Best Tactical Crossbows of 2021 – Complete Review

| Last Updated June 3, 2021

Crossbows are a bit difficult to use, but if you find the right one with easy draw features, proper balance for shooting and moving, and the perfect combination of killing power and weight, then you’ll have a powerful weapon capable of fast, silent takedowns.

Today, crossbows are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and pulling mechanisms, with different shooting speeds and calibers.

Due to the many options available today, choosing the best one is often a difficult task. To ensure you make the right decision, following are reviews of some of the best tactical crossbows. So, try to read them all before purchasing one!

Comparison Chart of the Best Tactical Crossbows

  • Lightweight product which makes it easier to maneuver around and fire.
  • Single Bolt Assembly means assembly requires just bolting the two pieces together.
  • Low price combined with an exhilarating experience makes this crossbow the best overall product.
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  • Delivers unbelieving speeds of up to 370 FPS.
  • Fully adjustable fore-grip and stock makes it perfect for all levels.
  • Runner-up product due to its amazing features and excellent performance.
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  • Automatic safety feature makes it very safe to use.
  • Fiberglass limbs provide extra flexibility and durability.
  • Self-cocking mechanism and all-metal body makes this product the best mini tactical crossbow.
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  • One of the lightest and highly accurate products available today.
  • Narrow design across the limbs makes it easy to use in a tree stand.
  • Shoots bolts up to 350 fps. making this crossbow the best from Barnett.
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  • Lightweight and durable nylon shoulder pad.
  • Comfortable nylon web strap does not put a strain on the shoulder.
  • Best tactical crossbow sling as it is compatible with a wide range of crossbows.
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  • Best Tactical Crossbow Pistol
  • Constructed from strong plastic and uses compressed molded fiberglass for the bow limbs
  • Features a self-cocking mechanism with 80 lbs draw weight
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How Does a Tactical Crossbow Compare to a Standard Crossbow?

Curious? Let's see:


Both tactical and standard crossbows are powerful, accurate weapons which can be used for hunting. Both weapons are equipped with enough accuracy and power to hunt even the largest of game. The way they work is also similar – both launch a speeding projectile with the power of a tensed string. But, the similarity between the two weapons ends here.

Barnett 78134 Recruit Tactical Compound Crossbow


A tactical crossbow allows you to shoot your target with sniper-like accuracy. With an ultra-stiff, split limb design, this weapon ensures exceptional power and durability. An adjustable vertical grip further allows you to make more accurate, precise shots.

On the other hand, standard crossbows are narrower and designed with heavy strings. As a result, their draw weight is too much for the average person to pull. Mechanical adjustments, including cranks, are then used to knock the crossbow, resulting in a slower rate of fire.

How to Choose a Tactical Crossbow

A crossbow is a big investment, so make sure you consider the following things before purchasing one:

Noise Level (dB)

The most important thing to consider before buying a tactical crossbow is its noise level. If you’re going hunting, make sure you choose a crossbow which stays silent when the arrow is drawn up or released. 


The range can be defined as the length or area of the field covered by the arrow after it has been fired with the crossbow. Generally, crossbows are able to cover a maximum of 30 yards, so make sure you choose a model which can cover almost 15-30 yards.

Power Stroke

The power stroke helps determine the FPS and measures how far the bolt needs to be pulled till it is latched or cocked. The longer the power stroke, the faster FPS you gain. If you’re planning on hunting, make sure you choose a crossbow which has a power stroke between 11’’ and 14’’. 

Review of the Best Tactical Crossbows

With so many crossbows available today, choosing the best one is surely a difficult decision. So, make sure you go through the following reviews to find the one which best suits your needs.

Best Overall:
Barnett Recruit Tactical Package


  • Anti-vibration foot stirrup is able to fit all boot sizes
  • Kinetic energy of 91.9 (ft/lbs) makes it a powerful unit
  • Premium red dot sight allows users to access the distance better
  • Perfect option for beginners as it is lightweight and extremely easy to cock
  • Pass-through fore-grip, and anti-dry-fire system ensure the safety of shooters


  • Only two arrows come with this product

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers have found this crossbow perfect for all level users. They have no issue sighting in the scope at 20, 30, and even 40 yards. They also report that this is a very powerful product. The safety features work flawlessly and pulling the string back is effortless.

