We get why you are impressed with pistol crossbows. They represent the merge of the old and new world, the coolest possible weapon that makes you look like a superhero.
They have the ability to shoot short crossbow bolts with great power, they are not so expensive like other pieces of weapons, and they will be the perfect choice for target practicing or vermin and rodents hunting. So here is the list of top 10 crossbow handguns on the market in 2023.
- Top 10 Pistol Crossbows for Hunting
- 1. Barnett Whitetail Hunter Str Crossbow
- 2. Centerpoint Axcs185bk Sniper 370 Crossbow
- 3. Benjamin Babpnbx Pioneer Airbow
- 4. Ek Archery Rx Adder Automatic 6 Shot
- 5. Bear X Desire Rd Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow with Red Dot Sight
- 6. Ek Archery Cobra System R9 Rx 130lb
- 7. Spartan Race Red Back Pistol Crossbow
- 8. Bear X Desire Xl Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow
- 9. Daisy 4003 Youth Crossbow
- 10. Wicked Ridge Rdx 400 Crossbow
- How to Choose the Best Pistol Crossbows for Hunting?
- Frequently asked question
Top 10 Pistol Crossbows for Hunting
1. Barnett Whitetail Hunter Str Crossbow
- Compact construction
- Comes fully assembled
- Trigger-Tech trigger
- Anti-dry fire technology
We can all agree that this crossbow model looks stunning and super professional. It is the latest model in the brand’s Whitetail Hunter series, and it has a compact construction that’s suitable for both professionals and beginners in this weapon category.
It is based on an STR (Step-Through Riser) technology that’s integrating the foot stirrup directly into the riser, and therefore reduces the length of the crossbow. It’s a pretty lightweight item, it weighs only 6.6 pounds, and it’s very fast in its performance – the arrow can go up to 375 feet per second.
You will need just one bolt to assemble it completely, so it’s pretty much immediately ready to use. When it comes to safety, it has Trigger-Tech trigger, patented arrow retainer, finger safety reminders, and anti-dry fire technology.
This crossbow comes with all accessories you may need, including rail lube wax, a string, multi-reticle scope, two 22 inches headhunter arrows, rope cocking device, and lightweight quiver. Thanks to the frictionless release technology, this item features one of the lightest and smoothest triggers on the market.
2. Centerpoint Axcs185bk Sniper 370 Crossbow
- CNC-machined rail
- Anti-dry fire technology
- Vibration-free shooting
A few years ago this crossbow was the winner of Outdoor Life magazine’s Great-Buy award. It is a recommended piece for every professional shooter or beginner who is looking for a great performance. Given that it’s pretty affordable, many were surprised by its outstanding CNC-machined rail with shoot-through riser.
It has a capacity to release an arrow 370 feet per second, it features a draw weight of 185 pounds, and a full draw, axle to axle, of 18 inches. The manufacturer wanted to make sure your safety is a priority, so he installed anti-dry fire technology, as well as an auto-safety trigger mechanism.
The integrated string suppressors will allow you to experience vibration-free shooting, which is especially important when you are on a hunting expedition. This crossbow has fully adjustable foregrip and stock, which will provide you with a customized fit in a shoulder area.
The weapon is made from aluminum which is pretty lightweight, so maneuvering it in the field won’t be a problem. The item comes with three 20-inch arrows made of carbon, scope, parallel quiver, and rope cocker. You will also get a five-year limited warranty.
3. Benjamin Babpnbx Pioneer Airbow
- Works with full-length arrows
- Easy to use
- 450 FPS range
- Powered with 3000 psi
Now, if you would like to have a crossbow with more of a real rifle design, this is the one for you. It works with full-length arrows, and it features full weight broadheads. This model is based on a PCP platform, and it can be easily cocked and decocked.
It has a range of 450 feet per second, and the manufacturer claims it can fire eight arrows at the same time regular crossbow fires three. Thanks to its construction and power, the arrows will stabilize quickly, which will increase your performance while shooting targets.
The maintenance of this model is pretty simple, and it will not take too much of your time, while the shooting accuracy will not be affected by canting. This crossbow is powered with 3000 psi of compressed air, and the pressure regulator is integrated.
