Modern compound bows have metal risers and composite limbs.  The limbs are short and stiff and the string is connected to a pulley system mounted on wheels or cams.

When a recurve bow is drawn the archer has to hold more weight as the draw length increases; on a compound the bow reaches a peak weight part way through the draw then the weight drops off – this “let-off” can vary from about 65-80% and means that at “full draw” an archer is holding very little weight.  As the fingers of the archer can then torque the string, compound bows are more usually shot using a release aid instead of “off the fingers”.

As they can be less strenuous to shoot than the other types of bow, compounds are very popular.

You can shoot a compound bow in every shooting discipline right up to international level in target and field archery, and this bow type is involved in two classes of Paralympic archery.