Best Pistol Crossbow: A Compact Solution

A pistol crossbow differs from other bows because you’re meant to hold it in either hand and it has a shorter draw.

The first point obviously makes it more versatile than a crossbow that’s tailored to either your right or left hand.

Prophecy 80 Pound Aluminum Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow with Cobra System Limb, Red Dot Scope and 3 Arrows
80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch
80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow with 15 Arrows and Scope
Wizard Archery 150lbs Short Stock Pistol Wood Crossbow with 4x20 Scope + 8 x Arrows and Rope Cocking Device (Wood)
PSE Archery Viper SS Handheld Recreational Shooting Crossbow
Our Rating
9.3
9.1
8.8
8.4
8.2
MSRP
Price not available
$59.95
Price not available
$109.99
$60.00
Weight
2.6 lbs
2.6 lbs
3.2 lbs
7.6 lbs
1.6 lbs
Draw Weight
80 lbs
80 lbs
80 lbs
150 lbs
50 lbs
Speed
165 FPS
160 FPS
160 FPS
210 FPS
215 FPS
Self-Cocking
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Prophecy 80 Pound Aluminum Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow with Cobra System Limb, Red Dot Scope and 3 Arrows
Our Rating
9.3
MSRP
Price not available
Weight
2.6 lbs
Draw Weight
80 lbs
Speed
165 FPS
Self-Cocking
Yes
More Information
80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch
Our Rating
9.1
MSRP
$59.95
Weight
2.6 lbs
Draw Weight
80 lbs
Speed
160 FPS
Self-Cocking
Yes
More Information
80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow with 15 Arrows and Scope
Our Rating
8.8
MSRP
Price not available
Weight
3.2 lbs
Draw Weight
80 lbs
Speed
160 FPS
Self-Cocking
Yes
More Information
Wizard Archery 150lbs Short Stock Pistol Wood Crossbow with 4x20 Scope + 8 x Arrows and Rope Cocking Device (Wood)
Our Rating
8.4
MSRP
$109.99
Weight
7.6 lbs
Draw Weight
150 lbs
Speed
210 FPS
Self-Cocking
No
More Information
PSE Archery Viper SS Handheld Recreational Shooting Crossbow
Our Rating
8.2
MSRP
$60.00
Weight
1.6 lbs
Draw Weight
50 lbs
Speed
215 FPS
Self-Cocking
Yes
More Information

What are the other benefits of pistol crossbows?

They’re great for beginners. If you’re new to shooting with a crossbow, a pistol crossbow can help you ease into the activity because it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

That said, pistol crossbows do pack a punch! If you’re interested in purchasing one, here’s our guide to the best pistol crossbow: a compact solution for archery and hunting.

Prophecy 80 Pound Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow with Cobra System Limb

Prophecy 80 Pound Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow

This pistol crossbow can launch arrows that will travel up to 165 feet per second (FPS). While it looks like a toy, it’s definitely not to be taken lightly.

This crossbow’s design is based on the Barnett Commando Pistol from the 80s and 90s, but it’s got some great modern benefits that take it to a higher level.

Let’s take a look at the most important features.

Benefits

  • It’s a semi-automatic pistol crossbow with 80-pound draw weight and a self-cocking mechanism. This makes it much easier to cock if you’re a beginner or just trying it out.
  • It’s designed with aluminum stock that’s durable, so it’s sure to last a long time.
  • It has an adjustable rear sight for greater accuracy when shooting.
  • It has a large foregrip. This makes it much more comfortable to hold and use.

Extra Features

  • It comes with a red dot scope included, which will help you when you’re hunting game.

Drawbacks

  • Some reviewers on Amazon have stated that the red dot scope is not made of great quality, so you might have to purchase a new one if this accessory is important for you to have in a bow.
  • The safety feature is a little tricky, so it’s important to be very careful when using this crossbow. That said, safety should always be your number one priority when using a bow!

