Today I’ve got something really exciting to share…
A Guide To Finding The Perfect Crossbow For Survival & Preparedness
Because the crossbow is a very wise tactical weapon to own.
It’s a deadly, nearly silent weapon that doesn’t depend on ammo and with low regulation.
It’s a weapon everyone should own – especially if you’re into survival.
But with so many brands and options on the market, it’s hard to know which is “best”…
This guide will cuts through all the clutter…
TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE… ↓(click to jump)
- Best Crossbows On The Market
- Why You Should Get A Crossbow
- The Best Crossbow Features
- Different Types You Can Choose
- How Much Draw Weight?
- Crossbow Legality Q&A
Like choosing any other survival gear, you can spend as much or as little as you want on these bad boys.
And, like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
If you have a large bankroll, go for a top-of-the-line model. You can expect high performance and unmatched quality.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to stretch every dollar, you need to look out for deals and be ready to do your homework.
We’ve found some of the best options at every price point.
Starting with the best crossbows for the money:
The Barnett Jackal is a great entry-level model. This package contains a quiver, three bolts, and a sight.
If you'd like to hunt with it someday, you'll need to add some bolts with broadheads, and you're ready to go.
The Barnett Jackal is lightweight and has a "dry fire" prevention safety feature. This helps to prevent damage from firing it without a bolt loaded.
- Solid design and construction
- The complete package for beginners
- Some people report it's louder than expected
- Harder to cock than other similar models
↓ Barnett Jackal Review With Muzzy Broadheads ↓
The CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper improves on the Barnett Jackal in several areas.
First off, as the name implies, it's much quieter. This is an important feature and prevents giving away your location.
Secondly, it's much faster - which translates into more Kinetic Energy and knock-down power.
It has a suitable cocking mechanism and robust safety features.
Unfortunately, the arrow retention spring appears to be a weak design point. So be careful when loading your arrows.
- Good safety features
- Users have reported some durability issues
↓ CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper 380 Crossbow Review ↓
Southern Crossbow is a relatively small company. But they have unique features many people like.
Combined with their low cost, they are one of the best crossbows for a beginner.
In particular, people like the familiarity of the AR-15 style stock. This can make for a smooth transition from shouldering and aiming a firearm.
They also have an acceptable amount of power, translating to reasonably fast arrow speeds.
- Comfortable AR-15 stock
- Bolts were low quality
- Heavier than average
↓ Southern Crossbow Risen XT AR-15 Style Deluxe Crossbow ↓
Now let’s move up a bit in the price range.
Next are some quality crossbows at a medium price:
The Invader G3 is very sturdy that should provide years of service.
It comes nearly pre-assembled on arrival, so you can immediately head out to the range or the woods.
It also features a well-designed cocking mechanism and dependable safety features.
Unlike competitors, it's a reasonably lightweight design with a compact limb system.
- Effective cocking mechanism
- Lightweight and maneuverable
- The scope may not hold zero for extended storage
- Somewhat noisy, especially the cocking mechanism
↓ Wicked Ridge Invader g3 Crossbow Review ↓
The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II is another excellent and lightweight hunting unit. It has an advanced trigger mechanism and safety vs. others in this price range.
It's small enough not to be bulky in a blind or treestand but boasts 350 fps.
The package also includes a modest scope, quiver, and bolts. This makes for a complete setup for an affordable price.
- Advanced trigger mechanism
- Includes several excellent safety features
- The arrow track seems imprecise, causing grouping issues
- The scope is not the best, resulting in drift - many people have opted to replace
↓ Barnett Whitetail Hunter II Review ↓
The Barnett Whitetail Pro STR is nearing the "expensive" mark. But you'd think it costs more than this, with all the features included.
The string dampers help to keep it quiet, while the illuminated scope can help at the edge of shooting hours.
Like similar packages, it comes with a quiver and bolts. But the bolts seem to be of higher quality than comparable starter sets.
- Fast arrow speeds
- Included string dampers help quiet string noise
- Several reports of dry fires, which can damage the bow
↓ Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow ↓
If you’re willing to pay up for higher-end technology, these best of the best take you up a level in quality:
TenPoint is quickly developing a solid reputation with the pros. They make high-quality products at a variety of price points.
The Titan SS is a dependable workhorse for small to medium-sized game. It's lightweight, compact, and easy to carry and shoot.
The 340 fps arrow speeds are fast enough for nimble deer. AND small enough to swing in the brush to follow a rabbit or grouse.