The non-magnified dot scope is perfect for short range shooting. It is a very affordable, lightweight, compact, and user-friendly product which buyers feel they can use every day. Buyers also love the fact that it is very easy to assemble. They give this product a near perfect score and want to recommend it to their friends who are interested in hunting archery.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We particularly love this product because of its powerful operation, lightweight, and the number of safety features, which makes it the ultimate crossbow for beginners. The one bolt assembly of this product makes it one of our favorite crossbows on our list. Its small dimensions and lightweight makes it easy to maneuver, which we feel is an important trait in a good crossbow.

Also, it is extremely easy to cock and has been incorporated with an anti-vibration foot stirrup, which helps reduce the noise of firing the bolts. It also has a lot of safety features which prevents users from mishandling it and getting injured. 

Who Will Use This Most

This crossbow is perfect for beginners and intermediate users due to its lightweight and ease of operation. It's also great for individuals who want to get into the crossbow game. This product has all the features, specs, and accessories that allow users to hunt effortlessly. Moreover, it is available at such a low price that it is able to fit in the budget of almost everyone.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Despite the many features of this amazing crossbow, it lacks a few small things. Firstly, it does not come with a proper case which can help protect and preserve the crossbow as you take it to different places with you. Secondly, it comes with only two arrows, which are not enough when you are practicing. 

Bottom Line

The Barnett Recruit Tactical is a crossbow which is easy to assemble, thus making it a serious choice to consider for beginners belonging to all ages. Also, it is a great option for serious hunters. With the premium red dot sight, it is a quieter and affordable crossbow at an affordable price.

CenterPoint Sniper 370

Centerpoint AXCS185BK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Black


  • Accurate, quiet, and vibration-free shot
  • Sleek black design which is durable and lightweight
  • Powerful product at a price which is quite affordable
  • Auto-safety and anti-dry fire trigger mechanism makes it completely safe
  • Arrow velocity of 370 feet per second together with a draw weight of 185 pounds


  • Assembly instructions provided in the manual are hard to follow

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are extremely satisfied with this crossbow's performance  and give it a highly favorable review. Its sturdy built and sleek design assures them they are getting a durable, quality product. Its narrowed width has made it very popular among users and fits nicely with tree stands or in blinds. Therefore, its short length makes it easier to cock. With features like the M4-style adjustable cock and tacti-cool AR handgrip, it is more adjustable than other models available which hunters find more appealing. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We are very impressed with this product as it is an affordable product which has many excellent features. It further comes with a five-year warranty while the scope has a one-year warranty. We also like the fact that it is constructed with high quality materials, and the screws are made of metal instead of plastic. Moreover, it is able to withstand accidental drops, which further increase its functionality.

Who Will Use This Most

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a versatile product which is appreciated by shooters belonging to all levels. The integrated string suppressors ensure a quiet shot which is ideal for game hunting. The quad limbs have a precision CNC machined cam system which makes it easy to use for beginners as well as experienced shooters. 

What Could Be Improved and Why

The only complaint that users have with this product is that the assembly instructions are very difficult to follow. The pictures are small, which makes it hard to make out the directions. The manufacturers assume that every user will have a pretty good knowledge of how to assemble this product. However, many users are not fazed by this issue.  

Bottom Line

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a durable and lightweight product which is able to accommodate various shooting styles. Its safety features, combined with the adjustable stock, greatly increases its functionality. This product is well worth your money because with this powerful product you will be able to put your bolts through the targets easily.

Best Mini Tactical Crossbow:
Snake Eye Pistol Crossbow 80lbs Cobra

Snake Eye Tactical 80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows (Regular)


  • Easier to cock than a normal crossbow
  • Fully adjustable rear sight provides more accuracy
  • 80 lbs. of draw weight gives this product plenty of power
  • Durable body covered in brass-colored plates looks very attractive
  • Constructed on the Cobra System Frame which ensures high quality


  • Bolts are not of good quality

What Recent Buyers Report  

Buyers are highly impressed with the accuracy of this product. Its strong build and powerful operation has earned it many favorable reviews. The self-cocking feature takes away the strain of cocking. This unit comes with fifteen metal arrows thus helping users remain on top of their game. Users have found shooting with this product to be fun and easy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We highly appreciate the fact that it is very easy to load and fits comfortably in the hand. It's metal body provides excellent performance and durability while superb string alignment provides extraordinary precision. Another thing that we like about this product is its safety feature which will engage when the crossbow is cocked, thus ensuring your safety.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is ideal for people who usually hunt small game from a short distance. However, it packs enough power to give you an edge whether you are on the range or out in the field. It is lightweight and small. The self-cocking mechanism makes loading the bolts easy, thus making it easier for everyone to use.  

