Crossbows have that feeling a person is right there in the Walking Dead show. It’s sort of medieval to use crossbows, but it can be so fun!

Hunting can be done with various tools, but crossbows are the tools that are growing in popularity each day. Why, though?

Mostly because they are fairly easy to use, and they can even be used by professional hunters.

However, there are so many crossbow pistols available on the market, making it hard to choose.

How to choose the best pistol crossbow? Read our article to see our top picks in this year.

Best Pistol Crossbow On the Market:

Best Pistol Crossbow Reviews:

1. Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking 80-Pound Crossbow Pistol - Our Top Pick

Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking  80-Pound Crossbow Pistol


The Ace Martial Arts Supply’s pistol crossbow is the absolute winner in our ‘best overall’ category.

It’s durable and rather easy to use, which are the factors most important to anyone using the pistol.

The Cobra System pistol crossbow is made from durable plastic and compressed fiberglass.

There is no worry that this crossbow will last a long time with the robust design!


  • Durable materials and construction
  • Easy to use with the self-cocking mechanism
  • Decent speed of the shot
  • 80-pound draw weight
  • Good accessories

More Details:

First, the package of this uniquely designed crossbow includes important accessories: 2 strings and 39 aluminum arrows.

The arrows even have metal tips for extra strength, and since there are so many of them, you can practice your hunting to perfection.

This 80lb crossbow pistol has the speed of the shot is measured at 150 FPS for extra success. Contrarily, the screws need to be changed to stop vibrating to keep the rail in place.

With self-cocking it’s super easy to release and reload - so you get more shots in a small period. On the other hand, the instructions are not very clear and detailed.


  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Strings and arrows included
  • Unique design


  • The screws can vibrate
  • The instructions are not very clear

2. Snake Eye Tactical Pistol Crossbow - Budget-Friendly Option

Snake Eye Tactical Pistol Crossbow


Snake Eye offers an amazing product for hunting, and for a price that’s more than decent.

Sometimes, one cannot afford a high-end product, but it’s good to know that the lower price range can still offer some great crossbows.

The aluminum stock and fiberglass limb make this a robust and resilient crossbow. Its polished design and astonishing specs make this a great buy!


  • Good speed of the shot
  • The robust design of the body
  • Safety mechanism
  • Bolts included in the package
  • Decent price

More Details:

The draw weight is 80lb and it reaches arrow speed of 160+ FPS. The speed is enough to satisfy even experienced users, but not professionals.

Most users will have extreme accuracy using this crossbow, especially for small game.

The self-cocking comes with a safety mechanism and it’s constructed with an aluminum barrel for extra durability.

The model comes with 15 plastic arrows with metal pointers - so they aren’t very durable.

Many mini crossbow reviews choose this to be the best of the category. Do note that the parts can be difficult to assemble, because of the poor instruction manual.


  • Safety mechanism
  • Bolts included
  • Good top speed
  • Resilient body


  • Not suitable for professionals
  • Poor instruction manual

3. Prophecy Crossbow Pistol, 80 Pound, Self-Cocking - Our Premium Pick

Prophecy Crossbow Pistol, 80 Pound, Self-Cocking


Prophecy’s pistol crossbow is one of our favorites without a doubt, but the price along with the astonishing specs make it a winner in our ‘premium’ category.

The crossbow is easy to operate, but it doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.

With an aluminum body and durable plastic parts, this pistol crossbow is ready to serve anyone for a long time.

The accessories and the specs certainly justify the high price of this model!


  • Durable aluminum body
  • Easy to operate with the self-cocking feature
  • Decent shot speed
  • Storage bag with bolt slots
  • Adjustable sight

More Details:

With the self-cocking, the crossbow pistol is rather easy to operate and shoot with, but that doesn’t make it a toy.

It’s rather powerful, and it can shoot arrows at the speed of 165 FPS - higher than the average! Despite being so fast, the FPS could be too low for pros.

