Last Updated On: January 31, 2024

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Starters are usually looking for a crossbow for target practice, most commonly one that falls into the entry-level category.

That type of crossbow is the best to get a feel for things and build confidence for hunting later on.

I did plenty of research and found the best crossbow for beginners. Here are the deals:

Best Crossbow For Beginners Reviews:

1. Best overall: Excalibur Crossbows Micro MAG 340

Excalibur Crossbows Micro MAG 340 Mossy Oak Original Bottomland Camo Package


Excalibur MAG 340 is one of the best entry-level crossbows for hunting deer. It allows you to change the string in the field and the limbs using a $40 stringer tool.


  • Draw weight: 270 lbs
  • Speed: 340 fps
  • Weight: 6 lbs
  • Cocked width: 22"
  • Trigger: 3.5 lbs

Simple recurve design

Since this is a recurve crossbow, it comes with fewer moving parts, so there are fewer parts to break, making it easiest to use and maintain.

The string is easy to replace without a bow press, and the assembly is possible within a few minutes.

The most important part about the design would have to be that you can discharge the bolt without firing, along with the fact that the crossbow is made in Canada.

The crossbow is very quiet when you use it, thanks to the addition of R.E.D.S. suppressors.

Super powerful

The MAG 340 is compelling thanks to the 270-pound draw weight, which is more than plenty to take down a deer.

Thanks to the powerful draw weight, the crossbow can reach speeds of 340 FPS, provided you use a 100-grain field point to get a 350-grain arrow.

However, you should consider using 150-grain broadheads to get a 400-grain arrow if you are looking for better penetration.

Extremely accurate

Excalibur Crossbows Micro MAG 340 Mossy Oak Original Bottomland Cam


With the Dead Zone scope, which is the highest scope of Excalibur, you get a multi-coated lens which gives a much clearer image.

The magnification ranges from 2x to 5x, and it’s water and fog-proof.

The illuminated red and green reticles illuminate super bright in dim conditions so that you can hunt in the last hours of the day.

You can adjust the scope from 300 to 410 FPS.

The scope enables tight 2-inch grouping at 20 yards and a crisp trigger.

The trigger needs less than 3.5 pounds to pull, and it’s comfortable in hands.

Lightest weight

Weighing around 6 pounds, this is one of the lightest crossbows.

It’s nice to handle in cramped spaces, and it gives a solid feeling when you hold it because it’s so well built.

Quite bulky

The crossbow seems relatively compact when you look at the length, with only 31 inches of cocked length.

However, with 22 inches of width when cocked, it is pretty bulky.

Keep in mind that it’s pretty wide for tight spaces such as ladders or ground blinds.

Mag 340


Ease your cocking effort

The crossbow has a rope-cocking mechanism, so you only need half of the initial draw weight to cock the weapon - about 135 pounds.

However, the young teen may make an effort to cock it.

The important thing is that you can upgrade to a Charger EXT crank, making it effortless to cock and decock.

The Charger EXT reduces the cocking effort to only 12 pounds, which is nice if you have shoulder issues.

Limited Lifetime Warranty

No matter where you buy the MAG 340, you still receive the same warranty from the manufacturers.


I didn’t like about the MAG 340 is that it comes with broad limbs.

The lack of string wax and rail lube is a downside, along with the fact that you might have to buy an extra crank separately.

The included arrows are not of top quality, as they have 0.003” straightness, meaning they aren’t stiffest.


  • Simple design
  • Made in Canada
  • Powerful and fast
  • Amazing scope
  • Cocking aid
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Quiet
  • Best lightest weight


  • Bulky
  • Arrows could be better
  • No string wax and rail lube
  • Wide limbs

2. Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow with ACUdraw Pro:

Wicked Ridge RDX 400 Crossbow with ACUdraw Pro, Multi-Line Scope, Package


Wicked Ridge has genuinely made it with the RDX 400, as it can reach the speed of 370 FPS with a 500-grain bolt.

I highly recommend this crossbow even though it goes well over your average starter crossbow, considering you get a built-in crank instead of a rope cocker.


  • Draw weight: 175 lbs
  • Speed: 400 fps
  • Weight: 7.6 lbs
  • Cocked width: 9"
  • Trigger: 3.5 lbs

Easy to carry around

The RDX 400 weighs only 7.6 pounds, which is easy to carry around. This weight was enabled by the lightweight stock design.

