A good youth recurve bow should be easy to handle and forgiving of beginner mistakes. It should be light-weight for convenience, and available in low draw weights (preferably 30 lbs. and below) to help your youth archer build confidence and strength before moving on to a higher draw weight.
Ideally it will have detachable limbs for easier draw manipulation and more convenient servicing at a pro-shop in case the bow limbs are damaged (you only take in the limb for repair, not the whole bow).
Finally, it should be affordable so the barrier to entry is low. We have found the PSE Razorback to be about the only bow on the market that meets all of these criteria (though there are a couple alternatives listed below).
Before we move on any further, we need to discuss what this takedown recurve bow is and is not for. This is not a bow your youth will be hunting with. It just doesn’t have the needed power to take an animal effectively and humanely.
Instead, this bow is meant purely for target practice and 3D ranges and is great for an introduction to archery.
If you want to take your young ones hunting, it’s better do so with a compound bow or crossbow, where they will need to exert significantly less effort to draw the weapon. Hunting with a recurve only makes sense with a minimum 40 pounds of draw, and most youth can’t handle that.
If your youth can handle that much draw weight, you’re better off getting them one of the other bows meant for adults like a Samick Sage (that link goes to our review on that bow, and this link goes straight to Amazon where you can buy one).
The Razorback is available as a 54″ child/youth bow available in draw weights ranging from 15, 20, and 25 pounds .
While that may seem like it’s very tall, it’s important to understand that, in recurve archery, bow length is correlated with accuracy. The longer the limbs are, the more efficiently the bow dispenses energy making it more stable and leading to tighter arrow groupings.
The size of the riser/grip is perfect for small-to-medium sized hands, providing for a stable shooting platform that doesn’t “dig in” and cause discomfort or pain.
Beginner youth archers will also appreciate the presence of a factory-drilled accessory mount hole.
This makes attaching a 3-pin sight or stabilizer a breeze, therefore allowing aspiring archers to get better accustomed to the various accessories and shooting techniques that are possible with a recurve bow.
The limbs attach to the riser with hand-screwed screws. The bow is very durable and capable of handling the typical beating one can expect it to suffer in the hands of a 10 or 12 year old.
And don’t let the low price fool you because the bow’s hardwood riser is about as strong and resilient as they come. The tips are not reinforced so don’t try attaching a FastFlight string or your kid may end up damaging the limbs.
Who Should Avoid Buying The PSE Razorback?
Archers who plan on hunting anything larger than fowl should skip the Razorback. If noise is a major concern, note that this bow is not the quietest on the market. Then again, installing a stabilizer will help significantly.
(Make sure not to force the stabilizer into the hole and to screw it in under control.)
Traditional shooters with larger hands should also avoid it, as the grip won’t feel comfortable for them. Finally anyone who likes speed and power should also look elsewhere, as this is a recurve designed for introducing beginners to the sport of archery.
Good Alternatives to the PSE Razorback:
There are a few alternatives that have been found to be on par with the Razorback. The SAS Spirit Jr that is a 54″ 18# bow. If you’re looking for your young archer to grow more, and even better choice would be the SAS Sage Junior. This one is a 58″ bow available in a few different weights.
The PSE Razorback is a great starter youth recurve bow that can be used until he or she is ready to move on to a heavier draw weight bow for more intense tasks that require more energy, like hunting.