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In the anime RWBY most characters have crazy weapons with multiple forms, like a scythe, that’s also a gun, or a gauntlet, that’s also a gun or a sword, that’s also a scythe AND a gun!

But the weapon I find the most fascinating is a bow that's also two one-handed swords.

I was wondering if it is possible to create a bow that can be reassembled, so that you would get two one-handed swords.

Things I think about that might be difficult:

  • A bow has to be able to bend quite a lot to allow to pull the string and make your arrow fly. What material could allow swords to bend enough to make them a viable component of the bow?

  • How fast could you switch between the weapon-types? Would you be able to quickly make two swords to fight in melee combat if someone is running towards you?

  • Where do you store your arrows? They should be easily accessible but at the same time not prevent you from fighting with the swords.

  • How much would this bow weigh? The swords need a certain weigh for melee combat, but they shouldn’t be too heavy, as you have to wield two of them.

  • Where do you attach the string?

Of course in the anime the "rule of cool" applies to a lot of things, but would you actually be able to fight with such a weapon?

Because of all these problems I came up with this question:

Can you create such a weapon with current day technology? And if you can create such a weapon: How would you realistically create a bow that can be reassembled so that you can fight with two one-handed swords?

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    $\begingroup$ Any sword-bow you could come up with is going to be a sub-optimal sword AND a sub-optimal bow. It's simply impossible to get the best of both worlds. $\endgroup$ – Shufflepants Mar 9 '17 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Aify wrote up a good answer. I would just mention that for someone to be a master swordmaker the test is pretty elaborate and includes the sword tip being able to bend to 45* and return...so steel would would just fine for this effort if properly heat treated. That said normally on a sword the cutting edge is left hard while the spine is heated to soften it and give it flexibility...for this to work regularly as a bow the cutting edge would have to be softer meaning it would dent much easier... $\endgroup$ – James Mar 9 '17 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ The only reason to combine weapons like this is the "cool" factor. You lose out on a lot by trying to shoehorn two weapons into one. $\endgroup$ – Marshall Tigerus Mar 9 '17 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ Pit (Kid Icarus) is who came to mind with a bow-swords hybrid for me. Unfortunately his works by the blessing of a Goddess, so not very applicable... $\endgroup$ – CAD97 Mar 9 '17 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ Sword-chucks, yo.. $\endgroup$ – Schwern Mar 9 '17 at 19:32

17 Answers 17

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Is it possible? Yes, but not the way you think it will be.

Theoretically, you could create the weapon you're describing by designing a "hybrid" weapon.

We can avoid some of the things you think are difficult by designing the weapon as such:

    /|  |\       /| and |\ represent the two blades of sword
    ||[]||       ||     ||
    ||[]||
    ||[]||       - Sword sections are actually 2 outer normal blades
    ||[]||       - Middle section of sword "[]" is one limb of a bow.
    ||[]||       - "M"s represent a locking mechanism in the hilts to allow
    ||[]||         the joining of the two swords into a single bow
    ||[]||       - Hilt and guard of the sword are normal
    ||[]||       - String can be attached through top of limb
    ||[]||       
    ||[]||
    ||[]||
    ||[]||
|============|  <--- guard
      {}
      {}
      {}
      {}
     WWWW   <------ Stores arrows
     MMMM  <------ Connecting spot, doubles as potential arrow rest
     WWWW  
      {}
      {}          
      {}     
      {}     
|============|  <--- guard
    ||[]||
    ||[]||
    ||[]||
    ||[]||
    ||[]||       
    ||[]||        
    ||[]||       
    ||[]||      
    ||[]||     
    ||[]||   
    ||[]||    
    ||[]||      
    \|  |/

String can be designed to be stored INSIDE the limb of the bow pulled out and connected together, like so:

    -------------[Locking mechanism][Locking mechanism]-------------
       ^
     String

Basically, to answer your points:

  • The sword parts don't bend (when pulling on the bowstring) - only the center, the limb part of the sword bends
  • Assuming you designed the hilt locking mechanism properly, you could simply twist the swords 180 degrees to unlock and create 2 swords.
  • This weapon shouldn't weigh much more than a normal sword. The limb used in the center of the weapon should overall cause the sword to be lighter than normal, since a large chunk of the metal will be gone.
  • Done properly, you would be able to store 1 or 2 folding arrows in each hilt section. Carving out a section of the handle and hiding it in there is also an option.
  • String attaches via Limbs

Would you be able to fight with this weapon? Yes, however there are some important things to note.

