Best Crossbows of 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated September 22, 2021

Earlier, handheld bows were used, but all that changed when crossbows started gaining hunters' attention. These are available in many different shapes, sizes, and types that it is almost impossible not to find a perfect unit for you.

These are mainly used for competitive sports and hunting deer and elks. Their long-range, consistent trajectories and greater speeds make them the perfect alternative to handheld bows. But there is more to the story. 

The article will highlight the top products in the market for you to choose from. But it doesn’t stop there. There is also a well-researched buying guide that will tell you everything you need to know about these marvelous products.

Comparison of the Best Crossbows

  • Equipped with CNC machined aluminum flight track for accuracy
  • 6.9 lbs bow
  • 187 lbs draw weight
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  • Designed with a reverse-draw system that improves accuracy and firing speed
  • 7.6 lbs bow
  • 175 lbs draw weight
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  • Best Crossbow For Deer Hunting
  • 7.9 lbs bow
  • 185 lbs draw weight
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  • Best Tactical Crossbow
  • 6.7 lbs bow
  • 175 lbs draw weight
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  • Best Pistol Crossbow
  • Self cocking design quickens reload time
  • 80 lbs draw weight
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  • Best Recurve Crossbow
  • 5 lbs
  • 175 lbs draw weight
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  • Best Beginner Crossbow
  • Offers Barnett performance in a compact bow
  • 80 lbs draw weight
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What is a Crossbow and How Does a Crossbow Work?

A crossbow is a special type of bow that uses an elastic launching device. It comes with a bow-like assembly too that is normally called a prod. This is mounted horizontally on the tiller. The tiller is the mainframe that is handheld in the same fashion as a long gun.

Crossbows can shoot within a good range, and the arrows shot are usually called bolts or quarrels. They have existed in the market for a long time and were invented to be used as military weapons in China. Today, they are normally used for shooting sports or for hunting.

Just like a normal bow, a crossbow uses a string to launch a projectile arrow. It also comes with a stock and a trigger that will ensure the proper range. When the arrow is shot, it will travel down the groove and through the notch in the mainframe.

How Do I Choose a Crossbow?

A product that has existed for so long is bound to evolve over the years. Crossbows are much more efficient today than they were in the past. There are also many different sizes and shapes available. With so many options, you need to be careful about your investment. Here is how you should choose your next crossbow.


The power of any unit is determined by the energy that is created within, which, in turn, influences the speed of the arrow that flies. You will hence need to remember two important features; the draw weight and the weight of the arrows. So before you buy the unit, make sure you can shoot both heavy and lightweight arrows with equal strength. 

Moreover, you need to ensure that you can cock the bow comfortably before the trajectory gets too curved.


Speed is of utmost importance to hunters and sports enthusiasts. The faster the arrow, the better will be your hunting experience. A slow arrow is unlikely to penetrate the skin of the animal you are hunting.

But faster crossbows tend to be more expensive, so make sure you strike a balance between the cost and benefit. You should also look out for a suitable broadhead that can increase your gear's performance.  


This is the most obvious feature and perhaps the most important one, especially for hunters. The sound that emerges from the crossbow is vital because it needs to be negligible.

You need to ensure that your prey doesn't hear the noise and run away when you draw the arrow. If you don't find a quiet model within your budget, you can always add aftermarket accessories to decrease vibrations and noise.

Barnett Whitetail Pro

Spec Glossary 

To help compare products in this review, we have included a few key specifications for each. Here is a quick summary of what they mean:

  • Weight: The weight of the crossbow.

  • Draw Weight: This is the amount of force necessary to draw a bow and is measured in pounds. 

  • Length: The full length of the crossbow

  • Kinetic Energy: This is the amount of energy transferred into your target by the arrow. It is measured in Foot Pounds of Kinetic Energy (fpke).

  • Power Stroke: The distance (in inches) between the resting point of the bowstring and the position of the string when fully drawn. This is similar to the draw length on a traditional bow. 

  • Speed (fps): How fast the arrow flies when released from the crossbow, measured in feet per second.

  • Axle-to-Axle Bow Length: The distance between the cams of a compound bow. 

Review of the Best Crossbows

You have learned the basics of crossbows, but that was just the tip of the iceberg; there is certainly much more to the story. There are various brands out there that market their cheap products well, but you shouldn't fall in their trap. To help you make a more informed choice, we have reviewed the top products in the market.

