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Is A Bow And Arrow Faster Than A Gun?




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Arrows are much slower than bullets. The fact that you can’t see a bullet with your naked eye once it’s fired, whereas you may be able to see your arrow as it goes towards your target, is proof that a bullet is much faster than the arrow.

Typically arrows have an estimated speed of between 100-300 fps (feet per second). 

While on the other hand, an average bullet has a velocity of 2493 fps.

Even the slowest bullet moving at 400 fps is faster than the fastest bow and arrow. 

Well, of course, there may be very few exceptions, such as the non-lethal bullets like the sponge grenades and rubber bullets.

These can be much slower with a velocity of 200-330 fps.

How fast is a bullet?

The mechanism of a gun is more complicated than that of a bow and arrow. A gun is designed more like fireworks. 

When you pull the trigger on a gun, a spring mechanism shoves the firing pin onto the bullet; this ignites a small explosive in the primer. 

The main explosive within the bullet, called the propellant, will also ignite and thrust the bullet out of the gun barrel amidst a loud sound.

Copper plated bullet with smoke behind that is going fast

The fastest slugs move at around 3000 km/h (over 2734 fps), approximately thrice the speed of sound.

Bullets are high-speed; this gives them a huge amount of kinetic energy. 

A rifle bullet within a tenth of a second from stopping produces as much power as a heavyweight truck, moving slowly.

How fast are a bow and arrow?

There are different types of bows and arrows, all of which have varying speeds.

For this reason, there is no average speed or standard type of bows and arrows.   

Many factors determine how fast an arrow can go, like the bow’s draw weight, the arrow’s weight, draw length, lubrication, bowstring material, and the prevailing weather conditions. 

This means that the same bow can fly at different speeds in different cases.

Compound bow and arrows are the faster types with a velocity of up to 300 fps. Recurve bow arrows can, on the other hand, fly from a speed of 190 to 225 fps. 

The longbow arrows are much slower because they have heavier arrows.

At a velocity of 300 fps, an arrow is barely visible to the naked eye; you will only see it when it hits the target. 

Overall, the speed range of arrows is between 100-300 fps.

The force of an arrow can be more than 50lb, and this is enough to cause fatalities in bigger animals such as the bear. 

The gun versus the bow and arrow

The slower guns shoot at a speed of about 400fpst while the average speed of most arrows is between 100-300 fps. 

The slower guns tend to shoot at around 400 fps. The force of a bullet is greater than that of an arrow.

However, the choice between the two depends on its use.

For example, when hunting with a bow and arrow, the archer needs to be closer to danger when taking a shot than when using a gun. 

This means you need to hide really well; otherwise, your exposure will jeopardize the mission. 

On the other hand, the gun can fire from afar off, but it makes a loud noise that can scare the prey.

When it comes to sports, archery is a good sport that requires greater skill shooting a gun. 

Using the bow and arrow also has some health benefits, including flexing your muscles and improving hand-eye coordination.

Archery as a hobby is a more entertaining pastime than gun shooting.

archery, young woman with an arrow in a bow focused on hitting a target

Shooting an arrow faster

A bow and arrow need to be in good condition for it to shoot better, it must be well lubricated, and the material must be up to date or well serviced. 

The fragments of a bow deteriorate over time, slowing down the speed of the arrow. 

Therefore the wheel bushings and axles must be lubricated properly for greater speed, while the cable guard rod and slide must be well maintained.

A higher draw weight will make an arrow go faster; the draw weight measures the amount of potential energy needed to pull back the bowstring. 

This energy will be transferred to the bow from your body and then catapult your arrow according to the energy released. 

How far you pull back the bowstring will also determine the speed of your arrow.

The farther you pull, the greater the speed of the arrow.

A flatter flight trajectory is also required to ensure your arrow goes faster.

The trajectory is the course your arrow travels after it’s fired. 

Bowstring material is another determinant of how quickly the arrow shoots.

The mass and nature of the material used on the bowstring can make your arrow slower or faster. 

The elastic material will typically increase the distance that your arrow travels.

The weight of the string should be as low as possible, especially the middle area; this will increase your fps by over three fps.

Investing in more aerodynamic and lighter arrows is critical if you are to achieve greater speeds. 

Besides the type of bowstring used, the arrow’s design will also affect the feet per second.

Heavier arrows are slower because the bowstring would have to pull more weight.

Want to learn archery as a new Hobby? Click here to read our complete guide to archery


Finally, unfavorable weather conditions such as rain or heavy winds can also affect your arrow’s trajectory leading to reduced speeds. 

Since you cannot control the weather, you can probably rely on the weather forecast to pick a conducive day to use your archery skills unabated. 

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