Pistol crossbows feature almost all the functionality of full-size crossbows but are easier to use, less expensive, and take up much less space. They can serve as a stepping stone and are a great way to learn the necessary skills for hunting or archery using a full-size crossbow. What’s more, many of the best crossbow pistol models are powerful enough for use in small game hunting.
Below we’ve included a hand-picked list of the top 10 best crossbow pistol models, and included a buyer’s guide of things you should consider to ensure you make the right choice.
Ten Best Crossbow Pistol Reviews
The first pistol crossbow on our list is the Cobra Systems self cocking tactical crossbow. This crossbow features a common self cocking mechanism where a lever arm at the back of the pistol crossbow is bent giving enough leverage to draw the bow. The body of the pistol is made of a strong plastic and the bow arm is made of a compressed molded fiberglass. The bow itself features an 80-pound draw and fires arrows at roughly 165 feet per second. This crossbow features an adjustable site for ranging in and comes with 3 aluminum arrows with metal tips which are great for hunting small game.
Shoots arrows at 165 feet per second
Metal arrows are suitable for small game
Only comes with 3 arrows
Next in our roundup is the Liviqi mini crossbow which features a unique anodized aluminum construction which makes it durable but lightweight. The entire crossbow measures only 4.8 inches in length and weighs about a quarter of a pound. It features a draw strength of about 4 pounds and is capable of firing both arrows or three-and-a-half millimeter steel BBs. The bow includes five arrows and 200 steel BBs. This mini crossbow fires its projectiles at roughly 35 ft per second which is too slow for anything other than short range target practice.
Highly durable anodized aluminum construction
Comes with 5 arrows and 200 steel BBs
Only fires projectiles at 35-40 feet per second
For those looking for a self cocking bow powerful enough to take on small game but that comes with a sight Last Punch might carry just the product for you. This self cocking crossbow features the same break action cocking mechanism as the Cobra Systems crossbow as well as the same 80 lb draw strength and a comparable 160 ft per second arrow velocity. This bow, however, boasts its own adjustable red dot site making aiming and target acquisition much easier than the iron sights of the Cobra Systems bow. This bow also features a more durable full metal body as well as a pack of 15 metal arrows.
Comes with 15 metal arrows
Strong enough for taking down small game
Comes with red dot sight
Very difficult to string due to all metal construction
The Prophecy crossbow pistol is for those looking for a balance of function and looks. The Prophecy crossbow pistol has a wood finished aluminum body as well as a vertical front grip for easier aiming. This bow also features a break action self cocking mechanism with an 80lb draw strength that sends arrows flying at 165 ft per second. The Prophecy crossbow pistol also comes with a red dot scope for extremely accurate shots at reasonable ranges. Unfortunately, this crossbow does not come with any arrows.
Refined wood finish looks great
Red dot scope allows for very accurate shots
Vertical front grip makes aiming even easier
Does not come with any arrows
The SAS pistol crossbow is a slightly longer crossbow that features many of the same amenities as most of the other crossbows on this list. It has a break action self-cocking mechanism with an 80 pounds draw strength and fires arrows at up to 160 feet per second. The bow arms feature an all metal construction but are given end caps which allow for easier stringing of the bow. This crossbow also comes with an extra string as well as 27 metal tipped bolts.
Comes with an extra string and 27 bolts
Easy to string end caps are included
Relatively inaccurate iron sights
Next on our list is the iGlow aluminum hunting pistol crossbow. This bow features a different cocking mechanism that uses a foot loop at the front of the bow and a charging handle at the back which you pull rather than a break action mechanism. This bow still features a similar 80 lb draw as many of the other bows on this list as well as a similar 160 foot per second velocity. The all-aluminum construction makes this 17 inch bow weigh only 1.6 pounds. The aluminum is given a camouflage finish and the bottom of the crossbow features a place for storing some of the 15 included arrows.