Best Overall:
Barnett Whitetail Pro

BARNETT Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow, 400 Feet Per Second

Product Specs

  • Bow Weight: 6.9 lbs
  • Draw Weight: 187 lbs
  • Length: 36.5"
  • Kinetic Energy (ft lbs): 140 
  • Power Stroke: 16.375"
  • Speed (fps): 400 
  • Axle-to-Axle Bow Length: 17.625"


  • Offers a speed of 400 feet per second
  • Equipped with a neck sensor for greater safety
  • Provides greater relative power for greater speed
  • Features string dampeners for stealth-like shooting
  • Package comes with a premium scope that is illuminated


  • Very heavy, hence restricts portability

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers didn't have to think twice when they were choosing this spectacular piece. They instantly fell in love with the speed, which is one of the greatest in the market. Moreover, the stealth-like shooting mechanism also impressed them. This, along with string dampeners, ensures a successful hunt.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This model is every hunter's dream because it comes with all the features needed to stand out in the crowd. It offers one of the fastest speeds of 400 feet per second and a compatible draw weight, which ensures that your arrow covers more distance in less time.

Moreover, it allows for a good power stroke, which is needed to maintain a constant trajectory and consistent projectile motion throughout the journey.

Moreover, it comes with string dampeners that cancel out any unnecessary noise produced by the motion. This ensures that your target doesn’t sense the shoot and run away. But most importantly, Barnett cares about your safety, which is why it comes with finger guards and finger safety reminders.

Bottom Line 

With a speed of 400 FPS and amazing durability, there is nothing that isn't special about this Barnett unit. The model has been in the market for long and has established an unparalleled reputation for itself. Features like superior dampeners and a premium scope also help Barnett retain its reputation. Additionally, there is a neck sensor that ensures great safety.

Wicked Ridge RDX 400

Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow with ACUdraw Pro, Multi-Line Scope, Package

Product Specs

  • Bow Weight: 7.6 lbs
  • Draw Weight: 175 lbs
  • Length: 33.25"
  • Kinetic Energy (ft lbs): 140 
  • Power Stroke: 15.5"
  • Speed (fps): 400 
  • Axle-to-Axle Bow Length: 9"


  • Provides a speed of 400 FPS
  • Delivers a consistent down-range accuracy
  • Provides an elongated power stroke for smooth shooting
  • Comes with a noise dampener that ensures quiet operations
  • Reverse draw technology allows for easy shifting of the center


  • Repairs are not readily available
  • Replacements of aftermarket accessories are hard to find

What Recent Buyers Report 

It is hard to get your hands on a model that contains so many incredible features, that, too, at an affordable price. Wicked Ridge has shocked all its recent buyers by providing an amazing speed of 400 FPS. This, along with the consistent range, ensures that the bolt travels a long distance before it loses the sense of its trajectory.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

With its patented design and reverse draw technology, there is not a single feature that doesn't stand out about this unit. It effectively creates an elongated power stroke that can generate a much greater speed of 400 FPS. This also comes with a relatively less draw weight that ensures your energy isn't wasted in cocking and decocking the bolt.

Moreover, the power stroke increases the distance between the string and the arrow nock, thereby providing much better performance. The longer these two remain engaged, the more accurate would be the result of the impact.

It is also important to note that the model is both durable and lightweight. This means that you won’t have to compromise on quality and convenience with this unit.

Bottom Line 

Repairs may not be readily available for this model, but that is not a very big issue. Wicked Ridge RDX 400 is extremely durable, which means that its design and accessories rarely get damaged or need replacements. Moreover, the warranty is impressive, which means that you can get the part fixed any time you feel like the efficiency is not as great as it used to be.

Best Crossbow for Deer Hunting:
CenterPoint Sniper 370

CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage

Product Specs

  • Bow Weight: 7.9 lbs
  • Draw Weight: 185 lbs
  • Length: 36.5"
  • Power Stroke: 13.5"
  • Speed (fps): 370 
  • Axle-to-Axle Bow Length: 18"


  • Comes with a firing velocity of 370 FPS
  • Lightweight hence allows for an easy carry
  • String suppressors provide a much quiet shoot
  • Quad limbs provide more precision and accuracy
  • Stock and forearms are fully adjustable to accommodate different users


  • Has a poor warranty
  • Draw weight is slightly more

What Recent Buyers Report

Precision and accuracy are integral to successful deer hunting, and CenterPoint understands that. The quad limbs were specially added to appease recent buyers, and the innovation has certainly done a good job at that. The model is also appreciated for its adjustable forearms. Buyers say that this particular feature has helped them use the same bow for several different activities.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

When it comes to hunting, deer hunting is a novelty that many hunters like to indulge in. Since deer are intelligent animals and can sense even the most minute of sounds, the unit must not produce any sound or vibrations. This is exactly why the CenterPoint Sniper 370 stands out to us.

