Top 5 Best Pistol Crossbows for Every Need and Budget

Do you want the convenience of using a gun but you don’t want to invest on bullets? Why not try a pistol crossbow instead? It works mostly the same way, but you can save money on the weapon and ammunition, as long you know how to choose a good-quality model that suits your needs.

Interested? Here is a list of the best pistol crossbows that you can choose from. You can also find helpful tips on how you can choose the right pistol crossbow for you.

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**Below, you find more detailed reviews but you can also click links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.

Types of Pistol Crossbows

Pistol crossbows are normally lightweight and compact, making it easy to hold and use. Often considered the smallest of crossbows that use arrows, the pistol crossbow is ideal for short-distance shooting and pretty much works the same way as a gun (hence its name).

There are many types of pistol crossbows that you can choose from, depending on your needs and preferences. Here are the most common ones:

50-pound Pistol Crossbow

The 50-pound pistol crossbow is a good starter crossbow for young users but not something I’d recommend to someone who wants to take crossbow shooting seriously.

This type of crossbow is generally safer for kids because of its safety feature, which completely blocks the trigger once it’s turned on, effectively preventing you from making any accidental shots. It is also lightweight and easier to cock.

However, most of the 50-pound crossbows I’ve seen are made of flimsy metal instead of fiberglass, so they’re not as durable as the other types. This may also affect your shots’ accuracy and may even cause your string to snap off quicker.

Cobra Pistol Crossbow (80-pound Pistol Crossbow)

Also called the 80-pound crossbow, this type is probably the most common and famous of all the types. If you’re an adult beginner crossbow user, then I recommend that you start with this one.

Most cobra pistol crossbows are made of durable metal alloy and compressed fiberglass so they can last longer than the 50-pound variety. They are also designed better, with a more reliable cocking system and better trigger pull.

However, I find that the safety system of the 80-pound crossbow is not as good as the 50-pound one, so you need to be careful so you don’t make an accidental discharge and hurt yourself or other people.

Things to Remember When Choosing a Pistol Crossbow

Before you buy a pistol crossbow for your next target practice, take the time to review these helpful tips first:

Target user age. You may want to start off young users with a 50-pound pistol crossbow because it is lighter and easier to draw. This is usually cheaper and comes with an automatic safety so it’s safer for kids to use.

Adults who are looking for a more serious target shooting experience may want to pick an 80-pound pistol crossbow instead. This weapon has a more complicated system and generally has more power than the 50-pound version.

Durability. Many pistol crossbows are made of compression molded fiberglass that are durable and can endure multiple uses. If you can, try to look for a model with a frame made of aluminum alloy because this tends to be a bit stronger than regular plastic frames.

Accuracy. Many pistol crossbows come with a scope or sight to help improve your accuracy. Try to find one that is adjustable so you can easily make adjustments during your trip, but avoid sights that are too loose because they may make you less accurate instead of the other way around.

Firing speed. The faster the speed of your arrow, the easier you can hit your target. Many pistol crossbows have a firing speed of 160 to 165 FPS (feet per second), but there are also those that promise 200 FPS or more.

Quick Tips When Shooting a Pistol Crossbow

In general, you use a pistol crossbow in a similar way you use a gun. Here are quick and easy pointers you may want to remember when taking that first shot:

  • Find a sturdy, solid base that you can use as an anchor point. This could be a tree if you’re shooting outdoors or a wooden post or bar if you’re doing target shooting indoors.
  • Hold your pistol crossbow the same way you would hold a gun, and then lean your trigger arm against your anchor point for support. To help prevent shaking, you may want to press your left elbow against your left knee and your right elbow to your right knee for additional support.
  • Look into your sight and zero in your target, steady your aim, and pull the trigger. If you want to make a more accurate shot, you may try holding your breath before pressing the trigger, as this may help reduce the shakiness of your hands.

Pistol Crossbow Reviews

1. Cobra System K-8025 Self-cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow Review

If you’re looking for a starter pistol crossbow for target practice but you don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, then you could check out the Cobra System K-8025 Self-cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow.

