7 Best Pistol Crossbows – Latest List and Buyer’s Guide

Best Crossbow Pistols

7 Best Pistol Crossbows – Latest List and Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for efficient tools to give you an upper hand in target practice or game hunting? Pistol crossbows though less pricey than the compound or recurve crossbows, are known to deliver incredible results.

But since there are numerous models on the market, selecting the best pistol crossbows to satisfy your needs may not be easy. This goes specifically for beginner users who may not know what to look for or expect from a crossbow.

By the end of this article, you will have gained more knowledge on what a good crossbow entails. Plus, we also have some top suggestions from Amazon’s most best-selling brands.

Best Pistol Crossbows: The Winners

Before we proceed with our detailed discussion on this topic, below is our list of the top 3 picks. Keep scrolling for further details.

TitleRankingPrice
BARNETT Whitetail Hunter Pistol CrossbowWinnerCheck Price
Ace Martial Arts Supply Pistol Crossbow1st Runners UpCheck Price
Prophecy Cobra System Pistol Crossbow2nd Runners UpCheck Price

Factors to Consider when Buying Pistol Crossbows

In this section, we look at the features that differentiate one pistol crossbow from the other and their general effectiveness. This is, of course, to help you make an informed decision in your pistol crossbow selection process.

  • Weight

The weight of pistol crossbows can be approached in two perspectives; the overall weight or the draw weight.

Draw weight is the force (number of pounds) you use to pull the crowbar’s string back before shooting. The overall weight, on the other hand, is the combination of the weight of the crossbar itself, arrows, and other necessary gear.

Most pistol crossbows have a draw weight of 50 to 100 pounds. Pistols with less draw weights are more forgiving and easy to cock. They are, however, weak and fire at slow speeds.

On the contrary, crossbows with more draw weights of even above 100 pounds have more firing power but are usually hard to cock. These crossbows should, therefore, have drawing aids like cocking lever or foot claw to make the arrow firing or loading process simple.

While heavier pistol crossbows give you a steady stance for an easy shot at your target, they are cumbersome to carry around. But if you intend to do some backyard target training or are in an insecure area, you’d better use the smaller pistol crossbows as they are easy to hide.

  • Cocking Mechanism

Similar to how you load bullets in regular pistols, crossbow pistols also have their cocking mechanism. However, the cocking process of these gadgets is more hectic.

But with the two available cocking mechanisms; self-cocking and machine cocking, you can easily choose the one that works for you.

The self-cocking method requires less force and is more comfortable to use. All you need to do is bend the crossbow’s middle part (barrel and handle) as long as the string is in place.

Conversely, the machine (pulley) cocking mechanism demands the full involvement of both your hands and foot.

Similarly, the foot is inserted to the stirrups at the base as the lever string is hand-pulled upwards.

  • Types of Bolts (Arrows) Used

The arrows used for shooting at your target are also called bolts. They are either made of aluminum, plastic, or metal.

Plastic bolts though sturdy, aren’t the best choice for experienced hunters because they tend to break up easily.

Metallic bolts seem to excel where plastic ones fail as they are more robust, sharp, and effective, therefore great for hunting missions.

  • Shot Speed

No matter the type of arrow you are using, the speed at which the arrow comes from the crossbar till when it reaches the target is essential.

Therefore, a good crossbow system should launch the bolt as quickly as possible to be able to make an accurate shot.

Nevertheless, how fast your shot goes is dependent on the bolt’s weight.

An excellent pistol crossbow should produce an arrow speed of about 100 to 300 FPS for increased prey targeting.

  • Ease of Setup

Crossbows don’t come assembled and should, therefore, include all necessary hardware. Some of the basic components are the limb, pistol body, bolts, drafts, strings mounting rails, and so on.

Notably, some pistol crossbows may have more of the features mentioned above while others may have less.

Some pistol crossbow models feature pre-mounted rails to allow for attachment of the red dot or flashlight sight.

Other crossbows have Picatinny rails for the setup of tactical hardware.

High-Quality Pistol Crossbows: Our Unbiased Reviews

After conducting our detailed research on the best pistol crossbows, we have narrowed down on the below 7 products.

We’ve also described the features of each crossbow and mentioned some areas of improvement.