The product comes with three arrows that are custom made, sling, quiver, and a scope. It’s pretty lightweight, it’s super easy to operate, as well as safe. Many people call this a revolution of traditional archery equipment. Everybody, no matter the size and strength will be able to use it without a problem.
4. Ek Archery Rx Adder Automatic 6 Shot
- R stock
- Automatic loading
- Red dot sight included
This is the world’s first tactical repeating crossbow. It is actually an innovative model based on the super popular Cobra RX crossbow, but now, with a top-loading magazine that will provide you with quick follow up shots, it brings something totally new on the table.
It features a draw weight of 130lbs, and it has great accuracy. The AR-style stock is fully adjustable, so you will be in a position to find the perfect firing position and the most comfortable shouldering.
This model has automatic loading and self-cocking, so you really don’t have anything to do except to aim and pull the trigger. It features 230 feet per second range, it’s super lightweight, given it weighs only 4.4 pounds, and its power stroke is 7.5 inches.
This crossbow comes with a red dot sight, five bolts, AR stock, stringer, lube wax, adjustable foregrip, and spare limb tips. The great thing is that if you remove the AR stock, you will be in a position to use this crossbow as a pistol.
5. Bear X Desire Rd Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow with Red Dot Sight
- Compact design
- Self-cocking arm
- Great speed and accuracy
- Red dot sight included
If you are looking for the best pistol crossbow, here is another item we suggest. This model has a compact design, sturdy construction, and a self-cocking arm. It is created for the purpose of hunting as great hunting gear, and it will provide you with great speed and accuracy.
We are talking about a very reliable and dependable crossbow that also has a forearm grip that will make sure it is super easy to use. No matter if you are an experienced professional or just a beginner, it will serve you well.
This model comes with a red dot sight, it is very lightweight given it weighs only 1.9 pounds, and it can shoot an arrow up to 175 feet per second. It comes with three premium bolts, but if you need more, you can purchase them separately.
Its width at the draw is 10 inches, and its width at rest is 14 inches. This crossbow is pretty affordable, and it’s very easy to use and maintain. The manufacturer claims that no matter what size you are, you will be able to hold it and use it properly without problems.
6. Ek Archery Cobra System R9 Rx 130lb
- Suitable for travelling
- Underlever cocking system
- Repetitive shooting
- Red dot sight included
- Durable and sturdy
This crossbow is an updated version of a popular R9 model that had some great features and was a game-changer in this category. It is designed to look like a rifle, but instead of the bullets, it shoots arrows. When you add AR stock, it becomes one of the best crossbows in the market.
The manufacturer wanted to make sure this model can be suitable for traveling, so it can be assembled and disassembled in just a couple of minutes. It also has the underlever cocking system, so you can cock it easily, even when it is on your shoulder.
Some experts say that this is the biggest advantage of this crossbow since you can focus on the target and shoot several bolts, one after another. The repetitive shooting will be fast and accurate, which is something every hunter dreams of.
If you decide to order this crossbow model, know that the package includes red dot sight, foregrip, six bolts, sling, and string stoppers. Thanks to two weaver/picatinny rails you will be able to attach a laser and flashlight onto your crossbow.
7. Spartan Race Red Back Pistol Crossbow
- Easy to use
- Anti-dry fire technology
- Independent trigger box
- Modern design
Here is one small-framed crossbow with a BCP mechanism that’s easy to cock. It’s quite lightweight, so it will be easy to use and transport, but it is pretty powerful given that it can achieve a speed of 235 FPS.
Safety was one of the top priorities of the manufacturer, so this model has anti-dry fire technology and an independent trigger box. The great thing is that you will not be able to pull the trigger unless the cocking handle isn’t back in its place with the stock.
It has great string protection and allows it to stay balanced during the cocking process. This crossbow has a quite modern design, and it’s made from anti-slippery material, so it will provide you with a comfortable and stable grip.
It’s very reliable, durable, and weather-resistant. The package includes, besides the crossbow, three bolts, stringer with safety opener, and an easily adjustable sight pack. It is a good choice for beginners since it’s a pistol crossbow and not the full-sized one, and it’s an affordable model.
