Pistol crossbows are small compact, compound crossbows that are smaller than standard crossbows. With a design similar to a pistol, mini crossbows are an easy carry when hunting. The projectile from the pistol crossbow is shorter than a standard crossbow, meaning that you have to be closer to prey, but the crossbow is powerful nonetheless (Source).
What is a Pistol Crossbow?
A pistol crossbow may look very similar to the standard crossbows that most people are familiar with, but they include a few key differences. The main difference would be the size, as pistol crossbows are much smaller. This makes them ideal for teaching children how to hunt, but will still work perfectly for larger game.
The Size Difference
Whether this size difference is a good or bad thing depends on what you will be using it for. Pistol crossbows excel at quick paced hunting thanks to its smaller size. This makes it much easier to maneuver since they weigh almost half as much as a full-size crossbow. However, its smaller size also means that pistol crossbows are less powerful.
Ideal For Short Range Shooting
This means that you will need to be much closer in order to land an accurate shot with one of these weapons. If you are able to hunt or practice shooting from a closer distance, you will find no issue using this type of crossbow. Here are the best-selling self-cocking pistol crossbows you can get in the market today.
Weight of Pistol Crossbow
Typically weighing between 50 and 80 pounds, the pistol crossbow is mostly made from fiberglass and strong plastic. Common features to look out for in a pistol crossbow include a rugged pistol grip, a self-cocking mechanism that makes the pistol easy and safe to use.
All you have to do for such bows is pull down the pivoting arm lever, which automatically engages the safety. The pistol crossbow is ideal for beginners because of its lightweight design and can be used for light hunting and target practice. If you are going hunting, consider also buying an external frame backpack to carry all your hunting gear.
Best Pistol Crossbows
Our Top Picks
- 1 1. The Cobra System K-8025 Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow – Best Overall
- 2 2. Prophecy 80 Pound Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow – Best Adjustable Rear Sight
- 3 3. PSE Zombie React Pistol Crossbow – A Powerful Option
- 4 4. Last Punch Self-Cocking Crossbow – The Budget Choice
- 5 5. Kings Archery Pistol Crossbow – Most Durable Pistol Crossbow
- 6 What is the Best Pistol Crossbow?
1. The Cobra System K-8025 Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow – Best Overall
This 80-pound crossbow designed from die-cast alloy and brass is capable of shooting bows up to a speed of 165 fps. The construction of this pistol crossbow makes it ideal for target practice and light hunting. In our testing, we found this crossbow to have a short reloading period, which is always a plus.
The Cobra System has fiber graphite limbs that add to the crossbow’s flexibility. Like the Prophecy above, the Cobra system also has a self-locking mechanism that makes it user-friendly and safer to use. As a bonus, you will also love the fact that the Cobra System comes with an adjustable tactical sight and three aluminium arrows with a metal tip.
The adjustment wheel comes in handy when adjusting the aim in term of elevation, sighting, and windage. Overall, the Cobra system crossbow is a great option for folks who prefer a lightweight crossbow that exhibits superior efficiency. Many customers appreciate the smooth shooting and good aim provided by this pistol crossbow.
What We Like
- Easy and safe to use cocking mechanism
- Good firing speeds of 165 fps
- Made of durable materials
What We DisLike
- Aluminium arrows wear down quickly
- Not good for long range hunting
2. Prophecy 80 Pound Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow – Best Adjustable Rear Sight
The Prophecy 80 Pound Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow has an 80-pound draw and is capable of shooting arrows up to speeds of 165 fps. Grounded on the Barnet Commando of the late 80’s, the Prophecy is a redefined pistol whose design is easy to cock but should never be confused for a toy.
When you purchase this mini crossbow, you have the option of picking up a red or green laser dot with five illumination settings to aid during low light conditions. Its cobra limb system enables the safety feature when pulled. In addition to this, the aluminium rail and frame make the Prophecy both durable and lightweight.
In terms of raw power, the pistol crossbow is capable of 6 4/5” power stroke meaning it harbours a good amount of energy. The Prophecy is reserved for customers who want a powerful and efficient crossbow that requires very little effort to assemble.
Most people like the fact that this pistol crossbow requires very little energy to operate. What’s more, the pistol crossbow has an adjustable rear sight and bead foresight to improve your aim.
What We Like
- Easy to use
- Good accuracy
- Firm and stable construction
What We DisLike
- Aluminium arrows break easily
- Safety might malfunction at times
3. PSE Zombie React Pistol Crossbow – A Powerful Option
A bit pricey this 50 lbs. PSE Zombie React Pistol Crossbow is equipped with exciting features that make up for the extra dough. The integrated cocking mechanism makes this model extremely easy to use as well.
One standout feature of this crossbow is its 215 FPS firing power which comes in a package is lighter than most. This makes the Zombie crossbow easy to carry around when aiming whether you are killing zombies or firing for target practice.
