Bow and Arrow–> Guns

Ostrowski, Donald. “Project MUSE – The Replacement of the Composite Reflex Bow by           Firearms in the Muscovite Cavalry.” Project MUSE – The Replacement of the Composite      Reflex Bow by Firearms in the Muscovite Cavalry. Slavica Publishers, n.d. Web. 08 Nov.       2016. <;.

While reading “The Replacement of the Composite Reflex Bow by Firearms” I could get a feel for how life was before the time of firearms. Guns seem like such a prevalent technology today, it’s baffles me that people used other weapons in war. The Bow and Arrow was a very important technology before the time of gun, however once guns were invented there was a fast decline in the usage of guns. At first, guns were much slower and severely less precise than a bow and arrow. A highly skilled bowman could shoot arrows up to 1,000 feet away while a gun couldn’t reach a few dozen feet. But in the time of war, what led to armies winning came down to their overall firepower that they had. Arrows might’ve led the gun for a while, but as their basic features improved they overpowered arrows.  “Another proponent of musket over bow in England in the 1590s was Humfrey Barwick, who declared that for every enemy that an arrow killed, 100 were killed with bullets.53”. Guns also allowed a faster more flexible pace of war. “Whether to continue with longbows or replace them with firearms was not dependent on the polemic, however. Instead, the decision had already been reached in the English military leadership to go with pike and musket formations (see below). The quick movement and flexible tactics of the Muscovite cavalry worked well in the steppe”. During war, there is no time for lollygag, to win you need firepower and fast formations. Having a formation of men ready to shoot, reload and reshoot is very key to winning a battle.

I thought that this article could’ve gone a completely different route and been more boring to read. But the way they describe the battles, and include personalized ideas on why things have certain changes have happened made it easier to read. Where I wished, they would’ve added more information is about the tactics armies used to use with the bow and arrow. If there was more of a contrast between the two, I feel like their point of how the gun is superior to the bow and arrow would’ve been stronger.

At the end of the article I was left wondering what the arrows looked like. If there were any advancements, they added before switching to the gun? I think it would’ve been interesting to see a real-life account of war tactics using the bow and arrows, and then how they changed when guns were introduced to the picture.


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