8 Best Tactical Crossbows for Hunting and Target Practice

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

best tactical crossbow

I was trying to ditch my rifle for something less noisy for hunting, so I got attached to tactical crossbows. The best tactical crossbow should be accurate, easy to use, and powerful. Compared to guns, a tactical crossbow can reuse the ammo several times during training.

Not all crossbows are the same because they have different specs and features. Here are some things to look for when shopping for a new tactical crossbow.

  • Speed (FPS): To know the power and speed of a crossbow, pay attention to the crossbow speed. The products in this list can shoot arrows with a speed range of 150-400 FPS. The higher the value, the more accurate the crossbow is in firing arrows at a distance.
  • Draw Weight: The ease of pulling the bowstring depends on the draw of the crossbow. You want to start with 50 lbs if you’re a beginner. In this list, the draw ranges from 50 lbs to 185 lbs.
  • Style: The style of the crossbow can also determine its performance. Compound models are more accurate and powerful, while recurve units tend to shoot at faster speeds. Choose a pistol type to choose a smaller unit and a repeating model for ease of loading.

Read the rest of our buying guide below. The key to choosing the right tactical crossbow is to know what you need. Check out our reviews to know the best crossbow for fun adventures.


Shelter Tactical Crusader

Type: Pistol

Dimensions: 17.47 x 6.03 x 2.51 inches

Product Weight: 2 lbs

Best Value

Ace Martial Arts Tactical Crossbow

Type: Pistol

Dimensions: 20.63 x 9.96 x 3.39 inches

Product Weight: 3.26 lbs

Snake Eye 8026 PL-AM

Type: Pistol

Dimensions: 20.5 x 7.5 x 2 inches

Product Weight: 2.1 lbs

Top 8 Tactical Crossbows

1. Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking Crossbow


  • Type: Pistol
  • Dimensions: 20.63 x 9.96 x 3.39 inches
  • Product Weight: 3.26 lbs
  • Material: Fiberglass, aluminum
  • Speed: 165 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 80 lbs
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Includes: 15 arrows and a scope
Check Price on Amazon

This self-cocking cobra crossbow is what I need for deer hunting, survival, and target shooting practice. It’s an excellent crossbow with sharp arrows and an adjustable tactical sight to make each shot accurate.

What I like most is the safe self-cocking mechanism. I can repeatedly fire without the strain of loading the arrows myself constantly. With a draw of 80 lbs, I find this fast-loading crossbow fit for beginners because it’s pretty easy to fire a shot in either hand.

I’m satisfied with the 165 FPS arrow speed because it’s fast enough to hit my prey during hunting. The aluminum arrows can bury deep into the flesh, so this is quite a powerful weapon. Most of the time, the crossbow is pretty accurate at a mid-range distance.

This unit is the strongest crossbow I know because it’s made of fiberglass. No matter how often I use the bow, it always springs back to its original shape. On top of that, the package includes 15 arrows, providing me with a lot of fun to practice my shooting. Even better, the bundle doesn’t break the bank, making this a great deal for the money.

However, the instructions could have been more detailed. I had to check the videos to learn how to use the unit.

  • With a built-in cocking device for convenience
  • Easy to fire and fairly accurate
  • Has a decent speed and penetration
  • Made of flexible fiberglass bow material
  • Comes at a reasonable price
  • Includes extra accessories
  • Comes with a poor instruction manual

2. Shelter Tactical Crusader Pistol Crossbow Gun


  • Type: Pistol
  • Dimensions: 17.47 x 6.03 x 2.51 inches
  • Product Weight: 2 lbs
  • Material: ABS plastic, fiberglass
  • Speed: 150 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 50 lbs
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Includes: 5 arrows and a scope
Check Price on Amazon

Another crossbow perfect for target practice is the one from Tactical Crusader. It’s an ideal entry-level crossbow because it’s lightweight and easy to use.

More specifically, the draw is about 50 lbs which is adequate to take down a whitetail deer. It’s easier to draw with the trigger and paracord foot loop, plus the arrows can shoot as far as 150 FPS. In my experience, I never missed a shot when I hit a target within 30-40 yards.