It comes with string suppressors that are integrated into the unit to produce vibration-free shots. Not just that, but the unit also comes with fully adjustable forearms and stocks. This means that different users can use the crossbow with ease. The machined cam system is another special feature that provides the precision needed for deer hunting.

Bottom Line

Deer hunting can be a lot more fun with a good model. This is because a good speed and consistent projectile motion ensure that your bolt lands on your target each time you shoot. CenterPoint 370 is also special because it comes with string suppressors that dampen the noise of the arrow. This ensures that deer don’t sense the archer and run away.

Best Tactical Crossbow:
CenterPoint AXCM175CK

CenterPoint AXCM175CK Tactical Adjustable Stock Compound Crossbow, One Size

Product Specs

  • Bow Weight: 6.7 lbs
  • Draw Weight: 175 lbs
  • Length: 32.6"
  • Kinetic Energy (ft lbs): 114 
  • Speed (fps): 370 
  • Axle-to-Axle Bow Length: 18"


  • Easy to cock the string
  • Comes with an auto-safety trigger mechanism
  • Features noise suppressors and string stoppers
  • Provides a comfortable draw weight of 175 pounds
  • Allows for greater precision and accuracy while hunting


  • Provides less power stroke
  • Has a relatively poor warranty

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers couldn’t stop gushing over the exterior of the model. It is made with a combination of the best shades of brown and black, which makes for an aesthetic view. But that is not the only reason they invested in this CenterPoint unit. The inclusion of an auto safety mechanism and the perfect draw weight also convinced them that this model was the one for them.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The safety of the users is the most important feature to include in a hunting bow. Both manual and auto safety features are equally significant; however, CenterPoint goes a step further and includes multiple safety trigger mechanisms. These come in the shape of buttons and signals.

Before each shoot, you won’t have to engage this safety trigger, because the automatic feature will ensure that it is engaged all the time. This comes in handy when you are shooting one bolt after the other and forget to press the button each time.

Not just this, but you will also get a much more compatible draw weight that ensures you don’t have to waste too much of your energy while cocking and decocking the unit.

Bottom Line

As mentioned earlier, precision and accuracy are important features when it comes to hunting or target shooting. The comfortable draw weight, along with good speed, ensures you hit your target accurately every time. This CenterPoint unit is also easy to cock and decock, which means you will be saving a lot of your precious time on the hunt. So if you are looking for the most tactical bow, this is the one for you.

Best Pistol Crossbow:
Ace Cobra System

Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow, 80-Pound (Scope with 39 Arrows and 2 Strings)

Product Specs

  • Draw Weight: 80 lbs
  • Speed (fps): 165 


  • Relatively cheaper than most other models
  • Less draw weight helps save time and energy
  • Easy cocking mechanism shortens reload time
  • Each package comes with 15 bolts and arrows
  • Has fiberglass construction for added durability


  • Provides less relative speed
  • Elements can wear off with time

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers loved the package as soon as they opened it. It contained everything that they ever wanted in a pistol unit. This includes numerous arrows, bolts, and a fine reticle scope for better visuals. They also liked the durable and strong carrying case that was included in the package. To top all this off was the relatively low price of the model.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Pistol crossbows are a novelty in today's world; there are still some ardent fans that prefer it over any other type of unit. And the Ace Cobra system is exactly what they want. It is relatively small and comes with a smaller draw weight that saves time on cocking and decocking. Moreover, the package comes with a variety of aftermarket accessories like bolts and arrows.

But contrary to the usual perception, these pistol units aren’t less durable. They are made with fiberglass that provides them with the necessary strength to penetrate your prey's skin. To top all this, there is an auto safety mechanism that doesn’t require any manual care or attention.

Bottom Line

Overall, the extra accessories help you enjoy hunting without having to worry about the wear and tear of your bow. But that’s just one of the many reasons Ace Cobra is part of this list. This pistol crossbow comes with fiberglass construction that adds to its durability and strength. This comes in handy when you have to shoot at multiple targets one after another.