Buying Guide

The Prophecy 80 Pound crossbow costs $70.00. It’s a strong, durable, and easy to use a crossbow that you’ll love to start using as soon as you get it.

With all of its great features, it’s no wonder that it’s such a popular product.

80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch

Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow

This self-cocking crossbow gives you many benefits at a low price.

At first, glance, as can be seen in the specs table featured earlier in this article, the Cobra Crossbow has similar features to the Prophecy bow, but it does have a slightly higher power stroke.

Let’s jump in and take a look at its benefits!

Benefits

  • Its body is made of metal, which makes it a durable and long-lasting product.
  • It has an automatic safety feature that is engaged when the bow is cocked.
  • It has 15 arrows included in the pack, which is great if you consider that you won’t get more than a few arrows included with other crossbows.

Extra Features

  • You can remove the bow’s rear sight if you wish to use a red dot scope instead, which is a great feature because you can customize the bow depending on your specific needs.

Drawbacks

  • Some reviewers have stated that setting up this crossbow requires a lot of strength, so you might not be able to do it on your own. This can be a bit of a letdown if you were hoping to be able to set it up alone.

Buying Guide

This crossbow costs under $35, so it’s a lot cheaper than the Prophecy crossbow. It also has a lot of extra features, like the pack of arrows that come included with it.

It’s the best mini crossbow that’s right up there with more expensive products that you can find on the market.

80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow with 15 Arrows and Scope

Last Punch Self Cocking Crossbow

While this might seem like the same product as the previous one by Last Punch, this bow by the same company has some differences that are worth checking out.

Benefits

  • It comes with a free pack of arrows and a red dot scope to increase your accuracy. This is great to help you get started as soon as you unpack it. No time to waste!
  • Its striking black and gold design is eye-catching but also scratch-resistant because its body is made of metal. So, you get a stylish design with the added bonus of durability, which is a nice combination, especially if both features are important to you. 
  • It doesn’t feel difficult to cock, which makes it great for beginners and pros alike to use.

Extra Features

  • It comes with a lower rail so that you can add extra accessories to it in the future, and this is sure to increase its lifespan.

Drawbacks

  • The safety mechanism is a little finicky and unreliable, which is worth bearing in mind so that you stay safe when using it.

Buying Guide

This bow costs under $50, so it’s definitely one of the most budget-friendly crossbows you can find.

With its eye for detail and style, it’ll also look great when you’re out there participating in archery competitions or just using it with friends at home.

Wizard Archery 150lbs Short Stock Hunting Crossbow

Wizard Archery 150lbs Short Stock Hunting Crossbow

This is a powerful crossbow that has 150lbs of draw weight, so it’s the heaviest on our list. While that might be concerning for beginners, it’s actually a good thing.

Benefits

  • The Wizard Archery crossbow is definitely prime for hunting because it’s lightweight while also being powerful. It can travel up to 210FPS, which makes it the most powerful on our list so far.
  • It’s higher draw weight means that it will create more speed, which results in a greater chance of you killing the game on a hunt because the arrow will be able to penetrate into the animal’s skin much more effectively.

Extra Features

  • The crossbow comes in three different designs, so you can choose the one that suits your style the best.
  • The crossbow comes with a rope cocking device, which is great because it can feel difficult to cock. This device is easy to use and can make cocking the bow much easier. If you find it difficult to cock your bow on your own, you’re not alone! Crossbows have become difficult to cock because they tend to have higher weights, so bow cocking aids are vital and it’s nice to see a crossbow that comes with one included.
  • It has an automatic safety feature that comes on as you cock it.

Drawbacks

  • The bolts that the crossbow comes with can’t have broadheads attached to them because they won’t fit properly, so you’ll have to purchase other arrows if you want to hunt bigger game.
  • If you want to purchase the bow that’s in a “wood” design, it’s the cheapest one (coming in at $86.99), but the other two designs – “desert camo” and “autumn camo” – will cost you more. The desert camo is $97.96 and the autumn camo is $94.99, which does feel like a negative feature because you shouldn’t have to pay more for a different design of the same product.