Note 1: Limited ammunition with regards to shooting arrows. Severely so, unless you carry extra arrows on a belt or something.

Note 2: Some fighting styles use the flat of the blade to block blows - this will damage your bow, and generally it's a bad idea to block with the edge of the blade as well, which means the defensive component of the fighting style of this sword user will likely need to be dodging and positioning based rather than parry based.

Note 3: This weapon does not make a good stabbing weapon. Slashing only please - curved blades can help with this.

Note 4: The bow mode won't look like a bow until you pull back the string, due to the way the string is notched and rests along the sword. It may end up looking like this from the side when pulled.

  | /!
  |/   !               | represents the blade
<-------!              ! represents string
  |\   !             <------ represents arrow
  | \!

  Note that since the middle of the blade is the limb, when firing as a bow
  the flat of the blades will be facing towards you and the target. It 
  should look almost like a + shape when taking the guard into account.

Note 4: The string can lock using a similar twist and turn mechanism, which can double as an easy arrow nocking point.

Note 5: When using this in bow mode, your hand will likely be holding the bottom handle, since the middle section is where your arrow rest will be.

Note 6: This sword/bow hybrid is not going to be as good a sword or as good a bow when compared to a normal sword or bow. It is simply impossible to get the best of both worlds in a single weapon.

ALTERNATIVE METHOD:

You can use a double scimitar, and simply design the tip of the scimitar to allow string threading.

The sword still won't bend, however - instead, you'd want to put some springs between the guard of the sword and the hilt. This allows, when the swords are put together, for the springs to provide the power and the sword blades to become the limbs of the sword, almost like how a power spring bow would work.

However, you may have some issues with slashing depending on how stiff the springs are.

This method also doesn't seem as cool/original.

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The flexibility of the swords is no problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4pxLGEXimo

You just have to build a small block in which you can stick the tips of the swords and add a small nudge to the sword-handles to hold the bowstring. The block will function as a handle for the bow. The bowstring will push the sword tips into the bow handle. The second you remove (if time is of the essence cut) the string, the whole thing will come apart and you have two swords.

For the storage of the arrows, I recommend a standard quiver.

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    $\begingroup$ Careful with what you are comparing. Flexibility detracts from both cutting and thrusting qualities. Modern sword replicas are incredibly flexible for either safety or simple lack of knowledge on how to build functional swords. $\endgroup$ – Faerindel Mar 9 '17 at 11:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Faerindel can you source your statement? My understanding is that quality steel swords can have a large amount of flexibility and that it only enhances their cutting ability (since a stiff sword may snap). $\endgroup$ – Jason K Mar 9 '17 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ How "wobbly" are we speaking here? Take the biggest piece from leaf spring, is it too wobbly for a sword? It's definitely OK for a bow. $\endgroup$ – Daerdemandt Mar 9 '17 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Faerindel A bow doesn't want to be wobbly at all. If it's wobbly, it's got no power at all. All the energy going into the arrow comes from forcing a stiff material to bend, without breaking. Modern bow limbs are in fact many times stiffer than sword steel. A modern compound at ~70 pounds draw weight will have ~2" limb deflection at full draw. $\endgroup$ – Leliel Mar 10 '17 at 1:09
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    $\begingroup$ Since the handle of the sword is quite heavy, especially when compared to an arrow, having the sword handles be the outer end of your bow limb would result in a non functional bow. The arrow would barely be able to fly 5 meters (15 feet), if it would even manage to reach that distance. $\endgroup$ – Jacco Mar 11 '17 at 14:38
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To start with: I don't think it is feasible to make a weapon like this that can be used in a fight. As a display weapon however, any of the other answers would probably work.

