How to Choose the Best Pistol Crossbow

Pistol crossbows are also known as crossbow handguns, mini crossbows, and hand crossbows. They are becoming more and more popular on the market as they are cheap while still very powerful and effective. Just like when you choose other hunting tools on the market, there are a lot of features you need to consider. They include the self-cocking mechanism, the assembly, or the string.

Check out the guide below for more information about pistol crossbows, how to choose the best pistol crossbow as well as the reviews of the best models that you can have on the market.

What Is Pistol Crossbow? Why Should You Buy It?

A pistol crossbow is a crossbow that can be held in your hands. A crossbow is a type of bow with a wooden support and a mechanism for you to draw and release the string. A pistol crossbow is a modified version of that traditional crossbow. In fact, there is no stock on the main body of the crossbow. You need to use the pull the draw or use the “self-cocking” mechanism to cock the device.

What Is Pistol Crossbow

Image source: William Tell Archery Supplies

Pistol crossbows are becoming more and more popular, especially for hunters who have just begun hunting. There are several reasons to persuade you why you should purchase a pistol crossbow:

A pistol crossbow is not as scary as a gun. Imagine that this is your first time holding a gun, how scary is it? If you want to persuade someone to shot something, they might feel more comfortable holding a pistol crossbow than a gun.

In general, a pistol crossbow is small, lightweight and portable. Hence, it is easy to carry around, use, and control as well as storing a pistol crossbow.

In comparison with a regular crossbow or other bows such as the compound bows and recurve bows, a pistol crossbow costs less. Not just the upfront cost, but also the cost to maintain and the cost of the ammunition. A pack of 50 bolts will cost less than the cost of 12 full-sized arrows.

Is It Essential? How Powerful Is It?

A pistol crossbow, in general, isn’t as powerful as a regular crossbow. However, it is powerful within a certain range. Many people have conducted some tests to test the power of the pistol crossbows. Turn out; it can have shot through 4 full soda cans within the range of 6 feet. Quite powerful, isn’t it?

The power of the pistol crossbows depends on their different draw. Some more powerful pistol crossbow has the draw weight of 80 lbs. With this specification, these pistol crossbows can take down a small animal when you aim at them from the distance of about 20 to 40 yards.

While the power of a pistol crossbow is not as much as the regular crossbow, it is cheaper, especially for the cost of the ammunition.  If you are looking for a weapon for your target practice, you can think about buying a pistol crossbow. In addition, you can use a pistol crossbow to hunt small game as well as vermin, squirrels, rabbits, ducks, and rodents.

Things to Consider

There are a lot of things you need to know in order to choose the Best Pistol Crossbow that meets your needs and requirements. Here are some of the most important things to consider:


Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the “self-cocking” feature allows the pistol crossbow to cock for you. In fact, it means that you can cock the pistol crossbow without using any additional items such as the rope cocker.

If you don’t want to carry a lot of stuff or having troubles of installing the additional tools to the pistol crossbow, you can opt for the pistol with the built-in mechanism for the self-cocking feature.


Image source: Pick A Bow


As I mentioned above, the cost of the ammunition is quite reasonable so you don’t have to worry much about this factor.  All of the pistol crossbow bolts are shorter than the regular bolds.

Still, you need to choose between plastic bolts and aluminum bolts.


When you buy a pistol crossbow, they don’t come to you as a full unit. In fact, you need to assemble these 3 main parts of that pistol crossbow including the pistol body, the limb, and other accessories that come with it.  Some pistol crossbows have very simple ways for you to attach these parts. Some are not so.

The most difficult part for you when you install a pistol crossbow is the stringing.  If you are not confident with assembling a device yourself, go for a pistol crossbow with a shot stringing device such as the stringer.

Draw weight

Most of the pistol crossbows on the market have the draw weight of either 50 pounds or 80 pounds. The draw weight refers to the amount of weight you have to pull when you cock the pistol crossbow. The higher the drawer weight is, the more powerful it is. But you need to be strong enough to pull at such a weight.

However, thanks to the help of the self-cocking mechanism, you would have some leverage, making it lighter and easier for you to pull for cocking.

Scopes and Sights, Red Dot to Optical

Scopes and Sights, Red Dot to Optical

Image source: YouTube

Other factors that you need to look for in a pistol crossbow are the scopes, sights, and red dot to optical.

When you use your pistol crossbow for hunting small animals (well, most of us do), you might need the red-dot sight. This type of sight helps you to quickly sot your target and measure the distance between you and it. You can install it on the mounting rail.

On the other hand, if you tend to look further for your target, you can go for an optical device of the 4×20. With this device, you would be able to zoom in and have a better look at your target.

There are 2 main types of mounting rails for you to think about, which is the Picatinny rail and Dovetail rail. Choose the one which design you like the most.


The string of your pistol crossbow will constantly make contact with the rail of the bolts. Hence, it will wear out quickly. That is the reason why you need to pay attention to the quality of the string in any pistol crossbow. Make sure it is made of durable and rugged materials.

You also need to take care of your pistol crossbow’s string well as well. Remember to apply string wax on the string and the lube on the rail of the pistol after you make 8 to 10 shots.


Finally, make sure that using a pistol crossbow is allowed in your state and county.  Some states and counties might allow you to use a pistol crossbow. However, they tend to allow different specifications including the draw weight and the stock size that you can hunt with your pistol crossbow.

Hence, you need to check for these requirements carefully before you decide on which pistol crossbow you would like to purchase.

My Choices of the Best Pistol Crossbow

Here are the reviews of the best pistol crossbows on the market. Each of them has their pros and cons. And as a result, they are more suitable for different needs and levels of hunting.