Best Recurve Crossbow:
CenterPoint Tyro

CenterPoint Tyro 4X Recurve Crossbow Package With 4x32mm Scope, Camo

Product Specs

  • Bow Weight: 5 lbs
  • Draw Weight: 175 lbs
  • Length: 37"
  • Kinetic Energy (ft lbs): 56
  • Power Stroke: 10.50"
  • Speed (fps): 245 
  • Axle-to-Axle Bow Length: 26"


  • Lightweight hence easy to carry around
  • Comes with an auto safety cocking mechanism
  • Has fiberglass molded limb for an authentic feel
  • Provides greater adjustability for a variety of users
  • Comes with a storage compartment to keep lube and small accessories


  • Has less FPS
  • Provides less kinetic energy

What Recent Buyers Report

This recurve crossbow is special because it contains all the elements that allow buyers to reminisce over the glory of the past. The storage compartment is the best part because it allows recent buyers to keep important things like the lube and small accessories safe. They have also rated this unit highly because of its fiberglass construction that gives it greater strength.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

There are so many extraordinary and latest models in the market, but many hunters still want the more traditional looking crossbows for their hunts. This allows them to get an authentic feel when they are shooting in a bushy jungle. This recurve crossbow stands out because it comes with a sleek, military look and functions equally well.

It also comes with a customizable fit that makes it suitable for a variety of users. The compression-molded fiberglass limb also helps users feel at ease. There is also an auto safety mechanism that doesn't require any manual care. You can rest assured that it will operate individually every time you aim for a shoot.

Bottom Line

The bottom line on this model is pretty simple; buy this recurve bow if you are looking for a unique and solid build. It is not your usual crossbow, and that is what makes it so special. It comes with a molded limb that gives it an authentic and genuine feel. It is also very lightweight, which allows you to carry it easily.

Best Beginner Crossbow:
Barnett Vortex Youth Archery Bow

Barnett Archery Outdoors BAR1105MO VORTEC 45LB Youth Bow M/O, Mossy Oak Break Up Country, One Size

Product Specs

  • Draw Weight: 80 lbs
  • Speed (fps): 165 


  • Extremely lightweight hence easier to carry
  • A durable and strong carrying case is included
  • Draw weight is really low hence providing ease of usage
  • Provides greater adjustability of both forearm and limbs
  • Comes with small bolts that are easy to handle for beginners


  • Not suitable for left-hand users
  • Does not offer a very good warranty

What Recent Buyers Report

Users were scared before choosing a crossbow for the first time, but all their stress and anxiety were lifted when they used this Barnett bow for the first time. This unique unit is made to be extremely durable and safe. Its speed is kept low deliberately, so beginners can practice target shooting without harming themselves or anyone in their vicinity.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Beginners have a hard time learning a new skill, so the last thing they need is a hunting crossbow that requires too much effort and time. This model is built for any right-handed user looking to learn the art without stressing a lot. It is extremely lightweight and hence allows for easy and efficient portability.

Another reason that makes it stand out is that it is extremely fun and provides accurate results at a low range. With an extremely small draw weight, archers don’t have to worry about the trajectory or the consistency of the bows.

Moreover, the model comes with a carrying case that is both durable and strong to keep it safe.

Bottom Line

Barnett has impressed us yet again by introducing an easy-to-use model that is apt for beginners. This unit comes with low draw weight and a low-power stroke suitable for low-range shooting. You can practice your shots with this bow before moving on to a more complex design. It is also made to be extremely safe, so you don’t end up in any accidents on your first try.

8. Excalibur E95857

Excalibur 1108709 E95857 Micro Suppressor Crossbow Package, Camo, One Size

Product Specs

  • Bow Weight: 5.4 lbs
  • Draw Weight: 280 lbs
  • Length: 31"
  • Power Stroke: 10.2"
  • Speed (fps): 355


  • Requires less maintenance and care
  • Shorter length makes it easier to carry
  • Lightweight body makes portability easy
  • Cocking mechanism does not take much time
  • Provides a good power stroke and a suitable kinetic energy


  • Has a high draw weight
  • Speed is relatively less than some other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers didn't believe in the myth regarding cheap products and still chose to invest in this Excalibur unit. But that is no wonder because the model is as impressive from inside as it is from outside. Users were fascinated by the shorter length that can provide a larger range. Moreover, they praised the good power stroke, a feature quite uncommon in units of smaller lengths.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Most models that are cheap lack either durability or strength, but lucky for you, this model comes with everything that you might expect from a crossbow. It is made especially for short-range shootings that don't require a very high speed.

