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Stand back because the leading lights at The McPaper – who always have their fingers on the pulse of everything that’s hip and current – think they’ve spotted a new trend: bows and arrows replacing guns in a number of this year’s movies. They quote someone named Norman Reedus who has a gig offing zombies in The Walking Dead who opines that, “Any putz can pull a trigger. But you have to have some skill and a meditative state to aim and hit the target with a bow.” Which may be true, but . . .

Until Glock comes out with a highly-reliable-though-disturbingly-utilitarian-looking recurve model with a quiver that holds seventeen JHP +P arrows, can fire them all in under ten seconds and is easily concealed in a Remora under an un-tucked shirt, we’re guessing this “trend” toward medieval weaponry that USA Today divines will be slow to pick up much steam. Outside of the movies, that is. But that’s just us. Are bows and arrows really the new guns?

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  1. Don’t really know what the girl in that picture is planning on doing with that arrow. She’s certainly not planning on hitting anything with it….

    • I was thinking the same thing. She isn’t even sighted down the bow and what’s with the finger waiting to tickle the flight as it wizzes by off target?

        • “John says:

          April 5, 2012 at 09:40

          It’s a screenshot from the Hunger Games. Good movie, but read the books first…”

          I know what it is, John. Thanks but I will pass on reading teen books. It has never panned out for me in the past 😉

        • “John says:

          April 5, 2012 at 20:49

          Hey, they’re pretty good. Helluva lot better than Twilight…”

          haha, if you say so, John. I am more of a R.R Martin – Robert Ludlum kinda guy. Not a big teen drama guy.

        • To each his own. I wouldn’t consider it “teen drama”, aside from the whole “love story”, which I pretty much didn’t give a hoot about.

  2. I’m all for young people taking up a physical activity that involves firing projectiles and putting down their electronic toys for a while.
    That said, I’m hoping that archery can be sort of a “foot in the door” intro to shooting firearms.

    • It was for me. I guess technically I fired my first bow at the same scout camp I fired my first firearm (a .22 bolt action rifle, of course). But I did archery for years before I bought my first gun.

    • Using a longbow or a recurve truly is a physical activity. Longbows were recovered with Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose–these bows were well preserved because they were in an oxygen free environment. Some bow experts have made estimates that they had up to 160 pounds of draw weight. There is a reason the English had laws requiring the peasantry to practice their archery: a great deal of physical strength was needed to use such powerful weapons.

  3. I’ve been wanting to get into bow shooting for both hunting and target games. My local shooting range has no fewer than six walk along courses with 3D targets at various place along the course. Makes for a very enjoyable walk and good training for the dog. It’s not going to replace my guns, but it is another skill that I’d like to have.

  4. Wishful thinking by the hoplophobes at USAToday.Let me know when gangbangers start offing each other with quivers.

    • By beating each other to death? That’s the archery equivalent of saying you hope they off each other with mag pouches.

      • If someone likes or advocates the acquisition of archery weapons, I think that by definition, that person is not a “hoplophobe”.

  5. That’s quote about guns vs bows is funny coming from the guy who played Murphy in Boondock Saints. He also neglects to mention that as Darryl on Walking Dead he uses a crossbow, not a standard bow, which also makes him a putz pulling a trigger.
    But no, bows won’t replace guns, although I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who learns to shoot one as it can be very fun. At least with a bow you can reuse your projectile.

    • If anybody could make it comfortable I would imagine it’d be crossbreed. I’m not printing, I’m just extremely happy to see you.

  6. Just wait, soon the Bradys will be going after archery and having it banned from all youth camps because it is a gateway weapon…

  7. To the best of my knowledge, CA hasn’t outlawed possession of archery equipment. Yet. It may not be practical for in-home defense, but perhaps in defense of property, for people who can’t legally buy firearms.

    Other than that, archery is for fun and won’t replace guns in real life.

  8. But wait! What about “assault bows” the ones that hold more than ten arrows in the quiver?! Think of the children!!!

  9. She’s holding her left index finger on the arrow because she needs to keep it from flipping away from the arrow rest. This is a sign that she’s using poor technique, like most beginners.

    • Check again, Chris.
      The arrow is laying on the outside of her hand/wrist behind her index finger.
      I’ve taught archery for 45 years, off and on. I have never seen that mode of using a bow & arrow. All I can think of is the feather burn she’d get doing that for real. (Unless the leather coat protects her from that.)

