If you are new to the sport of archery, you may quickly become overwhelmed by the wide array of crossbows that are available. With both recurve and compound crossbows to choose from, as well as various draw weights, lengths, and added features, it is important to know exactly what to look for, whether you are buying your first bow or replacing the one you already have. The following crossbow buying guide examines everything you need to know, from looking at the different types of crossbows to important factors to consider before finalizing your purchase.

Choosing Your Crossbow

After you have decided whether to purchase a recurve or compound crossbow, there are still a number of factors to consider.

1. Draw Weight

Draw weight refers to the top amount of weight an archer pulls when drawing the bow. Choosing the right draw weight depends on your level of skill (including your overall health, stamina, and motor skills), as well as what your overall goals are as an archer. Your draw weight will have a significant impact on how you shoot.
While it is impossible to know what draw weight will be most comfortable for you without trying a crossbow, the following provides suggested draw weight ranges.

For beginner recurve bow users:

  • Youth under 14: 10 to 14 pounds
  • Teens: 12 to 16 pounds
  • Young adults: 16 to 22 pounds

For intermediate recurve bow users:

  • Youth under 14: 10 to 18 pounds
  • Teens: 16 to 22 pounds
  • Adult Females: 18 to 32 pounds
  • Adult Males: 26 to 38 pounds

For beginner compound crossbow users:

  • Youth under 12: 10 to 16 pounds
  • Teens from 12 to 14: 14 to 22 pounds
  • Older female teens: 24 to 28 pounds
  • Older male teens: 26 to 36 pounds
  • Average female: 30 to 40 pounds
  • Average male: 40 to 50 pounds

For intermediate compound crossbow users:

  • Youth: 18 to 22 pounds
  • Teens: 24 to 30 pounds
  • Young women/older male teens: 30 to 40 pounds
  • Women/ younger men with above average strength: 40 to 50 pounds
  • Men and women with above average strength: 50 to 60 pounds

Keep in mind that the draw weights discussed above are intended for target practice only. If you plan to use your crossbow for hunting, you will need a minimum draw weight of 150 pounds.

2. Budget

You can find recurve and compound crossbows for as little as $100 or well over the $2,000 mark. Decide how much you want to spend before you start your search and then only look in that price range. If you are not sure how much to spend, consider this. You want a crossbow that is high quality enough to ensure you have a good time, but you also don’t want to overspend; especially if you are not 100{1c1ec6e5f800b867307e4a42b1ff10a5878818d3f4b907ed0996968d89111610} sure you are going to take up archery for the long term. Overall, the amount you spend is entirely up to you, but it is an important factor to consider.
When making your purchase, remember that you will also need arrows, a bow stringer, and targets. Some manufacturers offer beginner kits that include the crossbow and everything else you need to get started. Be sure to see if this is the case with the bow you plan to purchase, otherwise you will need to buy everything separately. You may also decide to purchase additional accessories, though they are not required.
While you may find good prices online, you should visit a local archery or sports store to at least try out several models before choosing to buy one. Never purchase a crossbow unless you have shot it first! The best advice is to try out as many as you can and choose the one that offers you the right feel and fit and you can operate without difficulty.

3. Velocity/ Speed

Arrow speed is measured in feet per second (fps). A minimum of 200 fps is recommended. Be aware that the velocity is also affected by the crossbow’s draw weight. As a result, a heavier arrow moves more slowly than a lighter arrow shot from the same crossbow.

4. Noise Level

Noise is more of a concern if you are planning to hunt with your crossbow. Many of today’s crossbows are designed to be as quiet as possible. Many crossbows can also be fitted with a silencer that is purchased separately.

5. Weight

It is important to purchase a crossbow that you can easily manage in regards to weight. One that is too light will often have a severe recoil that is almost impossible to control. However, one that is too heavy will also be very difficult to control. If you cannot handle a crossbow’s weight, you will not be able to shoot accurately and isn’t that the goal of archery? This is yet another reason that you should try out a variety of crossbows before you make your purchase.

6. A Reliable Manufacturer

All crossbows are not the same. Stay away from crossbows that include parts that appear cheap and flimsy or do not fit together properly. A few of the top manufacturers to look for include Excalibur, Barnett, and Arrow Precision, though there are several more. If you have any questions, be sure to consult a sales associate.

When you do decide on a crossbow, take the time to look at online reviews previous users have left. This is an easy and effective way to check a crossbow’s ease of use, durability, and much more.

Archery is an amazing sport that can enhance both your physical and mental health. However, choosing the right crossbow is crucial to what kind of experience you have. Using the information discussed above, you can find the right crossbow for your needs.

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