Hunting is a favorite pastime for many. It’s a way to enjoy the outdoors and in many cases spend time with family and friends. In some areas, hunting helps with the overpopulation of animals and in remote parts of the world, hunting is necessary for communities that have limited access to other food sources. Crossbows are becoming an increasingly popular tool for hunting thanks to their many benefits, which include affordable entry points and impressive accuracy.
Crossbows do not require the same physical strength as a traditional bow and arrow, which makes using a compound bow difficult for smaller hunters or hunters with physical disabilities. Once crossbows have been cocked, they remain in a ready position and allow hunters to focus on their target. Unlike compound bows, crossbows can be used while the hunter is in a kneeling position.
Many crossbows come with a scope or a space to add one, providing users with an accurate sightline. As noted by Gander Outdoors, crossbow hunting also has a longer season than hunting with guns, giving hunters more opportunity to enjoy their favorite sport. Crossbows are also quieter than guns, giving hunters the chance to reload if they miss their target on the first shot.
Whether you’re looking for a crossbow for target practice or for the next hunting season, there are several options available for every price point and skill level. Check out some of our top picks below.
1. Excalibur Micro Suppressor Crossbow
For those who like to get close to their prey, the Excalibur Micro Suppressor Crossbow should be at the top of their list. The super quiet crossbow has a Sound Deadening System that reduces noise and makes this a great option for short-distance hunting. Rubber grip inserts and a lightweight 5.4-pound design make this a comfortable crossbow to carry and hold. The Excalibur has a draw weight of 280 pounds, making it a crossbow that can be used under just about any hunting regulations for medium- and large-sized game.
2. TenPoint Viper S400 Hunting Crossbow
For a crossbow that is compact, easy to carry and even easier to shoot, we recommend the TenPoint Viper S400 Hunting Crossbow. A micro-trac barrel reduces string-to-rail contact by 50 percent, which means an increased level of accuracy and an extended lifespan for the crossbow’s string. The TenPoint has a zero creep design and shoots at a superfast 400 FPS speed. Like the Excalibur, the TenPoint has a silent cocking mechanism, which makes it a good choice for close-range hunting. Measuring only 32 inches long and 7.2 inches wide, the compact TenPoint also comes with a six-arrow tech quiver, three arrows and a RangeMaster Pro Scope.
3. Barnett Hunting Whitetail Hunter II Realtree Xtra Crossbow
BEST FOR SMALL-GAME HUNTING
For a reliable crossbow with an impressive level of accuracy that is ideal for small- to medium-game hunting, we like the Barnett Hunting Whitetail Hunter II Realtree Xtra Crossbow. The Barnett Hunting Whitetail has a 150-pound draw weight and an FPS speed of 350. Using a rope-cocking device, the Barnett is designed for both novices and experienced hunters. Weighing 6.4 pounds, the Barnett can be used by hunters with a smaller frame.
4. Ravin Crossbows R29 Crossbow
BEST FOR BIG-GAME HUNTING
For hunters who are looking for the big game, we recommend the Ravin Crossbows R29 Crossbow. The compact crossbow boasts an incredible amount of power, speed and accuracy. Measuring only 29 inches long, the Ravin has an incredible 430 FPS and a draw weight of 270 pounds, making it one of the best options for hunting large game. Comfortable to use and easy to shoot, the Ravin has a light scope that can be calibrated to shoot 100 yards. Although designed for long-range hunting, the Ravin is also a good choice for shorter ranges thanks to its silent-cocking that can be achieved when users hold down the crank release.
5. TenPoint Vapor
Sticking with the TenPoint brand, when it comes to safety, the Vapor model is one of the best options available. The Vapor comes with a big price tag but in return, customers get access to a crossbow with the ACUslide system, which allows users to safely cock and de-cock the crossbow by backwinding the handle and eliminating the risk that comes with holding buttons and using straps. Designed to last through many hunting seasons, the Vapor reduces string to rail contact by 50 percent, extending the life of the crossbow’s string to over 1,300 shots. The zero-creep crossbow weighs only five pounds and has a 48 percent increased downrange accuracy compared to other models.
6. CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow
BEST FOR LEFT-HANDED HUNTERS
Thanks to the ambidextrous design of the CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow, left-handed hunters can now focus on their target and not on trying to make their crossbow awkwardly fit with their shooting style. The fully adjustable stock and grip add to the comfort of the entry-level crossbow, which includes three carbon arrows, a parallel quiver, a scope and rope Cocker. The aluminum and composite CenterPoint has an integrated string suppressor for a quieter release and includes quad limbs with a CAMS system for improved accuracy.
7. Barnett Explorer XP380 Crossbow
For a high-quality entry-level crossbow that is easy to assemble, we recommend the Barnett Explorer XP380 Crossbow. The Barnett includes an Anti-Dry Fire Trigger system and has a Soft Lok Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer for easy handling. Single-bolt assembly makes this crossbow one that even beginners can easily assemble (it’s always recommended to have a professional check your crossbow before using it for the first time). With a draw weight of 185 pounds and a trigger speed of 380 FPS, the Barnett is an excellent option for midsize-game hunting.
8. CenterPoint Sniper Elite Whisper Crossbow
BEST ENTRY-LEVEL CROSSBOW
For those who are new to hunting with crossbows and want an affordable entry point, we like the CenterPoint Sniper Elite Whisper Crossbow. Designed with quad limbs and a precision CNC-machined cam system, the Sniper Elite Whisper fires up to 370 FPS and has a draw weight of 180 pounds, making it appropriate for small to midsized game. The lower price means that customers are missing out on some features, including the weight of the crossbow, which comes in at a heavier 7.9 pounds, but the Sniper Elite Whisper still boasts an impressive level of accuracy and an adjustable AR-style buttstock for a comfortable fit.
9. Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow
BEST FOR TARGET PRACTICE
For customers who are looking to improve their target practice or who simply want a lightweight and compact option for small-game hunting, we recommend the Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow. The pistol-style crossbow has an 80-pound draw and a speed of 165 FPS. Thanks to a speedy cocking mechanism, users can quickly reload the molded fiberglass bow. The crossbow comes with 39 aluminum arrows and two strings, as well as an adjustable tactical sight.