Compound Bow Vs Crossbow Comparison

Last Updated on November 26, 2022 by Archery Care

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The debates regarding crossbow vs compound bow have always been hot. If you ask around, you will get tons of advice regarding both. But which one should you pick?

Well, both the crossbows and compound bows have their advantages. For crossbows, you will get higher arrow speeds, ease of accuracy, higher kinetic energy, less movement requirement to harvest quarry, and more discreetness.

On the other hand, for a compound bow, you get quieter shots, ease of handling the bow in tree stands, and the ability to carry out quicker follow-up shots. However, these are not the only things you need to know regarding the topic. There is so much more!

When it comes to choosing between compound bow and crossbow, many will be in favor of the crossbows. And there are proper reasons for it. Let’s go through those reasons to give you a better idea:

1. Crossbows Do Not Have a Steep Learning Curve

The first thing that makes crossbows stand out is the beginner-friendly nature. Arguably, crossbows are easier to learn and shoot. In fact, the fact that they offer higher accuracy than compound bows makes them a better choice for people just getting into archery.

2. Crossbows Are Easy to Fire

When it comes to crossbow or compound bow for beginners, crossbows will generally take the lead. One of the main reasons behind that is the ease of firing. You just need to cock the arrow and then nock the bolt to fire it. There will be no need to go through a steep learning curve to fire the crossbows.

3. Compact and Highly Portable

One main difference between a compound bow and a crossbow is that crossbows have a compact frame. Although they are not as narrow as firearms, they are compact enough to let you discreetly hunt in overgrown thickets, in the bush, and in the tight spaces of the tree stands.

4. These Bows Offer higher Kinetic Energy Than Other Bows

Another thing that makes crossbows unique is their kinetic energy. You can gain higher draw weights and more kinetic energy in them. That makes crossbows get the upper hand in this battle.

5. Crossbows Are Always Ready to Fire

The verdict goes in favor of crossbows most of the time. And the main reason why is that the crossbows remain cocked. There will be no need to hold the string, increasing your chances of hitting the target right when you see it.

6. Archers with a Disability Can Easily Work with Crossbows

When it comes to being disability-friendly, crossbows will take the lead. They are easier to handle for an archer with physical disabilities!

7. It Is Easy to Transition to a Crossbow from a Rifle

One of the reasons why crossbows win in hunting is that it is easier to transition from rifles. They will offer you a familiar feel and action. So, if you are accustomed to carrying and hunting with shotguns, it will not take much time to shift to crossbows.

In other words, if you are used to using shotguns and rifles for hunting, crossbows will be a better pick for deer hunting.

Deer Hunting Using Crossbow

What Are The Limitations of Crossbows?

So, not everything is great about crossbows. There are some disadvantages of crossbows that you need to know before picking them up.

1. Crossbows Have a Comparatively Higher Draw Weight

The crossbows have a disadvantage regarding the draw weight. They will require twice as much draw weight as the compound bows. For example, 150 pounds crossbows can shoot arrows at the same speed as 75 pounds compound bows.

This factor also makes crossbows lag slightly against compound bows. That said, there is no difference in terms of both bows broadheads. It is the draw weight and mechanism that plays a crucial role in terms of speed.

2. Always Remain Loaded, Which Can be a Safety Issue

When you cock the crossbow, you must consider it like a loaded firearm, just like a rifle. And like a firearm, it is prone to misfiring. For that reason, you must be extra careful when handling cocked crossbows.

3. It Takes Quite a While to Reload a Crossbow

Needless to say that crossbows are not the best regarding reloading speed. However, you can surely get better at reloading it with practice. Consider practicing with proper targets.

4. Most of the Crossbows Are Bulky

Compared to longbows, crossbows are pretty heavy. For that reason, hunters always recommend having the right holster when carrying out a crossbow.

5. Not the Best for Stealth

Crossbows are more likely to make a noise when you release the arrows. This noise can alert your target, which can eventually lower your chances of getting an accurate hit.