Buying Guide

This Wizard Archery crossbow costs under $90. While it’s a bit more expensive, there are features that make it worth purchasing.

Its speed and quality are two things that that really make it value for money.

PSE Viper SS Crossbow Viper SS Handheld Crossbow

PSE Viper SS Crossbow

While this crossbow is another one that looks like a child’s toy, perhaps due to the range of colors in its design, it’s certainly not one!

Take it seriously because it’s a valuable and powerful bow to add to your collection.

Benefits

  • The PSE Viper has a textured foregrip which gives you greater leverage when you load the bow.
  • While this crossbow does have a low weight – the smallest on our list, actually, coming in at 50lbs – it does have impressive speed – 215 FPS! It’s the fastest one in our buying guide, which makes it the best mini crossbow.
  • It has all the basics you need that seem to come standard in many high-quality crossbows, such as the important safety features and a self-cocking mechanism so you can load your arrows faster.
  • It’s got a sleek and compact design, which further enables it to shoot faster.
  • Sometimes strings wear away really quickly when you use your bow a lot, which is a bummer. But the PSE Viper SS crossbow helps to make your strings last longer. It comes with string protectors that are located on the tips of the bow’s arms. This is an excellent feature in a bow that should be included in other high-quality bows on the market.

Extra Features

  • When it comes to safety, this crossbow has the extra feature of a finger guard to protect your hands.
  • It also has the nice feature of allowing you to add more accessories to it, such as scopes.
  • This crossbow comes with three arrows included, so you can get started with it right away!

Drawbacks

  • Although it’s made to be user-friendly, the instructions that come with the bow are not easy to understand. This makes them difficult for beginners, or people who are purchasing their first bow.

Buying Guide

This crossbow costs under $40. For all that you get, it’s definitely a crossbow that’s worth adding to your must-have list.

It’s clear that this crossbow is made with various user-friendly and safety features in mind, which makes it a thoughtful and powerful mini crossbow at an incredibly low price.

Pistol Crossbow FAQ

Black Pistol Crossbow

Now that we’ve looked at the five best pistol crossbows on our list, let’s look at some common questions you might have about this type of compact and powerful bow.

Can you hunt with a crossbow pistol?

You can indeed hunt with a pistol crossbow. In fact, there are many benefits to doing so.

A pistol crossbow is smaller and lighter than a regular crossbow while being much easier to cock.

This makes it easy to carry around with you when you’re stalking prey.

While some people might think that using a pistol crossbow to hunt is difficult because these bows are less powerful than other types of bows, resulting in you having to get much closer to your prey, this can actually be a good thing.

Pistol crossbows provide you with a greater challenge when you’re on the hunt.

However, there are some important tips you should follow when hunting animals with a pistol crossbow.

Due to how they lack a bit of power, you should always make sure that you target the area on the animal that covers their lungs and heart.

This ensures that you’ll make a kill. It should go without saying that practicing a lot will benefit you, but you should also get your hands on a scope with a reticle so that you can see that spot on the animal’s body much clearer.

Remember, a cleaner, faster kill that doesn’t result in the animal suffering should always be a top priority for any hunter.

Is a crossbow considered a gun?

Pistol Crossbow In Hands

It might sound strange to say that a crossbow could be considered a gun, but the interesting thing is that it is defined as a firearm according to many legal jurisdictions.

Even though the crossbow doesn’t make use of combustion, this is still the case.

That said, you can’t say that a crossbow is actually a firearm, but this is a topic of hot debate! In some states, your crossbow will be considered a firearm. In other states, it won’t.

You’ll see that sometimes crossbows are lumped into the same category as firearms when it comes to hunting season.

Information that lists when you can use a crossbow to hunt will mention that crossbows are allowed during times when firearms are also allowed.