Something to take into account is the incredible amount of force that acts on various parts of a bow to fire an arrow. I don't have math to back this up but I do DO archery - something that can absolutely destroy any bow is to "dry fire" it. That is - to draw the string and release without nocking an arrow. There is no resistance against the string in this case and it can BADLY damage the bow to even do this once. I think that the force of swinging swords against stuff would probably mimic damage similar to this. I will say however that since they would be probably made of metal or other "stronger" material than laminated fiberglass and wood, then they may survive this better than a normal bow-limb would.

Running with the idea anyways: Regarding disassembly, there are plenty of bows that are intended to disassemble. They are typically made of three sections: two limbs and a handle-section.

(the black piece in this image is a stabilizer that is unnecessary to have) http://www.bestrecurvebowguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Take-Down-Recurve-Bow.jpg

When the bow is strung, the curve in the limbs is actually flipped around such that they are curved in the OTHER direction - this is what allows them to "snap" and fling the arrow effectively. More traditional-style bows do use straighter limbs, however I do not think that they shot as far or as accurately.

The feasibility of this sword-bow will also be dictated by how effective you want the bow portion to be. Do you want to be able to hunt with it and hit a small spot on a moving target (ie. a kill-shot)? Or do you simply want to be able to fire an arrow in the "general direction" of a target?

If you want any measure of accuracy, then the limbs must not have any "twist" in them, and there must be no variance in how the bow portion is constructed each time. For example: a handle sliding together together to grasp the limb portions by the hilts as others have suggested MUST lock into place at the exact same spot every time. The string cannot vary in length or twist either. (Bowstrings are composed of several strands that have been joined into loops at the ends and twisted down the middle. More twist means a shorter string and more "shooting force" and a short string forces the limbs to bend more.)

Furthermore, unless you are assuming a "very good or above" level of archer, then there are other "must haves" on a bow to allow/help with repeatable shot placement and reasonable aim: a reliable shooting platform ("arrow rest"), a string that only fits on the bow in one direction (ie. it cannot be flipped upside-down) as there is a "nock-point" that should be attached to the string to enable consistent arrow placement every time. This nock-point is not centered (it is close however) but is positioned according to the arrow-rest so that the arrow shoots straight.

Perhaps the string could be stored inside the handle section on a spring-loaded roll. One end would be fixed to the handle and the other end could be pulled to run the string up the front of the sword-limbs (and sit in a groove to stay centered on them) and then down the backside of the bow to hook into a notch on the bottom sword-bow-limb. (The string would be attached in the middle to the front of the bow handle and looped over the bottom bow limb as a normal bowstring would be.) That would at least handle the string issue and keep a nock-point in the same place every time.

If the user were to carry a middle-section to join the sword-limbs to, then that could potentially also work and would take care of the arrow-rest portion. It might take a few moments to switch from one form to another however so it probably would not work in combat.

You would have to carry a quiver of arrows, although some quivers do actually mount to the side of the handle-section of a bow to store 3-5 arrows by clipping them into place.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your "unless you are assuming a "godly" level of archer" lists requirements that traditional bows (in the European sense of the term) do not have. A traditional English longbow, for example, does not have an arrow rest, nor is the string have a nocking-point, or anything else to help the archer for that matter. $\endgroup$ – Jacco Mar 10 '17 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ hmm... I have no experience with that kind of bow. Are they accurate enough with the practice and experience an average soldier/user-in-battle would have to be usable to hit a kill shot on a moving target? I know the nock-point and arrow rest as components that allow a consistent/repeatable arrow-placement and thus DRASTICALLY increase the ability to aim. $\endgroup$ – BunnyKnitter Mar 10 '17 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ [1/2] English longbows took considerable training to use effectively in battle (in part due their high draw weight). I shoot an historic eastern recurve bow myself, with the arrow resting on my index finger and no nockingpoint (safe the visible discoloring of the string after shooting with somewhat muddy arrows) and I can hit the target just fine up to 70m or so (the 90 meter targets are hard). $\endgroup$ – Jacco Mar 10 '17 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ [2/2] I think practice and familiarity with your equipment goes a long way to compensate for the lack of features that come standard on modern-day bows); I find I nowadays shoot more on intuition than on actual precision aiming, as I used to do with the olympic-class recurve bows. $\endgroup$ – Jacco Mar 10 '17 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ I'll edit that then. I always thought that the English longbows were more used to fire masses of arrows in the general direction of an opposing army and less to actually "aim" at stuff. $\endgroup$ – BunnyKnitter Mar 10 '17 at 18:46
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These steps may help (no numbers provided):

