In the Marvel Comics universe, “Hawkeye” is a character who, unlike many of his super-powered hero friends in the Avengers, built his incredible ability as a marksman purely from scratch at an early age. Obviously, he was good enough that he could pull his weight alongside the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk… it’s no wonder the character became known as “The World’s Greatest Marksman”.

Few would watch a film like The Avengers and consider whether a character like Hawkeye, portrayed on screen by actor Jeremy Renner, could actually exist. The time, patience, and precision required for one to become successful at shooting with such deadly accuracy, and often while running, flying or being carried on the back of a giant evil robot, seems literally the stuff of comic books and film… and nothing more.

Well think again. Lars Andersen is a man who has dedicated years of his life to rethinking what we know about archery, and considers his ultimate goal to be “proving that Hollywood archery is not historical.” In fact, what we have traditionally seen in movies has probably greatly limited our perception of what archery on the battlefield was actually like in ancient times.

By studying ancient accounts of master archers on the battlefield, as well as historical representations of them from antiquity, Andersen has managed to entirely reshape archery into a unique style that he feels the archers of the ancient world had likely used. The results are purely incredible:

As you’ll see in the video above, Andersen is able to perform the following amazing feats, based on records of what master archers could do in ancient times:

  • Capture an enemy’s arrow in midair and fire it back at them
  • Strike targets while moving on foot, on wheels, and hanging upside down
  • Strike objects as small as an aluminum can pull-tab thrown in midair
  • Split an arrow in two, in the famous style of “Robin Hood”

Robin Hood

Previously, Robin Hood’s fictional ability to split a bullseye arrow on target has long been considered the epitome of master archery. However, Andersen shows us in the video that it is possible to split an enemy’s arrow in two, while in midair coming toward him.

Needless to say, stunts like this are not to be attempted at home!

Andersen’s incredible abilities are indeed unprecedented, but they are equally fascinating in the way that his methods are drawn partially from careful study of ancient shooting methods on the battlefield, where the ability to fire in rapid succession, and with deadly accuracy, had been a primary requisite.

In doing so, the “classical” archery of feature films actually seems far less likely. Even as impressive as the exploits of fictional characters like Hawkeye might be, few would argue that Andersen’s prowess as a marksman may have bested him. Life imitating art, huh?


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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

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