There is certainly something alluring about the elegance of longbows. However, their simplicity can sometimes make it tough to choose the right model, especially if you're just starting out. Since it's one of the most popular in this regard, we decided to do a full AF Archery American Longbow review complete with all its pros and cons as well as how it holds up to other models.
What’s Included in the Package?
Aside from the full bow itself as well as the bowstring, AF Archery includes quite a few important accessories with their American Longbow:
Although not components of the bow, these are necessary accessories to get started, making the package ready to shoot. The only things missing are the arrows and a target.
Assembling the AF Archery American Longbow
The AF Archery American Longbow is a single piece that doesn't require any assembly in and of itself. However, you do have to string it, which you can do using the included bowstringer. Similar to stringing a recurve bow, stringing a longbow is a precise process that can damage the bow or cause injury if you do it incorrectly, so make sure you take the time to learn how to do it right.
Additionally, the AF Archery Longbow comes with a string nock. Installing the nocking point is not all that difficult. You just pinch it onto the string with a pair of nock pliers.
Nevertheless, installing the nocking point in the correct place is a bit more complicated. While you can use a bow square, an easier way is to nock an arrow in the bow. Make sure it's settled securely on the arrow rest and nocked slightly above horizontal so that the arrow is angled downward. Pinch the nocking point onto the bowstring just below the arrow nock. Now you will be able to nock your arrows consistently for better accuracy.
Features / Specifications
The AF Archery American Longbow comes in draw weights ranging from 30 to 55 pounds in five-pound increments. This is a pretty big range for a longbow, and 55 pounds is a high top draw weight for a longbow that's only 62 inches long. Keep in mind that you may need at least 40 pounds to legally hunt in some places.
The AF Archery Longbow is 62 inches long, which is actually a bit on the short side for a longbow. This makes it easier to manage even if you don't have a lot of longbow experience.
The AF Archery Longbow's draw length is 28 inches, which is standard for longbows of this size and also appropriate for the majority of archers. Plus, it has a max draw length of 32 inches. Because draw length is the distance you pull back the bowstring to reach full draw, different draw lengths are better for people with different arm lengths.
Since arm length and height are usually proportional, you can get a rough estimate of your draw weight by dividing your height by 2.5. Using this formula, the American Longbow's draw length is ideal for someone 5'10" and likely a good option for people within a few inches of this. Plus, the max 32-inch draw length makes it good for tall archers.
RELATED: Longbow vs Shortbow
Pros and Cons of the AF Archery American Longbow
What We Like
Essential Accessories Included
We love that AF Archery included a finger tab and arm guard with the AF Archery Longbow. Although you can technically shoot a bow without these accessories, you really shouldn't. Not only will it hurt your fingers and forearm, but you won't have the stability to shoot consistently.
We also like that they included a nocking point. This extra feature helps you nock your arrows consistently for better accuracy.
High Power for Longbow
The AF Archery Longbow is available with a maximum draw weight of 55 pounds. This is quite a bit of power for a longbow, which makes it a good option if you're interested in traditional bowhunting. It's more than enough to legally hunt whitetail deer in most states.
The American Longbow weighs just around two pounds. This makes it easy to carry and transport, but more importantly, it makes it easy to hold steadily as you aim.
Similarly, the American Longbow is relatively compact. Considering longbows can often be taller than their shooters, 62 inches isn't bad at all. This makes drawing the bow much easier on your shoulder, which also makes it better for learning form and aim if you're new to archery.
What We Don’t Like
The AF Archery Longbow only comes in a version for right-handed people. This means you hold the grip with your left hand and draw the bowstring with your right. If you're left-handed, using the bow this way will make it harder to aim correctly and could lead to painful wrist slap. You're better off getting a left-handed-specific bow.
RELATED: Do I Need A Right Or Left Handed Bow
Shallow Cut Shelf
Longbows tend to have less power than compound bows and even other traditional bows like recurves. The result is lower arrow speeds which translates to less accuracy.
To help with this accuracy, a good longbow should have a center-cut shelf. This lets the arrow pass through the center of the riser so that it has a straighter trajectory, cutting down on archer's paradox.
The AF Archery Longbow's arrow shelf is not deeply cut into the riser. This means you'll need more practice to get an accurate shot.
The AF Archery Longbow Quality
The AF Archery American Longbow's riser is made of black walnut wood. Aside from looking traditional and sophisticated, it's high-quality and durable.
The limbs on the American Longbow are made of laminated bamboo and fiberglass. The materials themselves are high-quality and a good fit for a longbow, providing tension without too much weight. However, we did find the lamination to be weaker, making this an ideal value starter bow.
The grip on the American Longbow might feel a bit unnatural if you're used to the ergonomic grips of recurve bows. However, it's still relatively comfortable and ideal for mastering correct longbow form.
The string that comes with the American Longbow isn't especially high-quality, but it will see you through your initial practice on the bow. Once you've learned how to shoot, we recommend upgrading to a FastFlight bowstring, which the bow is compatible with.
RELATED: AF Archery Tatar Bow Review
Is the AF Archery American Longbow Good for Beginners?
Yes, the AF Archery American Longbow is an ideal choice for beginners. Not only is it a great value, but it comes with everything you need to start shooting except the arrows such as a finger tab and arm guard. Plus, it's lightweight and compact, which makes it easier to learn form and aim with.
Is the AF Archery American Longbow Good for Kids?
No, the AF Archery American Longbow is too large and powerful for children, though it could be a good choice for teenagers. With a 28-inch draw length, young archers who are mostly fully grown could take advantage of the ready-to-shoot package. Small children should use a youth-specific model, though.
Is the AF Archery American Longbow Good for Hunting?
Yes, the AF Archery American Longbow is designed for traditional bowhunting. It's available with draw weights up to 55 pounds, enough power to hunt big game and whitetail deer. The compact size also allows for better accuracy and transport through the woods.
The AF Archery American Longbow vs the Samick Sage
Of course, the main difference between the American Longbow and the Samick Sage is that the Samick Sage is a recurve bow rather than a longbow. Generally, recurve bows can pack more power into a shorter AMO length, but the American Longbow is surprisingly powerful for its size as well. Both are good starter bows for traditional bowhunting, and while the Sage will get you a bit more power if you need it, it ultimately comes down to your personal preference between the two types of bows.
The AF Archery American Longbow vs the Bear Grizzly
The Bear Grizzly is a recurve bow, so the main difference will be the shapes of the bows, the Grizzly getting much more power in a much smaller frame. However, the Bear Grizzly has a higher price point and top-shelf craftsmanship, making it a better choice for serious archers who have already learned a bit about shooting. Meanwhile, the American Longbow is a good starter bow for total newbies, especially those who think they might prefer the longbow design to the recurve.
Wrapping Up the AF Archery American Longbow Review
We recommend the AF Archery American Longbow for anyone getting into traditional archery, whether it's for bowhunting, target shooting or even Medieval LARPing. The longbow design is elegant and straightforward, and the ready-to-shoot package includes just about everything you need to start practicing and mastering form and aim.