The crossbow serves on the one hand as a sport shooting device and on the other hand as a weapon for hunting or defense. It is available in different versions on the market. Furthermore, you do not need a gun license to purchase a crossbow, even though the use of a crossbow is subject to strict weapons laws.

Here you will learn the background and the answer to the question of whether a crossbow is suitable for self-defense

The most important thing in advance

  • Crossbows are suitable for both hobby shooters and professional sports shooters.
  • There are different models. They consist of a crossbow pistol, hunting crossbow, recurve and compound crossbow.
  • Shooting sports training with a crossbow calms both body and mind. It also promotes concentration.
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Advantages of the crossbow

The crossbow is characterized by several advantages

  • It shoots safely into the distance with a high penetrating power.
  • Easy aiming is among the other advantages of a crossbow
  • A small amount of muscle strength is enough to use this weapon, only cocking it is a bit more laborious
  • In addition, you benefit from a high accuracy when shooting with a crossbow
  • It amounts to a distance of more than 50 meters, depending on the skill.
  • Compared to an archer, a crossbowman can shoot at his target within a few seconds

Is a crossbow legal?

When asking “what is legal”, you must always distinguish several levels: The acquisition, the storage, the carrying, the use

From the age of 18 you can purchase a crossbow. You do not need a firearms license. However, during the purchase process you will need your passport, ID card or driver’s license. If you buy a crossbow on the Internet, the seller will check your age with a scan. Furthermore, the Weapons Act, whose abbreviation is WaffG, regulates the use of this firearm. Annex one equates crossbows with firearms. This is due to their ability, which is to shoot solid bodies.

The crossbow should bestored and transported in such a way that it is not ready to be fired (i.e. not cocked), moreover, no unauthorized person should have access to it. If you want to be absolutely sure, transport the crossbow in a locked box and have the key in custody

In Germany, Austria and Switzerland you are not allowed to hunt with a crossbow. However, you have the possibility to apply for an exemption from your local authority. Specific state hunting laws allow for an application and associated use.

Is the crossbow suitable for self-defense?

Basically, the crossbow is excellent for defending yourself: Aimable, usable at a distance, high penetrating power and very effective – up to deadly shots! But exactly this is also the problem: There is hardly a constellation in which a defense (out of self-defense) with the crossbow seems reasonable!

  • Should you act in self-defense, you are allowed to defend yourself by just about any means (after all, it’s life and limb!)
  • But when are you in an emergency situation where you shoot at someone from 20 meters? In this case, one could also take flight…. So whether the use of a crossbow for self-defense will stand up in court is very questionable.
  • And if the attacker is standing in front of you, then a crossbow is of no use, you are much better off with a pepper spray, a kubotan or a baton.
  • In addition, the crossbow is not handy, so you rarely have it “at hand”, except in your own four walls

Therefore, the crossbow is certainly an effective weapon, but not for self-defense. It’s best to check out our comparison of self-defense weapons, where you’ll find suitable alternatives


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Types of crossbows

There are different types of crossbows. They are composed of the following devices:

  • Crossbow pistols score high in penetrating power and good precision. They have a good safety and a space-saving loading movement. Furthermore, crossbow pistols are effective, handy and ready for immediate use. Besides, with this variant you have the possibility to shoot accurately with small bolts at short distances. However, these weapons lack the shoulder attack. This reduces the precision a little. Crossbow pistols belong to the fun area, according to experts. They are only suitable for learning to aim. However, there are isolated clubs that allow competition with the crossbow pistol.
  • The hunting cross bow acts as an effective weapon. It can replace a rifle in an emergency. Finally, this version scores with a silent cocking process. This crossbow bolt features a special hull that serves as the main propulsion unit. Furthermore, the hull carries the loads as soon as you lower the string. There are also special arrows for hunting crossbows. However, in Germany, using a crossbow to hunt is generally prohibited. However, there are authorities that allow the use of this crossbow variant for hunting purposes in exceptional cases. The exact information can be obtained from your local authority.
  • A compound crossbow is a weapon characterized by compact construction and light weight. The arrow reaches its maximum velocity after passing the arrow guide rail. As a result, the vibration intensity decreases during shooting, which automatically increases the precision. Therefore, the compound crossbow has the feature called powerful. A minor drawback of this crossbow model is a change of the string. It is characterized by strong robustness, but the change is much more complicated.
  • The characteristic features of a recurve crossbow include its bent-back tips of its bow unit. They remain in this position until you do not tighten the tendons. Revurve variants are characterized by a generally simple style. They are also easy to use. Their quick change of tendons also scores points with beginners. Immediately after pulling the trigger, you accelerate the speed of the arrow. Therefore, the power of the arrow decreases. There are minor vibrations. However, these can affect your precision.