Compact Size

compact size


With a length of 33 inches, the crossbow is slim and only has 9 inches axle to axle when cocked, so it’s great for traveling.

What makes this crossbow genuinely stand out is that it’s so well-balanced. With the patented reverse-draw technology, you can eliminate the weight at the end of the bow.

This enables a longer power stroke and a more powerful and smoother crossbow.

Drop a deer with ease

The crossbow is super powerful and heavy-pulling, thanks to the 175-pound draw weight.

This is great to fill your deer tags. You get a 400-FPS top speed with the draw weight, allowing you to hunt giant whitetails.

There are two cocking options you can choose from:

  • ACUdraw Pro
  • Rope sled

Ease your cocking force

ease your cocking force


With the rope sled, you can load off 50% of the original draw weight.

On the other hand, if you use the ACUdraw Pro, you reduce the cocking effort to only 8.5 pounds.

It’s silent and easy to cock on a treestand which is fantastic for someone with an injured back or shoulder.

Good Accuracy

The RDX 400 is highly accurate, and it enables you to shoot repeatedly, with tight 2-inch grouping at 50 yards distance.

The scope is not bad either, as it’s a Multi-Line scope, which enables easy sight-in at 20, 30, and 40 yards.

The color illuminates your target even in low light conditions with three reticles: red, green, and black.

However, you should consider upgrading to a more accurate scope alter to reach out even further.

Safe and easy to use

This crossbow features DFI to prevent firing without inserted bolts which can ruin your bow.

Auto-engaging safety is a nice feature, as well.

Highly Secure DFI

The finger safety grip protects your fingers from getting in the arrow line.

Whisper Quiet

Thanks to the string stop system, when you fire the crossbow, it doesn’t make a sound whatsoever, which reduces noise and vibration.

The system is integrated at the end of the bow to seem flush with the design.

The crossbow comes with three aluminum arrows with field tips and a decent quiver.

The arrows shoot straight but keep in mind that you need to use the ‘alpha’ nock to use the warranty.

Be that as it may, you should replace them with better arrows as you become better at shooting.

mostly assembled


Most parts are pre-assembled, which is decent. The only parts you need to assemble are the scope and the front handle, which are quickly done in 10 minutes.


What I didn’t like about the RDX 400 is that you cannot decock using the ACUdraw Pro - you have to release the field tip into the target.

The nock is limited, and the arrows could be of better quality.

The instructions can be a bit unclear, but you can find helpful information on YouTube.

The trigger is not great, and the string isn’t durable - it can break in a week.


  • Best starter crossbow for hunting
  • Lightweight
  • The most compact of all crossbows on the list
  • Well-balanced
  • Powerful
  • Extremely accurate
  • Safety measures
  • Super quiet
  • Decent arrows


  • Cannot uncock with ACUdraw Pro
  • Limited nock
  • Arrows are not high quality
  • Unclear instruction
  • The string is not durable

3. Tenpoint Turbo M1 Crossbow Package:

 TENPOINT Turbo M1 Crossbow Package with Pro-View Scope, Three Pro Elite 400 Arrows, 3-Arrow Quiver and ACUdraw PRO or ACUdraw 50 SLED Cocking


If you are looking for a crossbow that will ease your drawing effort, the Tenpoint Turbo M1 comes with the fantastic ACUdraw cranking system.


  • Draw weight: 190 lbs
  • Speed: 380 fps
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs
  • Cocked width: 9"
  • Trigger: 3.5 lbs


With only 6.4 pounds, this crossbow is much lighter than your typical compound crossbow.

Thanks to the cut-out design that reduces the weight, you can grip your fingers better for a steady hold. All in all, it’s great to haul around the woods.

New T5 Trigger

T5 trigger is the safest trigger which is super crisp to pull.

Another safety measure is auto-engaging safety or dry-fire inhibitor (DFI), which ensures you don’t dry fire and cause an accident or an injury.

Reduce 50% of your drawing effort

Reduce 50% of your drawing effort


With the Turbo M1, you get 3 options for a cocking mechanism:

ACUdraw and ACUdraw Sled are rope-cocking mechanisms that reduce the drawing pressure by half, so you only lift 85 pounds from the initial 190 pounds.