  1. Engineer your blade so that it is stiff when loaded from the front and it bends when loaded from the sides (carbon fibers can be used to increase anisothropic behavior and also keep the weight under control). In this way you can still chop your enemy by having a stiff blade, but if you try to hit your enemy with the side of the blade he will simply be hit by a "wobbling stick".
  2. Join the two blades by the handles, and pull a "string" between their other ends. Since the handle is the place where you have maximum load when you pull your bow, you can't rely on something flimsy to hold the swords in place.

If the bonding is made with some "quick release" mechanism, you can assemble and release the weapon within seconds. Removing the string may add some time to the action. You will need proper maintainance to the quick release, so that it operates as intended.

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  • $\begingroup$ 1. Most (all?) swords do this, more or less. No need for advanced materials or engineering. Also, you don't want it too "wobbly", because then it will have no bow strength. $\endgroup$ – Adeptus Mar 10 '17 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ During degradation of an official it was common to break his sword by forcing it on its sides (newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/…). That can happen with a material which is not elastic enough, and when you pull a bow you are going to be in that range of stress. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Mar 10 '17 at 7:16
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This would not work in the real world, let me explain.

Physics dictate that when you release the string of the bow, the energy stored in the bended limbs of the bow is transferred to the arrow, the bow limbs and the bowstring.

Because of this, the relative weight of the bowstring and bow limbs, is very important: the heavier the bowstring and bow limbs in relation to the arrow, the less energy is left to transfer onto the arrow (because a larger part of the energy stored in the bend limbs is needed to move the string and limbs).

In other words, a bow needs light weight limbs (especially near the tips) and a light weight bowstring. The light bowstring is not hard to achieve with modern materials, as long as it is made in one piece. Any type of 'connector' would severely hamper you bow's performance. Light limbs are perfectly possible too of course, if you don't include the requirement that the limbs should double as a sword/saber/scimitar.

The image on the URL liked in the OP shows saber (or scimitar) shaped blades. Any flexibility / bendiness in swords or sabers is perpendicular to the width of the blade. So, in order to use the blade of your sword as a bow limb, you would need a symmetrical (non-curved) blade (or otherwise, your bow would swing/turn in your hand as soon as you start pulling a string attached to the tips of your blade). This means that the saber/scimitar shape has to be replaced by a straight bladed sword.

For our blade to double as a bow limb, we would need it to be quite flexible. A flexible blade would be quite useless for stabbing, so instead we would have our blade rely on slashing/cutting to wound our opponent. However, a cutting sword relies, in part, on the weight of the weapon to do damage. The lighter the blade, the less of an impact it would make when hitting our opponent. And there lies the contradiction: for an effective cutting weapon, your blade needs a certain minimum weight, while an effective bow limb needs to be as light as possible.

Even if you made two symmetrical, straight, flexible bladed swords, joined them together at the handle (joining two bow limbs at the handle is commonly done with take-down bows, so this should not pose a problem) and attached a string to the end of one of the two blades, you would be faced with the part of stringing your bow.
This could certainly be done, but it will takes a bit of time and is certainly not something you quickly do in a combat situation. If the bow has a low draw weight, it can be done in a couple of seconds (but at low draw weight bow is useless for combat). Stringing a heavy draw weight bow takes more time and quite some effort. Stringing a bow with sword sharp edges would take quite an effort and require the absolute care not to cut yourself, when building up tension on the bow limbs/the sword blades.