The mainframe and the limbs of the PSE Zombie bow are tough and durable, and the pistol can take some abuse under constant use. If you intend to use this in low light conditions, you will appreciate the flashlight and tactical sight that helps illuminate your target.
In our testing, we found the safety to be a bit hard to turn off, so it’s something that you might want to take a look at before purchase. Overall, this is a great crossbow if you are willing to dish out something extra for the extra features.
What We Like
- Powerful and accurate even for long-range shots
- Strong and fast firing power
- Comes with a tactical flashlight
What We DisLike
- Safety is hard to turn off
- Battery holder lacks a lid.
4. Last Punch Self-Cocking Crossbow – The Budget Choice
The Last Punch Self-cocking Crossbow is yet another affordable pistol crossbow in this list. Though its firing power is a bit low at 160 fps this model, we found this mini-crossbow to be accurate especially for short-range distances.
The Last Punch is a good choice for beginners as it is easy to assemble and is light in weight. The trigger, however, feels a bit heavy, and you might need assistance when attaching the string to the bow.
The crossbow comes in an attractive black and gold colour combination that is quite easy on the eye.
What We Like
- Affordable than most on this list
- Powerful and accurate for short ranges
- Good for starters
What We DisLike
- The durability is questionable
- Strings frays too easily
5. Kings Archery Pistol Crossbow – Most Durable Pistol Crossbow
Nearly identical to the Prophecy above, the Kings Archery Pistol Crossbow has a prominent brass coloring that sets it apart. If you are buying a mini crossbow for stealth, then this might not be the ideal option for you.
Self Cocking Mechanism
The Kings Archery crossbow has an 80-pound draw weight and also features the self-cocking mechanism that shooters love. Kings included a 60 pack of darts in the box that makes the crossbow testable right out of the box. Not to worry though, with a little handiwork you can carve darts out of hollow aluminum pretty easily.
The Kings Archery crossbow is crafted from molded fiberglass, which gives it extra durability. This model comes with an adjustable sight in order to improve your shots. However, we only recommend this bow for short-range shots as the accuracy diminishes with increased distance.
Though durable, the fiberglass can feel a bit flimsy in hand. With this in mind, this pistol crossbow is reserved for inexperienced users and could be a practice weapon at best, for advanced users. If you are a shooter who values the packaged add-ons, then the Kings Archery Self Cocking crossbow is a great alternative.
What We Like
- Crafted from good quality material
- Accurate even for long shots
- Adjustable sight
What We DisLike
- Handle feels weak
- Arrows are light therefore hamper accuracy
Types of Pistol Crossbows
And some are even designed to shoot ball bearings instead of bolts. While these variants are quite rare, they excel at small game hunting and pest control.
50 Pound Pistol Crossbows
As the name would suggest, these pistol crossbows have a 50 pound draw, meaning that it takes roughly 50 pounds of pressure in order to set the bolt. This makes them rather simple to load at the cost of additional power. These crossbows will still fire well enough, but they are definitely not the most powerful types out there.
80 Pound Pistol Crossbows
Commonly referred to as 80-pound crossbows, these are among the most powerful compact crossbows on the market. Because of this increase in power, these crossbows are often made of higher quality materials in order to handle the pressure. That is not always the case, however, and you should be wary of any flimsy plastics that are found on an 80-pound crossbow.
Advantages of Pistol Crossbows
Pistol crossbows provide a few key advantages over their larger counterparts. Most notably, they are much smaller in size. A standard crossbow will often be a couple feet in length and may weigh over 10 pounds. This makes them much more difficult to maneuver as opposed to pistol crossbows.
Despite their small size, these crossbows can still pack a powerful punch. With up to 80 pounds of draw force, the accuracy of these weapons is surprisingly high. Also, thanks to their miniature size and weight, you can easily fire these crossbows with only one hand.
Pistol crossbows are the perfect tool for teaching children or anyone who is new to shooting. Thanks to their reduced power and small size, nearly everyone can safely use them. So if you are looking for an entry-level crossbow, these will be perfect for you.
What is the Best Pistol Crossbow?
The best pistol crossbow is the Cobra System K-8025 Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow. This 80 pound crossbow is made of a durable alloy material, ensuring that it won’t falter and is built to last. Capable of firing bolts at 165fps, this crossbow is extremely powerful despite is relatively small size.
As a self cocking crossbow, this weapon is perfect for anyone who is looking to get into the shooting hobby. Not only is it incredibly easy to use, this feature actually helps to make the crossbow much safer overall.
Included with this package is an additional three aluminum arrows, and an adjustable tactical sight. The effectiveness of this sight simply cannot be understated, as it greatly increases the overall accuracy of the crossbow.
Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider
The Primary Use of the Pistol Crossbow
You are not just going to wake up one day and decide that you want to buy a pistol crossbar, are you? Definitely, you are not, and even if you are, then there is always the thought of what you are going to use it for.
Pistol crossbows have been made in many designs and weight for different purposes. Generally, they are not as powerful as regular crossbows but can be powerful within certain ranges.
It is for this reason that they are popularly known to be used for small game hunting, competitive shooting, and target practice. You will have to decide the purpose of your pistol crossbow before you consider any other thing because most of the other factors revolve around the primary use of your crossbow.
Hunting is a patient man’s game. And, you won’t always be able to see your prey up close. For that reason, you’ll need the best compact binoculars.
Size and Weight of the Pistol Crossbow
When considering the use of your pistol crossbow, you will need to consider the period of time you will need to carry it around. If you have a plan to hunt from a tree, you’ll also need the right ladder.
Heavier and bigger crossbows can be a burden in the circumstances like passing through a thick bush and tight confines over long distances. However, lest you forget, heavier crossbows are easy to keep steady meaning you likely to get a clean shot with a heavier crossbow. Additionally, if you are going to use your crossbow at a nefarious level, you may need a smaller pistol that is easy to conceal.
Draw weight refers to the amount of energy or force required to pull a crossbow back to its normal fully cocked locked state. Most pistol crossbows have a draw weight of 50 pounds or 80 pounds.
The higher the draw weight, the more powerful your crossbow is, and that means you will require more energy to pull back a crossbow of high draw weight. However, the self-cocking feature leverages your weight balance and makes it easier for you to pull back for cocking.
Most people tend to think that self-cocking will allow your crossbow to cock itself for you. Do not be mistaken, self-cocking simply means that you will be able to cock your pistol crossbow back into position without having to worry about using any other additional tools like a rope cocker.
Choose a pistol crossbow with an inbuilt self-cocking feature if you want to not only avoid troubles installing additional tools like the rope cocker but also if you do not want to carry a lot of stuff.
In most cases, crossbows are bought with accessories like strings, bolts, quivers, cocking aid sights and scopes both playing an important role to help you achieve your objective (the primary use of your crossbow).
the string that comes with your crossbar will more often than not make contact with the bolts. For this reason, you will need to pay good attention to the quality of the string. Make sure the string is made of rugged and durable materials.
Besides the materials it is made of, you will also need to take care of the string of your crossbow to add more life to it. This can be done by applying string wax on the string, and lube on the rail of your pistol after making a number of shots.
There are a couple of different bolts, and you will be the one to decide the bolts you prefer the most. The weight of the bolts usually depends on the power stroke and the draw weight of your crossbow.
Bolts are made of different materials. Aluminum bolts will have more impact on the target; plastic ones will fly a little bit further but have less impact on the target. Extremely light bolts tend to bend at the time deployment. The result of this is a bend flight, which compromises the accuracy of short in the end. Sometimes, too much bend can cause the bolt to snap on the deployment, which can cause severe injuries to the shooter.
Sights and Scopes
These are necessary hunting tools that allow the hunter to aim for a cleaner shot quickly and accurately. They come in different sizes and shapes, and their design must suit both the crossbow used and the hunter. A dot sight provides a green or red dot for aiming, and it is easier to use than most scopes. A good crossbow scope should snugly fit your crossbow, provide a better range of sight, and above all provide better accuracy when shooting.
The Speed of the Shot
If you are going to involve yourself in a small game hunting, the speed of the shots you will have to make will be very important. You will have to find a system that will launch your bolt quickly and make a fast shot.
Putting in mind that the weight of the bolt has an effect on its speed of flight; you will have to find a steady pistol crossbow, which will be able to deploy lighter bolts to make your experience in the small game hunting a success. You should be careful though, extremely lighter bolts will be prone to porpoise-ing due to windy conditions, and this means you are more likely to get inaccurate shots.
Noise production in this context refers to the level of sound produced when your crossbow is in action. This factor ties back to the use of your pistol crossbow. The level of the sound produced varies from one crossbow to another.
If you are going to use your crossbow for hunting, you probably require a quieter one. In such scenarios, you will need recurve bows that are more silent than the other types.
Ready To Buy The Best Pistol Crossbows?
Best pistol crossbows will not only provide precise, accurate shooting exercise but also an extremely thrilling adventure. The most important thing to consider when buying your crossbow is to know its purpose.
Other factors like size, weight, and noise production among others solely revolve around the primary use of your crossbow. In addition, you may want to buy a pistol crossbow that is legal to your state, designed by a popular pistol crossbow company, has a considerable warranty, and above all affordable.
All these details are also very important no matter how much people to tend to overlook them. By going through this article, you should be able to buy a pistol crossbow that will give you an extraordinarily exhilarating experience.
Which pistol crossbow among the ones mentioned above do you think is your favorite? Share with us below!