I particularly love the five fiberglass bolts with the package because they don’t snap easily when used frequently. The arrows can seriously wound an animal using such sharp metal tips.

I also feel safe cocking this unit because it comes with a safety switch to prevent misfiring on its own. With the addition of sight, this unit can easily aim at any target from afar.

The whole bow seems durable enough for heavy use. I dropped the bow on the concrete ground, and it didn’t leave a scratch. The ABS material feels solid and can be mistaken as metal at first glance, yet the lightest I’ve used so far. It feels more stable when I hold the bow in both hands like a gun. Surely, this budget crossbow is a steal for the price.

My only complaint is that there are only a few bolts included. I wish there were more to save me money for a replacement.

  • Has an adequate firing speed and accuracy up to 40 yards
  • Easy to cock with a low draw weight and paracord loop
  • Built with a safety switch to prevent engaging accidentally
  • Includes a sight and five durable arrows with sharp tips
  • Feels durable and comfortable to grip
  • Lightweight and comes at a budget-friendly price
  • Only includes a few bolts

3. Snake Eye 8026 PL-AM Tactical Cobra System Crossbow


  • Type: Pistol
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 7.5 x 2 inches
  • Product Weight: 2.1 lbs
  • Material: Fiberglass, aluminum
  • Speed: 225 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 80 lbs
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Includes: 3 aluminum bolts, 3 broadhead hunting bolts
Check Price on Amazon

Snake Eye 8026 PL-AM is a hunting crossbow that offers excellent speed and power. The unit shoots bolts up to 225 FPS, so it’s more than adequate to be used for mid-range small-game hunting targets.

Cocking this Snake Eye tactical cobra crossbow is pretty easy and safe. The automatic safety mechanism works well in keeping the trigger from getting engaged while not in use. With a draw of 80 lbs, it doesn’t take that much pressure to load the bolts. I especially love the finger guard on the forearm grip because it makes the trigger easy to engage.

The accuracy is quite decent on this one. The adjustable sight helps me see my target more clearly. Once it hits the targets, it penetrates deep into the flesh. Despite being a deadly device, I’m surprised that it’s pretty lightweight. I can carry it around on all my hunting trips with ease.

The bow itself seems to last long. The fiberglass bow feels durable, while the aluminum bolts don’t snap easily. I like the fact the unit also includes three broad head hunting bolts to take down larger animals and find them easily after I take a shot.

However, it’s a bit difficult to put this crossbow together because it comes with many tight parts. Make sure that you have someone who can help you put the components together.

  • Easy to draw with its 80-lb draw weight
  • Has a safe self-cocking system with an 80-lb draw weight
  • Shoots fast and far up to 225 FPS
  • Comes with a finger guard to pull the trigger easily
  • Penetrates deep with great accuracy, thanks to built-in sight
  • Lightweight, durable, and includes six bolts
  • A bit challenging to put together

4. Barnett Whitetail Hunter II


  • Type: Compound
  • Dimensions: 33 x 13 x 8 inches
  • Product Weight: 6.4 lbs
  • Material: Composite
  • Speed: 350 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 150 lbs
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Includes: 2 Headhunter bolts, scope, quiver, lubrication wax, rope cocking device
Check Price on Amazon

This Barnett crossbow offers everything from scope to rope cocking unit and quiver. I like to use it for all hunting activities because it’s powerful enough to take down any animal.

The Whitetail Hunter II shoots up to 350 FPS with a kinetic energy of 103 ft-lbs, making it impossible to miss a target. I believe this fast crossbow can cause serious damage given its high draw weight of 150 lbs. With a total axle-to-axle length of 16.125, it feels pretty easy to maneuver in most cases.

I like to use this unit for target shooting because it’s equipped with an anti-dry fire system. Thanks to that, I can prevent damage to my bow when I take a shot without an arrow accidentally. Also, the quiver comes in handy in keeping my arrows at the side, which speeds up the loading process.