The cocking mechanism is extremely efficient and saves time and energy. This comes in handy when you have to shoot at multiple animals in a short time. Moreover, the unit is lightweight and easy to carry. This increases portability and allows you to carry it on your hunts easily.

Bottom Line

Affordability, compatibility, and ease of usage come together in the making of this stylish crossbow. It is both lightweight and strong, which makes it great for hunting and target shooting. It is also easier to cock and decock the string, thus saving time and energy. But that’s not all; you will also not have to clean the unit very often because Excalibur has a low-maintenance build.

Best Crossbow Under $500:
Barnett Jackal

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3 - 20-Inch Arrows and Premium Red Dot Sight)

Product Specs

  • Bow Weight: 7.7 lbs
  • Draw Weight: 150 lbs
  • Length: 35.5"
  • Kinetic Energy (ft lbs): 95 
  • Power Stroke: 12"
  • Speed (fps): 315
  • Axle-to-Axle Bow Length: 20"


  • Provides a trigger pull of 3.5 pounds
  • Sleek military-style for easy portability
  • Allows for a draw weight of 150 pound
  • Comes with three arrows in the package
  • Comes with a synthetic cable and string system


  • String needs to be waxed after every ten shots
  • Speed is not as high as you would expect from a crossbow

What Recent Buyers Report

Compared to other units by the brand, this one is cheap and comes with a good trigger pull. Buyers gave it a very high rating. They loved the sleek design and the lightweight body that can be carried around easily. They were also amazed to see the relatively lower draw weight that makes it easier to pull the string.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This is a relatively new design in the market introduced by Barnett, but in a short duration, the model has made a good name for itself in the industry. The military-style, sleek design is the most noticeable as it reduces the unit's weight whilst also retaining the durability. This combination ensures that you get a much better power stroke without having to carry a very heavy unit.

Moreover, the high energy wheels and the synthetic string and cable system perfectly complement each other and allow for a smoother trigger pull. There is also a range of aftermarket accessories in the package. This includes three arrows and a single red dot scope.

Bottom Line

Barnett has many impressive designs, but this one is specially made for people who don't want to spend too much on their crossbows. The inclusion of synthetic cables and an efficient string system means that you won't have to apply too much pressure while cocking the unit. So if you are looking for a sleek and military-style design that ensures results, this is the one for you.

Best Hunting Crossbow:
Killer Instinct Speed 425

Killer Instinct Speed 425 Crossbow Elite Package

Product Specs

  • Bow Weight: 7.2 lbs
  • Draw Weight: 210 lbs
  • Length: 32"
  • Kinetic Energy (ft lbs): 156
  • Power Stroke: 15"
  • Speed (fps): 425
  • Axle-to-Axle Bow Length: 17.75"


  • Comes with an adjustable forearm grip
  • Features 156-foot pound of kinetic energy
  • Offers one of the fastest speeds in the market
  • Has an interchangeable pistol grip for better feel
  • Provides exceptional low light clarity for greater precision


  • Cocking the string for too long damages the unit

What Recent Buyers Report

With its 156 foot-pounds of kinetic energy, Killer instinct Speed 425 had no hard time convincing recent buyers of its superior performance. The model is unique, both in terms of its exterior and interior. It comes with an adjustable and firm forearm grip. This, along with an exceptional low light clarity feature, ensures buyers give it an exceptional rating.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Every hunter dreams of greater speeds when it comes to their crossbows, but with Killer instinct 425, they can make this dream come true. As the name suggests, you will get more than 400 FPS and a consistent trajectory throughout. This is further complemented by the 156-pound of kinetic energy that ensures the right projectile motion throughout the journey.

Another feature that stands out is the low light clarity that the unit provides. This comes in handy when you are shooting at night or in a jungle full of bushes. The inclusion of the 20-100 reticles also aids this process and offers a much quicker setup. You will also get to adjust the forearms and scope according to your preference. This allows you to indulge in your favorite activity for as long as you want.

