5 Best Pistol Crossbows of 2020
Bows and crossbows are fun, but crossbows are often 'too much' for some people. If you are one of those people who love crossbows but find them too powerful, then a pistol crossbow could just be what you need.
Pistol crossbows may lack the power to take down large game like conventional crossbows can, but they're small and easy to handle. They're also great for hunting small game and for target practice.
With this pistol crossbows review, you'll get all the information that you need to choose the right pistol crossbow. As well as a list of the best pistol crossbows in the market.
5 Best Pistol Crossbows – Review
1. Ace Martial Arts (Best Overall)
2. PSE 42199 Viper SS (Self Cocking Design)
3. iGlow 80-Lb (Aluminum Frame With Arrow Holder)
4. Firefield Stinger (Lightweight & Powerful Mini Crossbow)
5. Rex 50 Tactical Crusader (Cheapest)
1. Ace Martial Arts
2. PSE 42199 Viper SS
(Self Cocking Design)
3. iGlow 80-Lb
(Aluminum Frame With Arrow Holder)
4. Firefield Stinger
(Lightweight & Powerful Mini Crossbow)
5. Rex 50 Tactical Crusader
1. Ace Martial Arts Cobra – Best Overall Pistol Crossbow
- Draw Weight: 80 lbs
- Speed: 165 fps
Featuring a strong plastic body, including recurve limbs made from fiberglass, this cobra System self-cocking pistol crossbow offers many options for the prospective owner.
You can get the basic package with just 3 aluminum bolts, or you can get the premium package with 2 strings and 39 bolts. You can also get the pistol with a fiberglass body and 3 bolts or you can get it with a fiberglass body, 39 bolts, and 2 strings.
For downsides, there's no offer with a metal body, which would have been the most durable. But the price here is good.
The 80-lb draw weight fires the aluminum bolts at 165 fps, which is ideal for hunting game, target practice, and any other uses you can think of. It's quick cocking mechanism also speeds up the reload time.
2. PSE 42199 Viper SS – Self Cocking Pistol Crossbow
- Crossbow Weight: 1.6 lbs
- Draw Weight: 50 lbs
- Speed: 215 fps
The Viper SS from PSE Archery is one of the most popular pistol crossbows and it's also fun and easy to use. PSE Archery made upgrades to this new version, thereby making it better.
It features a composite frame and recurve-bow limbs, with a self-cocking mechanism. It also features a 50-lb draw weight and PSE Archery includes 3 free bolts in the package, which it can fire up to 215 fps.
Although it might seem like the most powerful pistol crossbow in this review, you should note that it requires a much lighter bolt to reach that speed with only 50 lbs of draw weight. So, this means the bolts won't penetrate well.
This pistol's cocking mechanism features a safety lock, plus a finger guard, an auto safety feature, and an anti-dry-fire mechanism. You also get a mount for precision scopes and it comes with an adjustable rear sight and foresight for simpler shots.
More Detailed: PSE Viper SS Crossbow Review
3. iGlow 80-Lb – Aluminum Pistol Crossbow With Arrow Holder
- Crossbow Weight: 1.6 lbs
- Draw Weight: 80 lbs
- Speed: 160 fps
Built using aluminum, this pistol crossbow from iGlow is a great option for those looking for a powerful but cheap pistol crossbow. It's offered at a very good price but you'll have to use its foot stirrup to cock it.
Asides from that, you get 15 bolts plus 2 strings in this package. It has an 80-lb draw weight and shoots with an over 160 fps speed.
Beneath the pistol, you have storage for your bolts and if you like, you can easily remove the foot stirrup.
4. Firefield Stinger – Lightweight & Powerful Mini Crossbow
- Crossbow Weight: 1.3 lbs
- Draw Weight: 80 lbs
- Speed: 175 fps
If you are searching for a lightweight and most powerful pistol crossbow, then take a closer look here. Featuring an 80-lb draw weight and a 6-inch long power stroke to shoot its aluminum bolts at 175 lbs, you can rest assured this is as powerful as a pistol crossbow can get.
It comes with an integrated self-cocking mechanism, as well as an automatic safety. You can adjust for windage and elevation on the rear sight, enabling you to shoot with a higher level of accuracy
Also, these bolt are aluminum bolts with steel tips, and this makes them very good for hunting. The Firefield Stinger is one of the best mini pistol crossbows available and it's ideal for many kinds of fun activities.
