Beginner’s Guide In Choosing A Crossbow

A crossbow is a medieval tool that is an improvement of the traditional archer’s weapon and the closest thing to a gun during the age of sword duels. Now, it is mainly used for sport and hunting. If you are an aspiring hunter interested in mastering crossbows, you need to check a crossbow guide for the basics of the said weapon or tool which starts from a proper selection.

Types of Crossbow

There are two types of common crossbows which are as follows:

Recurve Crossbow

It is the purest form of a crossbow, with a design that’s faithful to the original being used in the medieval ages. It is often selected due to its simplicity. The only concern of this type is that it’s wider from axle to the other axle.

Compound Crossbow

It is the most popular crossbow due to its low draw weight with high arrow speeds. It is a bit narrower from axle to axle. Compared to the recurve type, compound crossbows have more moving parts and can be more prone to mechanical failure.

Criteria for Selection

For starters, there can be two aspects you have to consider in selecting a crossbow: speed and safety.


Speed refers to how fast it can launch an arrow. The fastest crossbows can reach a speed of 400 feet per second. However, in hunting, such speed seems unnecessary.

The faster the arrow is launched, the quicker it is to reach the target. However, arrows are not similar to a bullet. Arrows tend to ‘wobble’ as they are on the path to the target and therefore, at high speeds, it will react more with just a minor mistake.


When it comes to safety, here are the most significant safety features to consider:

• Anti-Dry Fire – Dry fire refers to a crossbow being fired without an arrow. This is a bad practice since the presence of an arrow distributes the tension of the crossbow. Without it, the weapon might be vulnerable to breakage and can be dangerous to the user. Fortunately, modern crossbows are now equipped with an anti-dry fire feature that prevents drawing the string without an arrow in place.
• Auto-Engaging – When the string is drawn, the most concerning aspect is the accidental firing of the arrow without even pulling the trigger. The auto-engaging safety prevents such accidents automatically as you draw the arrow.
• Design of the Forward Grip – The forward grip refers to the surface under the railing where your non-triggering hand is placed for stabilizing your aim. How the forward grip accommodates your hand will affect the level of comfort of your aim and the smoothness of release.


Even though the crossbow purchased is already compact, it is important to know its parts and their connections with each other. This can be useful in decision-making during repairs and modifications.

Selection of Arrows and Targets

Your arrows must be within the recommended length of the crossbow’s shaft to avoid injury and even the tendency of an overkill. Targets for crossbows, especially for practice, must be within the recommended thickness and distance from firing so as not to avoid any accidents or overshooting.

Shooting Skills

Using a crossbow is similar to dealing with a firearm, except that you have to reload after each fire. There are many tutorials available online on how to aim (with proper estimations and considerations of external forces), how to draw (for efficiency and safety), and how to fire (incorporating all things for a successful release of the arrow). Make sure to check them or enroll in an archery class.

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