Bottom Line

This model isn't for people who don't want to loosen their purse strings. Killer instinct 425 is an expensive pick, but the higher cost of the unit is justified. It offers an incredible speed of 425 FPS, making it one of the fastest units on this list and the market too. There is also an interchangeable pistol grip that is added to make sure you have a nice feel under your hands.

Types of Crossbows

Crossbows are primarily used for target shooting and hunting, but unlike what people believe, there isn't one universal model that is suitable for all purposes. There are many different types of units out there. You should have a basic understanding of them to help you find the most appropriate type for your use.


Compared to ordinary bows, these have significantly longer draw lengths, which provide relatively less hand shock. This, in turn, reduces the acceleration power of the bow. But using a recurve bow also means that you will get a much greater strain on the structure of the bow. Hunters and advanced archers mainly use these bows. However, a major drawback is the noise, so you might want a silencer for affective functioning.


There are many subtypes to compound crossbows, but they mostly share the same features, except size and weight. The string of such a crossbow comes with several pulley attachments. These are then connected to cables of the opposite limb of the unit. When you shoot, the limbs will bend and produce the power with the help of the stored energy. The only drawback is the stiffness of the limbs.


As the name suggests, these are designed to provide a much better aim. They are also very similar to rifle guns as they ensure faster draws and greater speeds. These are also one of the most advanced and expensive crossbows in the market. Such a model will come with adjustable sights, heavy-duty construction, and a smooth foot-pull.


These are named because they are really small when compared to the other types. Their weight is also less, and you will find most models under 150 pounds. Due to their low weight, they are much easier to use and carry around.

Comparison Overview

Not all crossbows are the same, and not all users are the same either. Comparisons are drawn to help users make an informed choice. This section will compare different types of bows and highlight their pros and cons so you can choose the best kind for yourselves.

Crossbow vs. Compound Bow

Compound units usually allow for fewer draw weights as compared to a crossbow. The latter can generate more speed and energy due to the shorter power stroke. On average, a 70-inch compound bow can produce faster arrows than a crossbow of 150 inches.  

A 30-inch compound draw has a 7-inch brace height. The longer the power stroke, the faster will be the speed of the arrow. Another comparison point is the time needed for setup. A compound bow takes much longer to set up than a crossbow. The latter simply needs to be drawn back with the use of a cocking device.

You will also need much more practice with a compound bow because it comes with a range of delicate intricacies. The safety buttons and the controls are also complex and hence require a significant amount of time to get a hold of.

Crossbow vs. Longbow

A longbow is a special type of bow that is known for its height. It is relatively taller and is often the same as the height of the user. The archer will have to pull off a very long draw if they want to achieve a projectile motion with their arrows. Its limbs are also very narrow and often appear to be of a D- shaped curve.

When compared, crossbows are much easier to aim than longbows. This is because the former doesn't require the use of a hand to hold the string while aiming backward. Moreover, it is time-efficient as it can be loaded long before you need to shoot. All in all, a crossbow will require lesser body strength to operate effectively.

Recurve vs. Compound Crossbow

The main difference between the two is the design. Both are available in various sizes and lengths, but the design of each is distinct and influences features like speed and draw weight.

Recurve bows are much smaller and lightweight as compared to compound bows. They are also relatively more affordable and can be repaired and replaced easily. But you will need a much greater draw weight to push the arrow at a faster speed. Compound bows also tend to be more durable and lasts for significantly more time.

So if you want more portability and ease of usage, then you should opt for a recurve bow. But if you are looking for efficiency and reliability, then compound crossbows might be a better option for you.

Which is Better, a Bow or a Crossbow?

These two words are often used interchangeably, but they really shouldn't, because there are a lot of differences between the two types. Bows are relatively simpler and offer relatively less efficiency. Crossbows, on the other hand, are much more powerful and can deal with high attack damage. On the other hand, bows can deal with 1-10 attack damage.

When it comes to recharging times, bows are much better as they take less time to charge. But crossbows take an edge when it comes to diversity. They come with three extra attachments that allow you to use the same unit for multiple purposes. These include the quick charge, multishot, and piercing parts.

So if you are looking for simplicity and better recharge time, you should go with bows. But if you are an experienced archer and looking for something more complex and efficient, then a crossbow would be your best choice.

Crossbow Hunting Tips

Using a crossbow for hunting purposes is a delightful experience, but if you are looking to get perfect results, you must follow some good hunting tips. Below you will find some useful tricks to incorporate in your hunting technique; that too quite easily.