1. BARNETT Hunter STR Whitetail Crossbow

Barnett Pistol Crossbows

buttonThis Mossy Oak Bottomland BARNETT crossbow comes as a complete hunting package with two 22 inches headhunter arrows, rope cocking device, lube wax, lightweight quiver, and a multi-reticle scope.

What’s more, the crossbow has dimensions of 34.875 by 20.125 inches and delivers an arrow speed of 375 Feet Per Second (FPS).

What We Liked About It

The composite step riser allows easy bolting and engaging through the TriggerTech anti-dry feature for a light yet smooth trigger.

As if that’s not enough, this Whitetail Hunter crossbow prioritizes your safety by incorporating a soft bristle-like arrow retainer to prevent dry-firing.

Finally, the crossbow has a draw weight of 118.6 lbs and is compatible with 17455 Barnett crank cocking device for added efficiency.

What Could Have Been Better

The crossbow isn’t beginner-friendly as it’s sometimes difficult to engage the arrows, which may call for some expertise.

Pros

Comes pre-assembled
Compact design
Anti-dry fire safety mechanism
Low noise

Cons

The fire switch is challenging to engage as it may get stuck often

2. Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Tactical Crossbow Pistol

Ace Martial Crossbowbutton

Get to hit your target easily with this pistol style crossbow made from compressed fiberglass and durable plastic for enhanced durability.

Apart from the crossbow, the package also includes 2 strings and 39 aluminum arrows featuring metal tips for added strength. To add on that, these multiple arrows will give you more practicing or hunting time.

What We Liked About It

This 80-pound draw crossbow fires bolts at 150 FPS, which though lower than the Barnett crossbow, is still efficient enough to hit any given target.

The patented self-cocking mechanism engages the safety mode automatically, making the whole release and reloading process easy. This allows you to engage more shots within a short time spun.

What Could Have Been Better

The installation instructions are a bit vague, and there’s a need for them to be more detailed. Additionally, the screws used to mount the rail should be modified to stop vibrating to keep it in place.

Pros

Self-cocking mechanism
Adjustable tactical sight
Durable construction
Unique pistol-style design

Cons

Undetailed setup instructions
The plastic rail needs don’t stay put

3. Prophecy Self-Cocking 80 Pound Pistol Crossbow

Prophecy Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbowbutton

Although this Prophecy pistol crossbow is easy to cock and use, it should not be taken as a toy. This is because the crossbow is powerful enough to release arrows at a speed of 165 FPS, which can cause real damage.

Unlike other crossbows, this one comes with its storage bag featuring a soft inner material and is integrated bolt slots on the outside for convenient carrying.

What We Liked About It

The 80 lbs draw weight doesn’t drain most of your energy like the full-sized crossbows do, making it easy for you to operate.

The strong aluminum arrows with metal tips, though only 3 in number, can still be used again and again.

You will love the adjustable sight and semi-automatic loading feature that increases the crossbow’s accuracy even in shorter distances.

What Could Have Been Better

Though comfortable to some people, the FPS seems quite low to experienced hunters. Also, the body of this crossbow isn’t strong to withstand the harsh wild weather.

Pros

Quite powerful
Self-cocking crossbow
Easy to use
Quiet

Cons

Low FPS distance
Doesn’t last long as claimed

4. Kings Archery Self Cocking 80 LBS Crossbow Pistol

Kings Archerybutton

This 80 lb draw weight KingsArchery crossbow pistol is equipped with a self-cocking lever that allows you to reload and fire your arrows quickly.

While 3 aluminum bolts are included, you will still get a bonus of 60 (black, yellow, blue, and orange) colored PVC bolts.

What We Liked About It

The crossbow has an adjustable sight that allows you to fire your shots accurately on the target. Nevertheless, you should always wax the strings and tighten up the crossbows mounting screws as they tend to loosen up over time.

Finally, the bow limb of this crossbow is made from compressed fiberglass, which is quite strong to endure frequent use.

What Could Have Been Better

This crossbow may seem hard to cock at first. But the real issue is with how the PVC arrows break up easily, making the crossbow unfit for real game hunting.

Pros

Adjustable sights
Self-cocking system
Durable bow construction
Includes multiple arrows

Cons

A little hard to cock
The bolts break easily and not suitable for real hunting

5. PSE Archery Handheld Recreational Viper SS Shooting Crossbow

PSE Archery Pistol Crossbows

buttonAre you looking for some of the best recreational crossbows? Then this easy to use PSE Archery handheld crossbow won’t disappoint you.