- Lightweight and compact
- High-quality build
- Not suitable for game larger than whitetail deer
↓ TenPoint Titan SS Crossbow Review ↓
I grew up with Fred Bear stories and visited the Bear Archery store.
When I think of that name, traditional bows pop into my mind. But it turns out that Bear Archery is also producing some advanced reverse draws!
The Fisix FFL is a great example, with a tiny 11" width at full draw and a well-balanced profile, making it easy to swing.
This one is extremely solid! But that comes at a price - in this case, a weight of almost 10 lbs!
You won't want to carry the Fisix for a full day of stalking. But it's hard to beat the accuracy that stability provides.
This is an ideal setup for a large blind or treestand hunting!
- Incredibly accurate
- Solid and durable Bear Construction
- Nearly 10lbs!
↓ Fisix FFL Review ↓
Here's another fine recurve design from Excalibur.
The Bulldog includes some significant upgrades from their starter models.
Notably, the high 400 fps arrow speeds are great for those interested in large game because this generates far more kinetic energy than lower-speed models.
The recurve design allows for easy maintenance and lightweight construction.
At just over 6 lbs, it's easy to carry around in the woods.
Bonus details such as the illuminated scope and integrated cocking rope make for a complete package.
- 400 fps speeds make it suitable for large game
- Quiver and quality bolts included
- Wide recurve design might not be maneuverable in brush or treestands
↓ Excalibur Matrix Bulldog 400 ↓
Finally, if you absolutely have to have the best, here are some top-of-the-line options with ALL the features:
The TenPoint NitroX lists a respectable arrow speed of 385 fps. But this model has many reports of speeds well above 400 fps.
With the right arrow combination, even 440 fps!
That kind of speed creates the power to take down big game.
This rugged, reverse-draw design makes it a technical work of art that's hard to beat.
- Arrow speeds of more than 400 fps are possible
- Very well balanced due to reverse draw
- Extremely accurate due to vibration reduction
↓ Shooting The New Ten Point NitroX Crossbow ↓
Yes, the Scorpyd Aculeus is extremely expensive.
It's also one of the fastest designs on the market today. It comes in at a staggering speed of 460 fps.
So fast that you're limited on what arrows can handle the forces created when you pull the trigger.
All that speed is paired with incredible accuracy. This is due to its high-precision construction and detailed engineering.
This makes for an unbeatable option for nearly any situation.
- Incredible speed
- One of the very best on the market today
- Audible click when removing safety
- Limited arrow choices
- $uper expensive
↓ New Scorpyd Aculeus Review ↓
The crossbow excels as both a self-defense weapon and a hunting weapon.
But as survival sites, we tend to look at things with an eye toward “worst-case” SHTF-type scenarios.
That’s why I like this video from Canadian Prepper. He does a nice job laying out all the survival justifications for owning one:
↓ SHTF Arsenal: The Crossbow ↓Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.
When it comes time to choose, many competing models and claims exist.
It can be daunting to navigate all the options and decide which fits your needs best.
To help narrow the field, you should consider the following features:
Speed is king. Faster arrow speeds translate to more powerful shots and penetrating power.
A compound crossbow can deliver these high speeds much easier than a recurve model. But don’t forget to consider the size and strength of the bolts.
The heavier the bolt, the more momentum it will have to carry through a target.
A high-powered compound crossbow can snap a light, poorly constructed bolt. So make sure you buy ones rated to the task.
As with anything you’re carrying around the woods, weight matters.
A lightweight unit may be easier to carry, but it won’t dampen out the vibrations caused when you fire a bolt.
On the other hand, a heavy unit may feel like a boat anchor but shoot smooth as silk.
So, it’s best to think about the hunting or shooting you plan to do.
Whether you stalk prey on foot or wait in a blind or both, it’s best to think about the intended use before you “pull the trigger” on a purchase.
“Draw weight” is NOT the same as “overall weight.” “Overall weight” refers to how much weight you’ll be carrying.
While “Draw weight” measures the force needed to pull the string back into position.
A higher draw weight means it’s harder to prep the crossbow for shooting. But the higher draw weight results in higher arrow speeds.
That’s why many offer cocking mechanisms to help offset the difficulty of intense draw weights.
Draw-assist mechanisms are popular, especially for those who are older or disabled.
Compared to rifles and shotguns, just about any crossbow is relatively quiet. But you may be looking for something extremely quiet and stealthy.
Perhaps you want a model to avoid spooking wild game or to help conceal your presence.
A recurve crossbow with parallel limbs is the quietest.
This type has fewer moving parts, and the forces are more balanced. This translates into fewer parts in motion to create noise in the first place.