      Next time I teach a group of newbies, I’ll have another bad technique I’ll have to correct. (sigh)

      • I’m pretty sure it’s because, like all of Orlando Bloom’s arrows in Lord of the Rings, her arrows are CG. Somebody told her to hold her finger like that and they’d add the arrows later. Sad that the idiot who ‘added’ the arrows put them behind her finger…

        • I never heard that before! It makes sense with what are probably overbearing “safety” rules on sets now days… fascinating! though picking up my longbow, I can make my finger look like that when the arrow is against the bow… HOWEVER if you look at the other side and zoom in the image you see the cuff of her jacket in front of the arrow too… CGI IT IS!


      • Eh, when they taught archery in middle school I did it like that and I was the best shot in the class. Not that I am saying it’s the best technique, but perhaps someone on the set crew knew what was going on and it is left there as an indication that she is, in fact, a self taught 16 year old.

    • There is no arrow rest on a longbow like that really. You shoot off the top of your hand. I’ve seen people point their finger like this as they are readying their shot as a method of intuitive aiming. The finger drops back down before they shoot typically.


  10. Lots of bows in movies, lately. Including one where it was used in a school uh..bowing?

    I’m not a huge archery fan and I’m disappointed that Norman Reedus would say something so stupid. Oh well.

  11. As I learned when I took up shooting, it may be that any “putz” can pull a trigger, just like any putz can pull back a bowstring, but it still takes skill to be accurate. It ain’t like in the movies.

    • Crossbows. Trigger AND scopes – Picatinny rails, even. Plus, they come in camo and black! EEEVIL assault /sniper bows! Soon to be banned in the PRCa, NY, PRIL, and other socialist hellholes.

  12. Nice sense of irony using Katniss from Hunger Games as a caption photo.She would in fact use firearms if given the option, but such tools are strictly banned by the totalitarian regime she lives under in the books. A bow and arrow is the most powerful weapon she can use without attracting attention of the authorities.

    Admittedly what follows is OT, but Hunger Games is a nice fictional window of what could happen down the road should we let the progressives take control.

  13. If bows become the new guns:

    Wilson Combat will offer a line of very reliable (and expensive) bows based on a 100-year-old design. Wilson’s quivers will become the de facto standard by which all quivers made for this design are judged.

    Springfield Armory and Kimber will offer a line of bows based on the same design as Wilson and which offer 90%+ of Wilson’s reliability at 1/3 the price.

    Olympic Arms will offer bows that follow the same design as Wilson, but which have a finger groove on the bow’s grip. Some consumers will hate this feature, while others will swear by it.

    Glock will offer a line of polymer-framed bows that are super reliable and affordable, but factory color options will remind consumers of Henry Ford. Users will be required to pull the string back in order to disassemble the bow.

    Sig will offer a line of bows that, while being highly reliable and accurate, have an unusually high arrow notch, forcing consumers to retune their “feel” of shooting.

    Barrett will offer a bow of monstrous proportions that fires huge arrows capable of taking out a commercial airliner, at least according to Nancy Pelosi.

    Smith & Wesson will offer bows that incorporate features from several other manufacturers but that do not have any outstanding qualities of their own. S&W will collude with the federal government on bow control in exchange for preferential treatment when the next federal law enforcement duty bow contract comes up.

    While Ruger’s self-loading bows will be met with a general “meh” from the buying public, their revolving bows will be highly-prized by target shooters, hunters, and cowboy re-enactors.

    Beretta will offer a bow that was adopted (over numerous protests) by the U.S. military. The bow would be fairly reliable, except for a few breakages at full draw due to Beretta removing weight from the arms in order to meet the specifications of the contract. The bow would also occasionally refuse to fire in dusty environments. Beretta would redesign and proclaim that the problems had been fixed.

  14. He’s right, hitting a target with a gun requires absolutely no skill because pulling a trigger is a simple act. Just like playing piano–you’re just hitting keys and pedals, after all.

  15. I’m a senior member of my archery club and teach a lot of “trad” shooting. I love it when a movie comes out prominently featuring archery because it gets people into the sport. I shoot a lot of handgun and rifle (every week), but I do archery for at least 9 hours a week. For me it is the most relaxing shooting sport.

    I’ve seen so many people critiquing the actress’ from from this one static image… I don’t think it is actually possible to see form from a still shot… I mean, she did receive training from Khatuna Lorig for the movie. An expert at least watched her for a while and critiqued her in real time.

