Whether you are hunting whitetail, target shooting, or looking for a serious, stealthy, long range weapon that is not a firearm, a tactical crossbow is a quiet and accessible option.
So how do you choose the best tactical crossbow?
A lot of research went into assembling this list of the 10 best tactical crossbows and the following buying guide, so take a look!
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- TOP 10 Best Tactical Crossbows 2023
- Ravin R10 Crossbow
- Killer Instinct Ripper 415 Crossbow
- CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper 380 Crossbow
- EK Archery RX Adder Automatic Crossbow
- Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow
- Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow
- BearX Constrictor CDX Crossbow
- Tenpoint Viper S400 Hunting Crossbow
- Barnett Explorer XP Crossbow
- Excalibur GRZ 2 Crossbow
- A Quick Guide to the Best Tactical Crossbows
- Article Summary
TOP 10 Best Tactical Crossbows 2023
Ravin R10 Crossbow
The Ravin R10 crossbow is one of the best tactical crossbows of 2023.
It features the Versi-draw cocking system with Helicoil technology make this crossbow a breeze for anyone to cock, with only 12 lbs of cocking force.
It is accurate at long range, well past 50 yards with consistency and precision that will impress.
This model is lightweight and includes Ravin’s illuminated 100 yard scope.
- 400 FPS speed.
- Compact and lightweight, easy to pack around.
- Includes 100 yards illuminated scope.
- The kinetic energy of 142 lbs with 12 lb draw weight.
- Built in Versi-draw cocking system.
- Rifle style compound crossbow.
Killer Instinct Ripper 415 Crossbow
The Killer Instinct Crossbow has amazing long range crossbow capabilities. It is accurate past 80 yards, has an unprecedented 415 fps bolt speed, and generates up to 149 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.
If you are looking for a tactical crossbow that can knock out big game, this is it! It can put a bolt through a small tree.
Not only is this crossbow powerful, but it is also quiet and has amazing speed.
The crossbow is well balanced and feels good to shoot and is an excellent value for the money.
- 415 feet per second speed.
- Generates an impressive 149 ft-lb of kinetic energy.
- Includes scope and rope cocking device.
- Long range crossbow.
- The included stock scope is not that great.
CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper 380 Crossbow
The CenterPoint Tormenter Whisper 380 popularity is well deserved. It is one of the quietest crossbows ever!
The Dampeners work as they should, all you hear for the shot is a thump when you release the bolt.
This crossbow is sturdy and long lasting, with 4 bolt mount limbs.
This crossbow is deadly accurate, with plenty of power. It is a pleasure to shoot.
- The kinetic energy of 120 ft lbs and verified speed of 380 feet per second.
- Compound crossbow.
- Whisper silencing system with string stoppers and limb dampeners.
- Sturdy, 4 bolt mounted limbs.
- Weighs over 9 lbs.
- The scope is not that great.
EK Archery RX Adder Automatic Crossbow
The RX Adder Self-loading Repeating Crossbow is fun to shoot, well-built, and easy to assemble and disassemble.
It has a top loading magazine for quick and easy reloading and the 130 lb draw weight gives this crossbow tremendous accuracy and range.
It comes complete with a red dot sight, AR stock, sack target, and maintenance replacement parts.
It is fast, powerful, and accurate. This crossbow is a proper tactical weapon.
- Automatic bolt loading with top loading magazine.
- Includes site, stock, 5 bolts, and spare parts.
- 130 lb draw weight, 230 feet per second speed.
- Recurve crossbow.
- The bolts are proprietary 7.5” EK bolts.
Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow
The Barnett Whitetail Pro is fast and powerful. It shots accurately past 65 yards, it’s a breeze to use, it does not weigh much and it just feels right to shoot.
The 405 foot per second speed means this tactical crossbow packs a lot of power, but you should know I would not describe the draw as easy.
This crossbow is easy to put together if you read the instructions first.
- 187 lb draw weight.
- 405 fps speed crossbow.
- Includes illuminated scope, cocking device, and a few other extras.
- Compound crossbow.
- Cocking the bow is challenging, but the crossbow does come with a cocking device.
Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow
The Wicked Ridge Invader 400 crossbow is an extremely accurate tactical crossbow with an innovative cocking mechanism. The Acudraw cocking device reduces the draw weight by half.
This crossbow is high powered and accurate past 50 yards and high powered, with 400 feet per second speed.
It is easy to assemble, comes with a scope, and shoots smooth and clean.