Also, you can add stabilizers and string silencers to help reduce the “twang” of any bowstring.
Crossbows, especially compound models, are mechanical works of art.
The materials, precision, and assembly all contribute to the device’s reliability, accuracy, and power.
If the manufacturer skimps on any of these, your experience as a user suffers.
Manufacturer / Brand Name
As with anything else, there is something to be said for long-lasting brand names.
A name is not the last word in quality. But a brand with a loyal following is most likely built on a quality product.
The same goes for outstanding customer support.
Stop by your local archery ranges and shops. Ask around for the best recommendations from other shooters and professionals.
Take the time to shoot any models you’re considering buying. Get help fitting and setting up your crossbow after purchase.
You’ll learn much more about how to fine-tune things and get some great shooting tips.
These have come a long way since Leonardo da Vinci drew prototypes in his notebooks.
There are designs for various uses and at all levels of technology.
These are mostly for target shooting. Though perhaps you could hunt small game like rabbits with one with some practice.
But few will be able to take down larger game like deer.
Whether made of wood or modern materials, they have few moving parts. This makes them inherently lighter and more durable.
Many recurve designs can be serviced in the field if a string breaks or is knocked out of alignment.
They are also usually cheaper than more technologically advanced compound models. They are also quieter when fired since they don’t have as many moving parts.
The most significant disadvantages are the massive draw weights and slower arrow speeds.
There are multiple pulleys and cams on the ends of each limb of a compound bow. In addition to several wraps of cable around them as well.
This sophisticated design allows the bow to “let off” the draw weight once you reach a certain point. This makes it far easier to cock the firing mechanism and still get fast arrow speeds.
Plus, the limbs of a compound bow are often much shorter than a recurve model. This allows for a more compact design with better maneuverability.
They often have much higher arrow speeds; thus, the resulting Kinetic Energy of the bolts is much higher. However, they do have some significant drawbacks.
First off, they’re louder, heavier, and more of a challenge to maintain.
In fact, a broken string can be dangerous as it unwinds through the cams and can not be serviced in the field.
Reverse Draw Crossbows
This results in a better-balanced weapon. This means it’s more comfortable and maneuverable than its design predecessor.
Plus, they fire faster arrow speeds than most compound models and at reduced noise levels.
Here’s a nice introduction video on the different technologies.
This video only scratches the surface, but if you’re new to this world, it’s a must-watch:
↓ CSE-Crossbow Bow Technologies ↓Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.
The first question most people ask is, “How much draw weight is enough?”
Honestly, it depends on what you want to do. Modern crossbows are built for one of two purposes: target shooting and hunting.
1. Target Shooting
Lower draw weight and lighter arrows are perfectly acceptable. Lower draw weights and reduced recoil will often be more accurate for shooting.
Ever notice that all the Olympic sharpshooters are using .22cal rifles? Same reason.
Accurate shooting is always essential, but so is knock-down power if you’re hunting.
As you hunt larger and larger game, the energy required to take down the animal increases. An arrow must penetrate the skin, muscle, and bone to hit vital organs.
This is measured as the kinetic energy (KE) of the weapon. This is calculated using arrow speed and mass.
Higher speeds and higher mass result in a greater KE. This means you can shoot a heavy arrow slower or a lighter arrow faster to achieve the same KE.
The trend has been towards lighter, faster arrows in the past several decades. That’s because they fire further and reach the target faster. Often before the animal hears or realizes it got shot.
Most manufacturers design their hunting models around medium to large-sized game.
In North America, most hunting is shy of the biggest game, such as moose and bear.
With that said, an arrow speed of over 300 fps can efficiently dispatch a whitetail deer. If you’re hunting larger game, faster speeds (and heavier broadheads) would be necessary.
Here’s a helpful video that provides even more details on setup, and kinetic energy:
↓ How Much Kinetic Energy Do You Need To Hunt Dear, Bears…and Moose? ↓
One of the most common questions is whether they’re legal to own and use.
Unfortunately, I can’t give you legal advice. That’s why you should look up local regulations for where you live before finalizing your purchase.
Depending on where you live, it may be treated more like a firearm than a bow, while some states only allow them for hunting with disability permits.
This website provides helpful information by state for crossbow hunting.
A crossbow can be a great hunting tool. It combines the quiet approach of archery with easier aiming and firing.
You don’t run out of ammo (as long as you recover your arrows), and they can last for years with proper care and maintenance.
There are so many models on the market that there’s certainly one that fits your budget and needs.
It’s worth considering a crossbow for your next hunting season!
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