The 5 Best Pistol Crossbows: Reviews and Complete Buying Guide

man holding a crossbow

Are you hunting for the best pistol crossbow, but are finding the task nearly impossible to navigate? There are so many factors to consider like draw weight and scope that the process can feel like you’re the one being hunted! Not to worry! We have created a list of the 5 best pistol crossbows and included a convenient buying guide for all your pistol crossbow purchasing needs.

In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top 3 Picks:

Top Pick
PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow Kryptek Highlander 175lbs 4x32 Illuminated Scope Package
Runner Up
CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
Best Budget Pick
80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch
PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow Kryptek Highlander 175lbs 4x32 Illuminated Scope Package
CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch
Price not available
$299.99
$67.95
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Top Pick
PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow Kryptek Highlander 175lbs 4x32 Illuminated Scope Package
PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow Kryptek Highlander 175lbs 4x32 Illuminated Scope Package
Price not available
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Runner Up
CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
$299.99
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Best Budget Pick
80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch
80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch
$67.95

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reviews of the 5 Best Pistol Crossbows

Let’s look at our list of the best pistol crossbows!

1. PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow

PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow Kryptek Highlander 175lbs 4x32 Illuminated Scope Package
  • INCOMPARABLE SPEED - Shoots at 400 fps! Includes four 22" carbon bolts w/ points & 1 discharge bolt.
  • CNC PRECISION - Compound bow features a CNC mechanism for increased power, speed, and accuracy.
  • REVERSE CAM SYSTEM - Creates a longer power stroke, which boosts the kinetic energy in every shot.
  • SCOPE & STOPS INSTALLED - 4 X 32 Illuminated scope and string stops to dampen sound & vibration.
  • ANTI-DRY FIRE - Provides ultimate safety. Package includes quiver, cocking rope, and rail lube.

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want the most powerful pistol crossbow on the market, you’ll want to look at the PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow. This model is manufactured with break-neck speed and precision in mind. Let’s see why this model is our best overall pick!

The most impressive feature of the PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow is its topnotch firing speed. It is the fastest pistol crossbow on the market with a 142-pound draw weight and a firing speed of 400 FPS. This model is guaranteed to hit the target with the strongest impact!

To further the impact of your shot, the PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow is equipped with a reverse cam system. Through an increase of kinetic energy, this system creates a longer power stroke that makes your crossbow even more powerful.

Another key feature of the PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow is its CNC precision. CNC precision simply means that the crossbow was manufactured via machine and not by hand. This ensures a more consistent and accurate shot.

The precision of the PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow is enhanced further through the already installed scope and stops. With the scopes and stops already installed, you don’t have to waste any time finding or mounting your scope. Instead, you just get straight to spotting your targets and fire away!

The PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow also stands out for is its emphasis on safety. This model comes with an anti-dry fire, ensuring that both you and your bow are safe and secure.

Pros:

  • 142-pound draw weight
  • 400 FPS
  • Reverse Cam system
  • CNC precision
  • Scope and stops already installed
  • Anti-dry fire

Cons:

  • Minimal assembly instructions
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow

CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow Package, Camouflage
  • HIGH PERFORMANCE 370 FPS - 18-inch axle-to-axle at full draw and 185-pound draw weight
  • FULLY ADJUSTABLE STOCK AND FOREGRIP - For a customized fit to shoulder with confidence
  • QUAD LIMBS WITH PRECISION-MACHINED CAMS SYSTEM - Delivers power and accuracy
  • MACHINED RAIL WITH SHOOT-THROUGH RISER
  • INTEGRATED STRING SUPRESSORS - For a quiet, vibration-free shot

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow is the next pistol crossbow on our list. It is extremely powerful and includes luxury items with the purchase. Let’s look more closely at this best runner up!

The most notable feature of the CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow is its incredible power. It has a 185-pound draw weight and a firing speed of 370 FPS. This ensures that your crossbow packs a powerful punch to your intended targets.

In addition to strength, the CenterPoint 370 Crossbow has superior precision. It is crafted with quad limbs and CNC precision. These features help make your shot as accurate as possible and guarantee a successful shooting experience.

Another key feature of the CenterPoint 370 Crossbow is its integrated spring suppressors. These spring suppressors silence the bow as it is shot and therefore minimizes the opportunity to scare away potential targets. This feature increases the effectiveness of your shot!

The CenterPoint 370 Crossbow stands out is for its safety features as well. It includes a safety and anti-dry fire trigger to protect yourself and your bow.

