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How to Choose a Crossbow: Ultimate Guide from Pros

How to Choose a Crossbow

Whether you have a problem in posturing in a treestand or you may recently encounter an injury or surgery, you can still enjoy hunting and aiming by choosing a right crossbow. Crossbow helps to improve your aiming accuracy and skills in those cases which may clip your wings. But you must know how to choose a crossbow like a pro. 

But before having a crossbow, ask yourself first about your desired outcomes: hunt black deer or catch a moose. Or your sole purpose is target shooting.  Furthermore, Crossbows are of two types, each having its features. So before selecting a crossbow, consider factors like speed, power stroke, draw weight, size, noise, and safety features. 

In this article, we explain different types, brands, all important factors, and tips that thoroughly help you solve your underlying query about choosing a crossbow. 

Consideration while Choosing a Crossbow

With an increasing trend in bowhunting, everyone is keen to have the best crossbow. For this purpose, many manufacturing companies introduce their best products with unique features within an affordable range.

So to hunt your favourite prey at greater ease, many considerations play a significant part in choosing the best and right one. Let’s discuss them one by one. 

Types of Crossbow

If you are a bowhunting enthusiast, you know that different crossbows have different specifications and serve other functions. That is why we categorise them into two types.

  1. One-handed crossbows: they are lighter and smaller; for example, Pistol Crossbow 
  2. Two-handed crossbows: they are heavier and longer, for instance, Recurve crossbows, Compound/ Hunting crossbows, and Historical crossbows.

Pistol Crossbow

The pistol cross is a one-handed crossbow with easy storage and transportation features due to its low weight and smaller size. They are best for beginners as you can shoot as far as 8-15m. 

Recurve Crossbow

Recurve crossbows are two-handed crossbows with high draw weight and accuracy. They have a single stinger and are best for distance shooting, hunting, and targeting. 

Compound/Hunting Crossbow

Compound crossbows are also two-handed crossbows with an exact pulley system. They are perfect for target shooting and hunting

Historical Crossbow

Historical crossbows are made from wood and are lightweight with a 3-feet length. You need a lever or a crank to operate them—most of the time, they are used by soldiers. 

Draw Weight 

The second most important consideration is the draw weight. It determines the force to draw the bowstring back and cock it. 

Crossbows with lower draw weights are easy to manoeuvre. The average draw weight is 75-125 for beginners and intermediate-level archers. However, it varies for different game levels.

  • For small games: 125+ lbs.
  • For medium game: 150+ lbs.
  • For big games: 175+ lbs. 
  • For extra-large games: 200+ lbs.

Draw Length/ Power Stroke

If you want to shoot your bow faster, you need a longer draw-length crossbow. Draw length measures the distance to pull back the string. 

Professionals recommend a recurve crossbow with a minimum 11″ power stroke. At the same time, the compound crossbow has a modern Cam System, which increases speed itself. 


Carrying a heavy crossbow is one of the hunters of most significant issues encountered while moving through bushes or narrow ways as it also makes noises.

Recurve bow has a large size and more length and width of limbs, making it challenging to carry. However, a compound crossbow has less weight, length and width of limbs.


Hunting the big game animals requires maximum speed, which you can measure in FPS( feet per second). You can find a crossbow with fps between 200 to 500 fps. This higher speed has two advantages.

  1. The greater the speed, the faster the bolt flies, and the faster it hits the target before falling, which helps target shooting your favourite whitetail deer without delay.   
  2. Speed helps in large game hunting because of its high power supply, usually measured in FPKE (foot-pounds of kinetic energy). 

Note: The crossbow with more incredible speed has more power, so they are less forgiving, and there are greater chances of error, jerk or instability while shooting. So as a beginner, we always prefer a crossbow with fewer fps. 

Noise Level

Do you also miss your prey while shooting with a crossbow? Crossbows make colossal noise and vibrate when a bolt fires. They also make jerky movements which cause error shooting. 

Safety factors

Safety is the most common factor from carrying through the Olympic field to the large target area. Modern crossbows have safety features like finger guards, trigger safety and an anti-dry fry mechanism. 


You don’t need to run in a burning building to set a crossbow. Most crossbows come assembled; you must attach a bow and a peep light. 

However, takedown bows involve Interlocking and folding functions, which are tricky and require practice. They are expensive compared to other bows.

Additional Accessory

If you want to level up your hunting game, you require additional accessories to make your game fun and accurate. For example, a quiver to carry bolts, cocking device for decreasing draw weight, a sling to hang your bow on your shoulder, and noise dampers to minimise the sound. 

Choosing the Right Crossbow for Your Needs

You can use a crossbow for fun or hunting. Therefore, choosing them wisely.  The right crossbow helps you to have black bear, elk or moose with greater ease. 

From the points mentioned above, the consideration for choosing a crossbow becomes clear. Now decide the ultimate goal that helps you further choose a crossbow. 

Hunting vs Target shooting

While stalking the black deer or a small bear, you need a compact and lightweight crossbow with fast FPS, extreme power and heavier bolt and arrow to hunt a grizzly bear, and it quickly goes through thick bushes and dark areas with the help of scope or sight.

However, suppose your sole purpose is target shooting. In that case, you need a crossbow with a considerable draw length, heavy, slow FPS, acceptable accuracy than power, lighter arrows and bolts, and multiple pin options.

Skill level

  • Choosing the crossbow according to your experience level helps you to have your favourite deer on your dining plate. 
  • As a beginner, a lightweight crossbow, with a lower draw weight of around 150 pounds and narrow limbs, is easy to handle and manoeuvre. 
  • Crossbows with a draw weight between 150-200 pounds, a longer draw length, and broader limb width provide more power and accuracy.
  • Crossbows with a draw weight above 200 pounds, adjustable mechanism, and advanced features are better for advanced players. 


Lastly and most importantly is getting the best value for your money. If you are a beginner, then never go for an expensive crossbow. Always prefer a crossbow with an affordable range. 


Choosing a crossbow is quite tricky, so before knowing how to choose a crossbow, consider all the important key factors like types, draw weight, draw length, size, weight, power, bolts, and other safety products. After viewing them, look for your desired outcome, whether you like hunting or target shooting, and choose a crossbow according to your skill level and budget. 

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