Made of durable plastic and compression molded fiberglass, this pistol crossbow is light, accurate, and easy to use. It can fire powerful shots at 165 FPS and can accurately hit targets up to 75 feet.

While the package comes with three aluminum arrows, I recommend investing on plastic ones because the aluminum arrows tend to wear down easily. You may also want to replace the tactical sight if you want a faster target acquisition.

Considering its features and the money you have to spend, I think this Cobra System’s model is already good value for your money.

PROS

  • With an easy and safe-to-use cocking mechanism
  • Made of durable materials—strong plastic body and compressed molded fiberglass bow
  • Accurate and fires powerful shots up to 75 feet
  • Firing speed of up to 165 feet per second
  • Comes with three aluminum arrows with metal tips and an adjustable tactical sight
  • Easy to assemble and comes with an easy-to-follow instructions manual
  • Price is cheaper than other pistol crossbows

CONS

  • Instructions on the installation of the small pads is a bit lacking
  • Stringing the bow may take some work
  • Aluminum arrows may wear down quickly and may need replacement after a few uses
  • Weak bolts may cause problems
  • Plastic rail is held by only one screw and may pivot and realign the sight
  • Sight is not as durable as the rest of the bow
  • Not recommended for long-range hunting

2. Prophecy Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow Review

Another inexpensive but good-quality pistol crossbow is the Prophecy Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow. This no-frills crossbow is an effective and powerful weapon that can fire off arrows at 165 feet per second.

I’ve noticed that its accuracy improves the closer your target is, and even for long-range targets, discrepancies only fall within a twelve-inch distance. While this may be crucial during a hunt, this model is nevertheless a good starter weapon to practice on before you invest on a more expensive model.

Installation may be a bit tricky and you may need the help of a friend when attaching the string. But once that’s done, you will find that this crossbow is easy to cock and use. Given its durable aluminum frame and hard plastic limbs, I find that this model can stand wear and tear and may last even after multiple uses.

PROS

  • Easy and safe to use
  • Firm and stable construction using sturdy aluminum for the frame and hard plastic with wood grain for the grip
  • Good accuracy, with minimal target discrepancy issues
  • Strong firing power at 165 FPS
  • Package comes with an adjustable rear sight and three aluminum arrows
  • Price is cheaper than other pistol crossbows

CONS

  • Requires two persons to string the bow
  • Accuracy discrepancies may occur (approximately 1 foot in distance)
  • May need a few modifications to get best performance based on your preferences
  • Aluminum arrows may break easily so you may need to replace them with plastic ones
  • Installation instructions are a bit vague and may be confusing
  • There is a chance that the safety might malfunction

3. PSE Zombie React Pistol Crossbow Review

If you’re not too worried about spending for your pistol crossbow, then you may want to invest on a PSE Zombie React Pistol Crossbow. Although it’s more expensive than the other crossbows in this list, this model makes up for it with its exciting features.

For one, its firing power is at 215 FPS, which is more than 50 FPS faster than the other models. It is also quite lightweight, so you can easily carry it around and keep it steady when you aim at your target.

The main frame and limbs of the Zombie Apocalypse crossbow is made of tough and durable materials that can withstand constant use, and the model comes with a tactical sight and flashlight that may help you see your target better in low-light conditions.

Be mindful of the safety, however, as it may be a bit hard to turn off. The flashlight emits a red light instead of regular LED light, so you may want to reconsider if you find this irritating.