However, the ACUdraw Pro reduces the cocking effort to 8.5 pounds which is easy to operate.

It makes zero noise and faster cocking than the other options, and it’s an excellent solution for shoulder and back issues.

However, remember to bring your cocking handle, or you will lose all the fun on your trip.

Medium Power

medium power


With 380 FPS, the crossbow is medium powered, with VX-5 reversed cams.

The cams increase rotation and the power stroke to 14 inches to give your crossbow an extra punch.

It’s indeed enough to take down any game in North America.

Medium Size

With 32 inches, the Turbo M1 poses no problems, even for women and kids.

With 9 inches of width, it’s the narrowest bow in the Turbo line, but it’s still not as slim as a high-end crossbow. However, it’s an excellent option for a 1-man pop-up blind.

The butt plate is adjustable to 2 levels, allowing additional adjustment if you have a small frame or are particularly tall.

The forearm grip is improved to give you a better grasp on the bow when held for a shot.

Great Accessories

great accessories


The 3x Pro-View scope allows you to set the yardage from 20 to 50 yards using the black-dot yardage.

There are 2 illuminated reticles (red and green) to support the target's sight at dawn and dusk.

The scope is easy to sight in at 30 yards within 10 minutes. You can expect to get consistent accuracy with 3-inch grouping at 40 yards, but the scope is not waterproof or fog-proof.

You get 3x Pro Elite 400-grain Carbon arrows with 0.003” straightness in the package.

They are not the best, but they are still tough enough to pass through the vitals.

You get a detachable quiver along with the arrows.

Made in USA

The Turbo M1 is made in the USA, which is impressive since not too many crossbow manufacturers nowadays make their bows in the country.


The main downside of this crossbow is that you cannot decock the crossbow with the crank, and it’s limited to the half-moon nocks.

The crossbow is noisy, so you should add a dampener to absorb noise and vibration to extend your hunting trip.

The case is not included in the package, so you should use a soft or hard case to protect your investment.

The scope is not fog proof, and the string is not high-quality.


  • Easiest loading crossbow
  • Lightweight
  • New T5 trigger
  • 3 cocking options
  • Medium power
  • Medium dimension
  • Great accessories
  • Made in the USA
  • Well made forearm grip


  • Cannot decock with a crank
  • Limited nock
  • Noisy
  • Case not included
  • The scope is not fog-proof
  • The string is not high-quality

4. Barnett Explorer XP 400 Crossbow:

Barnett Explorer XP 400 Crossbow


Barnett’s Explorer XP 400 is a good crossbow for beginners that is easy to shoot, as it packs a good punch, yet it’s effortless to use.


  • Draw weight: 200 lbs
  • Speed: 400 fps
  • Weight: 12 lbs
  • Cocked width: 13.3"
  • Trigger: 3 lbs

Lightest trigger

The trigger is extremely smooth, and it requires only 3 pounds to pull - making it the lightest of all on this list.

The TriggerTech Frictionless Release technology provides a light pull with a clean shot that minimizes dry fire.

With this feature alone, this crossbow is worth your money.

Easy to pull

The crossbow features a rope-cocking mechanism that reduces half of the pulling weight.

However, it can still be a little trickier for women who need help with the upgraded crank.

he downside is the bolts need to be fired to decock the bow.

Pretty Powerful

pretty powerful


The crossbow can reach shot speeds of 400 FPS using 380-grain arrows, thanks to the 200-pound draw weight.

You will have no doubt it will do the job.


The crossbow is very well-balanced in the middle, instead of having a heavy front so that you won’t get tired.

It is not lightweight - 12 pounds, but it’s enough to hunt with all day.

The dimensions are somewhat medium - it’s not wide nor narrow with 13 inches axle to axle, which is nice for hunting in a ground blind.

Regarding safety measures, the crossbow features the ADF trigger system and the soft-lok floating bristle arrow retainer.

Standard Scope



The scope is easy to dial in, as it takes just a few clicks to adjust it perfectly.

The scope has red and green illuminated reticles, but you cannot change the brightness.

It works well in daylight, but the image is not too clear at the end of the day, so you should upgrade it to a higher-end scope.

Adjustable buttstock

The buttstock is adjustable, and it doesn’t rattle, so that you can fine-tune it according to your preference.

Mostly preassembled

The bow comes primarily pre-assembled, you just have to put it into the tock and tighten everything, and it’s ready.


