Thinking of getting a crossbow? Good plan. It will help you improve your aiming skills and accuracy, and you will experience an amazing adrenaline rush as your bolt hits the center of the target. Whether you're interested in sports, hunting, history or want to transform yourself into a movie character, we have tips for you how to choose a suitable crossbow and accessories for your needs!
7 Crossbow Essentials
We can only sell crossbows to adults, because they are, after all, dangerous weapons. That means you will need to scan your ID or passport to verify you are over 18 years old before you can purchase a crossbow.
- DO NOT aim at people or animals. The weapon can fire by an accident.
- You should only shoot in an area that is designated for shooting, for example a shooting range. Some bolts can easily penetrate even hard material.
- Use only bolts suitable for your crossbow type - the wrong type of bolts can damage your weapons.
- When you put your crossbow down, always make sure it is not loaded or cocked.
- Avoid interfering with the string trajectory - keep your fingers away to prevent painful injuries.
- Do not fire a crossbow without a loaded bolt! “Dry fire” can damage your weapon.
- Crossbows are no toys for children. You should always keep them out of children's reach.
What Is a Crossbow Made Of?
Here are some basics about the composition of crossbows. We believe that especially beginner crossbowmen will appreciate the information. However, if you already know all about it, feel free to skip to the next section.
To put it very simply, crossbows are bows mounted on a frame. The bow-part is called crossbow limbs, and the main frame is called tiller.
The tiller comes in different shapes and forms, and it is designed to fit perfectly in the hand of the shooter. Tiller is usually made of wood or light metal, and the part where it is held is often coated with plastic. The tiller has a groove into which the bolt is inserted. When using a sight, the shooter can aim more accurately than with a bow. Modern crossbows use the so-called “collimator” instead of a simple crossbow sight.
Crossbow limbs are often made of steel or fiberglass, however, the historical crossbows have wooden limbs, often wrapped in hemp rope and cowhide. If you want to read more about the evolution of crossbows and their parts, we have an article just about that.
The trigger mechanism then releases the pulled crossbow string and shoots the bolt forward - all you need to do is pull the trigger, unlock the nut. The nut looks like a rotating roller with two notches, and it is inserted into the tiller. The first notch locks the string in the pulled position, and the second notch is locked against the trigger. When the trigger is pulled, the nut rotates and releases the trigger, shooting the bolt. Modern crossbows have a safety lock that prevents accidental firing of the bolt.
Bolts are shorter and heavier than arrows for a bow. Each bolt consists of a head, a shaft, fletching and a nock. The nock helps to stabilize the bolt during flight. The head of the bolt is usually made of heavier metals than the shaft.
Experienced crossbow users know the ideal weight of the bolt for their particular crossbow. It always depends on the properties of the particular crossbow, and the speed of the released bolt (fps, feet per second). We offer appropriate bolts for each of our crossbows, you will find them in recommended accessories. That way it is easier for you to get the right bolts.
You can get crossbow bolts made of:
- carbon - carbon bolts are conveniently strong and low-weight.
- aluminium, duralumin, or other light metals
- or plastic.
TIP: Always pin the target to a material that can stop the bolt safely. That way, you will not damage the bolt and you will be able to use it several times. We recommend using an archery target.
Before You Buy…
Before you buy a crossbow, think about what you will use it for. You can get a beginner’s crossbow for about 40 EUR. However, a professional compound crossbow can cost hundreds or even thousands of Euros.
This is why you should think carefully about the purpose for your crossbow. You don’t want to spend your monthly salary on a crossbow that you will use once a year only.
Crossbows for Competitions or Fun
If you are a beginner, pistol crossbows are the perfect match for you. They are lighter, with the draw weight of about 25 to 80 lbs. Pistol crossbows are suitable for shooting at a target, both indoors and outdoors.
If you are experienced with crossbows, you can go for a non-compound, ‘recurve’ crossbow, with the draw weight of around 170 lbs and with the ability to aim accurately.
For the purpose of hunting, compound crossbows are ideal. They have a great shooting dynamics and the draw weight of around 180-225 lbs. To pull the string, you either need a lot of muscle strength, or special cocking devices that make the whole job a lot easier. Some crossbow models have a cocking device built right into the tiller - a handy tool. At the same time, though, it increases the total weight of the weapon.
Warning: Hunting with a crossbow is strictly prohibited in many European countries. However, in Germany, for example, you may kill a boar with a crossbow.
You can read more about the different types of crossbows below.
Everything You Need to Know About Crossbows
What is the difference between one-handed and two-handed crossbow?
Two-handed crossbows are more common and universal. They include:
- and recurve crossbows.
You can use them for hunting (although not in most European countries) or for shooting at the shooting range. Because you need both hands to use the weapon, it is also easier and more accurate to aim.
