List Of The 5 Best Pistol Crossbows

Are you a fantastic sportsman who loves having the best of the best in everything? Perhaps you are already familiar with the pistol crossbow, or perhaps it is entirely new to you. Either way, here is you buyer's guide!

First, why buy one? Those who have any background in archery will quickly appreciate how a crossbow compares to most other types of bows. They offer great power with less effort and are often easier to aim and fire, though you still need two hands to aim.

Pistol crossbows are smaller and lighter and often made out of fiberglass or plastic. However, each one is wonderfully unique. What are some things you should know to decide what crossbow is perfect for you? You should look at several things: the size of the bow, the weight of the bow, the speed, the draw weight, what the purchase includes and what type of release it has.

Size and weight tell you whether it is something you can comfortably hold and use. The speed is the fun part you can wow everyone with! Draw weight will need to vary depending on your strength. A purchase can include more than just the bow; it can include a whole kit. You may prefer a certain type of release. Each of these things is critical.

Top 5: Pistol Crossbows Review

Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow | Shoots 350 FPS | Includes 4x32 scope, rope cocking device, light weight quiver & two 20 inch Headhunter arrows

The first brand for you to look at is the Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II 350 FPS Crossbow. The size is 16.125" axle to axle, length 34.25", width 18.25".

The weight of it is 6.4 pounds. The speed, as is stated in the name, is 350 feet per second. That packs a lot of power! The draw weight sounds fantastic: 150 pounds, until you realize the amount of leverage you have with a crossbow that you do not have with a typical bow.

This purchase can include a scope, quiver, and arrows. It has very high reviews and is the number one best seller on Amazon for archery crossbows. Of course, as with all products, there are both pros and cons to this powerful weapon.


  • The Anti-Dry Fire trigger system makes it so that you won't fire the crossbow without a bolt. That is called dry-firing, and it can damage your bow severely. Accidents happen, but this trigger system protects against accidental dry firing ahead of time.
  • It is quite easy to get great accuracy, and many people report that they get it within just a few hours of starting with it!
  • Apparently, it is easy to use in a tree stand because of its size and shape. That means that for a hunter, it may be the ideal choice. You can have it ready cocked for when that perfect deer arrives!
  • It allows you to add a crank cocking device. This means that you won't be pulling 150 pounds yourself; just crank it up and go, with minimal physical effort.


  • There is no way to let down the bow. This can cause some trouble for hunters, as they can't always guarantee that they are going to be able to fire that perfect shot at all. You wind up with a drawn bow you have no choice but to load and fire at something.

This is minor compared to the advantages, and it will not really affect anyone who simply enjoys target shooting, so this remains a best-seller.

SPARTAN RACE Red Back Pistol Crossbow

Another major favorite is the SPARTAN RACE Red Back Pistol Crossbow. This product is very affordable. While it may look smaller and lighter than some other brands, it is not a toy!

It fires at 235 feet per second, and the draw weight is just 80 pounds. That means it is a lot easier to cock than heavier bows, but still delivers a lot of power.


  • You can get pretty good accuracy right off the bat. They have few variables, so you can expect consistent results.
  • Unusually affordable for the quality you can expect. You don't have to worry about parts rattling or falling apart!.
  • For its price and size, it is very powerful. 235 feet per second is nothing to sneeze at.


  • Some people have said that it is hard to cock. Even though it is 'only' 80 pounds, it does not have a crank. That can make it difficult for those with a slight build.

No one would think to call it a child's toy. It has no real negative ratings, so it may be the perfect choice for someone who is looking for affordable quality.

80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow with 15 Arrows and Scope

The third featured on our list would be the 80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow with 15 Arrows and Scope. It gives plenty of advantages compared to other similar options. It is a little over a foot long.

Its 80 pound draw gives 160 feet per second to the bolts that are fired, plus the laser scope allows for easy aim and good accuracy.


  • The self-cocking mechanism means that almost anyone can use this. It prevents you from having to pull back all 80 pounds of weight every time you want to shoot!
  • Because it is easy to cock, this means you can get greater speed for loading and firing. Shooting a crossbow can be tedious because of the time it takes to cock, but this little bow eliminates that pain point.
  • Wow, does this small crossbow pack power! If 160 feet per second doesn't sound like anything to get excited over, just ask people who have used it. The bolts go deep into targets, so be careful what you shoot at!


  • Stringing it the first time can be very difficult. 80 pounds is nothing to sneeze at, so you may need help to set it up the first time.
  • Not a top-notch quality in the form of a crossbow, as you it is a cheaper price. Some people experience a shorter lifespan than they would have hoped, and the bolts, which are only meant for temporary use, do not last long.The safety mechanism sometimes has problems also.

All in all, it seems like it would be well worth the price for a beginner or someone who simply enjoys crossbows as a hobby. With care, it will make a decent choice!

PSE Viper SS Crossbow Viper SS Handheld Crossbow, N/A

Another is the PSE Viper SS Crossbow Viper SS Handheld Crossbow. This one has a draw weight of just 50 pounds, and despite that its speed is an incredible 215 feet per second!

It weighs only 1.6 pounds. It has a track style rail for the bolts, which makes for greater accuracy.


  • Features incredible quality for the price! If you have been disappointed by the pathetic quality of low-cost options, this one is the perfect alternative. It will work great for a long time.
  • The high power you can expect from this is out of all proportion to the size and weight. It is a deadly weapon, so use proper caution with it! It will outperform many products with a heavier draw weight in terms of penetration.
  • In regards to speed, who would have thought a 50 pound draw could produce more than some 80 pound crossbows? At 215 feet per second, you won't have any trouble wowing friends and family!