To put this model over the top, the CenterPoint 370 Crossbow also includes extra items with purchase. It comes with a 5-year limited warranty, three 20-inch arrows, parallel quiver, scope, and rope cocker. This makes the CenterPoint 370 Crossbow an ideal choice for luxury-seekers!

Pros:

  • 185-pound draw weight
  • Firing speed of 370 FPS
  • Quad limbs and CNC precision
  • Integrated spring suppressors
  • Safety and anti-dry fire trigger
  • Extra items

Cons:

  • Hard to cock
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

3. PSE Viper SS Crossbow

Sale
PSE Archery Viper SS Handheld Recreational Shooting Crossbow
  • INTEGRATED COCKING MECHANISM - Integrated cocking mechanism of the crossbow with safety lock serves as a second safety and ensures fast and easy set up
  • AUTO SAFETY & ANTI-DRY FIRE TRIGGER – Rear sight with elevation adjustment, front sight pin, new anti-dry fire mechanism for safety
  • A GOOD CHOICE FOR RECREATIONAL USE - Perfect for fun, recreational target shooting, it’s great and easy-to-use to get yourself familiar with crossbow archery
  • FEATURES - Track-style rail for precision shooting, durable fiberglass limbs, finger guards for hand safety, 3 Frenzy bolts included
  • SPECIFICATIONS - Draw weight: 50 lbs.; mass weight: 1.6 lbs.; speed: 215 FPS; for ages 18 and over (under 18 – parental supervision required)

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another great pistol crossbow model to check out is the PSE Viper SS Crossbow. This model has a fast firing speed and includes additional safety features. Let’s check out this model!

The key feature of the PSE Viper SS Crossbow is its superior safety features. It has an integrated cocking mechanism with a safety lock. This feature ensures a safe and easy shooting experience that is suitable for any experience level.

For further safety, the PSE Viper SS Crossbow has an auto safety and anti-dry fire trigger. These features ensure that both the shooter and crossbow remain safe during the shooting process.

To protect you even more, the PSE Viper SS Crossbow even has a finger guard. This finger guard protects your fingers from oppressions made by pulling and releasing the bow. This feature puts the PSE Viper SS Crossbow over the top in terms of safety.

In addition to safety, the PSE Viper Crossbow packs quite a punch. It has a 50-pound draw weight and a firing speed of 215 FPS. With one of the faster firing speeds available, PSE Viper SS Crossbow is sure to split through the air and hit your intended target with power and ease!

Pros:

  • Integrated cocking mechanism with safety lock
  • Auto safety and anti-dry fire trigger
  • Finger guard
  • 50-pound draw weight
  • Firing speed of 215 FPS

Cons:

  • Minimal assembly instructions
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

4. Ace Cobra Pistol Tactical Crossbow

Cobra System K-8025 Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow, 80-Pound
  • Pistol-style, self-cocking crossbow with strong plastic body and compressed molded fiberglass bow
  • 80-pound draw; fires crossbow arrows at speeds of 165 FPS (feet per second)
  • Ideal for both small game hunting and target practice
  • Speedy cocking mechanism shortens reload time
  • Includes three aluminum arrows with metal tips and adjustable tactical sight.

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want a pistol crossbow but are a beginner, you will need to check out the Ace Cobra Pistol Tactical Crossbow. This model is one of the safest and easiest to use on the market. See why this model is included in our list!

The primary feature of the Ace Cobra Pistol Tactical Crossbow is its superior self-cocking mechanism. This mechanism is unique to Ace and is much safer and easier to use than other models. All you have to do is pull down on the pivoting arm lever, and the crossbow engages the safety automatically. This allows you to aim and fire at your targets more quickly.

Another key feature of the Ace Cobra Pistol Tactical Crossbow is its sturdy material. This model is manufactured with a strong plastic body and compressed fiberglass bow. The sturdiness of this bow makes it suitable for both small and large game and elongates its lifespan.

The Ace Cobra Pistol Tactical Crossbow also stands out for its power. This model has an impressive 80-pound draw and firing speed of 165 FPS. This feature makes the model great for beginners and will make your arrows fly through the air.

As if the Ace Cobra Pistol Tactical Crossbow needed anything else, the purchase comes with additional items as well. The pack comes with an additional string and an extra set of 15 aluminum arrows. These items will allow more use of your bow without worrying about overusing your items.

