crossbow vs. gun

Crossbow vs.Gun: Which One Is Better for Hunting?

Bow and arrows were the only choice back in the old days.

Nowadays, we have far more options.

If you like "The Walking Dead" you might want to try a crossbow. On the other hand, guns and rifles are a more traditional choice.

A question arises: crossbow vs. gun - Which one to get? Check the comparison below:

Crossbow vs Gun: Which One Is Better?

Let’s compare these two weapons in several important categories:

1. Effective Range:

effective range

Crossbow - shorter range

Cool as it can be, the crossbow is still a short-range hunting weapon.

The effective range of a crossbow is somewhere between 25 and 60 yards, tops. Most deer-sized queries have an upper range cap of 40 yards.

On the bright side, crossbows are extremely precise. You do not need to be very experienced at aiming or rely on luck to hit your target.

Many bench rest rifle shooters turn to crossbows because of their ability to consistently shoot at the same target in the 40-yard range.

Gun - Higher Range

Their maximum range can be sky-high. Namely, guns and rifles are theoretically good to 2500 or so yards. Of course, not all shooters can pull that off.

A lot depends on the type of firearm and ammunition you use too.

You should also consider the type of metal used to make the bullets and the weight of the ammo powder grain.

Even with all these factors at their worst, any gun will be able to hit a target at a greater distance than any crossbow you may choose.

2. Size:

Crossbow - bigger & bulkier

Crossbow - bigger & bulkier

The difference in size is evident here. Crossbows are bulky weapons, and they take a lot of space.

Adding spare parts and maintenance equipment into the equation makes them even a bigger factor.

Guns, on the other side, can be long and heavy, but not as bulky.

When considering tight spaces (think about hiding in the bushes preparing to take a shot), a gun can be quite easier to maneuver with.

3. Noise:

Crossbow - more quiet


Crossbows might be noisier than bows, but in comparison to a gun - it is as silent as a sleeping viper.

The only sound they produce is the quivering of the quarrel as it pierces through the air.

There is no doubt that in some hunting scenarios, you would greatly benefit from a weapon that produces minimal noise.

For example, if you shoot and miss, the game would still be unaware of your presence, and you would have much better chances of succeeding with your next shot.

A loud bang turns all the attention to you, and you could end up facing unwanted visitors who want a share of your kill.

If you use a gun or a rifle, you cannot hide your whereabouts.

4. Ammo:

Gun Bullets - Need Restock

gun bullets

Of course, the difference is more than obvious; bullets and arrows do not look anything alike.

But looks does not matter in this instance; we are more concerned with the availability.

Even though bullets are mass-produced to meet the high demands of the world population, (hunters included), the truth is - sooner or later, you could end up without any ammo and defenseless.

Your gun will be useless at least until you get back to civilization and restock the ammo.

Crossbow Bolts - Reusable

crossbow bolt

The good news is that its ammo is re-usable. You can simply walk up to your target, pull the crossbow bolt out, and reuse it.

Recovering a bullet is almost impossible, and reusing it is a science-fiction.

Moreover, if you are missing ammo for your crossbow, you can use common resources and make some, especially if you have some tree branches and a penknife at your disposal.

A variety of ammunition can be made and used with your crossbow depending on your choice of application.

5. Reloading:

When it comes to reloading, guns have a significant advantage - they are both easier and faster to load. They thus provide you with a higher rate of fire too.

Crossbow  Loading - Slower

crossbow cocking


Crossbows need to be cocked after every shot and are not a good option when you have multiple targets.

Slow rate is one of their most considerable disadvantages as even a bolt action is much faster than any crossbow.

Gun Loading - Faster

gun reloading

Gun ammo is much deadlier than arrows, which induce limited damage and will often not kill an animal unless you aim real good and are at a really close range.

Bullets are more compact and easy to transport as well.

6. Ease of Use:

easy to use

Crossbow - Easy to Use

Even when compared to traditional bows, crossbows are beginner-friendly and super-easy to use.

You only need a couple of hours of practice for an accurate shot. Even absolute beginners can be successful.

Also you need not think about proper hand-placement and string pressure as when you use a traditional bow.

A crossbow holds back the bolt for you, and all you need to do is pull the trigger. No fatigue, no brainstorming - just aim your target and shoot.

Gun - Easy too

Guns are easy to use, as well. Still, they require specialized training at a gun range.

You have to learn how to pull the gun apart and reassemble it, load bullets and pull the trigger.

You have to practice taking a proper stance when firing due to gun recoil velocity.

Aiming with accuracy requires your time and dedication too.

7. Terminal Ballistics:

crossbow impact


Crossbow vs. Gun

When talking terminal ballistics, a crossbow might be the choice with the slight disadvantage.

It’s all situational, though - many factors can impact the performance of your shot:

  • The size & strength of the prey
  • The impact spot
  • The power of the crossbow
  • The broadheads you used...

Crossbows rely on the projectile sharpness, and its damage is more hemorrhage-inducing (causes the target to bleed more).

With a gun, you have a much more impact power, and a stopping impact on the prey.

Compared to a crossbow, a shot from a gun will have a much higher chance for the instant kill, with less hemorrhage damage.

8. Recoil Velocity:

recoil velocity

Gun - Take Care of Recoil Velocity

As we have already mentioned, guns have a rather substantial recoil velocity after firing.

But what is recoil velocity?

Every action has its reaction. In this way, when you fire the bullet from your gun, the opposite force can push you to your fall.

For this reason, it is important to watch where you stand and assume a proper stance when shooting guns!

The bigger your weapon is, the higher the recoil velocity will be.

Crossbow - No Recoil

On the other hand, crossbows have almost no recoil force.

Why is this good for you?

Well, you do not need to think about your stance and can afford to be careless in that regard.

You’ll need less time to prepare for your shot too. Crossbows thus give you more freedom.

Final Verdict:

We'll be diplomatic. After all, crossbows are the predecessors of guns, and it would not be fair to put one over the other.

They both share the same purpose - to help you get your trophy kill, have fun hunting, or survive.

It would be best to own both as hunting with a crossbow is nothing similar to a gun. You want to experience both, believe us!

Crossbow is a low-range weapon, easy to master, and highly precise.

Guns are suitable for long-range shooting, they provide a much higher rate of fire and are more deadly too! Together they make your arsenal complete!

Crossbow vs gun, which one do you prefer? Tell me below, I wanna hear from you.

Robert Gate

Hi, I’m Robert Gate – an avid hunter and founder of I grew up in Texas, USA and learned archery from my dad when I was a child. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift when I got 12 years old. Read my story!

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