The scope included in the package serves its purpose well in making my shots a bit bigger from a distance. I think it’s durable because it remains intact even when I expose it to the rain. It’s a big bonus to have two Headhunter arrows in the package because they’re strong and accurate.

My only gripe is that the weight of the whole unit feels a little heavy for the first time. It takes several uses to get used to the weight.

  • Powerful, thanks to 150-lb draw weight
  • Includes many helpful accessories
  • Shoots fast up to 350 FPS
  • Easy to use with its medium length and quiver
  • Prevents dry firing to protect the unit
  • Comes with a waterproof scope and accurate arrows
  • A bit heavier than standard crossbows

5. Southland Archery Supply Prophecy Crossbow


  • Type: Pistol
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 6.1 x 2.1 inches
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Speed: 165 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 80 lbs
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Includes: Red dot scope, 3 aluminum bolts, 12 bow fishing bolts, etc.
Check Price on Amazon

For fish hunting, I like to use the Prophecy Crossbow because it’s easy to aim and shoot into the lake and rivers at close range. The package comes with 12 bow fishing bolts, so I can take as many shots as I can.

The accuracy is surprisingly excellent, especially when I use the red dot scope. Even when the fish are moving at a high speed below water, I can still see the whole target. Also, the Picatinny rail is quite sturdy because it doesn’t move the scope or any accessory that’s mounted in it.

I think the draw weight of 80 lbs is quite powerful to kill a large fish. The bolts hit hard and can travel almost close to its claim of 165 FPS. More importantly, the bow is easy to cock and load with its self-cocking design making it fun for target practice. On top of that, the strength of the graphite cobra limb system makes this bow unbreakable.

What I like most is the compact construction which makes the unit handy to bring anywhere. It offers the best value as it includes many accessories, such as a reel seat, reel line, and handgrip. With that, I can use the crossbow right out of the box for fish hunting.

However, it’s a bit difficult to string the bow alone without a stringer.

  • Comes with a red dot scope to aim accurately
  • Includes a sturdy and stable Picatinny
  • Has adequate draw weight and speed to kill a fish
  • Made of a durable cobra limb system
  • Easy to use with the self-cocking design
  • Consists of many useful accessories for bow fishing
  • A bit challenging to string

6. EK Archery RX Adder Automatic Crossbow


  • Type: Repeating
  • Dimensions: 24.2 x 11.5 x 5 inches
  • Product Weight: 5.2 lbs
  • Material: Plastic
  • Speed: 270 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 130 lbs
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Includes: Red dot sight, 5 bolts, top loading magazine, AR-15 style stock, etc.
Check Price on Amazon

The RX Adder is a military-grade repeating bow that packs a lot of power. With a draw weight of 130 lbs, this makes it ideal for hunting and home defense.

The best aspect of this unit is its top-loading magazine that automatically feeds bolts for quick reload. For me, the unit can reload in as fast as two seconds each time I cock.

Furthermore, I have to push the lever and then pull back to lock the bolt in position. It takes less pressure rather than pulling the string back directly.

The Adder is one of the most accurate crossbows I have used so far. It includes a red dot sight near the top of the Picatinny, allowing me to fully see my target in the window. Since the speed goes as far as 270 FPS, I can take mid-range shots more confidently.

This automatic crossbow is comfortable to use, thanks to its adjustable AR-style stock that allows me to find the most comfortable shooting position. It’s only one foot long, so this comes small and portable. It already includes five carbon bolts to use right out of the box. Also, the instructions are clear for a change, so assembly is much simpler.

The only downside that I see is the price which I think is on the expensive side.

  • Fires bolts up to 270 FPS
  • Self-loading to reduce reloading time to two seconds
  • Easy to cock with the lever and assemble with the manual
  • Includes a red dot sight for accuracy
  • Allows the adjustment of stock for comfort shooting position
  • Includes five carbon bolts
  • Available at a high price

7. BearX Intense Ready To Shoot Crossbow Package


  • Type: Compound
  • Dimensions: 33 x 20.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Product Weight: 12.35 lbs
  • Material: Composite, aluminum
  • Speed: 400 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 185 lbs
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Includes: 3 arrows, illuminated scope, quiver, rail lube, cocking rope
Check Price on Amazon

As fierce as its name sounds, the BearX Intense crossbow provides high power. This compound crossbow boasts a draw weight of 185 lbs, making it the most powerful crossbow on this list.

