PSE 42199 Viper SS Review: Easy-to-Use Recreational Crossbow

Photo: PSE

What We Like

  • Fun and easy to use
  • Safe to use with various safety features
  • Decent arrow speed for its size
  • Allows for easy scope installation
  • Adjustable rear and front sight
  • Lightweight and quite compact

What We Don’t Like

  • Provided instructions are poor
  • Takes a little extra effort to sight in

Bottom Line

When you just want a fun and easy pistol crossbow to shoot, the PSE 42199 Viper SS will be perfect for this and much more.

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Pistol crossbows are easy to use and provide a fun way to spend time with the family. And if you prefer something that will be even more effortless to use but still delivers decent performance with some good arrows speeds, this one by PSE will be a great buy.

This pistol crossbow is also designed to deliver a long service life with a solid aluminum stock and some equally durable composite limbs. And to add to its impressive features, it will also be designed to be safer to use with various safety components.

PSE Viper SS Handheld Review

Photo: PSE

Performance: Easy to Use Bow for Fun Shooting

Whether you are looking for your first pistol crossbow or are a more experienced archer that just wants something easier to use but still functional, the PSE 42199 Viper SS is a choice that you will never regret as it has a lot to offer.

According to PSE , the manufacturer of this bow, it has been designed to give archers an easy time by being both fun and easy to shoot, and this should explain why it is one of the most popular pistol crossbow models out there.

By delivering bolt speeds of up to 215 feet per second, this crossbow can still work for much more than just recreational shooting in your backyard. When hunting small game like geese, you can still make the kill with this crossbow, and you will only need to get close enough.

Also, another element that will make it ideal for hunting and other applications that may require increased precision is the fact that it will include a built-in front and rear sights. Hence, with this crossbow, you should have an easy time lining up for a shot, and if you do it correctly, it will be highly accurate.

However, for hunters looking for a powerful and high-speed crossbow for serious hunting that can take down larger animals like deer, this bow still does not have what it takes. Even if you can get very close to the animal, it might not deliver enough speed to penetrate the harder hide on these larger games.

Flexibility: Anyone Can Draw this Bow

This crossbow is not meant for kids as it is not a toy and without proper care when shooting it can be very dangerous. But, that said, this will be an easy bow to draw for almost anyone out there. If you know how to use a crossbow, you will not have any issue drawing this one.

The 50-pound draw weight is low enough even for a budget pistol crossbow like this one. And if you also factor in the let-off provided by the built-in cocking mechanism, then this is an almost effortless bow to draw as you will only need to pull back a few pounds.

With parental supervision and enough practice, this crossbow is flexible enough for kids to use it comfortably. And at just 1.6 pounds, they will not have any issue handling it or carrying it around.

Design & Construction: Quite a Sturdy Bow

Despite the relatively smaller price tag, the PSE 42199 Viper SS is a surprisingly well-built bow. To get anything that outperforms it when it comes to the build quality, you will probably need to spend at least double what you pay for this amazing recreational pistol crossbow.

One of the first elements of the design that seems to draw many archers to this bow is that it will include a track-style rail, this rail design is very useful at ensuring you will always get more precise shots.

Also, the design incorporates finger guards that will help ensure shooting will be safer for the archer. To make this an even safer crossbow, it will also have a safety lock on the integrated cocking mechanism that acts as a second safety mechanism. And there is also an anti-dry fire mechanism.

When it comes to the construction of the bow, PSE uses an aluminum stock that will be solid enough to withstand the abuse that will come with regular use. Also, the limbs are made from a fiberglass material that is both durable and lightweight. These fiberglass limbs also ensure you get just the right amount of flex.

Noise & Vibrations: Can be Quite Noisy

There is hardly any noise dampening mechanism on the PSE 42199 Viper SS, and so it should be obvious that this will be a fairly noisy bow.

However, for recreational use, the sound it makes is hardly an issue, and it will be more satisfying and confidence-boosting especially for younger archers.

That said, this is still not the loudest pistol crossbow out there as the heavy-duty aluminum stock absorbs a lot of the noise, and hence helping dampen it significantly.

Also, if you use heavier bolts than the provided ones, you can be confident that this crossbow will shoot much quietly. And this is because more of the energy that the produced when shooting is carried by the bolts thanks to their heavier weight.

When it comes to the vibration, it is still bearable enough because this pistol bow has a comfortable and perfectly contoured grip that ensures you will not feel a lot of the vibration produced.

Accessories: Bolts Provided

Most of the accessories included on this pistol crossbow are just what you would expect to get from this style of bows. They include the open sight that incorporates a rear sight that has elevation adjustment for more accurate shots and a front sight pin for easy aim.

Other accessories on this bow include the finger guard for safety and the anti-dry fire trigger, which also helps ensure you get a safer shooting experience.

But, besides these basic and expected accessories, this bow will also include 3 frenzy bolts, which means you will have everything you need to start shooting immediately.

Price: Highly Affordable but Well-Built

PSE 42199 Viper SS is a highly affordable crossbow that will be a perfect choice for anyone that wants to get familiar with crossbow archery. Even if you change your mind on getting into crossbow archery, you will not suffer any significant loss given the small price you pay for the bow.

But, despite this being an under $100 pistol bow, it will still serve you well for long. Better yet, you will also not need to spend money buying bolts as the pack includes 3 of them, which should be good enough for its intended use.


An inexpensive and easy to use pistol crossbow that will be perfect for recreational use and also made to last with high-quality components.

PSE 42199 Viper SS is one of those crossbows that will always give archers an easy time and will also be fun to shoot for anyone. And to make it an even better choice, this crossbow has a solid built, decent arrow speeds and is also safer to shoot.


  • Product Name: PSE 42199 Viper SS
  • Product Brand: PSE
  • Speed: 215 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 50 pounds
  • Bolt Length: 6.5 inches
  • Overall Length: 19.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds

Key Features

  • Fiberglass limbs are more durable
  • Durable aluminum stock material
  • Track-style rail deliver increased precision
  • Auto safety and anti-dry fire for safe shooting
  • 50-pound draw weight for an easy draw for young archers
  • 1.6-pound lightweight design for easy handling
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