So, while I can see the cool factor for in an anime, it is not really an option in the real world. If you wanted to make a non-functional prop (for cosplay or something) you could probably makes something that looks ok, but it would not be a functional weapon. At the very best it would be a combination of a weapon that is hampered in its primary functioning by a non-effective secondary idea.

For any practical use, having either a bow or a sword would be better. Having both a sword and a bow would be the given solution for having both.

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One of my usual "not really an answer, but covers things that should be mentioned, but were not in real answers" answers.

First, the actual questions: Yes, you can build such contraptions. As to how... well you really would not. Having a separate bow and a separate sword and switching between the two will always be better under any realistic scenario.

As such the real question you need to think about when designing such weapon is not how, but why. What reason made somebody build such a weapon? That is what will tell you how to build it.

First possible reason, and a trivial one, is that the combination weapon was built simply because somebody wanted to have one. All practical reasons for it being suboptimal were ignored, since efficiency and practicality were at best secondary considerations.

Since this is analogous to the reason you are asking this question, you can simply use any of the given real answers. Even if it is not the best solution, getting the best is not really important in this scenario, so picking in random is fine. In fact since the details are not really important you can just skip them entirely and just have your bow that splits to two swords, but isn't really that good as either bow or swords and is pain to reassemble or split in any situation with pressure. Like combat.

Which is why nobody would really do this, incidentally. Lots of weird combination weapons have been built over the centuries, but very few have seen significant use because for a weapon being as simple and reliable as possible is a merit in itself.

Second possible reason and one that is usually used in fiction is that there is some limited resource that is highly useful for several types of weapons, but so rare or fickle you can only have it on a single item.

In RWBY the personal weapons are presumably attuned with the users aura and powered by dust. In other settings the weapon might be blessed as part of a once in a lifetime ritual. In others they might be powered by rare power source or only built as part of a long ritual. It might be some combination of these.

In any case it is the exotic limiting factor that informs the design of the weapon. Such limiting factors are essentially magic, so such weapons will be innately and generally obviously magical and exotic themselves. The weird transformations in RWBY would not really be practical in combat without the personal mystical link between the wielder and weapon, but with it they become extensions and manifestations of the wielders will and personality.

What they are not is mechanically realistic. There is no point. Since an essentially magical factor is assumed, the transformation can be magical and exotic for "free". You can add an "explanation" like precursor nanomachines, magically infused materials, or extradimensional magic for added pseudo-realism.

So for most fiction the correct solution would be whatever fits the character concept with setting appropriate "explanation" added afterwards.

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There's a lot of cool responses, but I thought I'd add mine in the mix!

Imagine a sword -> ( the '[' is the sharp side )

                ||
                ||
               ----
                |[
                |[
                |[
                |[
                |/

You could potentially make a blade guard that supports inserting another blade. Assembly would be something like putting the two blades pointing at each other, then pushing them together until the tip went a few inches into the other's handle.

                ||  
                ||
               ----
                |[
                |[
                |[
                |[
               ----
                ||
                ||

boom, now just add a sting to the handles ( possibly curving the handles ) and begin shoosting. It may also require a special glove to use, since you would be holding blades. It could made such that you would only grab the blunt edges I suppose.

This would be as heavy as two light one-handers ( obviously ).

I would guess that you'd want a tight quiver on your back for arrows.

It should be fairly easy to switch, since you'd simply pull the blades away from each other. They may still be connected by a string, which, depending on the fighting style, might be fine ( or even cool ).