  • The assembly instructions leave more than a little to be desired. Some people have taken it to an archery shop for help, while others are able to assemble it based on the pictures of the fully assembled crossbow. A few people have given up altogether.

The conclusion seems to be that it is more than worth what you pay! High quality at such a price is unusual, not to mention how much power is packed behind an easy draw.

Prophecy 80 Pound Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow with Cobra System Limb (Black with Bag and Extra Arrows)

The final option that should be mentioned is the Prophecy 80 Pound Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow with Cobra System Limb. It has an aluminum body instead of cheap plastic.

The Prophecy's 80 pound draw weight produces about 150 feet per second. It is described as semi-automatic.


  • Very affordable. If you are just starting out or using a crossbow is only a hobby, why spend the money for the super-expensive brands when you can get what you need at this price?
  • Many people say it is accurate up to over 45 feet, so that is something to recommend such a lightweight crossbow.
  • This discharges very quietly, and so you don't have to be concerned about worrying other people with sound effects.


  • Some people say that the bow is cheap, which is to be expected given the price. Apparently one of the limbs is very fragile and may break if you don't take care. This should be able to be eliminated with gentle treatment.
  • One of the big worries is that some say it is not really self-cocking. Or at least, it might as well not be. It seems that it takes quite an effort to load after all, despite the semi-automatic claim.

All in all, while this is by no means for a hunter or professional, it can be great for the hobbyist or Christmas gift.

pistol crossbow Buying Guide

So, we went through a list of five major possibilities: the Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II 350 FPS Crossbow,the SPARTAN RACE Red Back Pistol Crossbow, the 80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow with 15 Arrows and Scope, the PSE Viper SS Crossbow Viper SS Handheld Crossbow and the Prophecy 80 Pound Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow with Cobra System Limb.

With all of the information you now have, you may have a preference. Maybe your preference is based solely on being affordable. The self-cocking options are the cheapest and maybe the easiest to shoot.

best pistol crossbow

However, for a price to quality ratio, the PSE Viper seems to have the day. It has the highest speed of the cheaper brands, the lowest draw weight and some of the best reviews. Why get something that won't last when you can get this for a few dollars more?

PSE Viper SS Crossbow Viper SS Handheld Crossbow, N/A

^^ Click Picture To Check Price & Reviews ^^

If you are looking for something with a bigger size, still more speed and the most professional, you probably want the Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter. It will definitely have the biggest wow factor!

Pistol crossbows like these have the great advantage of being much easier to draw and shoot than other options. They are smaller, but they can still pack all the power you could hope for, and bring lots of advantages in the form of price and usability.

Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Crossbow | Shoots 350 FPS | Includes 4x32 scope, rope cocking device, light weight quiver & two 20 inch Headhunter arrows

^^ Click Picture To Check Price & Reviews ^^

Just make sure that no one mistakes these for toys! They may be small, but they have deadly power. Use them carefully and make sure you have a safe environment in which to shoot and store them (gun safes or cabinets are an option - checkout Secureit Gun Storage).

Commonly Asked Questions

Can a crossbow pistol kill?

Multiple strikes that come from an 80-pound pistol crossbow can have lethal consequences. However, it may depend on the areas that get hit repeatedly. While it cannot kill anyone with a single shot, it may take multiple hits to the vital organs to ensure that serious injury or death can occur. Therefore, it might not be suitable as a self-defense weapon if you are using it in situations where your life might be in danger.

Can a crossbow pistol kill a deer?

Unfortunately, it cannot kill a deer even if you and the target are situated within a 100-yard distance. Of course, it will actually be impossible to kill any kind of big game with a pistol anyway. However, a pistol crossbow can be useful if you are planning on using it for small game such as birds, rabbits, or varmint. At 100 yards, it can kill these kinds of animals with just a single shot or even as many as three.

How powerful is a pistol crossbow?

One of the most powerful crossbows is the SAS 150-Pound pistol crossbow. This has the ability to shoot projectiles at speeds of up to 210 feet per second. The energy is transferred via the limbs of the crossbow and can deliver a decisive blow to your target in as little as one shot. Since it’s 150 pounds, it will also have a large amount of force compared to projectiles that are being fired from an 80-pound pistol crossbow.

Can a crossbow be used for self-defense?

Unlike most firearms, a crossbow has a smaller range. And therefore, it will place you at a disadvantage if you find yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself. It would be smart of you to use a firearm like a handgun, rifle, or shotgun since it will have more range and stopping power compared to a crossbow.

A crossbow should only be used for the purposes of recreation like competitions or hunting small game.

Do you need to undergo a background check for purchasing a crossbow?

A crossbow is technically considered an archery item. So it won’t be considered a firearm. This means you will not undergo any kind of background check. On top of that, archery equipment has fewer government regulations compared to firearms. However, you still may need to be a certain age or older in order to acquire any kind of archery equipment such as bows and arrows. That’s because they can still be constituted as weapons for recreational purposes. And it may cause some kind of danger to those who are under the age of 18.

How far can a pistol crossbow shoot?

It will depend on some factors. For example, a modern crossbow might be powerful enough to fire projectiles and hit a target that is situated 500 yards away. However, if you are a hunter you can be able to hit your targets anywhere ranging from 30 to 60 yards away.

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a crossbow, check out one of these top-rated brands! Whether for gifts, hunting or target shooting, all of these are top-rated. No matter what you are looking for in a crossbow, chances are you can find it with one of these.


Official Top 5 Review Team
Official Top 5 Review Team

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