For decades, there has been a debate that the crossbow is better than the compound bow and vice versa. Many argue that the crossbow is technically superior to the compound bow and thus should not be permitted during the traditional hunting and archery season.
However, personal experience would have shown you that the crossbow is very similar to the compound bow in many ways.
If you’re looking for a hunting weapon for the upcoming hunting season, and you’re confused between a Crossbow and a Compound Bow.
Then you’ve come to the right place, this article will address what crossbows and compound bows do and how each of them is particularly suitable for different situations.
So, without any further delay, let’s discuss Crossbow Vs. Compound Bow. Which one is better?
Table of Contents
Ease of Use
Ease of use is the first thing that beginners and sometimes even seasoned hunters are aiming for before buying a weapon. Let’s take a look at how the two of them fall in this category.
When we talk about ease of use, Crossbow is an unmatched champion in this category. Crossbows are exceptionally simple to use even if you are using it for the very first time. You can just pick it up and start shooting without any troubles.
Crossbow is basically a modern weapon and a cross between a traditional bow and modern rifle; therefore, it has a very steep learning curve. All you need to do is balance it on your shoulder and then aim at the target using your pre-installed scope.
Once you have located your target, all you need to do is press the trigger and that’s it. The only real skill that a crossbow hunter requires is the initial effort to load the arrow which is a bit tricky.
Now, on the contrary, Compound bows require years of practice and training to use it effectively. Compound bow has a very complex mechanism that includes a pulley system and requires some use beforehand to learn how to handle the weapon properly.
To hit the target, you need to take the right position and make a drawback in before the aim. Archers don’t really favor compound bows, as they are of the opinion that it is very frustrating to draw the cord back while aiming at the aim.
That being said if you’re a real hunter, the ease of use doesn’t matter to you at all. You’d like a weapon that’s precise and deadly enough to bring your target down easily.
Usability & Application
Crossbow or Compound Bow both have numerous uses and applications as required. Let’s take a look here!
If you are a beginner or casual hunter who has no time to learn how to use a compound bow properly, then Crossbow is your savior. Crossbow is a perfect hunting weapon if your target is within 100 yards or more. Crossbows can easily bring down small to medium-sized game, however its average bolt size restricts it from hunting down larger animals.
Moreover, you can easily hunt fast moving targets with the help of a crossbow. Since Crossbows do not require the hunter to drawback the string manually, thus you can effortlessly shoot a fast-moving target without missing it.
Compound Bows requires more practice and experience to successfully hunt but can effectively hit targets from a distance. Compound bows are perfect for hunting multiple different targets in a short period of time, as arrow loading time of Compound Bow is less than that of a Crossbow.
Compound Bows have multiple applications, you can use it to hunt slow moving targets and also for target practice. If you have time to learn and practice, we strongly recommend you to target practice with Compound Bow first before entering the hunting season.
Overall Cost of the Weapon
Cost is an important aspect to consider when making a choice between a compound bow or a crossbow. Let’s compare the two products to see which one is better value for money.
While Crossbows are costly, they are much cheaper than their counterparts-Compound Bows. They come in a ready-to-hunt package so you wouldn’t have to buy accessories on your own, such as scope, quiver, etc. Bolts and arrows are also included in the kit, but you may need to buy a few after a while.
Compound Bows, on the other hand, are much more costly than Crossbows. You need to spend a few thousand dollars to buy a good and reliable compound bow. Even if you manage to find a bow in less than this price point, you still have to spend more money on additional accessories and arrows for a successful hunting venture.
State Rules & Regulations
Before purchasing a weapon, it’s always a good idea to read and learn about the laws and regulations of your state about the use of that weapon. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
There are more restrictions on use of Crossbow in hunting and target sport than Compound Bows. Crossbows are easier to use and are very deadly, that is why many states see them as considerably more dangerous weapons and have therefore increased regulations. If you want to use Crossbow during the coming hunting season, we strongly recommend that you read about the policy of your state regarding the use of it.
Generally, Compound Bows are allowed all over the nation for hunting. However, several states normally define a minimum draw-weight for the Compound Bow to help make sure lethality while hunting. Some states also limit the use of battery-powered devices such as Red-Dot scope with the Compound Bow. Do check with your local office about such rules before purchasing a weapon.
Velocity & Kinetic Energy
While we list down the specifications for any hunting weapon, Velocity and Kinetic Energy have always been the primary focus. Let’s find out!