The crossbow comes with a storage bag lined with soft material for safe-keeping, and even has bolt slots on the outer side!

The aluminum bolts have metal tips - but there are only three included in the package.

On the other hand, the sight is adjustable and comes with semi-automatic loading!


  • Easy to use
  • Accessories included
  • Suitable for beginners and semi-experienced hunters
  • Durable design


  • Shot speed too low for professionals
  • Only three bolts included

4. PSE Viper SS Crossbow Viper SS Handheld Crossbow - Fastest Pistol Crossbow

PSE Viper SS Crossbow Viper SS Handheld Crossbow


Sometimes, a hunter or a hunter-to-be isn’t looking for a lot of things - just a great shot speed. That’s where the PSE Viper SS wins - in our ‘fastest’ category!

The durable fiberglass limbs and the plastic design along with the astonishing speed are the main reasons why would someone choose this crossbow. A great buy, without a doubt!


  • Amazing speed of the shot
  • Easy to operate
  • Frenzy bolts included in the package
  • Safety and anti-firing mechanism
  • Durable fiberglass limbs
  • Track-rail system

More Details:

The shot speed of an amazing 215 FPS is suitable for everyone, even pros.

The anti-dry firing and safety mechanisms ensure safety at all times, along with the finger guards for additional safety.

However, the draw weight of 50-pounds is more suitable for inexperienced users. The hunter cannot fire too often with such a draw weight.

The track-rail system gives the best precision when shooting. The three frenzy bolts are included, which is too few for any user.

The design is durable and strong, so this product will last the user for a long time - the best crossbow for recreation.


  • Very fast
  • Safety mechanisms
  • Durable build
  • Beginner-friendly


  • Too little bolts included
  • Small draw weight

5. Tactical Crusader Hand Held Pistol Crossbow - Perfect For Beginners

Tactical Crusader Hand Held Pistol Crossbow


Tactical Crusader’s handheld pistol crossbow is the winner of our ‘beginner-friendly’ category.

Not all crossbows have to cater to the needs of professional hunters - some must fit the inexperienced users!

This crossbow is super easy to use, and it’s the cheapest pistol crossbow out there.

If you want to see how you would like to hunt with the crossbow, this is the ideal one to check it out with!


  • Anti-dry-firing safety mechanism
  • Plastic bolts included
  • Decent top speed
  • The low price of the crossbow
  • Strong pistol grip and cocking lever

More Details:

The 80-pound draw weight and an easy cocking lever are the characteristics that make it ideal for practicing and hunting smaller prey. The crossbow pistol has a strong grip for steady aim and good control.

The auto-safety mechanism prevents firing dry, and it has an adjustable sight for extra accuracy.

The FPS is over the top with plastic bolts - 200 FPS, and with aluminum bolts - 160 FPS, fitting the average speed.

The shot speed is suitable for beginners, but not professional hunters. There are 4 plastic bolts included, so they aren’t very durable, and a paper target for practicing first!


  • Decent draw weight
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Safety mechanisms
  • Pistol grip


  • Not suitable for pros
  • Bolts aren’t durable

What To Keep In Mind When Buying A Pistol Crossbow

When you’re out shopping or a pistol crossbow, there are rather a few things you should keep in mind.

Buying a pistol crossbow shouldn’t be a rash decision, as it’s something you are going to use for a long time.

This buyer’s guide is handy if you’re a rookie in the crossbow world! However, an experienced or professional user needs a good, 150 lb crossbow pistol!


what's your purpose?

So many manufacturers make the pistol crossbows - and they all make different crossbows. They are all made in a variety of designs and weight - because they all have a different purpose.

Before you do buy an item for yourself, consider what you want to use the pistol crossbow for.

  • If you need it for hunting or target practice - you will need to buy a different one for each of those.
  • Also, keep in mind what type of prey you hunt when you’re out.