The best part of this model is that it’s ready to use right out of the box, perfect for crossbow hunters who can’t wait to hunt. It includes three arrows, a lightweight quiver, and a cocking rope. My favorite is the illuminated scope because it allows me to see my target clearly at dawn or in any poor light conditions.

Thanks to the quiver, I can load four arrows to take some quick shots. I’m not scared that the crossbow is going to dry fire because the unit is built with a mechanism to prevent that from happening. With a power stroke of 12.7 inches and an arrow speed of 400 FPS, this unit can take a moving whitetail down fast.

While other tactical crossbows look almost the same as each other, this particular BearX model is different. The stoke color looks unique, plus it can camouflage well in the woods for hunting. Moreso, the bow comes pre-assembled in some parts, so assembly is a breeze.

However, this unit is way too heavy to carry around.

  • Comes with a crossbow scope that illuminates to see clearly
  • Powerful with a high draw weight and power stroke
  • Ready to use straight out of the box
  • Can take quick shots up to 400 FPS
  • Built with an anti-dry fire mechanism
  • Easy to assemble with unique camouflage patterns
  • Pretty heavy to carry around

8. Steambow AR-6 Stinger II Tactical Crossbow


  • Type: Repeating
  • Dimensions: 21.9 x 14 x 2.6 inches
  • Product Weight: 2.56 lbs
  • Material: Polymer
  • Speed: 220 FPS
  • Draw Weight: 55 lbs
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Includes: 6 arrows, stringer aid
Check Price on Amazon

The AR-6 Stinger II is one of the most durable crossbows I know with its impact-resistant polymer construction. Compared to its metal counterparts, this repeating crossbow won’t rust when exposed to rain.

What I like most is the integrated magazine which can carry six bolts and doesn’t fire unless I cock the unit. Thanks to this feature, I can make quick follow-up shots before reloading. On top of that, the draw weight of 55 lbs makes it easier to use this unit even for beginners.

The construction looks small and lightweight, making it convenient to carry around for my hunting trips and target shooting practice. I especially love the adjustable stock as it helps me find my best shooting position. Also, the textured feel of the pistol grip gives me such comfort that I can shoot arrows for many hours.

I think the best upgrade of this unit is the fiber optic front sight which adds accuracy to my shots. The arrows can travel 220FPS, which is pretty impressive for the size of the bow. It’s fun using this model, especially with the Picatinny at the bottom which allows me to mount a variety of accessories.

However, the package only includes six arrows, which is less generous than other similar products.

  • Made of resilient polymer construction
  • Has a convenient 55 lbs draw weight and 220 FPS speed
  • Built with a 6-arrow loading magazine for quick follow-up shots
  • Lightweight and small-profiled for portability
  • Comfortable to use with the textured grip and adjustable stock
  • Has fiber optics for accuracy and Picatinny for mounting accessories
  • Only includes a few arrows for training

What to Look for When Buying Tactical Crossbow

It’s easy to shop for a new tactical crossbow if you know what you’re looking for. Here are the factors you need to pay attention to in your next purchase.

Types Of Crossbows

First, determine what type of crossbow you need. Here are the basic types of tactical crossbows.

  • Compound crossbows: Most modern military crossbows are compound bows because they’re more precise and powerful than other types. The compound pulley system adds more tension to the limbs, adding power to every shot.
  • Recurve crossbows: These best recurve crossbow models can shoot the fastest arrows in the field. The fastest recurve crossbow can reach up to 500 FPS or even more. Because of its simple curved limbs and single-string construction, it’s easier to maintain than a compound bow. However, it’s not a quiet crossbow because it produces a high noise level when it recoils.
  • Pistol crossbows: This type is smaller than a recurve or compound crossbow, making it perfect for beginner archers. These pistol models are easy to use because many of them are self-cocking. If you like small game hunting, this unit might be perfect with its lesser draw weight.
  • Repeating crossbows: These auto-reloading crossbows, like Steambow AR-6 Stinger II and EK Archery RX Adder, allow you to make quick shots in a row. They’re often integrated with a magazine that can load 5-6 arrows at once.