PROS

  • Makes powerful and accurate shots even for long-range targets
  • Lightweight and easy to aim and fire
  • Made of strong and reliable materials, including a compression molded fiberglass for the limbs and aluminum alloy for the main frame
  • Strong and fast firing power at 215 FPS
  • Comes with a red-dot sight for easy sighting even in low-light conditions
  • Package comes with a rubber-coated removable pistol grip and flashlight
  • Good design and packaging
  • Tactical flashlight is effective in seeing and detecting targets in dark environments

CONS

  • Instruction manual may be a bit vague
  • Safety may be loose and hard to turn off
  • Scope is ineffective and needs to be adjusted or replaced to function properly
  • Flashlight emits a red light which may be irritating to some users
  • Bolts are a bit flimsy (but package comes with extra bolts for replacement)
  • Battery holder for the flashlight does not have a lid
  • Expensive compared to other pistol crossbows

4. Last Punch Self-cocking Crossbow Review

Another cheap pistol crossbow in my list is the Last Punch Self-cocking Crossbow. While its firing power is slightly slower than other crossbows (160 FPS), I find that this model is still powerful and reliable to shoot accurate shots, especially in short-distance ranges.

This lightweight weapon is a good practice bow for beginners, though the trigger may feel heavy for some. It is fairly easy to assemble, but you might need help attaching the string to the bow.

I also like the black and gold color combination of the crossbow, though the extended tail may be a bit weird for some users.

PROS

  • Powerful and accurate, especially for targets from 20 to 30 feet away
  • Compact design that is light and easy to use
  • Strong firing power at 160 FPS
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Made of full metal alloy and designed in a black and gold color combination
  • Package comes with a red dot scope and fifteen metal arrows
  • Good as a starter set for target practice
  • Price is cheaper than other pistol crossbows
  • Fast shipping

CONS

  • Trigger pull may be a bit heavy for some users
  • Bolts may fall apart after a few uses and may need replacement
  • Laser sight feature is not really that useful
  • Not as durable as other pistol crossbows
  • Stringing the bow is difficult and may require two persons to assemble
  • String may fray too easily

5. King Archery Self-cocking Crossbow Review

If you put value on the package’s add-ons, then you will love King Archery’s Self-cocking Crossbow bundle. Aside from the crossbow, the package comes with 27 aluminum arrows, plus an extra crossbow string and caps.

The model comes with a sight to improve your shots, and I recommend using this model for short-range shooting because it tends to be less accurate as your targets get farther away. Still, I think it will do as an effective practice weapon for inexperienced crossbow users.

This King Archery product is made of durable fiberglass, but I find it a bit flimsy and weak compared to the other models in this list. Given that it is priced slightly higher than most of what’s here, you should only consider buying this if you don’t mind spending a bit for a starter pistol crossbow set.

PROS

  • Good-quality crossbow made from durable fiberglass
  • Package comes with one extra string, caps, and 27 aluminum arrows
  • Can make accurate shots for short-distance shooting
  • Sight is adjustable to help you make more accurate shots
  • Can be a good starter crossbow even for young and inexperienced users
  • Good design and packaging

CONS

  • Frame may not be as durable as other pistol crossbow models
  • Extra bolts may easily break and are not reusable
  • Arrows are light and are easily affected by wind turbulence
  • Handle may feel a bit weak
  • May require two people to set up, especially the string
  • Instruction manual is vague and lacking
  • Slightly expensive than other pistol crossbow models

Conclusion

If you’re on a tight budget, then I recommend you try out the Prophecy Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow. The frame is made of durable aluminum alloy and the limbs of strong plastic, so it can last multiple uses. It is cheaper than other pistol crossbows like the King Archery Self-cocking Crossbow, but it offers powerful and accurate shots from a good shooting distance.

If you have a bigger budget and want something with more firing power, then you may want to buy the PSE Zombie React Pistol Crossbow instead. With 215 FPS, it is definitely faster than other crossbows, such as the Last Punch Self-cocking Crossbow that offers only a firing speed of 160 feet per second.

Jennifer Walls
 

Hey there, I’m Jennifer, a mother of two sons, and I really enjoy the outdoor world. I take advantage of my spare time to hunt the deer with a bow. I founded BuckWithBow blog so that I can share my hunting experiences in the woods and thus help you discover a couple of tricks, tips and essential skills that will make you a successful bow hunter.

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