5. Rex 50 Tactical Crusader – Cheapest Pistol Crossbow
- Draw Weight: 50 lbs
This is for those who need a toy pistol crossbow. Be warned though, it's still a potentially dangerous weapon. Made from plastic and delivering 50 lbs of draw weight, it's the cheapest item on this review.
The package comes with 4 arrows and a target for practicing, but it's neither a precise nor a powerful pistol crossbow, so hunting with it won't produce instant kills.
If you want something fun for you or the family to play with, however, then this could be that perfect pistol.
How to Buy the Best Pistol Crossbow
Since there are so many pistol crossbow brands and designs, you'll need to focus on the features they offer and on your personal preferences and needs, to make the right choice.
Following are these features that you'll need to consider.
1. Types of Pistol Crossbows
There are different types of pistol crossbows, depending on their make and their intended use. They include:
50-lb pistol Crossbows. These are one of the most common types of pistol crossbows. They usually feature a 50-lb draw weight and are ideal for kids and beginners to practice with.
They are easier to draw due to their low draw weight and this is great for kids. They also usually have a safety feature, but they're normally not ideal for hunting because of their low power.
80-lb Pistol Crossbows. For adults, the 80-lb pistol, such as the iGlow aluminum crossbow is the best option. Though a little harder to draw, it also produces a higher shooting power, making it ideal for hunting.
80-lb pistol crossbows are more accurate than the 50-lb types, and some will even come with a scope or a shoulder rest. They are perfect for hunting small game like rabbits and squirrels.
Antique Pistol Crossbows. Some people love antique weapons, and for them, there's a range of antique pistol crossbows. Some are really old, while others are just made to look that way. Some are cheap, while others are really costly.
Fishing Pistol Crossbows. Bowfishing is fun and can also be done with a pistol crossbow. Some folks build theirs by themselves, while others buy their fishing pistol crossbows.
2. Draw Weight
Draw weight refers to the amount of force a fully drawn bow will produce and propel the arrow or bolt with. Most pistol crossbows have a draw weight of either 50 or 80 lbs.
80-lb strings are usually harder to pull for cocking, but the self-cocking mechanism has made them easier to pull and cock.
3. Pistol Crossbow Weight
The weight of a pistol crossbow is usually not important for most people, but if you have to carry it around for extended periods of time, then you'll want to opt for a lighter pistol crossbow.
4. Bolt Speed
The speed that a bolt gets shot with from a crossbow depends on the weight of the bolt and on the crossbow's draw weight. Speed is important because a higher speed usually means better hunting success.
Most pistol crossbows fire with an average of 160 fps (feet per second), with some designs even offering speeds up to 200 fps. For hunting, always go for a faster pistol crossbow when you can.
Bows usually make some noise when fired, including the limbs in pistol crossbows. Some bow types are louder than the others though, so if you plan to hunt, then you'll need your pistol crossbow as silent as possible because you don't want to scare away game.
Recurve crossbows are quieter than compound crossbows, but compound crossbows are more powerful than recurve crossbows. Most mini crossbows have recurve limbs though.
6. Self Cocking
This feature does not mean that the pistol crossbow cocks itself. No, it rather means that it includes a lever on the pistol to help you cock it without needing any extra cocking tool.
The choice of accessories is yours to decide. Some pistol crossbows come with accessories, while other can easily get upgraded by the owner. Popular pistol crossbow accessories include standard and red-dot scopes.
We've come to the end of this pistol crossbows review and you should hopefully have found what you need by now. You have seen the different offers available, including those with extras and free gifts
If you want the best overall pistol crossbow, then our recommendation is the Ace Martial Arts offer. It's available with a plastic or fiberglass body and delivers 80 pounds of draw weight.
For those who want a powerful but lightweight design, the recommendation is the Firefield Stinger, with its 1.3-pound weight and 175 fps bolt speeds.
Else, budget shoppers will love the Rex 50 Tactical pistol crossbow, with its 50-lb draw weight and lots of accessories.
- 5 Best Pistol Crossbows – Review
- How to Buy the Best Pistol Crossbow