Pistol crossbows are incredibly fun for hunting. This article breaks down the 11 best pistol crossbows for hunting and target practice.
Is a pistol crossbow any good for hunting? You betcha...!
Crossbows are a fun and easy way to enjoy the "archaic" activity of hunting with modern technology. Various types of crossbows exist nowadays, including recurve, compound, rifle and pistol crossbows. In this comprehensive guide, we will focus on pistol crossbows and how to choose the best pistol crossbow 2023 for both target practice and hunting.
Table of Contents
Best Pistol Crossbows 2023 For Bow Hunting And Target Shooting
Pistol crossbows are typically used in target practice rather than bow hunting because they are not as powerful when compared to other types of crossbows such as recurve crossbows or compound crossbows.
That being said, there are pistol crossbows on the market that can fire at fast speeds and have multiple features that make them worthy of hunting small as well as big game. This means that there is a wide variety of pistol crossbows and it might be very hard to choose the best pistol crossbow 2023 to suit your needs because they are usually described using “confusing” terminologies.
This guide breaks down the features of some of the best pistol crossbows 2023 in the market, and will help you choose the best pistol crossbow for you.
If you're new to the world of pistol crossbows , we recommend you read this guide until the end. You will find a comprehensive buyer's guide with all the pistol crossbows features explained, which will help you choose the best pistol crossbow for your hunting and practice needs and skills.
In the table below you'll find the top best pistol crossbows 2023 that we have identified on the market. These pistol crossbows can be used for both target practice and hunting.
To make it easier, in this table we've only listed the most important specs that you need to choose the best crossbow for you: max speed, draw weight and power stroke.
Top 11 Best Pistol Crossbow 2023
Pistol Crossbow name
Max Speed (FPS)
Draw weight (Lbs)
Power stroke (Inches)
Spartan Race Hori-Zone - Best Fastest Pistol Crossbow
Ace Martial Arts - Best Cheapest Pistol Crossbow
Best Pistol Crossbow 2023 Reviews
Let's take a spin through the features of the best pistol crossbows 2023 in more detail. The pistol crossbows featured in this round-up review cover a huge variety of needs, styles and budgets.
These 11 pistol crossbows are not listed in descending order of preference. Each one of these 11 pistol crossbows has its own unique features, pros and cons, that make it suitable for specific archery or hunting needs.
The Prophecy pistol crossbow has a simple design, with very few parts that are not likely to confuse any beginner on first use. It features an adjustable rear sight and a front bead sight. These two aiming aids work in harmony to help you direct your shot accurately towards the target and will help you learn and balance between range and accuracy, especially when doing some target practice.
It has a 6.8” power stroke, which is quite small and this makes it quite easy to cock the string. This is because you require to pull it over a short distance, which makes it possible to fire multiple shots in quick succession. Additionally, it has a draw weight of 80 lbs., which means you get a light load and thus, spend less energy to pull the string backward. This makes it comfortable to use by beginners as well as people with weak hands.
However, this small power stroke and low draw weight should not fool you into thinking that it is only a beginners “toy”. It can release bolts at speeds of up to 165 FPS over a reasonable distance, making it usable in a number of target practice training sessions, and in the right hands, can be a killer.
As compared to the Prophecy crossbow above, this is a more powerful pistol crossbow that can actually be used for deer hunting. It has a total draw weight of 150lbs, which means that it stores quite a huge amount of energy in its limbs. The result of this is that you can fire arrows at speeds of up to 210 FPS, with exceptional accuracy at a range of up to 60 yards.
To store all this energy efficiently, it has high tech fiberglass limbs that bend and release quickly to provide the thrust needed to hunt efficiently. It also has an aluminum barrel, which is built to withstand the tension exerted on the limbs by the string with ease.
Its large draw weight means that you have a hard time cocking it. However, the bow features a foot claw that simplifies this process. You just need to put your foot in it so that you can use your leg and upper body muscles to pull the string into position.
Once cocked, the bow has an auto safety cocking mechanism that locks the string in place to prevent firing by mistake, which can be dangerous and sometimes, fatal.
The SAS Manticore comes with 6 aluminum arrows and a 4×20 scope, all of more than decent quality for its price tag.
Like the Manticore by SAS, This pistol crossbow also has a draw weight of 150 lbs., which means that it packs a punch. It has fiberglass limbs that give this draw weight, resulting in arrow speeds that can reach up to 210 FPS. This makes it capable of large game hunting, especially if used with bolts that have 3 or 4 blade broadhead tips.
The Wizard Archery pistol crossbow has an aluminum barrel construction, which forms a major part of its frame, making it very strong and durable. This enables it to handle the stress emanating from the pull of the strings to the limbs with ease.