If you want to get consistent results each time you use your unit, you must maintain all its parts and clean them frequently. Before each use, check out for any worn, missing, or loose parts that may hamper your shooting spree. If any part is slightly damaged, make sure you get it repaired or replaced immediately.


Like with simple bows, crossbows also work best when you lubricate them properly. Before each use, you should lubricate both the flight groove and the barrel according to the product’s needs. The instructions to do so are often mentioned at the back of the packaging. This action will ensure that you draw the arrow in relatively less time. 

Thorough Cleaning

If you use the bows frequently, it is better to use an alcohol-based wipe to clean the scope now and then. This will not only enhance your sight but will also allow for quick target acquisition. You can also wax the crossbow string and cables to further increase efficiency.

At the Time of The Shooting

Before every pull, wiggle the limbs and the riser and ensure that they don’t move independently and separately from the stock. Moreover, retighten all the bolts after every 50-100 shots. You should also check the arrowhead before every pull. Make sure it is in place and that there are no splinters or cracks along the shaft.

How to Shoot a Crossbow Accurately

Every point in this article can be rendered useless if you aren’t able to effectively shoot with your unit. This isn’t very hard and does not require much practice. All you have to do is follow the simple steps mentioned below and achieve perfect results every time you hunt or indulge in competitive sports.

  1. Although each bow works in the same fashion, the draw weight and length might require a different effort.

  2. The first step is to place the stirrup of the unit on the ground and place your foot through it tightly.

  3. Once your foot is all the way through, hold it there firmly so you can cock your unit nicely.

  4. You need to then pull the strings with both hands in the direction of your body. Make sure you apply the maximum force, so the process doesn’t take too much time.

  5. Using your hands might lead to uneven cocking, so you can also use an automatic cocker to help you pull back the string. This doesn't usually come with the unit and needs to be bought separately.

  6. You will hear a 'click' sound when the bow is fully cocked. This is an indication that you are now ready to shoot.

  7. Then find an appropriate arrow whose length doesn’t exceed that of the bow. Place it inside the groove and make sure the arrow’s end is touching the string.

  8. Place the feathers of the arrow in the groove of your unit.

  9. Then engage the safety and prepare your weapon for aiming. This is important because every unit will come with either an automatic safety feature or a manual one that needs to be engaged every time you cock.

  10. Then aim your bow at the target and pull the trigger.

This is just a summary of what you have to do. If you want the visual aid, refer to the video below.

How to Sight in a Crossbow

Sighting correctly in a crossbow is one of the most important steps for safe and effective hunting. You need to ensure that you can hit your target consistently. This is important if you are aiming for targeted shooting. Here are a few simple steps that will help you sight using the unit.

  1. The first step is to always know more about the product that you are using. Knowing its specs will help you carry on to the next steps easily.

  2. You will need some equipment like a screwdriver to put together the parts of your unit. 

  3. It is also important to have some binoculars that will help you see from a distance and hence achieve better target acquisition.

  4. You have to practice scoping next. This can easily be done with the help of some arrows. Make sure they are all of the same kind and same weight to ensure consistency.

  5. Next, you have to calibrate your model. You should start with the center point and fix your target at least at a 20-yard distance.

  6. You should also make some adjustments where necessary. The knobs that are located on your unit's sides may need to be aligned left or right. There is an elevation knob on the top that you can use to easily make quick adjustments.

  7. The dots other than the central ones are to help the user achieve shooting at a longer distance. You can practice with those two, but only when you have perfected your target with the central dots. 

  8. You can calibrate the central dot to your liking. This may be hard to do when there are multiple dots on your model.

  9. Ensure that all aftermarket accessories and the main unit are placed in safe places where they are protected from any impact.

This is just the crux of what you need to do. If you want a more detailed guide, make sure to check out this video below.

Crossbow Pros and Cons

There is a reason why crossbows have existed for so long. These specialized bows offer some of the best benefits for hunters and sportsmen. Not only are these units extremely durable, but they also help you get consistent results. But they don't come without their drawbacks. Here are both aspects of crossbows so you can determine if you want these. 


Let’s first have a look at their benefits:

Quiet Operation

The biggest issue with rifle guns or pistols is that they cause a lot of noise. This not only disrupts the peace of the user but also makes your target run away easily. With crossbows, you won’t have to bear any noise or vibrations. Most models reviewed above are extremely quiet.