Generally speaking, Crossbows have the benefit of achieving higher speeds and kinetic energy than compound bows. The currently available modern crossbows can produce velocity of between 300-470 FPS and more than 100 Foot-Pound of kinetic energy efficiently. Even then, the power stroke of Crossbows are much shorter than that of Compound Bows.
On the other hand, compound bows are capable of producing velocity of up to 270–310 FPS with 60– 100 Foot-Pound of kinetic energy for a successful and ethical kill. However, the Power stroke of Compound Bow is much better than a Crossbow.
When it comes to shooting with Crossbow or a Compound Bow, the safety feature is a major consideration.
Crossbows are pretty safe to use even for beginners. Otherwise, if you’re a seasoned hunter, you should know how to use a weapon safely. But then you should know the crossbow has a trigger much like a rifle, and it’s really dangerous if you’re walking around the woods with a loaded crossbow.
In addition, there are more restrictions for hunting if you use a crossbow, like higher draw weights and evaluation of your safety mechanisms.
However, Crossbows have some outstanding safety features to keep you and your loved ones safe while hunting. Almost all crossbows are now equipped with an automatic dry-fire inhibitor to avoid accidental fire. If your crossbow does not have this function, make absolutely sure to toggle the safety button on once it is fully cocked.
Compound Bow is a complicated machine, making it safer to use than a crossbow. Compound Bow is only dangerous when it’s fully loaded and you’ve pulled the cord back, otherwise it’s just a simple bow. You can’t possibly mishandle the Compound Bow, just as you can mishandle the crossbow.
Statistically speaking, the amount of fatal hunting injuries is nearly the same with compound bows and crossbows. The dangerousness of any weapon lies with the human being who uses it. In terms of safety, both bows tend to be somewhat similar if the person in charge of the weapon acts professionally.
Longevity & Durability
The hunting weapon should be durable and long-lasting, since no one wishes to replace it very often. Anyway, the truth is they both have different maintenance requirements that can get in the way of longevity and durability of each bow.
Crossbows are proven to be very robust and durable. From top to bottom, each and every part of the crossbow is made of high-quality material to ensure years of stress-free service. There are more mechanical aspects at work in a Crossbow. However, manufacturers plan and calibrate everything when they create these products, so that you won’t run into any trouble.
On the other hand, when we talk about Compound Bow, it’s less durable than Crossbow because it has too many working parts involved. It’s equally solid and sturdy, but attachments are subject to damage, and you’re supposed to have to replace the parts every now and then.
Hunting is a sport that everyone enjoys and wants to experience. However, just like every other sport, there are certain physical limitations depending on the type of bow you are using. Let’s all just take a look!
Crossbow is much more disability-friendly than any other hunting bows. Crossbows with built-in crank need less athletic ability to draw, and you can even choose a heavier draw weight to go with. If your crossbow doesn’t come with an integrated system, you can purchase a separate cocking device and make your bow convenient to cock without putting any physical strain on your muscles.
On the contrary, a compound bow needs the hunter to physically draw the arrow and balance it on your shoulder before shooting. To become a professional Compound Bow hunter, a person needs to be physically fit as it requires a lot of muscle power and weightlifting. If you do not have sufficient fitness level to use Compound Bow efficiently, you should invest in a crossbow.
That being said, there is a National Association of Physically Disabled Bow Hunters that train those people to use Compound Bow and Crossbow in sporting events such as Paralympics.
In this article, we have tried to cover every aspect of both the bows to help you make an informed decision. However, the simplest way to choose between a Compound bow and a Crossbow is to try both of them and then select the one you like the better. At the end of the day, it’s all about your personal preference and requirement.
Crossbows are very easy to learn and also enable those with physical disabilities to confidently hunt with a bow. They have better FPS and they have more kinetic energy than any other bow, but loading takes more time. In addition, the trigger mechanism of Crossbow is very similar to riffle, and therefore easy and quick to learn.
On the other hand, the compound bows are lightweight and quieter than crossbows, but they require much practice and training to become professional. The loading process is also much simpler and therefore preferred by hunters around the globe. Therefore, If you prefer a more conventional approach to bow-hunting, stick with the tried-and-tested vertical bow.
Bottom line, they are both so much fun to hunt with bringing great excitement and satisfaction to those you enjoy it. No matter which bow you buy, both of these are excellent choices given you keep their strengths and weaknesses in mind.