What Could Be Improved and Why

Most users have found the bolts to be of very low-quality. They report that the bolts consist of plastic fletching, pointed steel tips, and an aluminum shaft. The steel tips are screwed onto the shaft while the fletching is glued into the shaft. After a few shots, the fletching breaks and as a result, shooters have to order bolts that are of good quality. We recommend that the manufacturers make a slight change in the material used in the construction of their bolts in order to provide users with bolts that are durable and long lasting.

Bottom Line

If you are interested in performance and quality, then the Snake Eye pistol crossbow is the one for you. This high tech product is not only flexible and durable; its exceptional string alignment ensures an accurate shot every time. It is equipped with a pistol grip handle and comes with 15 arrows which further increase its functionality.

Best from Barnett:
Barnett Whitetail Hunter II

BARNETT Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow | Shoots 350 FPS | Includes 4x32 Scope, Rope Cocking Device, Light Weight Quiver & Two 20 Inch Headhunter Arrows


  • Amazing performance at an unbelievable price
  • Budget crossbow which always finds the target
  • Stainless steel components make it highly durable
  • Realtree Xtra camo pattern makes this product ideal for year-round hunting
  • Comes fully assembled, therefore, is ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box


  • Quality of the scope is adequate and might take some time to focus on the target

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are completely happy with their purchase, as they find the performance of this product exceptional. They state that it is hard to find such a good quality product at this price. Almost every buyer has urged the readers to go for it as it provides great value for money. Also, this product comes fully assembled, thus saving the users from any extra hassle. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We are truly impressed with this product as it is hard to find a product which can provide power, has a high build quality, and is lightweight and compact. However, the thing that truly sets this product apart from others is its price range. Another thing that makes this crossbow unique is its sleek design and Realtree Xtra camp pattern, which makes this crossbow ideal for hunters.

Who Will Use This Most

This product has many amazing features, which makes it ideal for all users. Its power and accuracy makes it perfect for professional hunters and helps them kill deer, elk, or any other game very easily. It comes fully assembled; therefore, beginners who might find assembling a crossbow difficult will find this product very convenient.

What Could Be Improved and Why

A few users have found the scope to be of marginal quality. They find that it takes longer to get the perfect shot. Therefore, it is better if the manufacturers improve the quality of the scope so that shooters will not have to face this problem.

Bottom Line

The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II is just right for professional hunters as well as people who are new to crossbows. It provides excellent performance, which makes it hard for the prey to escape alive once the bolt finds its mark. So if you want to up your hunting game, then this is the crossbow for you.

Best Tactical Crossbow Sling:
Southland Archery Padded Crossbow Sling

Southland Archery Universal Black Padded Crossbow Sling (Camo)


  • Extra mesh pockets make it easy to store accessories
  • Universal heavy-duty swivel connectors promote ease of use
  • Available in two colors to suit the preference of different users
  • Quick adjustable straps mean that it can be used by adults as well as young shooters
  • Non-slip shoulder grips make it perfect for both the shooting range and out on the field


  • According to some users as the swivels move when walking and might loosen the screws

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are very happy and satisfied with this product. It is very comfortable and allows users to carry their crossbow with ease. It fits various crossbows perfectly; thus, users find its appeal high versatile.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like this product because of its many features. It is comfortable, reliable, and durable, and above all, it is able to fit all types of crossbows. The swivel feature enhances ease of use. Also, it is available in two colors – black and camo, thus allowing users to choose the one which complements the color of their crossbow.   

Who Will Use This Most

This product can be easily used by shooters belonging to all age groups as it can be easily adjusted. Its non-slip shoulder grips ensure that this product will keep the crossbow secure, thus helping users to focus on finding the perfect game. It fits all types of crossbows, so people who own two or more types of crossbow can use this product for their various units.

