Different Types of Crossbows and Uses: A Beginner’s Guide

different types of crossbows

Not every crossbow is the same. Instead, there are different types of crossbows that are built for different purposes and levels of skills.

They include compound crossbows, recurve crossbows, rifle crossbows, and some others.

Let’s check all out!


Traditional Crossbows

Back to the history of the crossbow, this is the traditional crossbow which was designed as a hunting tool or a protective weapon.

They look quite simple with a bow affixed to a “stock” mount. Nonetheless, it is far from easy-to-use. For instance, loading and unloading actions are quite dangerous. Not to mention, such a crossbow lacks accuracy.

Fortunately, now there are different modern crossbows with advanced components for both hunting and sporting purposes.

Different Types of Crossbows

Compound Crossbows

Although having a more complex structure than other types of crossbows, the compound crossbows seem to be the most commonly-used thanks to its ease of use and versatility.

They are less resistant than the recurve bows (that we will introduce you later on) and also easier to pull and maintain than the historical crossbow.

Main features of compound crossbows:

  • A stiff build with synthetic materials to withdraw with various weather patterns.
  • A string attached to the crossbow pulley, as well as connected to the second limb at the same time. On a pull, it takes less time and effort for the bow to reach the target.
  • A shorter limbs and draw length to minimize recoil and vibration. In addition, the compound crossbows are more compact and comfortable in a limited space.
  • Requirements for a special tool to break the string and complicated maintenance due to the number of parts and complex installation.

Recurve Crossbows

Compared to the compound crossbows, the recurve tool is much more simple in design. Especially, the innovative recurve limbs are longer so that you can expect a longer power stroke.

To be specific:

  • A different curve of the limbs and at the end of the bow which is pointing toward the target. Such a design improves safety by keeping the string from flicking out.
  • The recurve crossbows are often crafted with a durable aluminum or magnesium alloy, or carbon fiber. It means better longevity of the tool.
  • Plus, the draw length is higher than other types of crossbows. On the one hand, this improves the acceleration of the projectile and long-range shots. On the other hand, the long draw makes it hard and heavy to carry the crossbow around. Moreover, there is increasing noise and recoil.

Rifle Crossbows

This is a soon-to-be favorite hunting tool because of the highest technology adopted in crossbows.

Accordingly, there is an integration of the traditional crossbow with the additional rifle to provide an impressive accuracy of shooting.

What else?

  • Durable and reliable design of a fiber-based frame, along with a foot pull. Meanwhile, the overweight is still light and compact so that hunters can carry it and penetrate a dense forest.
  • The enhanced sights are a no-brainer. The riffle allows having an eye on a far-away prey and then, taking shots without any friction.
  • The velocity is unmatched, resulting in dead silence, not to spoke the animals away.
  • The disadvantages are related to the complicated installation and professional operation. Also, the tool is more pricey than other crossbows.

Other Crossbows

Besides these different types of crossbows as we mentioned above, you can also refer to several others such as repeating crossbows to shot several continuous boils at a time or reverse-draw limbs crossbows to reduce vibration and increase the speed of shoots even 3 times faster.

Feel free to refer to the knowledge above and pick up your most suitable crossbows.

Further reading: 

History of crossbows – Wikipedia

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