However, in some states, such as Rhode Island, crossbows aren’t considered to be firearms anymore.

They are now classified as bows such as compounds, longbows, and recurves, as Ten Point Crossbow Technology reports.

They’re also approved for all archery hunters during the archery deer season.

How powerful is an 80 lb crossbow?

An 80lb pistol crossbow will be powerful enough to bring down small game, such as squirrels, rats, rabbits, and rodents, from a distance of 20 or even 40 yards.

You can increase the crossbow’s power by using broadhead arrows and shooting them from a shorter distance. This could enable you to hunt larger game with greater success.

Broadhead arrows are valuable when hunting large game, but there are different types.

Mechanical broadheads are a good choice as these can be used when shooting game from a distance. They are also seen as being more precise.

How far can a crossbow pistol shoot?

Shooting With Pistol Crossbow

A crossbow can be pretty fast.

As can be seen in the Feet Per Second (FPS) of the arrows listed in this guide, you can find pistol crossbows that can travel up to 215FPS, as in the case of the FPS Viper crossbow.

Others are around the 160-165 range, which is still quite good.

Now, you might be wondering just how good those numbers actually are.

To put them in perspective, most recurve bows will shoot around 160 and 200 FPS, so the pistol crossbows featured in this guide can match recurve bows.

A pistol crossbow that has around 160 to 215 FPS can hunt various game. However, there’s more than a bow’s speed to bear in mind when choosing the right bow.

A bow that’s easy to load and use will help you to be more accurate, otherwise, that speed goes to waste. In addition, the bow’s power stroke is important to consider.

The power stroke of a bow can be defined as “the length of the horizontal rail your arrow travels when the bow is fired,” as Outdoor Canada states.

However, the site goes on to say that it’s also the length that the string needs to be drawn in order to cock the bow.

When your power stroke is longer, this requires less energy from the draw weight.

What are pistol crossbows used for?

Fishing With Crossbow Pistol

These crossbows are great for target practice as well as hunting small game, whether on your property or out in the wild.

However, if you want to take down larger animals, then you need to get closer to them and use the right arrows, as mentioned earlier.

But maybe you don’t want to use a pistol crossbow for hunting. Maybe you might want to get involved in competitive crossbow shooting.

In this case, the pistol crossbow can be beneficial because it’s cheaper to purchase than other crossbows.

Since they come in various designs and weights, you can find one that’s right for you.

One of the biggest advantages of using a pistol crossbow is that you can gain better control of how you shoot, which makes it perfect for learning how to use a crossbow with it.

Conclusion

A pistol crossbow has many benefits, whether you’re a beginner or more skilled with a crossbow.

However, it’s not always easy to know how to choose the right pistol crossbow for your specific needs.

That’s why this guide to the best pistol crossbow can help you make the right choice.

While there are some things that seem to come pretty standard in crossbows, such as safety features, it’s important to note that there are also some crucial differences to which you should pay attention.

While pistol crossbows come in a variety of weights and with different speeds, what the bows on this buying guide of pistol crossbows reviews have in common is that they’re compact and can be really powerful in different ways.

For example, some will have higher FPSs while others will have higher draw weights.

Whether you’re just starting out or have some experience with bows, there’s the perfect pistol crossbow for you in our guide.

Best of all, as can be seen with the pistol crossbows that have been featured in this article, they don’t have to cost you a lot of money in order to be a worthy addition to your backpack when you go hunting.

Best Pistol Crossbow: A Compact Solution 1

Leslie McKinnely

Lesie McKinnely fell into a spot teaching archery to middle schoolers, and it turned into a passion that he upkeeps to this very day. With over a decade of experience and knowledge under his belt, he looks for the absolute best deals on arrows, the highest FPS bows, and the best overall archery gear to get you out there. From hunting to target practice, he’s proficient in the art of the bow, and willing to teach you all about it.