What Could Be Improved and Why

A few users have found that the screws of the swivel become loose due to the front and back motion caused by walking. This may cause the sling to detach from the crossbow completely. The manufacturers should look into this serious design flaw and take steps to remedy it.

Bottom Line

Constructed from durable and comfortable materials, the Southland Archery Padded Crossbow Sling is a must for every shooter. Its reliability makes an essential companion while you are out hunting or just practicing your shot.

Best Tactical Crossbow Pistol:
Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking Pistol Crossbow 80-Pound


  • Can draw 80 lbs. weight
  • Known to be highly durable
  • Features a simple and safe self-cocking system
  • Ideal for target shooting and hunting small game
  • Comes with an extra string and 15 aluminum arrows


  • Hard to string
  • Instructions are not comprehensive enough

What Recent Buyers Report

It is a top-quality crossbow pistol. Recent buyers found it very easy to assemble, even though they were mostly experienced people. It is also very easy to use and can be used for highly effective target shooting. It is very easy to take accurate shots with it in a 15-yards range.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Without a doubt, this is one of a kind when it comes to the speed and efficiency of its self-cocking system. It significantly reduces the time required to reload your pistol, which means you can get more chances to shoot at your target if you miss the first time. 

Bottom Line

If you use your crossbow pistol for hunting in the wild, then this unit will surely be ideal for you. It has an efficient self-cocking system and is highly durable. Furthermore, it can draw up to 80 lbs. of weight.

Best TenPoint Tactical Crossbow:
Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Invader G3


  • Very fast and safe to use
  • Features an ACU draw cocking system
  • Has a very narrow and super light build
  • Can handle draw weight of up to 165 lbs.
  • Package includes arrows and practice tips


  • Cocking system is noisy
  • Bolts are not of the highest quality

What Recent Buyers Report

Users find it is very easy to use. Any beginner can easily use the scope and fire this crossbow pistol. The cocking mechanism is also very fast, which has made sure you don’t miss a shot since you can reload it quickly. It is considered accurate up to 50 yards. It is light, compact, and still economical.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We find this to be the best of the best in terms of its build and swiftness. It has a very lightweight and compact build that can be very easy to carry. It is also narrow and slim. In addition, the low weight makes this crossbow pistol fast and efficient.

Bottom Line

All in all, this tactical crossbow is a swift and compact crossbow pistol. It can draw a weight of up to 165 lbs. It also has an ACU draw cocking system for minimizing the reloading and is very safe to use.

8. Karnage Apocalypse

Bear Archery Karnage Apocalypse Crossbow Package Includes Arrows, Quiver, Detachable Sling, Wax, Cocking Rope, and Scope, Camo, One Size


  • Adjustable cheek riser pad and stock
  • Fastest crossbow with highly affordable prices
  • Powerful unit with an arrow velocity of 370 FPS
  • Very little friction because of ball bearing arrow retainer
  • Tactical accessories can be added with the help of Picatinny forend rail


  • Assembly instructions are very vague

What Recent Buyers Report

People who own this product have found the components and workmanship of top-notch quality. They report that the balance, weight, and fit of this crossbow are just perfect. They also like the interchangeable and adjustable feature of the hand grip and six hole buttstock. The quiver is able to hold all the bolts easily.

Shooters find that this product packs enough power to take down whitetails and they won’t hesitate to take this bow along even on a bear, elk, or hog hunt. In short, they are very impressed with this product as it provides a lot of reliability and power for the money.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

Although this crossbow is one of the best considering its performance and functionality, however, there are two things which have particularly impressed us the most. Firstly, its sleek and stylish design which projects a highly professional look while the camouflage color takes it to a whole new level. Secondly, the power that it packs.

With a maximum velocity of 370 FPS and a draw weight of 175 pounds, this is one of the fastest crossbows which is able to deliver 111 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy, which is the highest velocity offered by a crossbow.

Who Will Use This Most

The Karnage Apocalypse is an accurate, fast, and lethal weapon which you can depend on. It is designed while keeping the whitetail hunter in mind and offers unmatched performance in even the most challenging conditions. Its reasonable price makes it accessible to all crossbow hunting enthusiasts. It is dependable and trustworthy; therefore, it can be used by the whole family safely.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Buyers of this product have found the assembly instructions to be inadequate, and they had to search for an online YouTube video to assist in assembly. They have found that the part numbers in the instruction manual do not match the bow, and the written instructions are not easy to follow. We suggest that the manufacturers pay attention to this issue and provide assembly instructions that are easy to follow. They should also print larger and colored pictures to help users in assembly.