8. Bear X Desire Xl Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow
- Self-cocking system
- Compact design
- Easy to use
Lovers of crossbow say that it’s super fun to shoot from this particular model. That’s because it’s easy to use and lightweight. A firearm with compact design and self-cocking system. You can even adjust the stock up to 2.5 inches, so you get the maximum comfort and stability.
If you are interested in small game hunting or target practicing, this is a crossbow for you. It has a draw weight of 60lbs and can release the arrows up to 175 feet per second, which really is not too bad. It’s designed so that every person can use it, no matter the level of knowledge or the size of the body.
It has a firm and stable construction you will find to be a very reliable, forearm grip, and self-cocking arm. You will get three bolts in the package, and you won’t have to spend more than 70 dollars for all of that. The weapon features an auto safety system that will make sure you don’t accidentally fire the arrow.
There’s no doubt that this model of a modern crossbow is super accurate, dependable, and very powerful. You will be able to get your shooting skill to perfection if you use it for practice purposes. It weighs only three pounds so you will easily manoeuvre it.
9. Daisy 4003 Youth Crossbow
- Adequate for beginners
- Simple design
- Easy to use
- Rounded tips arrows
Now, if you are looking for the best pistol crossbow for beginners, the one they can use for target practising, this is most definitely the model you should purchase. It has a very simple design, it’s super easy to handle, and it’s lightweight – all the things that matter at first.
Its draw weight is very low – it weighs only 29 pounds, so the person can easily learn how to cock the crossbow. You will be comfortable using it, especially when it comes to aiming. That’s why this is the perfect learning weapon for children.
Since this is a practicing model of a crossbow, it comes with two arrows that have rounded tips, but that won’t affect their performance, speed, or the ability to puncture a small and appropriate target. But thanks to that fact, beginners won’t accidentally hurt themself while handling these items for the first time.
The rear sight can be adjusted when it comes to elevation and windage, and the aluminum bolts are 16 inches long. This model is not pricey, which is another benefit you can count on, its super safe, and the kids or adult beginners will love knowing they have a real weapon in their hands.
10. Wicked Ridge Rdx 400 Crossbow
- Sturdy and durable
- High-quality made
- String Stop system
- Reaper Cam system
- Made in the USA
Let us finish our top ten list of best pistol crossbows with this spectacular model made by Wicked Ridge. It has patented reverse-draw technology that will eliminate the “front-heavy” feel of traditional crossbows, and provide you with a fast and smooth shooting experience.
Given that it costs slightly under $800, it will be a huge investment to purchase it, but it is a perfect weapon for professional crossbow shooters who value efficiency, high-quality, and great accuracy. It can achieve up to 400 feet per second.
Thanks to the machined aluminium riser that’s lightweight, your limbs will be stress-free and super comfortable and calm while holding this crossbow. It also features a noise dampening String Stop system that’s been pre-installed, and Reaper Cam system responsible for consistent down-range accuracy.
If you decide to purchase this item, you will also get aluminium tube scope and fully coated optics. And when it comes to safety, it’s auto-engaging safety trigger features a dry-fire inhibitor. It is a product made in the USA, by Americans, and it comes with three-pack Wicked Ridge arrows three arrow quiver.
How to Choose the Best Pistol Crossbows for Hunting?
If you are new to this subject, you should know that there are a few things you should consider before purchasing a brand new crossbow. Not all of them have the same features, and not all shooters need the same type of a crossbow. Here are the five most important aspects you should pay attention to.
Draw weight shows how difficult it is to pull the string back, shown in pounds of force. The traditional bow is somewhere between 40 and 80 pounds, while the full-size crossbow goes over 300 pounds.
The ones we are talking about – pistol crossbows have a draw weight in a range from 50 to 100 pounds, but it’s’ mostly around 80 pounds. That means that your weapon will be able to achieve speed between 100 and 200 feet per second.
Since we are analyzing pistol crossbows, you should know that they are not as big as full-sized ones, or traditional ones. But that doesn’t mean they are any less powerful or impressive.
Size is really not a factor that should capture your attention, but mobility and ability to manoeuvre with it easily. It would be best to choose the lighter and smaller weapon of this kind because it would be easier to carry it and operate with it.