And yes, this crossbow fires its frenzy arrows at an incredible 215 FPS to allow you to reach more targets than never before. Though little, the package comes with 3 frenzy arrows to start you off.

What We Liked About It

This PSE crossbow features an anti-dry firing and auto-safety mechanism for safe shooting or set up. Additionally, weighing at only 1.6 lbs and having an awesome draw weight of 50 lbs makes this crossbow good for use by young or novice users.

The strong fiberglass limbs, finger guards for additional hand safety, and track-rail system allow for safe yet precision shooting.

What Could Have Been Better

While less energy is used in operating this crossbow, the draw weight could be increased a little to enable frequent firing of arrows.

Pros

Great for recreational use
Efficient cocking mechanism
Boasts of auto safety features
Simple design

Cons

Low draw weight

6. iGlow 150 lb Hunting Archery Crossbow

iGlow Camouflage Archery Bow

buttonUnmatchable accuracy and efficiency are what this 150 draw weight crossbow from IGlow promises to deliver.

Moreover, the 220+ FPS is great for people who like firing arrows at high speeds. Also, the crossbow comes with 2 pieces of 14-inch and 12 pieces of 16-inch aluminum arrows for extra versatility either in target or real hunting.

What We Liked About It

The camouflaged stock and fiberglass crossbow limb offer excellent performance while its beautiful polish makes it to stand out.

That’s not all you get, the crossbow also features a 4 by 32 inches scope and a safety rope cocking mechanism for easy use.

What Could Have Been Better

The included scope isn’t efficient for real game hunting. Besides, the crossbow could do better with more sturdy arrows.

Pros

Offered in 3 different colors
Auto-safety cocking mechanism
Boosts of increased arrow speed
Great 150 lb draw weight

Cons

The included arrows are light and bend easily
Unreliable scope

7. Manticore SAS Rope Cocking 150lbs Crossbow

Manticorebutton

Are you into large game hunting and are searching for a reliable but safe crossbow for your ventures? Perhaps you should try this Manticore SAS crossbow that’s built with heavy-duty aluminum to last for years.

What We Liked About It

The patented fiberglass limb won’t wear out even if it’s subjected to daily use while the rope cocking device allows for convenient use.

The kit also comes with a foot claw, crossbow string, a 4 by 20 scope, and 6 aluminum 14-inch bolts. In short, the kit is all-inclusive of the items you will need to start your target practice or game hunting adventures.

To top it all, this crossbow boasts of a high-level accuracy to about 60 yards, a reasonable distance for hunting down even a deer.

What Could Have Been Better

The crossbow should be packed when fully assembled to save beginner users the headache of setting it all up. Still, the usage and installation instructions could be made clearer.

Pros

Loads easily
High arrow speed
Increased accuracy
Heavy-duty construction
Auto-safety cocking mechanism

Cons

Doesn’t come assembled
Ambiguous usage instructions

Frequently Asked Questions

These questions will help you understand crossbows better.

Could crossbows kill?

Crossbows should be treated with caution just the way you do to other lethal weapons as they can kill humans and animals as well.

Does the crossbow string have to be waxed?

The string has to be waxed to prevent it from breaking up. This doesn’t mean that you need to wax the bowstring every time you make a shot, but when you no longer feel it or after some shots.

How can I transport my crossbow?

Most crossbows come with their storage bag for easy transportation. You can, however, purchase one if it’s not included. The crossbows should also not be cocked when being transported for your safety and that of other road users.

Which One Is The Best?

Though we have picked the top crossbow brands to ensure you get the best, we still recommend the BARNETT Hunter STR Whitetail Crossbow over the others. This is because the crossbow comes pre-assembled, has a compact design for convenient storage, and is comfortable to use.

The anti-dry firing safety mechanism and 375 FPS high arrow firing speed are also some features that make the Whitetail crossbow unique.

Bottom Line

Besides pistol crossbows being great for small game hunting, they also help you improve your target shooting skills.

With the advancement in technology, pistol crossbows are now equipped with more safety features than the earlier versions, are more compact, and are easy to use.

Erick Thompson

Hi, I'm a fishing & kayaking enthusiast who enjoys sharing tips and tidbits with newbies, intermediates, and experienced anglers alike.

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