    There are some fundamentals which need to be in place but geez, everyone doesn’t have to do it exactly the same way to have fun and be productive. I personally think the most important fundamentals are:

    -Stance, comfortable and even.
    -Weight in heels, feeling of being rooted to the floor.
    -Legs strong but not overextended.

    -Back straight, elongate spine toward ceiling.
    -Head comfortably in line with spine.
    -Inhale, hold a comfortable amount of air in your chest, breathe slowly.

    -Back Tension, push your shoulder blades together behind your back, hold the weight with your back muscles.
    -Front inner elbow rotated to the side (not upwards, ouch!)
    -Arms and back aligned, rear elbow pointing straight back.

    -Anchor point, have one and maintain it consistently.
    -Relaxed grip, handle pushing into the part of the palm behind the thumb only.
    -Release, even and gradual surrender of strength in your fingers while increasing back tension.

    After this stuff there is a lot of room for adapting to your particular body, gear, or desired shooting style (though it seems that this idea is controversial in some circles). A lot of trad archers have higher anchor points, for example the side of the jaw or corner of the mouth. Olympic style is generally at the bottom of the jaw (works way better for sights… a high anchor point will not leave you with enough downward adjustment on your sight when shooting at 70m).

    As far as trad “aiming” some people do some form of “gap shooting” where you actually sight down the arrow and know for a particular distance you need to align the tip at some distance (or “gap”) under the target (or over the target if it is farther away). BUT, some people actually just “instinctively” shoot. I do. I look at what I want to hit with both eyes open, point my body intuitively, and loose. The intrinsic limit of accuracy for this is not as high as with aiming, but the limit of accuracy is higher than most people assume. I can hit squirrels and frisbees, “robin-hooded” arrows in the x ring, and have broken 500 in a FITA round shooting this way. I’m happy enough with the results and also I find it more relaxing than looking at sights and aiming.

    As for the finger thing in this picture, I’ve seen people do this before. They point at they want to hit while their “acquiring” their target to snap shoot at, and then right before they loose their finger drops. I’ve never felt the need to do this but I don’t see how this is a problem. People are generally pretty good at pointing our fingers (double meaning there…)


  16. I hope bows don’t end up being our only choice of weaponry because the govt. finally outlaws firearms, but the bow is a quiet stealthy weapon for short range distances.

  17. I thought about buying a bow for home defense in Illinois for the duration between moving to the state and having my FOID card approved. I know it’s not a 12 gauge, but I’d rather be armed with a Muzzy broadhead than a baseball bat.

  18. “you have to have some skill and a meditative state to aim and hit the target with a bow.”

    You also have to have some skill and a meditative state to aim and hit the target with a rifle.

  19. Funny, just yesterday I came across a site offering ‘Wilderness Survival & Primitive Skills Courses’ in Portland, Oregon. The site features a few pictures using handmade bows. There is also a picture of handmade flint/stone knives. Really nice.

    I think the bow & arrow, primitive weapon interest, survival/prepping is a reaction to the excessive and unnatural complexities of modern society, the vulnerabilities people feel to trusting in the western system, and planning for the unknown from climate change to zombie apocalypse. If it makes people stronger, more self-reliant and self-sufficient then I’m all for it.

    • [Insert a loud slow clap which is not, in any way, sarcastic.]

      I agree. I fired my first arrow 8 years before I fired my first bullet. It is less intimidating than a gun, and it is easy to learn (though tough to master). A bow is not a great defensive weapon when it is pitted against a gun, but it does afford a fun backyard distraction that doesn’t disturb the neighbors. It is also a tool that can put food on the table in a pinch, and do so without alerting other animals or people to your presence. And, in the unlikely event that civilization crumbles, you can build a bow, heads, and arrows from scratch a whole lot easier than you can build a gun and requisite ammunition from scratch.

    • Meh, primitive societies are overrated. I’ll take modern Western society any day. Primitive life was dirty, starvation, disease, and crippling injury were a constant threat and you never knew when the next village over the hill was going to decide tonight was the night for a midnight raid in which to kill you in your sleep and take your wife and daughters.

      I’ll take having to deal with my boss sending me an urgent email at 6:00 pm on a Friday over all that crap.

    • Aharon: Funny you mention Tracker PDX. I know a woman who goes by the name “Penny Scout” and she is featured in some of the photos on their website – with arrows no less. She was the first person that came to my mind when I saw the photo above. I think Ms. Scout used to be an instructor for them. She really knows her stuff when it comes to medicinals and edible plants, etc.

