is. Below you will find a concise guide to help you find the best survival bow your money can get!
How long a bows draw is will typically match up with how large the survival bow itself is. The draw length is a measurement of from a bows nock point to the throat of it’s grip, with an added 1 3.4″ inches to compensate for the length of a typical arrow. The length of your draw, is much the like the size of a shoe, it is tailored to suit how long your arms are. But what exactly does the draw length have an impact on?
Firstly, if a draw length is simple too large for you then it will be extremely difficult to learn how to shoot your bow with the correct posture and form. This will case your arrow to barely reach any speed thus it will tend to bounce right off the target as opposed to piercing it. This is also the case if your draw length is too short for you. The stored energy from the bow will just not provide enough force to the arrow an will prevent your arrows from soaring.
To find the right draw length you should firstly measure your arm span. To do this stand with your arms fully outstretched and get a friend or family member to measure from one finger tip to another on your other arm. Once you have received a measurement for this, divide this number by 2.5. This should give you a rough ballpark of the right draw length for you.
Ensuring your survival bows draw length is a good fit is an exceptionally important part of finding the right bow for you. Always check a bows draw length before making spending any money and compare it to your ideal length, this will ensure that a survival bow fits you as well as it should.
Unlike a bows draw length, the weight of the draw comes to down a mixture of both your skill level as an archer and personal preference. If you are a beginner then a heavier draw weight can be difficult to use and therefore how accurate you are and the power behind your shot will be greatly lessened due to this.
Whereas, if you have some familiarity with a bow and it’s draw weights, then you might opt for a heavier draw weight as they tend to provide more power.
The weight of a survival bows draw will tend to change depending on the type of a bow, a recurve bow will have a lighter draw whereas the draw on compound bows will be heavier.
For beginner recurve bows the ideal weight is anywhere between 16-28 lbs; intermediate recurve units tend to have draw weights ranging between 18-38 lbs. When it comes to compound bows however, their ideal weight is between 24-60 lbs depending on skills level.
If you are unsure what draw weight you should be looking you should either contact the manufacturer directly or check out what an archer of similar strength and experience to you should be using.
Draw weights play a vital role in ensuring you can fire your survival bow with the precision and accuracy you expect. Be sure to check that the weight on your chosen survival bow is suited for your strength and expertise.
Although a lot of novice bow users will tend to get caught up in this and may find it tricky – deducing the right bow measurement is actually a fairly straight-forward job. But that isn’t too say it isn’t one of the most important steps in ensuring that a bow is the right one for you.
An incorrectly sized bow can lead to poor precision and performance and can cause your bows firing experience to be a pain. So how exactly do you find the right bow length?
The first step to checking that a bow is the correct measurement for you, is by checking what draw lengths measurement you should be looking at. Using the method above you can do this fairly quickly, so be sure to read the draw lengths section.
You should also be sure to throw out the preconception that arm span is directly related to your height as this simply isn’t the case. Your arms span can differ quite a fair amount between people of the same height, so never use your height to determine your bows length.
Once you have ascertained your recommended draw lengths, you should then be able to check out the recommended survival bow size for you. There are a few different charts available to find online to do this, so be sure to check out a chart from a site your trust.
Often overlooked, your dominant eye can in fact play a large role in finding the correct survival bow to suit your needs. Bows are commonly designed to provide increased accuracy to a specific dominant eye, if you are left eye dominant and use a right eye based bow your accuracy will take a massive hit.
Determining whether your left and right eye is your dominant one before finalizing a purchase is highly recommended.
One of the most common ways in which you can determine which eye is the dominant one is by using something known as the porta test. This is a fairly simple test that a lot of archers have used to help them find out what eye they rely on most. The steps for doing a porta test are as follows:
- First up you should extend one of your arms out directly in front of you, either your left or right one should be fine for this test.
- Keep both of your eyes open and raise your limb up using your thumb to cover up a small object that you can see in the distance.
- Close one of your eyes and make a note of whether or not you can still see the object behind your thumb, or does your thumb begin to cover up.
- Repeat this with your other and make a note of what you can see through this eye and whether or not the thumb covers the object up.
When doing your test you may have noticed the object either shifting slightly to the left or the right, or your thumb covering up the entire object. If however the object remained stationary when looking through one eye then this will be your dominant eye.
