In Middle-earth Edit
Only seen by some of the members of Thorin and Company, in The Hobbit.
The Elven archers from Lórien use large bows of Mallorn wood strung with elf-hair. Their arrows were almost four feet long and usually made of ash with a tip made of gold and shaped like a Mallorn leaf. They used a spiral method of fletching (attaching feathers to the arrow shaft), thus making their arrows more accurate, up to a quarter mile.
Legolas was the most renowned archer throughout the Third Age. Earlier in his journey with the Fellowship of the Ring, he used a bow from Mirkwood, and it was later replaced by the bow of the Galadhrim Lady Galadriel gave him.
The Gondorian army contains units of archers who use a longbow. The bows are made of heartwood, about 68 inches tall. The arrows are about 28 inches long with four-inch steel tips. They are accurate up to 200 yards. The longbowmen of the army wear their quiver (the case that holds the arrows) on their hips rather than on their backs like most archers, such as Legolas and Haldir. The fief of Morthond contributed only archers to the aid of Minas Tirith in the War of the Ring.
Rangers of Ithilien Edit
The Rangers of Ithilien were primarily archers. They used a simple longbow, often made of yew, likely up to 80 inches in length. Their arrows would have averaged about 28 inches in length with a steel tip with consistent accuracy up to 200 yards. The fletching on their arrows was green.
Rohan included archers in its militia. They used shortbows, possibly because they fought mounted on horses and a longer bow might get in the way. The shortbows were much less powerful than those used by their allies, having probably a range of only 125 yards. Their arrows were unique in having a cutout in the heads; this cut down on weight & the amount of metal used while still allowing the arrowheads to have a larger surface area, which would cause a larger wound. Another unique aspect of the arrows was that they were fletched with leather.
Note: Information comes from "The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare" by Chris Smith.
Haradrim and Easterlings Edit
The Haradrim (Southrons) were also skilled archers, along with their allies the Easterlings. The Haradrim were masters of archery and had expert snipers positioned on the feared Mumakil. Their bows were short, possibly made of composite materials and by the time of the War of the Ring, could possibly have been compound, making them extremely deadly. The Easterlings are mentioned several times in the books as having scores of mounted archers. The horse archers were among the deadliest in Middle Earth, far exceeding the skill of the Rohirrim and Haradrim. The Easterlings also had many foot archers weilding both longbows and recurve bows.
Orcs and Goblins were often seen carrying bows. Their bows can range from being as tall as an Uruk to relatively short. Though not nearly as skilled as the elves or rangers, these archers could certainly be deadly. The maximum effective ranges included 50 and 100 yards. Orc arrows were usually tipped with poison or barbed, so even a glancing hit could be fatal.
The Hobbits were not a warring people, but their best unit in times of war are their archers. During the reign of the last King of Arnor before its disbanding the first time, hobbits sent archers to his aid as was agreed when they moved to live in Arnor. Hobbit archers were also responsible for the death of Grima Wormtongue.