Its huge draw weight means that pulling its string is quite tough. To simplify this process, it comes with a foot claw, which should be fixed at the front end of the crossbow. This part enables you to cock the bow while using your feet and upper body strength, supposedly to making it easier and faster to reload while on the hunt. Additionally, it comes with a rope cocking device that makes the cocking process much easier, enabling you to use less energy reloading after every shot. Still, some users have reported difficulties in cocking this crossbow.
It also comes with a 4x32 scope (not high-end quality) for your practicing and hunting purposes.
4. Spartan Products Hori-Zone 80 Pound Pistol Crossbow - Best Fastest Pistol Crossbow
If you're looking for a pistol crossbow that can hunt, then look no further than the Hori-Zone by Spartan Products, a truly exceptional products that can fire arrows at an incredible 235 FPS, despite having a draw weight of only 80lbs. This is a deal not to be msised, and one of the best products we've come across when screening the 2022 mini crossbows line-up.
Most crossbows need to be assembled (strung) before first use. However, this can be a tough process because the limbs are usually made to resist pulling inwards. The Hori-Zone pistol crossbow comes with a bow stringer, which makes it quite easy and safe to set up, then get down to business.
When it comes to using the bow, it features an anti-dry fire protection system that does not fire when a bolt is not loaded. This drastically reduces the damages that could have been caused due to the high tension as well as wear and tear caused by the moving parts.
This protection system is fused with a patented ambidextrous safety system, which is conveniently placed on top of the crossbow. This means that both left and right-handed persons can use it comfortably to lock the string in firing position before loading the bolt.
It has a soft grip handle and foregrip that make its handling quite easy. This enables you to make accurate shots, which it fires at 235 FPS. Despite having a very high shooting speed, its draw weight is only 80 pounds. This further simplifies its handling because the process of reloading is quite easy.
Although fishing forms part of its name, this pistol crossbow is a multipurpose tool that can also be used in hunting small game or target practice. It has a small form factor but it is designed to fire a wide range of ammunition. You can fire 2 winged bolts, fishing forks, 6 mm steel balls and short price arrows. It even comes with a steel ball magazine that can hold 15 balls, enabling you to make a continuous round of 15 shots nonstop.
Construction wise, it is built with high-quality aluminum body, nylon handle, and steel limbs. This makes it lightweight yet durable and strong enough to withstand rough handling in different environments.
It has a draw weight of only 50 pounds, making it quite easy to use. However, despite this low poundage, it still packs a punch. This is because it has a compound bow style lever system that gives it some let off, and this is responsible for reducing its draw weight. Therefore, once cocked, it has the ability to propel a fishing dart through a carp trough to about 2.5 feet of water.
Due to relatively low power and speed (110 fps), the WT Piranha is not the best choice to hunt deer. It's best used for fishing and small game hunting.
The iGlow pistol crossbow is a stunner. Its aluminum barrel, camouflaged/black fiberglass limbs, and body are nicely polished to give it a glow that looks classy. This impressiveness is not only portrayed by its outward appearance but is also present in its internal workings too. A good pistol crossbow for target shooting and medium/small game hunting, and great choice for beginners overall.
It has a self-cocking mechanism, which automatically sets the string in a firing position and produces a click sound to indicate that it is set. Additionally, this mechanism has an auto safety feature that locks the string in position automatically, letting you load the bolts without worrying about misfiring. This makes it easy and safe to use. In case you accidentally destroy this string or it gets worn out, it comes with an additional replacement string, ensuring that you get a long service life without worrying about buying replacement parts.
On pulling the string, you experience an 80-pound draw weight. This gives you an easy time because 80 pounds is very forgiving. Coupled with a power stroke of 6.8”, this crossbow can propel arrows at a top speed of 160 FPS. This is a reasonable speed to hit near range targets, with quick reloading because of its small power stroke and low poundage.
7. Ace Martial Arts Supply 80 Pound Pistol Tactical Crossbow - Best Cheapest pistol crossbow 2023
This mini pistol crossbow by Ace Martial Arts Supply offers an impressive value for money, and one of the best pistol crossbows 2022 for the price at which it's sold. It's durable, powerful and accurate, and it also comes with good quality optics and 3 plastic arrows. It's overall a great starter pistol crossbow for anyone who wants to get into shooting, be it target practice or for hunting purposes.
Although it has multiple features, this mini pistol crossbow is quite lightweight and this is because it has a plastic body construction and molded fiberglass limbs. However, these parts are strong and are designed withstand the pulls and stress of small game hunting as well as target practice without giving in to the pressure.