- Acudraw 50 cocking device reduces draw weight by 50%.
- Verified 400 feet per second speed.
- Lightweight, around 6 lbs, easy to carry.
- The scope is pretty basic.
- The string could be more reliable.
BearX Constrictor CDX Crossbow
The BearX Constrictor CDX tactical crossbow is one of the most accurate crossbows you can get in its price range.
The accuracy is from the included illuminated scope and the 410 speed of the crossbow will give you the satisfaction of repeatedly striking your target.
This crossbow is a great value and delivers far above its price range. It is fast, accurate, and built to last.
- Deadly accurate.
- 410 feet per second speed.
- 190 lb draw.
- Illuminated scope, 3 Bear X bolts, 4 arrow quiver, and more included.
- Rifle crossbow.
- Bolts must be at least 20 inches and have the true X nock.
Tenpoint Viper S400 Hunting Crossbow
The Tenpoint Viper S400 is a durable long lasting tactical crossbow for hunting.
It is quiet and has one of the best cocking systems available. Thanks to the accuslide cocking system it is safe and easy to cock and de-cock this crossbow.
The narrow design makes it perfect for hunting in the brush or other enclosed spaces.
It is a very accurate crossbow that is relatively easy to get the scope sighted and zeroed.
- Long string life.
- Accuslide Cocking system provides quiet secure and trouble-free cocking and uncocking.
- High-quality Rangemaster Pro scope included.
- Ultra-fast – 400 feet per second speed.
Barnett Explorer XP Crossbow
The Barnett Explorer XP crossbow is easy to assemble, fast, accurate and affordable. It is pretty light for a crossbow, so it’s not a burden to haul on a hunting trip.
The balance of this crossbow is great, it is balanced toward the center and is not front heavy and hard to aim like some other crossbows.
I love that it includes an illuminated site, especially considering the low price. The site helps a lot with accuracy. It’s a blast to shoot, it’s easy to carry around and the price combined with the features of this crossbow makes it an excellent starter tactical crossbow weapon.
- Speed of 370 feet per second.
- Great price for what you get.
- The illuminated site and two carbon arrows included.
- Compound rifle crossbow.
- The shot is a little loud.
Excalibur GRZ 2 Crossbow
This Excalibur GRZ 2 crossbow really packs a punch.
It is deadly accurate, lightweight, easy to carry, easy to maintain recurve tactical crossbow.
This crossbow includes a cocking device and is pretty easy to cock. It weighs less than 8 lbs all in and you can take it on long trips and it is not a burden to hold still while waiting on the perfect shot at your target.
It has little kickback from the shot, and it is well balanced.
- Includes power scope and cocking device assist.
- 305 feet per second speed.
- Recurve crossbow.
- Assembly instructions are lacking.
- Less FPS than other bows in the same price range.
A Quick Guide to the Best Tactical Crossbows
Do you want to know how to choose the best tactical crossbow? Keep these factors in mind before you decide.
A recurve crossbow has curves at the end of the bow that points away from the shooter. These curves keep the string secure and locked in place. They have a longer draw length than other types of bows.
The Excalibur GRZ 2 crossbow is an example of a recurve crossbow.
Pros and Cons of a Recurve Crossbow
- The longer draw of a recurve crossbow allows them greater speed and power.
- Recurve crossbows are ideal when power is needed, such as for big game hunting.
- Recurve crossbows are superior for long range shots.
- An experienced recurve crossbow shooter can shoot more than two times as fast as a compound bow shooter.
- Recurve crossbows create more noise.
- Recurve crossbows are hard on strings.
A compound crossbow is made of short stiff limbs connected to a pulley system. It has far more moving parts than a recurve crossbow.
It is made using a pulley system to which the string is connected to. The string, of course, is connected to the limbs.
You pull the string back to cock the bow, which turns the pulley system which pulls the limbs back. The energy from the bent limbs is reserved for your shot.
Pros and Cons of a Compound Crossbow
- Easier to learn to use than a recurve bow.
- Shorter draw length.
- Fast and accurate.
- Compact and small.
- Less recoil and vibration.
- More prone to break.
- More maintenance.
- Heavier than a recurve bow.
- Takes more steps to assemble and set up.
- Only carbon fiber or aluminum bows can be used.
- Not as long lasting as a recurve bow.
- Loses accuracy faster.
What’s the Purpose of a Crossbow?
A crossbow can be used for hunting deer, target practice, and even as a projectile weapon for self-defense or protection of property in certain circumstances.