One-handed crossbows = pistol crossbows. Hand crossbows are usually smaller and lighter than, for example, recurve crossbows. That makes them easier to disassemble and to transport. Another advantage of pistol crossbows is their lower price compared to two-handed crossbows. For this reason, pistol crossbows are a popular option for beginners.
How Far Can You Shoot?
Crossbows have evolved in the last few decades, their composition has changed many times, and the bolts can fly as far as 50 meters, or even more. However, they are not as fast as bullets. That is because bolts tend to lose speed faster than bullets. On the other hand, firing a crossbow is much quieter than firing a gun.
The upper range of a hunting crossbow is around 70 m. But even this limit can increase as crossbows continue to evolve. However, in most European countries, you will only be able to shoot as far as the target is located.
What is draw weight?
Draw weight is the force required to pull the string back. It is measured in pounds (1 pound = 0.4536 kg).
Example: If your crossbow has the draw weight of 80 lbs, drawing the string will be as difficult as lifting a 36kg weight (80 × 0,4536 = 36,288 kg).
If do not possess that kind of strength, you can make your job easier with a crossbow cocking device. Our cocking devices include cocking levers, belt hooks, pulleys, and speed loaders, and they help you overcome almost any draw weight. Every crossbow in our e-shop has recommended accessories, which will help you choose the right cocking aid.
Asian or American? Asian Crossbows Are Slightly Cheaper
There are two main regions of crossbow manufacturers on the market, American or Asian. Both offer crossbow models of comparable quality, and it is not easy to pinpoint the “best” manufacturer. You can do your own research and choose the one you think best.
In general, however, Asian crossbows are cheaper. That doesn't mean the quality is lower. The quality of Asian crossbows is top-notch!
If you are unsure which crossbow to buy, do not hesitate to write us, we will be happy to help. Another good strategy is reading online reviews from other customers.
Types of Crossbows
Pistol crossbows have a specific shape of the tiller and trigger. They look similar to those of firearms, hence the name ‘pistol’ crossbows. The main advantages of pistol crossbows include smaller size and low weight, especially compared to recurve and compound crossbows.
A pistol crossbow can shoot as far as 8-15 m. You don't need that much force to pull the string - the draw weight of pistol crossbows is usually between 50 and 80 lbs. Pistol crossbows are ideal for beginners. And they are easier to store and transport.
If you want to read more about pistol crossbows, check out our article dedicated to them.
Recurve crossbows are perfect companions for competitions and shooting at a target, or, where permissible, for hunting. They are highly accurate, with high draw weight, which allows shooting at longer distances. Some recurve crossbows do not use the pulley system like compound crossbows, so they are often called non-compound. They also have wider limbs.
Models with “pistol” tiller and lower draw weight are also suitable for beginners.
Compound Crossbows (Hunting Crossbows)
Compound crossbows use an elaborate system of pulleys and cables out front. They are compact and not too difficult to transport. They are ideal for hunting or shooting at a target.
The pulley system brings significant advantages: The crossbow string of the compound crossbows is easier to pull back, and the bolts fly at a high speed. The disadvantage of compound crossbows is their somewhat more complicated maintenance, which is due to the high pressure on the components of the crossbow. Most of them are equipped with a crossbow sight (or collimator) for more accurate shooting.
Historical crossbows have a simple design. Most “historical crossbows” are replicas of the weapons used in the past, and they are ideal for LARP events, fantasy events or historical re-enactments. Historical crossbows are typically made of wood and imitate the Gothic, German or English models.
Crossbows for Kids
If you are looking for a crossbow suitable for children, we have crossbows made of plastic or wood, using special sucker arrows. They are safe for children, and ideal for practicing patience and focus.
Our crossbows for kids usually come with a set of arrows with strong a suction cup that sticks to flat surfaces.
What Accessories Do You Need?
Some crossbow models come in a package with all the needed accessories. If you need a separate crossbow without accessories, here is what you need to get:
- Target – definitely a must-have. Archery targets are made of suitable materials that do not damage your bolts, so you can use them more than once. They are made of straw, cardboard or polyethylene.
- Cocking aids - help with pulling the crossbow string. You will be grateful for them, especially if you own a recurve crossbow.
- Bolts – there is no shotting without bolts. Make sure to choose the right type of bolts for your crossbow type. Follow the recommendations and additional information for each crossbow.
- Quivers – something to hold your bolts will come in handy. Our crossbow quivers have straps and loops to easily attach them to your belt.
- Spare crossbow strings – with time, every crossbow string will degrade, and you will need to replace it. Make sure to have a few spare strings! Here is a guide on how to replace your crossbow string.
- Cases and bags – to protect your crossbow during transport. Crossbow cases come with several handy pockets to store your bolts and other accessories. Practical handle and a shoulder strap make transport of the crossbow case easy.
- Other accessories – for example a bipod, waxes for the crossbow string, and other useful tools.
Do you know which crossbow you need now? If you still have doubts, let us know. We will be happy to help!