1.Prophecy 80 Pound Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow with Cobra System Limb

This is a black pistol crossbow with the draw weight of 80 lbs. The arrows can travel up to 150 feet per second. The grip is made of plastic with wood grain while the frame is aluminum.


  • This pistol crossbow comes from a company with a reputation for producing high-quality archery tools with a high quality at reasonable price. Hence, you don’t have to worry about the quality and construction of this pistol crossbow. With the aluminum frame, this pistol crossbow can last for a long time.
  • It is easy to cock the device. It is also easy to use, even for beginners at hunting.
  • It features the semi-automatic loading and adjustable rear sight to help you shot quickly and with more accuracy.
  • The red-dot sight is included for you to identify your small game quickly and measure the distance precisely.


  • It is not easy for you to string this pistol crossbow. The pistol crossbow stringer is not included with this pistol crossbow.
  • There is no under mount rail.

2.Cobra System K-8025 Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow, 80-Pound

This is a black pistol crossbow with the draw weight of 80 lbs. The arrows can travel up to 165 feet per second. The body of this pistol crossbow is made of plastic while the bow is made of compressed molded fiberglass bow.


  • The cocking mechanism works quickly to shorten the reload time. It is also very easy to use this cocking mechanism.
  • It is very powerful. And along with the high speed of the arrow, you can shot your target without any difficulty within a close and medium range.
  • When the pistol crossbow is cocked, the safety feature is automatically engaged. You are less likely to have accidents while shooting with this device.
  • There are 3 arrows with an aluminum head packed with this pistol crossbow.
  • The material makes the pistol crossbow to be more lightweight and compact in size, allowing you to easily carry this pistol crossbow around without feeling uncomfortable.


  • When you pull and trigger the cocking system, it is quite noisy. It might startle your target animal. ‘
  • This pistol crossbow is suitable for plastic tactical sights only.

3.80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch

This is a plastic self-cocking crossbow with the draw weight of 80 obs. The arrows can travel up to 160 feet per second. It is made with the aluminum and fiberglass body.


  • This pistol crossbow features the built-in self-cocking mechanism. So when it needs 80 lbs draw weight, it is actually very easy for you to control the device without using much energy.
  • You can easily load with your hand over and over again, making shooting with this pistol crossbow quicker.
  • It is made with high-quality material to be very rugged and long-lasting.
  • The auto-safety feature automatically engages when you cock the device to ensure your highest level of safety.
  • There are 5 metal arrows attached to the package.


  • The string and the bolt do not make a straight alignment when the device is cocked.

4.80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow with 15 Arrows and Scope

This is a crossbow with the draw weight of 80 obs. The arrows can travel up to 160 feet per second. It features the full metal body colored with gold.


  • While some other pistol crossbows offer 3 to 4 free metal arrows, this pistol crossbow comes with 15 arrows.
  • This pistol crossbow comes with the self-cocking feature to provide you more leverage when you pull the string.
  • In addition, it has the build-in bold holders to help you carry about 5 to 6 bolts under the limbs. Then you can quickly get the bolts and shot at your target in a short amount of time.
  • It is compatible with red dot scope.
  • Overall, the construction of this pistol crossbow is very solid and sturdy with the high-quality materials to ensure this pistol can last for a long time.


  • The gold color of this pistol crossbow is reflective and might make you easily noticed by your target animal.

5.Bolt Crossbows The Seeker Crossbow

This is a black pistol crossbow with the draw weight of 80 obs. The arrows can travel up to 200 feet per second. The body of this pistol crossbow is made with plastic and compressed molded fiberglass.


  • The arrow coming out from this pistol crossbow can travel at the highest speed in comparison with other pistol crossbows on the market.
  • It comes with a full stock and a fore grip to have you have more steady aim and excellent control over your device.
  • The adjustable sights also help to enhance your accuracy.
  • There are 3 aluminum bolts coming with the pistol crossbow when you purchase it.
  • Like other high-quality pistol crossbows that you can find on the market, this pistol crossbow comes with the auto engaging safety features to prevent unwanted accidents from happening when you cock the device.


  • You have to buy an additional bow stringer if you want to string this pistol crossbow more easily.
  • It has a short draw with a low power stroke. As a result, the power is going to be low if you don’t spend a lot of energy on pulling the bow.

The comparison table

To make it easier for you, here is the comparison table of these pistol crossbows which I have reviewed above. Let’s look at the differences in their dimensions, draw weight,, and purpose of use of these pistol crossbows.

  Prophecy 80 Pound Self-cocking Pistol Crossbow with Cobra System Limb Cobra System K-8025 Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow, 80-Pound 80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch


80lbs Self Cocking Crossbow with 15 Arrows and Scope


Bolt Crossbows The Seeker Crossbow


Arrow Travels At 150 feet per second 165 feet per second 160 feet per second 160 feet per second 200 feet per second
Draw Weight 80 lbs 80 lbs 80 lbs 80 lbs 80 lbs
Purpose Of Use Target practice Target practice and small game hunting Target practice and small game hunting Small game hunting Small game hunting, or medium-sized game hunting


A pistol crossbow might not be as powerful as a traditional crossbow. However, with its lightweight, compact designs, and cheap cost, it is an essential hunting weapon you can consider. You can use it for target practice as well as hunting small animals. There are quite a few factors that you need to consider choosing the Best Pistol Crossbow including the dimensions, the draw weight along with the design.

With careful consideration, I am sure that you would be able to find the best pistol crossbow on the market which meets your needs and preferences in hunting. Soon you will realize that this is a kind of hunting weapon you can’t live without.