The Crossbow is a modern version of the simple bow and arrow. The earliest crossbows date back to 5th Century B.C. which was invented by the Chinese and has since become a very important weapon for war. Crossbows were later used in the west and developed into a more powerful and deadly weapon over the centuries. They were also a popular weapon in medieval times such that they almost replaced the traditional bow and arrow.
A Crossbow consists of a bow fixed perpendicularly on the stock. It uses a fast-moving string to launch a projectile. It differs from traditional bows in the way that they use mechanical triggers to shoot bolts or quarrels.
They were originally used as a weapon in wars and hunting. However, nowadays they are widely used for target shooting, hunting, and other sports. Crossbows have become the hunters’ preferred choice due to their cost-effectiveness and reusability of bolts during hunting. Nowadays there are different types of crossbows available and employ different designs, constructions and are meant for different purposes.
In this article we will discuss the different types of crossbows and their uses in detail, helping you to choose the best crossbow for your next adventure.
Table of Contents
1- Recurve Crossbow
A recurve crossbow is the oldest crossbow in the world of archery. As the name implies, it has delicate curves at the farther edges of the bow, facing aside from the shooter. These curves have an important purpose to serve as a lock, preventing the string from flocking out when the bow is fired.
The modern recurve crossbow is made up of either Carbon fiber, Aluminium, or Magnesium alloy, making it tough and provides aim simply. The construction of synthetic materials makes it economical and predictable for consistent performance. The accuracy and stability of a crossbow depend on its weight, draw weight, as well as how well an archer handles it.
The design is simple but wider and heavier than the compound crossbow. The longer draw length of the recurve crossbow helps in producing greater acceleration for the projectile. Recurve limbs can store more energy than the other types of the crossbow, hence shooting the arrow with greater pressure and noise.
The only drawback is that the curved design causes tension on the string and it can be damaged easily unless you invest in a better quality product. Moreover, recurve crossbows are larger and therefore cause difficulty to operate in the wilderness.
If you are new to the hunting, the recurve crossbow is a good option for you because of its simpler design and low price tag. It is liked among the hunters as it is also ideal for taking long-range shots.
2- Compound Crossbow
A best compound crossbow is a combination of the most widely used vertical bow, the compound, and the modern rifle technology. This combination and its shorter limbs make it one of the most accurate and sturdy limb-powered weapons. It is a little harder to set up the Compound Crossbow for the first time as it features a more complex design than the recurve crossbow, but once set up it is very convenient to use.
The compound crossbow is also made up of durable synthetic material. The construction is a little more complicated than the recurve crossbows as it makes use of cams, pulleys, and cables to bend its limbs. This helps in applying more tension to the cocked string.
The stiff build helps in high energy efficiency. When the hunter draws back the string, the cables move to bend the limbs, conserving energy. This energy helps in shooting faster even with a shorter draw length.
The built of compound crossbows is very compact and narrow and thus easy to carry around while hunting. The shorter limb design minimizes the vibration, making it very accurate and less noisy.
However, due to the increased number of parts, a compound crossbow is heavier and complex than the recurve crossbows. The maintenance of its parts is very important as they can wear off easily.
It is well suited for experienced bowhunters. If you require a quieter and powerful crossbow for hunting adventures and targeting large games then compound crossbows would be a perfect fit for you.
3- Repeating Crossbows
The repeating crossbow is one of the easiest and convenient to use weapons. It uses a single hand movement for spanning the bow, placing the bolt, and shooting. This enables it to shoot three times faster than its competitors.
The repeating crossbow has one of the robust mechanical designs since its general built and construction techniques have remained the same ever since its invention. The bolts of repeating crossbow are fired and reloaded by simply pushing and pulling the lever back and forth. Once the lever is pushed and the bolt is fired, another bolt would then drop down from the magazine from above, taking its place.
It has a relatively small range, making it suitable for beginners and archers who prefer faster shooting.
However, it can take out all the fun associated with hunting as everything is mechanical, performance is fixed and you cannot enhance it and it doesn’t require a special technique to master its use.
4- Rifle Crossbows
This is a hybrid of a crossbow with the modern-day rifle and is designed to provide better aim and accuracy.
The Rifle crossbow has an impressive heavy-duty construction based on fiber; incorporating impressive sights and a foot-pull. The rail design helps in reducing the friction to launch the bolts with high velocity and penetrating power.
It is much narrower and compact than the other crossbows, designed for long-range hunts, and could accurately shoot from a good distance.
It involves a complex cocking system and requires a huge amount of power to operate it. It is an ideal weapon for new learners trying to launch a perfect bulls-eye shot.
5- Pistol Crossbows
It is a smaller and lighter version of the traditional crossbow. The Pistol crossbow has a pistol grip and can also be fired using one hand. These small handheld designed crossbows are used to fire small bolts with a shorter draw and less power and range.
Mini Pistol crossbows are commonly used in targeting practice rather than bow hunting because they are not as powerful as other crossbow types like recurve and compound crossbows.
It is an ideal weapon for hunting small animals and for backyard practice.
There are many different types of crossbows available in the market to choose from depending on your requirements. A crossbow should ideally be durable, quiet, easy to operate, and accurate.
It is a good practice to explore all the available options and assess their advantages and disadvantages while choosing a crossbow. It is also important to keep the state’s regulations regarding the usage of a particular crossbow, in mind.
The leading crossbow brands offer all types of crossbows from recurve to pistol. Depending on your needs and skills, you can start from the simpler options and can upgrade it to the more advanced options as you progress with time.