How Powerful is a Compound Bow?

How powerful is a compound bow? Everyone knows that the compound is the most advanced type of bow. Unlike traditional bows, it uses a system of pulleys. This results in outstanding accuracy and overall performance.

But is it more powerful than the other types of bows? Find out below.

What Makes a Bow Powerful?

A compound bow arrow, released prematurely, poked a hole in a steel roof-support beam. (Translation of the text: Samir’s hole.)

A bow is considered powerful depending on how fast and hard the arrow hits the target. More powerful bows are preferred for big game. Less powerful ones may not even cause a serious injury.

While many factors are used to determine the strength of a bow, the draw weight and speed are the key ones. And they will be the focus of this article. These two are usually indicated by the manufacturer on the bow.

The draw weight can be defined as the force required by an archer to draw the bowstring. It is measured in pounds. The higher the draw weight, the more the force needed—all other factors being constant. More poundage means that the bow will transfer more kinetic energy to the arrow.

The speed is kind of self-explanatory. It is the speed at which a bow launches an arrow.

A faster arrow will cause more damage and penetrate deeper than a slower one– which is what most hunters want. A bow’s speed is measured in feet per second. Next to the speed rating, you may see “IBO” or “ATA”. These are the two bow speed industry standards and they vary a little.

Both the draw weight and bow speed are related. A high draw weight means higher speed in most cases. But technology allows for higher speed without increasing the draw weight in some compound bows.

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The Power of a Compound Bow

At 370 FPS, the King Cobra MT is one of the most powerful compound bows.

Simply put, because of how a compound bow works, it’s as powerful as its draw weight is high.

This means that not all compound bows can be considered powerful. A small bow with a draw weight of 20 pounds and a speed rating of about 200 FPS cannot take down big game. A 70-pound compound bow, on the other hand, can do pretty much anything.

Compared to other bow types, however, a compound bow is more powerful.


Say you have a 70-pound recurve and a 70-pound compound bow. They are both powerful and, in a perfect world, have equal power.

But when it comes to shooting, the 70-pound compound will deliver more than the 70-pound recurve. The latter depends solely on the archer’s strength while the other one has a pulley system that comes into play.

The engineering of compound bows also boosts their speed. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to find compound bows shooting arrows at a speed of 350 FPS or even higher.

If you combine this speed with a draw weight of 70 pounds, you have a lethal weapon in your hands. Add this to the fact that compound bows have let-off which promotes accuracy.

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It’s Not Just About the Bow…

The bow does not work alone. With the wrong arrow, even the best one may fail you. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an arrow. But let’s talk about weight.

Generally, heavier arrows are better for higher-poundage bows. They are good at retaining most of the kinetic energy transferred from the bow. This means it will hit the target and penetrate deeper than a lighter arrow.

However, a heavier arrow will be much slower. And you know that speed affects power too. For this reason, archers always try to find a balance between these two factors.

ALSO READ: Discover The Parts of a Compound Bow and What They Do


So, how powerful is a compound bow?

  • The higher the poundage, the more powerful your bow will be.
  • Compound bows have a pulley system that enhances accuracy.
  • Most of them have a speed of 300+ FPS, hence more power.

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