Oliver has used 4 bows; a traditional carbon fiber longbow, a recurve bow, and an Oneida Kestrel compound bow, which is modified further in the third season.
The bow is Yao Fei's main weapon and is frequently used by him on the island flashbacks, as a way of defending and attacking, and also as a way for him to hunt and provide food for himself and for Oliver. After Yao Fei's capture and Shado's rescue, the bow was then brought to Oliver, so he could assist in Yao Fei's rescue. Shado began training Oliver on how to shoot and she proved to be, like her father, an expert archer. However, also much like her father, Oliver struggled to learn to shoot the bow. Later on, Oliver showed more interest in the bow, and Slade realized that Oliver was not able to draw the weight of the bow. Shado took it upon herself to strengthen Oliver by making him slap water, and by the end of it, he was easily able to draw the bow. He eventually used it to kill Edward Fyers. After Yao Fei's death, Shado mainly used the bow.
Oliver's primary weapon in the first season was an oddly short recurve bow, its origins unknown; speculation said it was made by him or one of his companions while on the island, but its unclear where exactly it came from. It features standard recurve limbs and a riser that has a metal enclosure for the hand. This could possibly be for increased damage when hitting targets with his bow hand. Its design is short for a man of his size. Oliver has used this bow to great effect but it met its end in "Darkness on the Edge of Town", when it was destroyed by Malcolm Merlyn.
Oneida Kestrel compound bowEdit
The Arrow's third bow is a customized Oneida Kestrel compound bow, which Felicity had custom made, knowing that Oliver would need a new one for his crusade. It features lever-style limbs meaning it uses compound cams to store energy from bending the power limbs, but transfers this power to the arrow using the recurved outboard limbs, the resulting bow makes for a great-looking weapon as well as a very functional one in a small 43" size. The bow itself has a 50-70 lb draw weight and has a weight of 4.5 lbs, perfect for Oliver's fighting style, and can also be used as a blunt tool. When Oliver first handles the bow he states that "it's perfect".
Following the fall of Slade Wilson's army, the Arrow takes up a fourth bow, which uncurls to its full length when needed, but is otherwise "curled" into a smaller size. This bow is still the Oneida Kestrel compound bow but it is just "modified" a little bit.