6. Needs to be Uncocked Before Storage

When you cock a crossbow and end up not firing it, you should unload it at the end of the day. Why? Well, as we have mentioned earlier, crossbows are prone to misfiring!

7. There Is No Standard Regulation

Some states will have a fair number of limitations on the draw weight of crossbows. And some states will even hinder you from using them unless there is a special circumstance.

8. Have Safety Issues

You need to take a couple of safety measurements before firing the crossbow. First, you should check the foregrip and make sure that you are gripping the handle correctly.

Secondly, you must ensure that the bow is cocked correctly. Finally, if you do not fire the arrow, you need to follow the right steps to uncock it.


What Are The Advantages of Compound Bows?

Just like crossbows, compound bows excel in some of the factors. Here is an accurate description of each of those factors:

1. Does Not Require Any Cocking

The first thing that will come up regarding the difference between crossbow and compound bow is compound bows require no cocking. There will be no need to carry a unique device to nock the arrow.

2. These Bows Have Something Called the “Let Off” Factor

The compound bows have a “let off” factor that comes into action when you pull the string. Basically, the draw weight will reduce to half when you half draw the compound bows. And the mechanical advantages that it offers make it easier for the archer to draw and hold a relatively heavy bow.

3. Compound Bows Offer High Overall Stealth

Another thing that gives compound bows an edge is stealth. They are quiet in comparison to the crossbows. That means you can hunt around without worrying about alerting the targets around you.

4. The Reload Time Is Comparatively Low

Here, the compound bows have an advantage. They will not take that much time to reload. Not that you will go full-on Robin Hood mode, but the faster reload factor can surely come in handy when you have to take multiple shots on the target.

Hunting on Tree Stand Using Compound Bow

5. Compound Bows Are Lighter and Easier to Carry

Last but not least, the compound bows are considerably light in weight. They do not have any heavy parts on them, so you can carry them around throughout the day without worrying about your back.

What Are The Flaws of Compound Bows?

Just like crossbows, compound bows associate with some disadvantages. Let us walk you through them to give you a fair idea of

1. Not for the Weak Archers

The draw weight of the compound bows will highly depend on your physical strength. Even when the “let off” is at 50 percent, you will require a good amount of strength to draw with compound bows. However, you certainly can get better with practice.

But can you use a crossbow target with a target shooting compound? Well, yes, you can! However, you should know that the arrows will start to bounce off when you shoot them with less than 35 pounds of draw weight.

2. Requires Time to Get the Hang of It

Unlike crossbows, compound bows have a learning curve. You should nock the arrow first and draw to shoot. It does not stay in a ready-to-shoot position. And that might be one of the most significant drawbacks of compound bows for beginners.

3. Compact But But Longer Than

Although compound bows are generally light and compact, you can still have some issues shooting them from brambles and thick bushes.

4. Demands Skills and a Lot of Practice

If you want to get better with compound bows, you will need to practice a lot. It has a steep learning curve, which you should know before you choose it over the others.

5. Not a Great Pick for Archers with Physical Limitations

Those with physical limitations will have a tough time operating a compound bow. In fact, a lot of the archers that fall within this criteria will not be capable of using it at all!

6. Speed of the Shot Comparatively Lower Than Crossbow

Although compound bows are great for accuracy and precision, they lack a little in terms of speed. For example, the maximum speed that you can get from a compound bow is 350 FPS. In comparison, you can get above 400 FPS with a crossbow.

Final Verdict: Which One To Choose?

So, you should consider the learning curve first when it comes to crossbow vs compound bow. If you do not want to go through a steep learning curve and want to get something that is easy to use, you should pick crossbows over compound bows.

On the other hand, if you prioritize lightweight nature and quiet operation, you should get compound bows. Nonetheless, both bows are great choices. But you just need to consider your needs and priorities before getting one.

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