Crossbows have several advantages and disadvantages compared to other weapons.
The benefit of a crossbow vs a rifle is that a crossbow is easier to obtain. There are fewer laws and regulations for crossbow ownership. In some countries, where guns are not legal, one may be able to own a crossbow.
Crossbows may be used during bow hunting season, usually with the provision that the hunter is not physically capable of using a real bow. However, this provision is rarely enforced.
Crossbows are quieter than guns, which is a huge advantage while hunting.
Looking for other interesting projectile weapons for target practice? Take a look at the best throwing axes here.
What is Your Crossbow Draw Weight and Why You Should Look at Cocking Devices?
The draw weight is the amount of force in lbs it takes to cock the string of your crossbow. The weight can be significant and is something you MUST consider before choosing a crossbow.
For example, the Barnett Whitetail Pro STR Crossbow, which is a recurve crossbow, has a HUGE 187 lbs of draw weight. That makes its power and speed amazing, but it is challenging to cock. However, this model also comes with a cocking device to assist with cocking, because you will need it!
In fact, many of the crossbows on this list come with cocking devices that allow you to cock the crossbow easier.
I HIGHLY recommend you consider the draw weight and factor in the cocking device if it is included before you “pull the trigger” on your crossbow purchase decision.
What Size and Weight Crossbow Should I Get?
Crossbows vary a bit in terms of size and weight. They can weigh anywhere from about 6 lbs to 10 lbs. Consider that if you plan to take it for long hunting trips, or hold the crossbow up for a while as you wait on a deer.
As for size, generally, a compound crossbow is more compact because the limps and draw are shorter, so if you are hunting in the brush or any enclosed area, you might prefer a smaller crossbow.
However, the lighter and more compact bows are a tradeoff because they usually have less speed and less power.
If you are looking for a really lightweight crossbow, the Wicked Ridge Invader 400 Crossbow is a great choice.
What is the Crossbow Range?
Compared to a rifle, a crossbow range is somewhat limited. A good crossbow may be dead-on accurate up to 50 yards.
A GREAT tactical crossbow might be accurate up to 80 yards.
I know of no crossbow that has great accuracy and range above 80 yards, and that is with an experienced shooter.
The Killer Instinct Ripper 415 Crossbow has a range that is accurate beyond 80 yards and is a blast to shoot.
Keep in mind, the crossbow bolt may travel much farther than its accurate range, even as far as 500 yards in some cases.
The accuracy of a crossbow drops off, and I do not know of any that are accurate past 80 yards.
What Extras are Included with Your Crossbow?
Most of the tactical crossbows on this list come with a scope, and most of those scopes are sufficient for the range, power, and speed of the crossbow they come with.
Make sure that the included scope has a range that matches your crossbow. A lighted scope with high quality optics is the best bet.
You might consider an aftermarket crossbow scope to get better visibility and accuracy.
Crossbows usually come with a few extra bolts thrown in. That’s nice, but at some point, you will need to purchase bolts for your crossbow.
Bolts need to be compatible with your crossbow.
Most bolts are between 18 and 22 inches. The length you buy is determined by your crossbow specs.
Crossbow Bolt Material
Crossbow bolts are made from aluminum or carbon fiber, not wood like traditional bows. Aluminum bolts are cheaper than carbon fiber, but carbon fiber penetrates your target better.
Crossbow Bolt Weight
The weight of a bolt is measured in grains. There is an important tradeoff between heavy and light bolts. The heavier the bolt, the more penetrating power it has, but it comes at the expense of range. Lighter bolts fly farther, but they inflict less damage.
The key is striking a balance. For reference, a bolt for hunting deer usually weights between 400 and 470 grains.
You must wax your string in between shots, or every few shots. Waxing lengthens the life of the string and allows the bolt to be shot at its intended max speed.
Most crossbows include wax with the purchase, but some do not.
How do I Store My Tactical Crossbow?
You should store your crossbow in a crossbow storage bag to prevent dust and rust from shortening its life.
You also want to lube the string, rails, and trigger to keep them operating smoothly. It’s a good idea to lube the rails with rail slick after about 50 shots and the string every 10 shots because those strings get dry and may break down prematurely if you do not maintain them.
Looking for a backpack to store all your other gear? Check out this list of the best tactical backpacks and pick one up.
This wraps up the best tactical crossbows list and buying guide. I hope you find the best shot for you!
Do you love tactical gear? If so, check out our tactical gear buying guide and learn about all the best tactical brands available today.
Until next time,
I will see YOU in the field!