This Ace Martial Arts pistol crossbow has a draw weight of 80 pounds, which, combined with its self-cocking mechanism, make it safe, easy to use and quick to reload after every shot. This allows you to take many shots in quick succession, which can be very advantageous when targeting small, moving game.
The power stroke goes to 12” in length, which, when combined with its draw weight, pushes the loaded arrow at a top speed of 165 FPS. This speed is ideal for targeting close objects, enabling you to shoot accurately at near range target practices. Additionally, it comes with a 4×20 scope that further simplifies your aiming accuracy.
It is accessorized with 3 plastic arrows, which give you more than enough to practice with and use for hunting as well. It also comes with an extra 80-pound string that ensures you get a long service life without buying replacement parts in the near future.
Some users have reported that the Ace Martial Arts pistol crossbow can be difficult to assemble and is not as easy to cock as the straight pull cocking models.
The arrows included are cheaply made, and we recommend you buy high-velocity aluminum ones.
Precision Shooting Equipment (PSE) is a name that needs no introduction in the archery and hunting circles, for its innovative technology in compound bow and crossbow manufacturing. This Zombie React pistol crossbow is exactly what you need to survive a zombie apocalypse! With firing speed of up to 215fps and just 50lbs of draw weight is the ideal combination of speed and shootability. It also includes a red/ green dot scope, so when hordes of man-eating zombies are walking the Earth, you'll never fear a dark hallway!
This green-black pistol crossbow comes with a red/ green dot scope, which is a vital component for helping you take accurate shots. It is conveniently placed on top of the string to match your head and eye placement so that you can use it with ease.
It has both a rear and front grip handle and these enable you to hold it firmly for more accurate aiming. Each of these grips has finger grooves that make it fit comfortably in your hands, giving you better handling, leading to better aiming.
Its draw weight is among the lowest as compared to some of the most common pistol crossbows. It totals to 50 lbs., which means that the process of reloading it is quite easy. Additionally, it has an auto cocking feature that sets the string in position automatically after it is pulled back.
The bow also features an automatic safety lock feature that locks the string in position once it is cocked. This prevents the chances of unintentional firing, which can be fatal. This feature is accompanied with an anti-dry fire feature, which prevents any firing if the barrel is not loaded. This reduces wear and tear on its moving parts, giving you a longer service life.
With this crossbow package , you get a whopping 51 multicolored arrows to start practicing with. These include 48 plastic pieces and 3 metallic pieces and are sure to provide enough working tools and replacements, just in case some of them get lost. This is an ideal package for a beginner shooter to play with before moving on to more high-end models, should they find crossbow shooting enjoyable.
The crossbow itself is nearly identical in design to the iGlow one reviewed above. It has a draw weight of 80 pounds, which is quite forgiving to pull. This simplifies the reloading process, ensuring that you are able to fire multiple shots in quick succession. It also has a compact design, measuring 18” by 6”, which means that handling it is quite easy.
However, despite its small size and low poundage, it has the capability to propel steel tipped arrows at speeds of up to 160 FPS. Well, this might not be enough for large game hunting but for small game hunting and target practice, it will work.
Construction wise, it is built using strong and durable materials. It has a die-cast alloy and solid brass body while its limbs are made of a fiber-graphite material. This means that you get a long lasting tool that is capable of withstanding rough handling with ease.
Some users have commented that the string on this version tends to ear out quickly. Make sure you wax it regularly to increase string life
Another impressive package that deserve a place on this list for high customer satisfaction and value for money. The Seeker packs a punch and can be used for both target and hunting. Its core design is similar to that of a normal crossbow even though it falls into the pistol/mini crossbows category due to its small and compact size. At the price tag on offer, The Seeker is a steal!
On a first look, this crossbow looks like a serious hunting tool. It even has a stock to help you balance it on your shoulders in order have more stability when firing your shot. This stock doubles up as a cocking lever, requiring to be bent over in order to pull the string into the firing position. This makes the reloading process easy and makes the process look cool.
It also has a foregrip that makes it easier to handle since you can easily hold it using both hands, one on each grip. For accuracy, it comes with adjustable sights, which work in tandem with the two grips and stock to balance on stability, control, and accuracy, enabling you to make consistently accurate shots.
It has an 80-pound draw weight, meaning that it is quite easy to pull the string until it is cocked. Remember, this is done using the stock and thus, it’s much easier to pull. On firing, it can thrust plastic arrows at a top speed of 200 FPS and aluminum bolts at 160 FPS, because of their extra weight. These speeds make it ideal for hunting small and medium game as well as for target practice.
