Last Updated On: March 15, 2022

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In this basic guide, I will show you anatomy of a crossbow with pictures. These are parts of compound crossbow and recurve crossbow, which are most common types in the market today.

Crossbow parts:

compound crossbow parts

recurve crossbow parts


The stirrup is the metal frame that is located in the front. The hunter places his foot on the stirrup when loading the bow to taut it during cocking.


The stock is the central part of a crossbow - all the other parts are connected to it. The layout of a stock is similar to the one on the rifle.


Limbs serve as power-triggers for the crossbow, and they can be recurve or compound.

A compound crossbow is more powerful than the recurve one, which is more lightweight.


The bowstring is very important because it connects the two limbs together. By connecting them properly, it transfers the energy to the bolt.

There have been finger injuries caused by Ravin Crossbows, wherein sub-standard arrow nocks don't fully engage with the bowstring. So make sure to do your research well before buying anything.


The rail, also known as “bolt channel” is located above the stock. The arrow is placed in the rail, and the bowstring slides across it.


The trigger is the release button on a crossbow. It releases the bowstring, but it also protects the crossbow from accidental shots.


The foregrip, which is connected to the crossbow's stock, gives your non-trigger hand a place to put it.

There will probably be a rubber pad that protects your hand from stiffness and sweat.


This is the point at which the two limbs intersect. The purpose of the riser is to keep the bow at a certain angle.

Most risers are made from solid materials like machine aluminum.

Cam & Pulleys

Crossbow cams of compound crossbow are wheels located at the end of each limb, and pulleys capture the maximum energy available.

When the strings are moved all the way back, the pulleys turn.


The quiver is a container used for carrying bolts. You can place it either on top or on the bottom of the crossbow.

Arrows (Bolts)

The terms arrow and bolt are used simultaneously in archery; however, arrows are lighter and lengthier than bolts.

Cocking Aid

A cocking aid is a device that helps you carry your crossbow and increases its mechanical advantage.

Scope (sight)

The purpose of a scope is to improve accuracy while aiming. There are different types (pin, peep, red dot, and scope), but none of them get blurred or need batteries to operate.


You should store your crossbow in a protective case somewhere cool, dry, and out of children's reach.

Find out some other ways to carry a bow here.

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic.

I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.