The bow is one of the two oldest weapons in continuous use in the world today; the other being the knife. While there are examples of other weapons that have been around longer than the bow, they don’t fit the criteria of being still in use. Yes, you can find swords and spears, even real ones, available for sale, but they are considered novelty items more than actual weapons.
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In my way of thinking, any survival arsenal is incomplete without a bow. While you can survive just fine without one, there are times when a bow would actually be a superior choice over any firearm you could pick.
The bow has two things going for it that firearms don’t have. The first is that it is a silent killer. Even a heavily suppressed pistol is going to be far louder than a bow will be; and adding silencers to pistols makes it hard to shoot them accurately, regardless of what the movies show us. Typically, you can’t use the pistol’s sights if there is a suppressor installed.
If you are trying to hide from marauders or other two-legged predators, the last thing you want to do is advertise your presence by firing a gun. While you may find that necessary, you have to realize that it will attract the attention of every bad guy within a couple of miles. At least some of them will hear the shot and begin looking for supplies that they can steal – your supplies.
The second advantage that bows have over firearms is that you can make your own ammunition. Many ancient people groups used the bow, and they all made their own arrows. In a long-term survival situation, ammunition for guns is probably going to become scarce.
Now, I know that many are stockpiling ammo. But no matter how big your stockpile is, it has limits. Personally, I’d rather save as much of that ammo as I can for times when I really need it, such as when I have to defend my homestead from a hungry gang.
Using a bow, whether to hunt or for self-defense, means that I save the ammo I have. Then, when the time comes, I’ll have that much more available to me. I may never use all the ammo I have, but I have no way of knowing that. During a societal collapse, where I have to depend on what I have to survive an unknown length of time, there is no way to guarantee that I have enough ammo.
With practice, a bow is a very effective weapon. That’s why it’s been in use all around the world, throughout human history. But I must say: Our modern compound bows may not be the ideal survival weapons — at least not if they have more than 60 pounds of draw weight. Past that point, they shatter wood arrows, making it impossible to use them. Last I checked, making carbon fiber arrow shafts in a disaster situation – with stores closed — won’t be easy. So, you’ll either want a compound bow with a lighter draw weight or a simpler recurve bow. Either way, it will be an excellent addition to your survival arsenal.
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