How Fast Does An Arrow Travel in MPH?

An arrow can travel up to 200 miles per hour from a compound bow. A recurve type bow can shoot them at 150 mph. A longbow arrow speed is 110 mph.


Arrow speed from different types of bow:

When you mount an arrow on a bow and pull it against the string, the arrow becomes the extension of the bowstring. As such, the force created on the bowstring gets transferred to the arrow as soon as you release it. The arrow propels forward by detaching from the string and flies toward the target.



Factors such as the strength of the archer, bow type, draw weight, and other important things come into play on how fast the arrow can travel. Here are the different types of bows and how they can impact travel speed.



  • Compound bow – At 200 miles per hour, you might not even see the arrow fly from a compound bow. There is no question that compound bows deliver the fastest speed. That’s because of the mechanical and complex nature of the compound bows.


In comparison to the traditional or recurve bows, compound bows have shorter limbs and this is why they deliver the fastest speed to the harrows. Also, it means that compound bows are efficient in transferring energy from the bow to the arrows. Arrows head toward the target in mere seconds.



  • Recurve bow – These types of bows have longer limbs compared to compound bows. Therefore, recurve bows cannot transfer energy efficiently on the arrows and so they don’t move fast compared to compound bows. The arrows move a bit slower off the target mark.



So, arrows coming out from a recurve bow can’t travel fast like the shot coming from a compound bow. And, it doesn’t matter even if the draw weight is the same in both cases.



  • Longbow – In general, arrows coming out of a longbow or traditional tall bows will have a slow speed. Again, the main reason for slow speed is because the transfer of energy is less efficient. The limbs in a longbow or traditional bows are taller than the archer.


That way, the energy from the bow doesn’t flow in the right way causing the bow to travel slowly when released. Because longbows use arrows made of wood, they are heavier in comparison to carbon fiber or aluminum counterparts that you find on modern bows.



Heavy arrows need more force to propel them forward. It means the energy dries up quickly after the arrow is released causing it to slow down through the path.



Can you compare arrows to the bullet?

If you are familiar with both arrows and bullets, you know that there are considerable differences between them. Apart from the shape, size, and ways to propel, they both interact with the targets differently at the same time. It is like comparing apples and oranges.



Both arrows and bullets serve different purposes and each of them has a different type of technology in designing. Here are some important things that make them unique in their ways.



  • Arrows and bullets have different physical properties – Bullets have low mass and higher velocities compared to arrows, and so they travel faster and further. Bullets don’t deviate much from the target and hit them accurately over a distance. Arrows react to the extreme pushing force that is applied to them. While both travel pretty much the same, arrows are influenced by the direction of the wind, air resistance, and gravity concerning bullets.



  • They are designed for different purposes – Arrows use their sharp point to cut through the target whereas bullets deliver massive energy to the target after impact. Also, it affects how they travel through the air. That’s why bullets cause devastating results and arrows drill through the target and get lodged into it.



  • Interacting with targets is not the same – When they hit things, arrows, and bullets act differently. Bullets travel at high velocity and sometimes even can penetrate through the target object. As such, it creates a wide gap and causes much damage. Arrows have lower velocity and don’t penetrate even if the impact is high.



Speed vs weight in arrow travel:


Archery is all about the transfer of energy when an arrow is drawn on the bowstring. The speed of the arrows is determined by the kinetic energy and its weight. And, it impacts distance and speed. Heavier arrows have more potential energy compared to lighter ones and they cause great impact when hitting a target.



But the heavyweight of the arrows impacts their speed because of the negative dragging force. Here is an explanation of the weight concerning the speed of arrows.


  • If the arrow is heavy, more potential energy gets created while drawing
  • This energy gets converted to kinetic energy when released
  • During the moment of launch, the arrow reaches its highest velocity
  • Air resistance drags the arrow when it is in flight
  • The drag affect the arrow’s speed
  • When the weight of the arrow is greater, the negative deceleration force becomes greater too



In short, heavier arrows lose speed compared to the lighter ones because of the drag.



How to increase arrow travel?


  • Shoot lightweight arrows – Choosing arrows that are lightly weighted can increase the bow velocity to a great extent. So, if your current arrows are heavy and you want to increase the arrow speed, choose the lighter ones.



  • Increase draw weight – Cranking up your draw weight can help to increase the velocity of the arrows. While increasing draw weight increase the velocity, it is wise not to go too heavy where you might have to compromise hunting conditions.



  • Buy a faster bow – If you think that your bows are older, you can gain arrow speed by upgrading to a new one. So, buy a new one that suits your needs better.

How fast arrows travel depends on certain factors such as weight of the arrow, draw length, bow weight, prevailing wind conditions, and so on. They can go over 200 mph.