The recurve bow is so called as, unlike the longbow which has one arc towards the archer, the limbs on a recurve bow curve away at the ends. This curve stores and delivers more energy more efficiently than an equivalent straight-limbed bow.
Modern day recurve bows are takedown as they are in three parts with a handle – often called a riser – and a pair of limbs that bolt on. Many beginner bows have wooden handles but the most popular bows have a metal handle, either cast or computer machined. Bow limbs can have many different laminations including wood, carbon and modern composite materials making them light and efficient.
You can shoot a recurve bow in every shooting discipline right up to international level in target and field archery, and the recurve is also currently the only bow type used in Olympic Archery.