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  • $\begingroup$ Where does this design store the energy when used as a bow? $\endgroup$ – Steve Bird Mar 15 '17 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ You'd need the blades to be flexible, but the blades would still be bending to their sides as in many of the other ideas. There would be a greater pull strength this way, but it should still be workable. $\endgroup$ – Rabbit Mar 16 '17 at 14:48
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I think we should look inward concerning the blades and more into eastern designs such as the "shuang gou" (Chinese hook sword). By inserting the hook portion inside the handle guard, a redesign with a slight curving towards the middle where the hand would be placed and having only the inside blade sharpened, finishing with notching for a steel drawstring, you could have a system that interlocks to become a recurve bow, and two swords linked together by cord and interlocking hooks.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Would the sword be flexible enough to fire an arrow without breaking? Would the user even have enough strength to pull it back? $\endgroup$ – Efialtes Mar 13 at 22:22
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enter image description here

Here is a beautiful antique Indian steel bow. I found it at http://www.atarn.org/letters/ltr_dec04.htm It does not take much imagination to see the swords.

Steel is apparently not optimal but is a suitable material to make a bow. There is a lot known about how to control flexibility and stiffness.

I think a broadsword or katana type sword might work, but best would be a thin fencing type sword. I think a bow made of two fencing sabres could work. From https://www.pinterest.com/pin/166070304984273871/ enter image description here

@Jacco "Since the handle of the sword is quite heavy, especially when compared to an arrow, having the sword handles be the outer end of your bow limb would result in a non functional bow" (from above answer) - good point by Jacco in comment for different answer. Handle motion will drink up the kinetic energy available. Hilts should be detachable. Perhaps the detached hilts could be worn on helmets, as a riff on the old "arrow through the head" prank headdress. Yes. Where was I?

On conversion to bow, the swords should stay inside the (single) scabbard, which will keep the sharp parts out of harms way. The same piece of the blade which receives the handle for sword use can receive the string for bow use.

Here is an image from http://www.strele.lt/Default.aspx?tabid=486&language=en-US Bow G looks like it could be made out of two straight limbs / swords. enter image description here The limbs are straight but mounted at an angle. That sidesteps the problem of having a curved bit on the shaft which is nonideal for sword use. To get the angle shape the scabbard must have a flexpoint built in. Or maybe people just carry it as the angle. If you are dead set your swords must be bows you must be prepared to accept the necessity to turn sideways before going through doors.

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This is a bow. http://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/291160732523-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

Bow

You take the bendy parts and make them turn into cross guard. That shmancy fancy round thing is your grip.
Now, your blade is made from two edges. Split exactly in half in central ridge. And those nonflexible parts make the central part of bow.

swordbow Something like this.

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    $\begingroup$ I think the "round thing" you are referring to in the picture of the bow is actually a stabilizer. The grip is the part between the two black things that project back to the string. In the other picture you posted, it looks as if the user would have to hold onto the blades to fire it - could you clarify where the grip is on that picture? $\endgroup$ – BunnyKnitter Mar 9 '17 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, it's stabilizer! And it's rubber so great as a sword grip. The bow grip could be done from sword guard. It's closed to blade rainguar so there can be locking mechanism to stiffen this part of bow. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Mar 9 '17 at 16:20
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Using my amazing paint.net skills I have designed a bow-sword hybrid that is efficient and actually useful. Now getting back down to earth my terrible bow drawing illustrates (poorly) how a bow-sword design in real life could actually work. At the bottom right/left is a flexible material that serves as both the flexible parts of the bow, the handles for the swords and the arrow holders. Assuming you were a good aim/sword wielder you could go to war with this beast and win any battle. Hope this is entertaining;)

Bow Design

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    $\begingroup$ One thing the question discusses is the materials used for this bow-sword. Your answers covers (some of) the mechanics of how the swords would fit together. Perhaps you could expand on this and cover the materials, how quickly this could be detached to make swords (can't be too easy or the bow falls apart but not too hard or you take ages). Expanding on your current answer in these ways would create a much higher quality answer. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Mar 11 '17 at 15:04
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As other users already said, a combination bow-sword is poor as a bow and as a sword; here's my version.

The bow is composed of two sword scabbards, united by their points (where the arrow is put). The swords are put into the scabbards, with a locking mechanism to avoid slipping - a quarter turn liberates the sword. The bow's string is tied to the scabbards' mouths. A quiver is required for the arrows, and can be used to store the bow, folded in half, if one or both swords are in use.