Power Stroke

crossbow power stroke


Let’s start by defining the power stroke - power stroke is the distance between the string at full draw when cocked, and the resting point, when uncocked.

The power stroke can be compared to the brace height.

So, the longer the power stroke is, the faster the bolt will go. However, other factors such as draw weight can play a significant role in it, as well.


Pistol crossbows are not made for big hunting sessions, as you probably know already.

If you’re looking for a full hunting experience, you should be buying full-sized crossbows.

However, crossbows leaning towards small size are not as efficient at making the kill shot. Even if you want to hunt smaller animals like varmints, you still need a strong crossbow to take down the animal.

Draw Method

There are essentially two drawing methods for the pistol crossbows:

  • Direct draw method
  • Lever cocking method

Direct draw method

When your pistol crossbow has a lower draw weight, a bow like that will likely have the direct draw method.

On the back of the crossbow, there is a handle you need to pull to draw the string.

Lever cocking method - a more popular method, by far.

On the back of the bow, a lever is integrated into the design and hidden away. There is a lock switch that will help you use the lever to draw the bowstring.


Picatinny rail


When we’re talking about the attachments, we’re talking about the things you can attach to your pistol crossbow.

To be able to do that, your pistol must have a Picatinny rail.

Do note that not all crossbows come with a Picatinny rail.

If you do want to add some gun gear to your pistol, you will also be able to install a tube scope, a flashlight, and even a red dot sight!

All these things could help you have a more successful hunting session!


crossbow string

When you do buy a pistol crossbow, you will get various accessories included in the package.

The string is one of them - and some extra string would be cool, as it tends to get worn out.

Without the string, you cannot start hunting. It would be good if the package involved string wax, as well.


Bolts and Tips for a Good Kill

Crossbow pistol arrows used to shoot your target are also known as bolts. The best pistol crossbow bolts are made from metal, plastic, and aluminum.

For example, plastic bolts are fine and pretty sturdy. However, they may not be the wisest choice for experienced shooters, as they can break up.

The best choice for anyone would be the metal bolts - as they do not break up the way plastic bolts do. Metal bolts are robust and efficient - so they are the best choice for hunting.


Self-cocking is one of the two cocking mechanisms:

  • Self cocking
  • Machine cocking

It all comes down to personal preference when you’re buying a crossbow.

Self cocking:

The self-cocking crossbow pistol is by far easier and more comfortable to use.

To use it, all you need is to bend the barrel and the handle with the string in place.

Machine cocking:

With machine cocking, the story is a little different. To operate it, the mechanism needs you to be fully involved with your hands and one foot.


When you do buy a crossbow, you will find out that they come unassembled. On the other hand, the package should involve all of the necessary components.

The basic parts would be:

  • Bolts
  • Strings
  • Limb
  • The body of the pistol
  • Mounting rails
  • Drafts
  • And various whatnots

Some pistol crossbows come with more parts, while some others can come with less.

Some crossbows might even come with pre-mounted rails so a flashlight or a red dot can be installed. Some even come with tactical hardware like Picatinny rails.

Different Types Of Pistol Crossbows

In reality, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pistol crossbows.

We already talked about a few different factors, but let’s talk about the different types of pistol crossbows.

Recurve pistol crossbow

recurve pistol crossbow


It’s called that way because it has small curves at the end of the bow.

This type is very easy to aim, they have a longer draw length - so the bolt accelerates fast.

This is the ideal pistol for targeting large prey or hunting long-range, making it a favorite among professionals.

Repeating pistol crossbow

repeating crossbow pistol


It has a feature that they are rather easy to use - one movement is needed to shoot a shot.

It’s also rather convenient - it shoots almost three times faster than any other type of crossbow. If the speed is your number-one feature, pick a repeating crossbow!

Compound crossbow pistol

Compound crossbow pistol


It is also a favorite among hunters - it’s fairly easy to use and it’s sturdy.