Technical values of the crossbow

If you are thinking about buying a crossbow for self-defense for the first time, you can’t avoid the technical specifications. That is why you should study them before buying. Technical values, which are directly related to a crossbow, are composed of the following values

  • For example, a hunting crossbow produces kinetic energy, the value of which is 100 joules. This figure can be compared to a sport bow. However, it is five times weaker than a nine-millimeter pistol.
  • Grain, on the other hand, defines the weight of the arrow you use. One grain is equal to 0.0648 grams. The current arrows are characterized by several hundred to a maximum of 500 grains. In history, English war arrows weighed as much as 800 grains. In the meantime, however, there are different types of arrows. They are made of aluminum, aluminum-carbon, wood or fiberglass. Accordingly, their weight also varies.
  • Lbs stands for the pulling force. Fps stands for the arrow speed. 355 fps stands for a speed worth 390 kilometers per hour.

However, there is a rule of thumb. This states that a crossbow with an extension length of less than 25 centimeters can neither provide the power nor hit the target that modern and powerful devices achieve. Therefore, advertising measures that use the figure 200 lbs, act as a slightly exaggerated superlative

Crossbow care & cocking

Crossbow care and scope cleaning represent an important part of a sport shooter’s training. The care consists of the following points:

  • Checks the sight and the cocking aid
  • Maintains them afterwards with string wax
  • Lubricates both the case and the guide rail
  • Carefully tightens all screws

Both amateur shooters and professional shooters who participate in competitions, at the beginning of their sport shooting have dealt with the question of how to cock the crossbow. Experts recommend using a cocking aid . By doing so, you will benefit from a draw relief during the cocking process. You also tension the crossbow evenly. This uniformity forms the basis for accurate aiming and hitting. For safety reasons, you should use a cocking aid with the recurve models.

Crossbow tips for beginners

To become a good sport shooter, you need discipline, zeal and perseverance. Sport shooting is also dominated by the adage that “practice makes perfect.” Nevertheless, experienced crossbow shooters have advice for beginners.

  • Buy a high quality crossbow, sight as well as arrows & pay attention to the care.
  • The higher the draw weight, the faster and more penetrating the arrow.
  • Buy good and suitable tools.
  • Practice shooting only where it is not forbidden.
  • Take care of your fingers and therefore do not touch the guide rail while shooting.
  • No master has fallen from the sky – it takes training and experience.

The aforementioned points make up a large part of your shooting sports training. Furthermore, you should be physically and mentally rested when you set out for training. If you are physically exhausted, your arms may be shaking. However, for this activity you literally need a steady hand. If, on the other hand, you are mentally exhausted, you will also miss the target

In addition to a good physical and mental condition, you will need a trainer at the beginning. He will also show you what is important. He will also correct any misalignments that you are not aware of. Once you have learned the basics, shooting correctly is the result of regular practice and good concentration. You will only learn to shoot correctly if you are attentive during your sport shooting training. If, on the other hand, you often let your mind wander, you will miss just as often.

What should you look for when buying?

If you are a beginner, you should focus on the models for beginners. However, you should think about whether you want to use them only once in a while or regularly at the shooting club. Once you have answered this question, you will know what your investment should look like. For beginners, recurves are a good choice because they are easier to handle. You can easily change the strings without the aid of a bow press.

The Jaguar crossbow is a good brand for beginners. It costs between 150 euros and 170 euros. Its pulling force is 175lbs. Furthermore, it is a recurve crossbow. As long as the price is below 300 euros, it is a beginner crossbow. Jandao is another brand that can be considered for beginners. The American models called Barnett, Horton, Excalibur, Darton or TenPoint are very popular among beginners.

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Update: 2023-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API