Ease of Usage

Both bow weight and draw weight are kept low to aid users. The units are not very heavy, which means hunters can run and walk around with the machines all day long. Moreover, the draw weight is suitable to achieve a good speed.

Great Speeds

Unlike many other types, the speeds offered by a crossbow is amazing. Most of these units offer a feet-per-second rating that you can compare too. But, on average, your arrow is going to cover a good distance in relatively less time.


On the other hand, drawbacks include:

Low Customization

Although you will find many different types of bows in the market, the same cannot be said about crossbows. Customization is often an issue because not many companies are willing to create specialized units for the customer.

High Price

With so many extraordinary features, it is no wonder that the price of the product is high. You may have to invest a great deal if you want to buy a durable and strong model.


Using a crossbow is a serious business, especially for hunters, and they don't like to compromise on the durability or the efficiency of their unit. In this article, we have covered nearly everything that you need to read before you embark on your next hunting journey.

But you should never pick the product in haste because there is no one universally best crossbow for everyone. Make sure you go through each model's pros and cons and make comparisons to see which one suits you best.

But no matter the choice, remember that the ultimate goal is for you to have fun and master the art the best you can.

People Also Ask

Crossbows are popular and have been in the market for quite some time now. You would expect that people already know all about them. But that isn't the case. This section will answer all your queries regarding crossbows so that you know what to expect on your next hunting trip. 

How Far Can a Crossbow Shoot Accurately?

The maximum distance that you will be able to achieve with a good unit is between 50 and 60 yards. But not many people prefer to go this long. Most hunters prefer to go up to 35-40 yards only. This is because, at a relatively shorter distance, they are more sure to hit their target accurately and save their time.

What is a Good FPS For Crossbows?

The speed of these units is measured in FPS, which is feet per second. A good FPS is between 250 and 300. This means that when your arrow leaves the rail, it will travel at least 300 feet in the span of one second. But this is only when the arrow can maintain its trajectory and its momentum.

When Was the Crossbow Invented?

The first of these types that are recorded were invented in the first millennium BC. It was also seen in the 5th century BC in Greece and 4th century BC in China. They were primarily designed to be used as military weapons by soldiers. 

Who Invented the Crossbow?

It is recorded that the first units were invented in East Asia. Although it is impossible to determine the country of origin, many people believe it to be China. There are numerous texts found in China that are dated back to the 4th century with references to the weapon.

Where to Shoot a Deer with a Crossbow?

Shooting a deer is one of the more complex parts of hunting. It is often challenging because the deer, unlike most other animals, can sense the arrow and escape it easily. It is hence important that you choose an aiming point, visualize the arrow’s path and then shoot.

What is a Crossbow Bolt?

A bolt or quarrel is the ammunition used for the model. In layman's terms, this is also known as an arrow. The word is derived from French and refers to a square figure. Bolts are available in many sizes, but their lengths are shorter than arrows. 

How to String a Crossbow

To string a crossbow effectively, hook it on either side of the bow press and lightly adjust the press buttons. You need to then tighten the bow at the same time as you pull the limbs. Then, pull up on the barrel of your crossbow and slide your dominant hand downwards. You should also apply pressure from your feet the whole time.

How Long Can You Leave a Crossbow Cocked?

Crossbows need to be cocked before each shoot, but ideally, you shouldn't keep your unit cocked for more than 24 hours. This is because the constant stretching of the cable and the string might lead to a decrease in the efficiency of the unit.

How to Decock a Crossbow

Just like cocking, decocking your crossbow is just as important. There are multiple ways to go about it, but the most common is to use a discharge target. These are very small and portable targets that you can shoot at a close range. They are also durable, so the bolt doesn’t go past the target.

Which Came First, the Crossbow Or Longbow?

The longbow was more popular in England, but it did not come before the crossbow. The latter dates back to Lake Paladru and has existed for a very long time. In many European armies, longbows were used only after the 12th century.

What Kind of String is Great For a Crossbow?

There are many different types of strings that are used for crossbows, but the most traditional materials include hemp and linen. Vegetable fibers and silk, although less popular, are also used for the string. Natural fibers aren't very common, but they are still used with most traditional bows.

Crossbow Reviews

Below are all our buyer guides surrounding crossbows. To make your experience a bit smoother, we have organized them in one place. Feel free to browse through a few and find exactly what you're looking for.
Thanks for reading. 

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.