  20. I think if this was 1415 they could be on to something. There is no doubt that for about 200+ years English long bowmen were one of the most effective fighting forces in human history. The fact that they trained from about the age of 7 was a major ingredient to their superiority. I forget what made them redundant however. Gunpowder? The idea of a 16 year old girl handling a English long bow is ludicrous. Perhaps a compound bow? Sigh, why movies continue to promote the idea that a series of 105 lb. women/girls can beat up whole series of 6’2″ males is bizarre. It’s about as fantastical as me getting Scar Jo to call me for a date.

    • Have you seen the movie or read the book? I’m not going to spoil anything but suffice it to say that Katniss doesn’t rely on direct hand to hand combat.

    • A society’s leaders have long sought to control and influence the cultural institutions which in turn can re-write, re-program, and create the masses of sheeple’s value systems and beliefs. Repetitive messaging drives the propaganda message deeper into people socializing them ie brainwashing. In modern society some of Hollywood’s messages are that women are stronger and wiser, and men are weaker and dumber. It is easier to control a society of self-doubting males and enlightened female warriors.

      • That’s about the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.

        Human beings are human beings first. The strength you need to defend yourself these days is the inner strength needed to pull the trigger when your life is in danger. Women and men are both equal at that task to the point where bad guys trying to kill them end up dead.

        Wisdom does not always come with age, nor is it found in one gender any more than it is in the other. If you look at the percentage of male heroes vs female heroines in any fictional form of media, you’ll notice a startling discrepancy. Don’t spit your coffee out when it comes to you.

    • The problem with end-of-the-world movies featuring compound bows is that they are over a hundred years more technologically advanced than repeating firearms. The revolver was patented in 1855, the compound bow in 1966. The materials necessary to manufacture the parts of a compound bow weren’t available much earlier.

  21. Bows and Arrows are nice, but theres a reason why John Wayne carried a Colt’s Peacemaker and a Winchester 1892. Those are a lot cooler than the bow and arrow.

    • HA! +1

      They have those at my local shop. Careful with those though. They have actual AR lowers so are still, technically/legally, firearms.

  22. Is it just me–and I haven’t picked up a bow since I was a kid–or is she holding that bow and arrow like ALL WRONG? The Arrow isn’t nothced in the middle of the string and the arrow is on the outside of her hand. Looking at this picture suggested to me that the movie might be one to skip….

  23. I read somewhere that Someone Famous (don’t think it was Wellington — Ben Franklin maybe??) suggested that what the British Army could have used better at Waterloo instead of muskets was a large number of well-stocked archers, a la Agincourt.

    Compared to musketry, the effective range would have been roughly equal, the rate of fire vastly greater, each hit just about as effective (whether wounding or killing), and archers shooting high-angle trajectories could have done enormous damage (physical and morale) among the ranks farther back which were shielded from direct musket shots.

    • Ben Franklin was dead by 1814, so it twern’t him. Wellington loved his square’d (cavalry is useless against it) infantrymen with their amazing firepower. Cannons are lot more effective than massed arrow attacks. (Waterloo was a very near thing for the victors, as most great battles are – and will be debated for a long long time.) Western armies have never lost to stone age armies except in the few instances of overwhelming manpower differences. Even then, the stone agers had managed to acquire a few bits of more modern technology to help their cause. My rather crude comment has always been that if the Indian had thought up the repeating rifle first they’d still have the West.

      • The infantry square was effective against cavalry because horses wouldn’t throw themselves against a double row of bayonets. So if the receiving infantry didn’t flinch at the crux of the charge, the attacking horses would.

        Artillery is always the real battlefield killer, and it was effective against infantry squares by blowing holes in one or more ranks. The soldiers closed the gaps and reformed the square, albeit a bit smaller.

        I’ll have to track down who it was that said that comment about masses of archers — and it might not have been Waterloo that was in reference, either. The point, though, is still valid because army doctrine, especially that of the French, in that period used massed ranks of soldiers.

        The French seemed to have believed that marching large rectangular formations was the way to overwhelm the enemy. But as Wellington did say (and I’m paraphrasing), “Bonaparte sent his men against us in the same old way, and we defeated them in the same old way.”

        But back to arrows. Troops of the period actually had less protection — no chain mail — than did medieval and renaissance soldiers. At Waterloo, only the cuirassiers actually wore arrow-proof body armor.