Bottom Line

The Karnage Apocalypse is one of the best budget crossbows available today. Its compact and lightweight design and high power and velocity make it very popular among crossbow shooters. It is specifically designed for serious hunters and is considered the best companion out in the hunting field. It is affordable and constructed with high quality material which ensures that it will stay with you for a long time.   

Pros and Cons of Tactical Crossbows

Tactical crossbows are a great hunting tool for experienced people. It has many pros; however, with pros, as normally is the case, there are also cons.


Some of the benefits of tactical crossbows are as follows:

Less Physical Strain

With traditional bows, you must pull the string for as long as you are aiming, and it can tire your body or arm out. However, with tactical crossbows, you can just load the string once and then comfortably aim and shoot without constantly straining your arms or shoulder.

Better Concentration

A hunter can properly concentrate or focus on his target with tactical crossbows since he only needs to pull the trigger after loading the crossbow.

More Accurate Shooting

The line of sight in these bows is a lot clear since there is no thick rope, and you can easily look over the thin fiber cables.


It is important to consider the negatives too. These include:

Relatively Bulkier

Although very comfortable and convenient to use, tactical crossbows can be relatively heavier since they use more materials and parts to build. They are also mounted on their top, which makes them heavy at the front, making it difficult to aim.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying a Tactical Crossbow

There are certain factors that need to be carefully considered before you buy yourself a tactical crossbow. These will help you find the ideal match for yourself in terms of weight, scope, etc. Some of these factors are as follows:

Shooting Speed

You need to consider the shooting speed that your potential bow can deliver. This is important because the speed also affects the power of shots, and you might be going after a heavy target. In addition, for speed, you can consider the strength and size of the bolts on your bow.

Weight of the Bow

A very important thing to consider before buying your crossbow is its weight. However, it is also a tricky factor. You ideally want a crossbow that is medium-heavy. If the bow is too light, then you can carry it around easily while compromising its stability. 

Heavy bows, on the other hand, are not very compact for running around with yet they allow you to aim better since they are more stable.

Draw Weight

The draw weight of any crossbow is directly linked to its speed. The more the draw weight is, the faster the arrow will be upon getting shot since more force is put.

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind

Tactical crossbows are a great tool for hunters, as mentioned earlier too. They maximize the hunting experience and give you the primitive hunting vibes which many hunters desire. However, there are certain things to be kept in mind with respect to these crossbows. These are important for the longevity of the device and the safety of the user.

Timely and Timed Maintenance

Now, no matter the quality of the crossbow you own, you will need to do proper maintenance occasionally. There are various parts in a tactical crossbow, and you should make sure that all of them are taken care of. Usually, these crossbows come with a maintenance manual. You can refer to it for proper detailed instructions.

You can also use your own expertise to judge if a certain part of the crossbow is facing special wear and tear, and then you can do focused maintenance for that. These maintenance practices will allow you to prolong the life of your bow for years and years to come.

Hunting Precautions

Before you go out for a hunt, you should make sure that you know your weapon well. It’s not just about aiming and shooting. If you can’t control your weapon, you might end up hurting yourself or someone around you.

Best Uses For a Tactical Crossbow

Today, crossbows can be used for a variety of reasons, and some of the most common ones include:


Tactical crossbows are widely used for hunting medium to large-sized game, including black bears, whitetail deer, moose, and other similar animals.

Target Practice

Tactical crossbows are also used for target practice with arrowheads and field points. However, the weight and size of the model do not play a crucial role as you fire arrows while remaining stationary. But, it is advisable to avoid tight spaces as they might make it difficult to maneuver the crossbow. 

Blubber Biopsy

Today, crossbows are also used to obtain blubber and skin samples from cetaceans in the sea. Purpose-made darts with special tips are fired at the back or side of the animal. The darts penetrate through the skin and blubber and then come back out, without penetrating any muscle or causing any harm to the animal.


A crossbow is a big investment, and choosing the best one is not an easy task. Make sure you go through all of the models mentioned above to find one which suits you best!

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.