Crossbow Speed

The speed of a crossbow can determine its power and accuracy. This is measured in feet per second or FPS. A higher FPS means a faster and more accurate shot.

You want a crossbow with at least a 300 FPS velocity for hunting. This value can produce enough kinetic energy to take down an elk. If you’re hunting whitetail deer, a 250 FPS is adequate.

A mid-range crossbow is capable of shooting 400 FPS while the fastest crossbow models can provide 700 FPS of maximum velocity to suit serious hunters.

Target shooting practice doesn’t require that much power and speed, so 200-250 FPS is enough to hit the target. You may seek a higher FPS if you’re planning to compete in archery.

Draw Weights

A draw weight indicates how many pounds (lbs) it requires to pull the string back. It’s one of the best crossbow features to look for because it can tell you the shooting power of your crossbow.

A higher draw weight is ideal for getting more power in every shot. However, it also means more force is needed to pull the bowstring, which can be difficult for beginners.

The easiest crossbow to draw is rated 50-80 lbs. This range can kill whitetail deer and elk.

The best crossbow for power has a draw weight range of 125-200 lbs. Since these models are difficult to draw, they often come with a drawing aid to ease the pressure.

Cocking Mechanism

A crossbow is designed with different cocking mechanisms. The traditional way is to use the hand, which needs a low draw weight to pull the string back easily.

Some models use a rope cocker to reduce pressure in pulling the bowstring. Let’s say you have a 120-lb crossbow. Using this device can reduce the force to half or around 60 lbs.

The best crossbow models are self-cocking, meaning there’s a lever to help you pull the string more evenly and comfortably.

Who Makes the Top-tier Crossbow?

Ravin Crossbows is a leading crossbow manufacturer of high-end models. Barnett is another top-rated brand that makes affordable crossbow models, while Killer Instinct produces one of the most cool-looking crossbows in the market.

Is a Tactical Crossbow Good for Self-defense?

Yes, tactical crossbows are suitable for self-defense because they have enough power to hurt someone badly. More specifically, repeating models can be lethal when they fire repeated shots.

What is the Maximum Distance You Can Shoot With a Crossbow?

The average crossbow can shoot within the range of 50-60 yards. The best crossbow models can shoot as far as 100 yards. You can shoot even more if you’re skilled.

Does the Size of a Tactical Crossbow Matter?

Yes, size matters when choosing this type of device. For hunting, a full-size crossbow is more powerful than a mini crossbow. A larger crossbow might take more force to cock than a smaller unit, but it can take down a target more lethally. You need more skills to handle a large unit.

How Can I Improve My Accuracy With a Tactical Crossbow?

The best way to make accurate shots is to cock the string at the center before shooting. Make sure that the bolts are tight to keep the riser and limb secure. Also, keep the limbs at a level position when taking a shot to ensure that the arrow travels straight to your target.

The most accurate crossbow uses a scope to aim the target correctly. Use that to improve shooting performance.

Can I Use a Tactical Crossbow for Hunting?

Yes, it’s more effective to use a tactical crossbow than a traditional bow for hunting. Tactical models are capable of killing a whitetail deer or elk because of their draw weight of at least 50 lbs. They’re also built with features to improve accuracy, such as a scope, stringing aid, and a magazine that can load multiple arrows.


All the products we reviewed are excellent choices, but I choose the Ace Martial Arts Supply if I have to pick only one as the best tactical crossbow. This model offers enough speed and power for hunting while maintaining a manageable draw. It also includes the highest number of arrows for target practice.

You can start with the Tactical Crusader crossbow if you’re a beginner. For serious hunters, you can try the BearX Intense. Like any other product, always check the features to see whether the tactical crossbow fits your purpose and needs.

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