  24. “Any putz can pull a trigger. But you have to have some skill and a meditative state to aim and hit the target with a bow.”

    Or you can face a primitive situation with a primitive weapon and not a single meditative brainwave involved: A man who fatally shot his wife’s lover with a bow and arrow won’t face criminal charges, in part, because the state’s expanded “castle doctrine” makes it legal to use deadly force on one’s porch or deck, a prosecutor said Tuesday, Dec. 27.

    State police have repeatedly said they believed the 38-year-old Central City (PA) man acted in self-defense when he killed Tony Bittinger, 43, of Salisbury, on Oct. 9. Somerset County District Attorney Jerry Spangler formally announced Tuesday that he agreed with police and that no criminal charges should be filed against the shooter, who has not been named by authorities.

    Drzal said Bittinger had left a voice mail for the wife threatening “to put a hole in (her husband’s) head.” He approached the house and was swinging a 32-inch wooden club as he climbed the stairs to the porch, where he was shot with a compound bow and arrow, Drzal said.

    The woman has told police and the media that she was still living with her husband, but hoped to marry Bittinger, at the time of the fatal confrontation outside the married couple’s home.

    Trooper Joseph Dzral said at a news conference that Bittinger, accompanied by two brothers, drove nearly 40 miles to the home and had been drinking. Toxicology results from Bittinger’s autopsy put his blood-alcohol content at 0.18 percent, or more than double the state’s legal limit for drivers.

  25. The next big thing: pygmy blowguns. Deadly, effective, accurate, and you don’t have to inhale.

    You heard it here first.

  26. Even if archery isn’t the gateway drug to firearms, it can’t do any harm if the audience for the movie comes away with a sense that shooting arrows might just be cool and interesting.

    In a society that freaks out at nerfguns and water pistols, anything that creates an interest in a real shooting sport is to be applauded.

  27. It’s more of a glorification of historical weapons. People glorify swords, due to sword combat being two people at roughly arms length, which is inherently equal. Swords were not easily mass produced until rapiers became the weapon of choice.
    You can see this with katana swords. They are highly praised and said to be better than any other sword. Yet they are in reality, quite brittle and have many other defects.
    Sword seem to have, for some reason, attained a status of myth and are revered as a whole among people who have likely never used one.
    Guns aren’t revered, despite them both being tools to accomplish the same task.
    Now bows are getting the same?
    Sure, target archers are skilled as mentioned, but most longbow and medieval archery wasn’t the ‘meditative state.’
    If you want an old weapons used by calm and collected people, look at a halberd. You need to be insanely skilled as well as calm and collected to use one. A sword? A bow? Those were the standard infantry weapons of the day. Nothing special about them.
    Our cultural obsession with swords, the sidearm of the day, is over 1000 years old. Bows almost as much.
    Are more effective guns just that taboo? Everyone switched to black powder when that as invented, as it was more effective than bows and swords. It’s why heavy cavalry used lances, then pistols when those were more common, then disappeared when mechanized cavalry was created.

    • Guns aren’t revered, despite them both being tools to accomplish the same task.

      Perhaps with exception of those guns of the Old West, the World Wars, James Bond, and so forth. Perhaps nothing is truly revered anymore, but boy do guns make it into movies.

      Our cultural obsession with swords, the sidearm of the day, is over 1000 years old. Bows almost as much.

      To many the bow evokes Odysseus and Philoctetes, stories from three millenia ago, if an oral tradition is included. Obsessed with light sabres? Now that’s different.

    • Archaeologists have found arrowheads in South Africa dating back 68,000 years. The bow is considered a discovery, like fire and agriculture, as it was the first human means of storing energy.

      Swords only go back about 5,300 years, when new Bronze Age metals made longer blades possible.

  28. Guns and Bows and Arrows are all fun. Enjoy them both!
    Grandfather had an archery range club in his wood. I shot back in the woods frequently as a child.

  29. It’s basically called the arms race, as bows then crossbows became more powerful and maile was no longer adequate protection steel plate was added until full suits of steel evolved that could basically make a knight immune from such weapons, so when the idea of black powder arrived from the east weapons such as the hand cannon started to be experimented with.

    At first they were meant to be used against horses or people hiding behind shields such as crossbowmen but once it was saw that they were effective against a knights armour they really got popular and basically put and end to the era of the heavily armoured knight.


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