Pros:

  • Self-cocking
  • Sturdy materials
  • 80-pound draw
  • Firing speed of 165 FPS
  • Extra items

Cons:

  • No instructions for assembly
  • Lower draw weight and firing speed
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

5. Snake Eye Cobra Crossbow

80lbs Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow with 15 Arrows by Last Punch
  • 80lbs Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow with 160 FPS
  • Self Cocking Crossbow
  • Black Body Crossbow 6.8" Power Stroke
  • Great for Small Hunting Games

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The last pistol crossbow on our list is the best budget-pick. The Snake Eye Cobra Crossbow packs a hit on your target but not your wallet. Let’s look at this money-saving option!

The main reason the Snake Eye Cobra Crossbow is our budget pick is for its affordability. Pistol crossbows can be very pricey, but this model is much more financially attainable. Being only a small fraction of the price of the other pistol crossbows on this list, the Snake Eye Cobra Cross has the most bang for your buck!

Despite its affordability, the Snake Eye Cobra Crossbow is still strong and fast. It has an 80-pound draw weight and a firing speed of 160 FPS. This means that the model does not skimp on power quality and will hit targets quickly and heavily.

Another key feature of the Snake Eye Cobra Crossbow is its self-cocking ability. This feature makes this budget pick comparable to other pistol crossbows and ensures ease and comfortability when using the crossbow.

In addition, the Snake Eye Cobra Crossbow is our budget pick because it comes with a free additional pack of metal arrows. These arrows will allow you to use your crossbow as frequently as desired without fear of running out of arrows! The addition of these items stretches your dollar.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • 80-pound draw weight
  • Firing speed of 160 FPS
  • Self-cocking
  • Extra items

Cons:

  • Lower draw weight and firing speed
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Buying Guide

Before buying a pistol crossbow, there are several factors to consider.

Parts of a Pistol Crossbow

Pistol crossbows are made up of several important parts.

  • Arrow retention spring: The arrow retention spring holds the arrow in place until it is released. It can be found under the sight.
  • Barrel: The barrel is the main body of the pistol crossbow.
  • Cocking stirrup: The cocking stirrup aids in cocking the crossbow. You use it by placing your foot in the stirrup, which prevents the crossbow from slipping.
  • Flight groove: The flight groove is a grooved track on top of the barrel. It is what allows the dart to shoot straight.
  • Safety: The safety ensures your safety and prevents the arrow from releasing accidentally. The safety may engage automatically or manually, depending on the model.
  • Sight: The sight allows you to see more accurately. It is located above the trigger on the sight bridge. Many pistol crossbow owners invest in a scope as well.
  • Other parts: foregrip, latch, limb, riser, serving, sight bridge, stock, string, trigger

Self-cocking Feature

When looking for a pistol crossbow, you will want to make sure your model comes with a self-cocking feature. Without it, the crossbow is basically useless. This feature makes the crossbow safe and easy to use. It also ensures the quickness of your shot.

To use most pistol crossbows with a self-cocking feature, simply pull back the bow and release. It’s that easy! The ease of the self-cocking feature makes pistol crossbows ideal for beginners.

Draw Weight

Another factor to consider is the crossbow’s draw weight. Draw weight refers to the amount of weight the bow holds when it is pulled back. The further back the bow is pulled, the heavier the draw weight.

The draw weight of pistol crossbows typically ranges from 50 lb. to 200 lbs. If you want your arrow to move quickly and forcefully, you will want a higher draw weight. When purchasing a pistol crossbow, you will need to consider what the ideal draw weight is for you.

Here are some factors to consider when determining your ideal draw weight:

  • Your strength: Your strength determines how far back you can pull the pistol crossbow. If you are on the weaker side, you will want a pistol crossbow with a lower draw weight.
  • Shooting distance: The distance you anticipate shooting from should heavily impact your draw weight. If you want to shoot at a distance, make sure that your pistol crossbow has a higher draw weight.
  • Size of targets: The size of your target should impact your draw weight. If you want to hunt smaller targets, you may want to look more closely at pistol crossbows with a lower draw weight.

Firing Speed

Alongside the draw weight, you will want to consider pistol crossbow firing speeds. The firing speed refers to how fast the dart leaves the crossbow and travels through the air. The firing speed is denoted in FPS, feet per second. Your ideal firing speed is determined by your crossbow needs, much like the draw weight.

Here are some factors to consider when determining your ideal firing speed:

  • Shooting distance: The distance you anticipate shooting from should heavily impact your firing speed. If you are shooting at longer distances, you will want a pistol crossbow with a high firing speed. This ensures that your dart has enough momentum to make it to your intended target.
  • Size of targets: The size of your target should impact your firing speed as well. If you want to hunt smaller targets, you may want to look more closely at pistol crossbows with a lower firing speed so as not to ruin your game.