Determining your dominant eye should be an important step before you being to browse the many amazing tactical bows on sale today. Be sure to check out the miles test for an alternative method if you don’t believe the porta test works for you!
This isn’t as important as a few other considerations you should make before purchasing a good survival bow but it is still a necessary step. The height of a brace is simply a measurement of the throat of your bows grip to the yours bows string when it’s at rest.
A majority of modern compound bows will have a height of anywhere between 5 and 7 inches but this can alter depending on the size of the recurve bow and the manufacturers assembly. But what exactly does the height of your brace affect?
The height of your brace will mainly impact your survival bows precision and the velocity of any arrows you may fire. A shorter height will offer more force behind the arrow but can slightly lessen the precision if you aren’t trained in this method.
Right and Left Handed Bows
When you first start to learn how to fire your survival bow, you may be considering whether you need a right or left handed bow and how do you decide which is better for you. The best method in which to deduce the bow orientation best suited to you is by figuring out your dominant eye. The main hand you use and your dominant eye go hand-in-hand so to say, so you will almost always find a correlation between the two.
In terms of survival bows however, most models are built around an ambidextrous construction suited for both right and left handed users equally. This is different in terms of recurve and compound bows however as they will usually be molded to suit a specific dominant hand over another as opposed to just focusing on a left and right handed unit.
In short, you should try to find an ambidextrous survival bow if possible as this will offer you freedom when it comes to figuring out the best position to shoot. If this isn’t possible however try to find a survival bow that prefers your hand this is situated on the same side of your body as your dominant eye. E.g. Someone who is dominant with their right eye should find a survival bow suited for their right hand.
As expected the more mobile your survival bow is, the better it is suited for a wilderness environment. In the wilderness you will be expected to trawl through dense bush and hike up steep hills, which can mean carrying a heavy non-compact bow around with you can be a chore. There are different methods in which a survival bow will be built with portability in mind.
One of the best ways in which a survival bow can feature portability is through the use of a collapsible bow construction. This provides a means for the bow to fold in on itself massively reducing the size of the bow and offering you the means to put it away in your backpack ready for it’s next adventure.
You should however consider how simple it is to re-assemble the bow once the collapsing feature has been used. There may be times where you need to quickly assemble the bow back together or figure out how to do it in the midst of a storm. Trying to find a balance between portability and ease of assembly can make a massive difference.
Discussed in the previous section, portability can be an incredible boon in the market of survival bows, which is exactly what a takedown bow excels in. In it’s simplest form a takedown consists of a riser alongside two limbs which allows the bow to fold in on itself providing an easy method in which to carry it around with you.
These bows excel in portability as you can pack them away in your canvas bag or sling them onto your back with ease and without them getting in the way. There’s a reason a majority of Olympic level bows are takedown recurve bows!
Compact Vs. Recurve Survival Bows
Both types of bow offer their own unique benefits and drawbacks, but when it comes to the finding the right bow for any survival situation the true answer is whichever you are most comfortable with. We could discuss how a recurve bow are lighter and therefore easy to bring with you through shrubbery whereas a compound bow tends to be more powerful and faster. But the best way of deciding whether a compact survival bow or a recurve bow is the best is by testing them yourself.
As long as you are comfortable with using your bow and can aim it accurately then you should be able to make the most out of both options.
What is the best bow for survival?
When it comes to finding the best survival bows there are a few things you should keep your eyes peeled for. Ideally you want to find a survival bow that features variable draw weights and and fiberglass limbs as they will provide the power you need to taking down the largest game. It is also a good idea to look for a folding bow as you will be able to carry them around with you easily.
If possible try to test out a few survival bows before making a purchase so you can get a measure for things like how the bow pulls and how comfortable it’s grip is. Ensuring you are comfortable with your chosen option is an ideal thing to keep in mind as you will spend a lot of time with your survival bow.
Will a 45 lb bow kill a deer?
As long as your aim is true, then a 45 lb bow is more than enough to take down a deer. Lighter bows will still provide the means to kill a deer if aimed correctly but it may lack the additional force required for maximum penetration. If you use a lighter bow and it hits a hard piece of bone or muscle then the arrow may not penetrate truly and will only injure your quarry. This is not ideal, which makes a 45 lb a promising survival option when it comes to hunting.