The stiff build makes them more energy-efficient and they are made with synthetic materials, so they are more durable and resistant to various weather conditions.

Speed Of The Shot

This is one of the most important pieces of information as well.

However and whatever bolts you’re using, it all comes down to the speed of the shot that reaches the target.

Again, smaller or larger bolts - the pistol crossbow should shoot them out as fast as possible to make a precise shooting.

The speed is essential for a good hunting session.

So, how fast the shot partially depends on the weight of the bolt.

But, in the end, a good pistol crossbow should produce a speed of around 100 to 300 FPS for a great hunting experience.

FAQs - Best Pistol Crossbow:


1. What Can You Hunt With A Crossbow Pistol?

You can hunt with a crossbow pistol easily, and very good for hunting small game like rabbits.

Do note that these rodents move very fast, so you will need to keep a range of fewer than 20 yards so you don’t lose accuracy.

2. Do I Need A Permit To Own, Or Use A Pistol Crossbow?

There are a few legal obstacles to using and owning a pistol crossbow. It can only be purchased and owned by adults over 18 years old.

Most states require that the crossbow can be owned only with a special license. That license may even require membership in a sporting club.

3. Do I Need To Wax My Pistol Crossbow Bow String?

Yes, you do and you shouldn’t skip on waxing your string ever. It ensures your bow stays in perfect shape for a long time.

4. Are Pistol Crossbows Good For Hunting?

Pistol crossbows can be as efficient for hunting as any other tool.

Do note that you need to practice target shooting first before deciding to use it on a small or large game.

5. How Accurate Is A Crossbow Pistol?

A crossbow pistol can be rather accurate, but it all comes down to you. You have to be precise when shooting, along with using a good crossbow!

6. How Far Will A Crossbow Pistol Shoot?

Most crossbows can reach around 500 yards - but most can’t hit a target that far. If you’re shooting a target and you’re a rookie, you should try to aim at 30 yards.

More experienced hunters can try to hit a target at 60 yards. Professional hunters can even hit a target when they are 80 yards away!

7. Do Crossbow Pistols Take The Normal Crossbow?

Unfortunately, pistol crossbows cannot use normal crossbow ammunition. A crossbow shoots regular arrows, while the pistol crossbow uses bolts.

The only difference between the arrow and a bolt is the length. The arrow has to measure at least 16 inches. If it doesn’t, it’s considered a bolt.

8. How Heavy Is A Crossbow Pistol?

Pistol crossbows are made with lightweight materials so they stay light and compact. Since they are made from plastic or fiberglass, they are easy to carry around.

The weight ranges somewhere between 4 to 8 pounds. The lower the weight, the easier it is to aim and shoot easily.

9. How Fast Is A Crossbow Pistol?

Most crossbow pistols fire at 160 FPS. however, some designs make the bolts shoot out faster, at even 300 FPS!

10. How To String The Crossbow Pistol?

First, you should hook the string onto one nock of the bow. Then, angle the crossbow on a hard surface and apply pressure to the bow with your foot.

Pull up on the barrel of the crossbow pistol and nock the other end of the string. Check how you did and that’s about it!

Best Pistol Crossbow - Final Words:

To conclude, the market offers a lot of great crossbows, but there is only one that is the best. That would be the Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra Crossbow!

Editor's choice:

Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking  80-Pound Crossbow Pistol 2


There are a few important reasons why the Cobra Crossbow won the best overall:

  • It isn’t just the durable build with quality materials. This pistol crossbow is also very easy to use since it has a self cocking mechanism!
  • Also, the solid shot speed combined with the 80 pound draw weight makes it a great buy.
  • Moreover, the palette of accessories got us going, as well!

We did a thorough Cobra Pistol Crossbow Review so that you can see for yourself why this crossbow wins every category.

The speed, the build, the design, everything is over the top!

If you’re looking for the best pistol crossbow, you should go with Ace Martial Arts Supply - they are going over the top with their bestseller!

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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.