With 12 pounds of weight, this is a heavy bow, and it’s double the weight of the lightest bow on the list - MAG 340. You'd better add an extra shooting rest for it.

I didn’t like that the crossbow comes without a crank, so you have to purchase it separately.

The scope is cheap, and the bow is loud, despite the string dampener.

There is no decock option, and you will have to shoot your bolts into the ground or 3D deer target.


  • Extremely smooth
  • Easy to cock
  • Pretty powerful
  • Well-balanced
  • Safety features
  • The scope is easy to dial in
  • Adjustable buttstock
  • Mostly preassembled


  • Heavyweight
  • Cheap scope
  • Take lots of strength to load it
  • No decock option
  • Noisy

5. Top Budget-friendly Option: CenterPoint Archery Sniper Elite 385 Crossbow:

CenterPoint Archery Sniper Elite 385 Crossbow


CenterPoint’s Sniper Elite 385 is a good crossbow to start with, mainly because it’s incredibly adjustable to your preferences!


  • Draw weight: 185 lbs
  • Speed: 385 fps
  • Weight: 7.9 lbs
  • Cocked width: 14.75"
  • Trigger: N/A

Highly Adjustable



The foregrip, cheekpiece, and buttstock are all adjustable to your size, providing steadier shots.

The AR-15 style grip makes the rifle hunters feel better and more familiar with this bow transitioning to a crossbow.



The Whisper Silencing system is added to the limbs and strings. It reduces vibration and noise and keeps you silent on the field without spooking your prey.

The aluminum rail is high-quality and durable, and it doesn’t give away the cheap appearance you get with the lower-end model.

Quite Narrow

The crossbow is 14 inches wide from axle to axle, and it’s also lightweight.

Weighing only 7.9 pounds is a breeze to handle in the woods.

Strong Limbs

This crossbow can reach fast speeds with 185 pounds of draw weight. It also can reach fast speeds - up to 385 FPS.

This is massive power, more than plenty for shooting through a block target in the off-season.

Thanks to the enormous finger guard, the crossbow is overly safe to use, protecting your fingers from getting hurt.

The ADF (anti-dry-fire) feature prevents you from accidentally firing a bolt and damaging the limbs.

Standard Rope Cocker

The rope cocker assists your drawing effort, but you will need a lot of strength to load it.

Keep in mind that if you buy it for a youth - many teenagers cannot lift 150 pounds.

So, you should add a CenterPoint power draw rope cranking device to make their life easier.

There is no decocking feature, so you will need to shoot it into a target at the end of your hunting day.

It’s easy to put them all together, as you will be able to finish within 15 minutes.

Deadly Accurate

deadly accurate


The Sniper Elite 385 comes with the Barnett 4x32mm scope with four levels ranging from 20 to 60 yards.

It allows you to shoot straight with good grouping to get that lethal shot at a deer.

On the other hand, keep in mind that it’s not illuminated, so it’s not the best option for hunting in dim conditions. You should upgrade to a high-end scope.

The ball-bearing retention rail enables zero touching and keeps your arrows consistent after every shot.


The worst part about the Sniper Elite is that there is no decock option, and the buttstock can be loose.

Also, the crossbow is quite long at 33 inches, making it too large for someone with a more small frame.

There are no arrows included  - you will need to buy 20” 400-grain carbon arrows.

The warranty is limited to only 5 years, but we can’t truly complain at this price.

The limbs are cheap, so they will likely have to be replaced, and the scope isn’t great either.


  • Highly adjustable
  • Quiet
  • Durable aluminum rail
  • Quite narrow
  • Safe to use
  • Strong limbs
  • The rope cocking mechanism included
  • Deadly accurate
  • A good budget for adult beginners


  • Long
  • No decock option
  • The buttstock can be loose
  • Limited warranty
  • No arrows included
  • Cheap scope

Bottom Line:

I have found the top entry-level crossbows and had so much fun testing them out.

I found 5 great picks, but only one of them is the absolute best - and that is the Excalibur MAG 340.

Editor's choice:

editor's choice


This crossbow brings so much to the table:

  • The design is so simple that the weapon almost maintains itself
  • It packs a good punch, shoots out arrows super quick, and comes with one of the best scopes in the world.

What is your favorite choice for the best crossbow for beginners?

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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.