Lightweight and durable aluminum construciton
Camouflage finish looks great and is useful for hunting
Bow is designed to hold up to 6 arrows
Slower cocking mechanism
Next in our roundup is the BOLT crossbow pistol which uses the tried-and-true break action self cocking mechanism for quick reloads. The bow has an 80 pound draw weight and fires the arrows at roughly 160 feet per second. This crossbow features a plastic body with a metal bow arm and has adjustable iron sights that offer reasonable accuracy. This bow also has a safety switch on the side and comes with only three aluminum arrows. The bow also comes with one-year warranty.
Quick reload self cocking mechanism with automatic safety
Only comes with 3 arrows
For those looking to hone extreme accuracy with their crossbow shots the Kings Archery self cocking crossbow with a scope is just what you’re looking for. This pistol crossbow features the familiar break action self cocking mechanism that allows for quicker reloading but comes with a special high accuracy hunting crossbow scope on top. The bow is constructed of durable fiberglass and has an 80 pound draw strength making it suitable for hunting small game with the 15 included aluminum bolts.
Includes attachable scope for high accuracy shots at range
Comes with 15 aluminum bolts
For those looking for a very high performance and very safe pistol crossbow the PSE zombie react crossbow might be just what you’re looking for. This crossbow features a sleek black and green design with the familiar break action self-cocking mechanism for easy loading of the 50 lb draw strength bow. The integrated cocking mechanism comes with a safety lock as well as an anti-dry fire trigger. This bow comes with three bolts that it can fire at up to 215 feet per second. The bow also features a vertical front grip and a red dot sight for easier aiming and better accuracy.
215 feet per second velocity
Red dot sight and vertical front grip for superior aiming
Integrated safety and anti-dry fire trigger
Only comes with 3 bolts
If you’ve ever used a pistol crossbow in your backyard for target practice or even for hunting small game then you know how easy it can be to misplace the bolts. Luckily, this Kings Archery self-cocking crossbow comes with 3 aluminum bolts for hunting small game as well as 60 colored PVC bolts for target practice. The bow is constructed of fiberglass and features adjustable iron sights for accurate aiming at almost any range and boasts an 80-pound draw strength.
Comes with 63 bolts for plenty of target practice
Best Crossbow Pistol Buyer’s Guide
Depending on what kind of use you plan to get out of your pistol crossbow there are a number of things to consider. The three most important factors to picking the right crossbow are what kind of velocity does it fire bolts at, what kind of sights it comes with, and the number and construction of the bolts it comes with.
The hand-selected crossbows on this list come in three main varieties. The first category of crossbow pistol is what the Liviqi mini crossbow falls in to. These are the low velocity crossbows that fire projectiles at less than 50 feet per second. At these velocities, the crossbows are still not to be considered toys, but are also not quite strong enough to use for any kind of hunting.
Most of the crossbows on this list fire at around 160 feet per second. At this speed, crossbow bolts would easily go through most small game and these crossbow pistols are great for use during target practice at short range as well as for hunting vermin and other small game. Finally, there are some crossbow pistols on this list that fire at over 200 feet per second like the PSE zombie react. Crossbow bolts fired at this speed can reach much greater distances and are superior for both target practice at longer ranges as well as small game hunting.
Depending on how far you plan to be shooting your pistol crossbow different sights might be better for a different situations. The most basic kind of crossbow will have adjustable iron sights that allow you to easily see your surroundings while looking down the sights. These are not always the easiest to use however, and some upgraded crossbow pistols will come with a red dot sight which makes for easier target acquisition when looking through the sights and allows the user to simply place the dot on what they want to hit. Finally, a few crossbow pistols on our list come with a scope which offers slight magnification of what is down range. This can allow for easier spotting of small game and will allow for greater accuracy at longer ranges.
Included Bolt Type
All but one of the crossbows on this list come with their own bolts. There are two main types of crossbow bolts that can be fired out of pistol crossbows. These include PVC bolts that usually have a metal tip or aluminum bolts that also boast a metal tip. The PVC bolts are usually brightly colored making it easier to find them in the woods or in a target meaning they’re great for target practice. The PVC bolts, however, are usually not quite sturdy enough to use for any kind of small game hunting. This is where the aluminum bolts come into play as they are made for greater durability and to be used when hunting small game. Depending on how you plan to use your pistol crossbow it may be good to look for one that comes with many PVC bolts or a handful of aluminum bolts.