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Oh, fun with technology and metallurgy!

First, recognize that weapon technology moved over time, much like other technologies. The version of technology we absorb from role playing games, and later computer games, has been moved to fit the needs of the gaming system. A germane history:

Bows started out as simple curved bows. As materials improved, people learned that the trick is to make only the ends of the bow move so as to put as much momentum into the arrow as possible. Any movement of your bow arms cuts down on the available momentum for your arrow. The recurve bow hits harder because it doesn't move its bow arms.

Swords started out as hunks of metal (copper, bronze, iron, steel, "Damascus" steel with Vanadium). You swung the hunk of metal, putting lots of momentum behind it, and concentrated it on the little wedge of the edge. A great idea until armor got so good the sword would bounce off and everyone switched to war hammers. But then, the metal got so good you could make an epee. Sharp and pointy, you attacked from so far away and poked through eye slits, under arms, into gauntlets. The traditional training was to thrust through a swinging ring. Big armor died fast.

So, if you want, you take two swords, screw the ends together (pointy end out), drop a contraption over the top consisting of springy steel and a bow string, and away you go.

Of course, your enemy then pulls a musket and shoots you...

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The simplest way would be to design it as a coil-spring bow, where the swords merely act as levers with a pivot and spring at one end and a bowstring at the other. Here's a link to the wikipedia page of a Roman Siege engine that uses a similar principle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpio_(weapon)

Alternatively, you could use the blades' themselves as springs, though you would need to find a way to mount them securely. Maybe have the handles slide down into a tube or something? Of course then you would need removable pommels as well.

Also note that either way both swords would have to be really short, otherwise the overall bow would be 6+ ft long, and while it's true that a traditional English Longbow is supposed to be taller than its wielder, I'm not sure that's what you're going for here.

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  • $\begingroup$ You should compare your design with the answer suggested by Aify. They look similar — but I've not read through the other one thoroughly. $\endgroup$ – can-ned_food Mar 16 '17 at 3:08
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Nanites The material of both the blades and their hilts should be carbon nanofibres. They are very strong. And if the width of them is considerably low(which essentially means they are sharp, and from nanotechnological perspective, is quite possible as well) it can be used as a sword blade. On the other hand,carbon nanofibre is known for its elastic nature, and will help in its functioning as a bow shaft.

The hilts should be thicker, for better grip and lesser pressure on your hands.

The locking mechanism can be done in the form of male and female sockets, or by shapeshifting hilts(we are talking about nanobots here).

Magic This can also be done using different magic spells. There should be an advanced transmutation spell, which lets you modulate the tensile strength of the material at your will. It's like being a metal-bender.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the suggestions. I really liked the Nanites.The magic however doesn't suit the style of question as I asked about "science-based" and current day technology. Still a nice addition and a good thing to think about. In total: +1 from me $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Mar 17 '17 at 18:56
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I know that this doesn't exactly answer the question, but I feel like some one should point this out, so here it goes.

Even if you do find a way to make this weapon you are talking about, it will be a low quality bow, or two low quality swords. Honestly, you would be much better off making a bladed bow, which is just a standard bow, but on the edges are blades, and at the tips are either spearheads, or scythe blades (depending on whether your style is slashing or stabbing). When strung as a bow, it would function normally, but when you unstrung it(or cut the string if your in a hurry) it would become a bladed staff, capable of being used as a spear or a staff.

It might be possible to have this staff split into two smaller, sword length blades, but I am not sure how that would work. Possibly screw one into the other to make the full length staff/bow?

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You could use two swords connected by a string at the hilt, then put both swords into a special double-sided "case" to covert it into a bow.

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  • $\begingroup$ I notice you've posted a few answers now, but you're still marked as unregistered. If you sign up for a StackExchange account, you can track your site activity on multiple devices, and won't lose access if your browser cache gets cleared. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy May 3 '18 at 8:14

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