There are two variations of the drawing method on today’s pistol crossbows. There is the direct draw method that’s common for items with the lower draw weight. It’s based on a handle that’s placed on the back of a crossbow, and you simply need to pull it back in order to draw the string.
Another option is the lever cocking method that’s most popular among pistol crossbows. The lever is usually integrated into the back of the bow, very elegantly hidden. They have a lock switch that will allow you to use the lever in order to draw the bowstring back.
There are a lot of accessories you can attach to your pistol crossbow. But in order to do that, your weapon needs to have a picatinny rail.
Not all of these crossbows have this part, and an option to add some pieces of gun gear, but if you decide to purchase one like that, know that you will be able to add a tube scope on it, a red dot sight, a flashlight, or some other piece that could improve your performance when shooting.
A self-cocking mechanism is installed in many modern pistol crossbows. But you should know that even though the terminology implies this crossbow will do everything on its own, the self-cocking feature means the bow has an ability to be cocked only with your hand, without any additional devices.
We are talking about a built-in mechanism that will make your hunting or target practising experience much easier.
Frequently asked question
Why Should I Buy a Pistol Crossbow?
A pistol crossbow is something that can show you the whole new dimension of hunting, or simple target practicing. This is a weapon that works nothing like the regular pistol or rifle, and it needs your total commitment and persistence.
It will teach you how to be patient, how to calm your body, and it will sharpen all your senses. Besides that, pistol crossbows are inexpensive and very easy to maintain.
How Powerful and Dangerous Are Pistol Crossbows?
Well, we are talking about a weapon, so they are dangerous, and can be deadly. So you really shouldn’t underestimate and define them as grown up’s toys, because they really aren’t. If approached or handled badly or wrongly, they can lead to some serious injuries.
They can be quite powerful, but this aspect depends on several things – their draw weight, item weight, their size, the technology they are based on, etc.
Are Pistol Crossbows a Good Option for Hunting?
Even though passionate hunters prefer using full-sized, traditional crossbows because of their highest performance level, pistol crossbows will also do the work just fine.
Clearly, pistol crossbows are smaller, less stable and precise, and less powerful than those huge old school crossbows, but they can manage to shoot and kill small game like squirrels, rats, bullfrogs, rabbits, ducks, rodents, etc. But bear in mind that you should aim from a smaller distance in order to be sure your shoot will be deadly.
Can a Pistol Crossbow Kill a Deer?
If you are an experienced hunter, you know that whether you can kill a deer with a pistol crossbow depends on several things.
First of all, there is the subject of the pistol crossbow’s size, the power it has based on draw weight, the distance you are shooting from, and the precision when shooting. If we are honest, there is a low chance to kill an animal that big with this weapon, but there is always a chance.
Is a Crossbow a Good Solution for Home Defence?
Having any type of weapon can be a lifesaver in case you have intruders in your home. But a crossbow isn’t as reliable as a regular firearm because of the range.
You will be able to shoot a significantly longer range with a firearm than with a crossbow. But if anything, it looks really scary when someone points it at you, so intruders will most definitely be scared if they see you with that in your hands.
How Far Can a Pistol Crossbow Shoot?
Well, modern crossbows can reach around 500 yards, but that doesn’t mean they can hit the target that’s that far.
If the goal is to hit the target, you should know that beginners should start from less than 30 yards, experienced shooters can try their luck from 60 yards, and professional shooters will manage to hit it from around 80 yards, more or less.
How Long Can I Leave My Crossbow Cocked?
It is really not recommended to do that unless you are in the middle of hunting and you need to be prepared to shoot the arrow any second.
The experts are suggesting not to leave the crossbow cocked for more than 24 hours because otherwise, you will negatively affect its future performance. That’s because you can stretch the string too much, and leave your weapon prematurely damaged.
If you love weaponry, and you enjoy target shooting, the pistol crossbow is definitely something you should consider having. It is not an expensive piece, and it has so many features that will impress you.
First and foremost, you will feel like an action movie hero while having an arrow aimed at your target, and second of all, it will bring in a completely new, more fun experience since the bow is a tool our ancestors used for survival.
These modern toys can have many great features, but if you are a beginner, you should start with those more basic ones in order to conquer this skill first. Then you can purchase a more advanced one and see where it takes you.