It includes 3 alumimum bolts (better than plastic ones that you find in most cheap pistol crossbow packages).
This one really does have a pistol design, and is one of the most affordable of this best pistol crossbow 2022 list. At first glance looks like a kid's toy, but we guarantee this little baby is lethal and it will literally make you feel like you're holding a real gun! With a firing speed of 160fps it can be used for target practice and even small/ mid-size game hunting.
It has an overall length of 17” and a width of 16.5”, giving it a compact design that is quite easy to handle. However, it has an all-aluminum body that is strong enough to hold every component in place and therefore, its small size should not make you think that it cannot perform.
It has an 80-pound draw weight, which is quite forgiving to pull. This draw is made even easier because it features a drawing lever and a foot claw, which also give the gun a glowing look on both ends, due to their shiny silver color.
The limbs are made of fiberglass and together with the string, they provide enough tension to propel arrows at 160 FPS. This is quite fast considering its small size and small power stroke, which measures only 5”.
It is laden with safety features that include a dry fire system, which protects its parts from unnecessary wear and tear because it cannot fire an empty shot, an auto safety feature that prevents unintentional firing and a self-cocking mechanism that locks the string in the firing position to allow you to load the arrow easily.
The Armory Replica pistol crossbow package includes accessories of questionable qualities that would need to be replaced. But that's perfectly acceptable when you're paying such a small price for a more than decent tool!
Buying Guide & Things You Need To Know Before You Buy
About the Best Pistol Crossbow before you buy
Pistol crossbows can have very many features that can be confusing. However, ensure you check and consider the following before buying one.
1. The speed of the shot
This is important to consider if you want a crossbow for hunting. Crossbows do not store as much energy as other types of bows and thus, the faster it is, the better it is for hunting. Fast speeds make the arrow more penetrative and will, therefore, have a higher chance of killing your prey.
However, if you want a crossbow for target practice, speed should not be a big issue because first, the targets are stationary and two, they are soft and can be easily penetrated.
With size, you have to trade performance for convenience or the other way round. Generally, smaller pistol crossbows are less powerful but are easy and convenient to carry and handle. Therefore, if you don’t mind carrying big guns, a big crossbow is the best for you, but it has to have good performance. However, if you prefer convenience, get a small sized one instead.
3. Draw weight
Draw weight directly determines how hard or easy it is to cock your bow. Ideally, a low draw weight is better because it is more forgiving, but it means that the bow is weak and will fire at slow speeds. A crossbow with a large draw weight will give you more power but will be harder to cock. Therefore, if you want a bow with a large draw weight, ensure that it has drawing aids such as a foot claw and a cocking lever to assist you in this process.
4. Power Stroke
The power stroke is defined as the measure of the distance between the crossbow’s string at full draw, when cocked, and its uncocked, resting point. Power stroke can be compared to the brace height on a compound bow. In theory. the longer the power stroke, the faster the bolt will fly. But in reality, other factors such as limb design and draw weight also play a role in the final firing speed of a crossbow.
Some bows come with many arrows, others have scopes attached while others have extra strings for replacement when the installed one gets worn out. You should check the type and number of accessories and make sure they match your needs. For instance, if you tend to lose arrows easily, buy a bow that comes with many arrows. If you intend to use the bow quite a lot, an extra string would be handy when the current one gets worn out. However, the ideal situation would be to get a balance of all these accessories so that you get a little bit of each type.
Best Pistol Crossbows 2023: Conclusion
The pistol crossbows reviewed above are some of the best in the 2022 market and represent the all the aspects that form the wide variety of crossbows. They can be used by both beginners and experienced archers and hunters, and therefore, this review and buying guide provides a very strong basis for helping you select the best pistol crossbow to suit your needs.
Is a pistol crossbow lethal?
The pistol crossbow is lethal enough to hunt down a small game, as long as you've honed your accuracy and practiced your hunting skills to strike the major organs.
How powerful is a pistol crossbow?
With a power range of 50 to 80 lbs, the pistol bow is a powerful weapon while still being a recreational weapon. It is also an excellent way to hone your archery skills and become acquainted with the crossbow.
How far can a pistol crossbow shoot?
This fiery crossbow has a power range of 50-80 lbs and a customizable butt. It is lightweight, flexible, and can shoot at 183 fps with an accuracy of more than 22 yards.
What's the most powerful pistol crossbow?
The MINI STRIKER is, without a doubt, the strongest, most powerful, and most compact pistol crossbow on the market.
It uses a 330 FPS standard pistol crossbow bolt and is an excellent choice for hunters, as it can allow them to hunt down small game and a deer from 30 to 40 yards.
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