Scope

Scopes are another important factor to consider when buying a pistol crossbow. All crossbows come with different aiming mechanisms, and it is important to find the kind that best suits your needs.

Some pistol crossbows depend on sight. This option is cheaper, given that minimal extra supplies are included. Simply depending on sight is efficient in target-shooting scenarios, but you will need more assistance for hunting.

Some pistol crossbow models come with preassembled scopes. This option is better for beginners or those unfamiliar with mounting a scope. If your model does not come with a scope, make sure that the scope matches the size and model of your pistol crossbow.

Preassembled or Self-Assembled

If you are a beginner pistol crossbow user, you may want to consider whether you want to assemble your crossbow yourself. Some models come preassembled for quick and easy access. The benefit of a preassembled pistol crossbow is that you do not have to worry about assembly.

Most pistol crossbows do not come preassembled, though. Self-assembled models may include assembly directions, but some do not. Often times, the included instructions for pistol crossbow assembly are minimal and difficult for a beginner to understand.

Additional Supplies

There are several additional items you may want to consider when purchasing a pistol crossbow. These items sometimes come with your crossbow, but you will more than likely need to buy them separately.

  • Extra string: Though crossbows are extremely tough, the strings can break. Having a backup string may come in handy and provide you peace of mind while hunting.
  • Bolts: A crossbow bolt is what is fired through the crossbow and at your target. You will want extra of these in case yours get broken or lost.
  • String wax: Sting wax increases the lifespan of your bowstring. It is always a good idea to have string wax to maintain your pistol crossbow properly. It will increase the longevity of your pistol crossbow and save you money in the long run.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about paintball masks.

What is a pistol crossbow?

A pistol crossbow is a crossbow with a self-cocking feature. It is the smallest of the crossbows and is best for back yard target practice and small game hunting. Pistol crossbows normally have a draw weight of 80-pounds and fire up to 165 FPS.

How big is a pistol crossbow?

Pistol crossbows are very small in size. They are hand-held and lightweight. Many weigh under 10-pounds, which makes them a great fit for beginner shooters.

Does a pistol crossbow involve bullets?

No. A pistol crossbow does not involve bullets. Instead, pistol crossbows shoot arrows or bolts. The name pistol crossbow refers to the grip of the crossbow.

In what scenarios would I use a pistol crossbow?

Pistol crossbows can be used in a variety of shooting scenarios. Many people enjoy using pistol crossbows for shooting practice. You can use a pistol crossbow for fishing too, but make sure your pistol crossbow is suitable for fishing conditions.

Most pistol crossbow owners use their model for hunting. Its quiet and lightweight design makes it efficient for hunting both small and large game. It doesn’t scare away potential targets, and it is easy to shoot.

Is a pistol crossbow deadly?

Yes. Pistol crossbows are extremely deadly and should be used with caution. It has the capability to kill small and large game, depending on the draw weight and firing speed.

Why would I get a pistol crossbow over a gun?

There are several reasons you may want a pistol crossbow instead of a gun.

  • Affordability: Pistol crossbows are less expensive than guns in terms of products required and maintenance. If you are on a budget, you may want to consider a pistol crossbow over a gun.
  • Quiet: Crossbows are substantially quieter than a gun. This feature lessens the chance of scaring away potential targets.
  • Few physical challenges: Crossbows are easy to use and require very little physical work. It has almost no recoil. This makes the crossbow easier to use for beginners.
  • Warmer weather: Crossbow season comes earlier in the year. This means warmer weather, which is more enjoyable for you!

What are the laws concerning pistol crossbows?

Laws vary by country and state. Make sure to check your local laws concerning pistol crossbows.

Conclusion

Buying a pistol crossbow can be a very intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be! We have created a comprehensive list of the 5 best pistol crossbows and included a quick and easy buying guide.

Our top pistol crossbow pick is the PSE Thrive 400 Crossbow. This model is one of the most powerful on the market and is sure to rip through the air. The CenterPoint AXCS185CK Sniper 370 Crossbow is our best runner-up. It is also extremely powerful and includes several accessory items. For our budget pick, we landed on the Snake Eye Tactical Self Cocking Cobra Crossbow. This crossbow has reliable power, is affordable, and even comes with additional items.

If you want to look at pistol crossbows not included in our list, make sure to pay attention to factors like draw weight, firing speed, scope, and self-cocking features. These factors will ensure you have the best pistol crossbow for your unique needs.