A Brief Introduction to Crossbows
This Chinese invention was the precursor to the rifle and is held the same way. The design of the crossbow allows it to pack some serious power into a small bow. It might be powerful but it is still perfect for beginners to archery as it is so easy to operate allowing you to focus on honing your accuracy and skill without having to worry about your strength and size. If you think a crossbow is for you, this is a brief introduction to crossbows for a little more information to get you started.
What Is a Crossbow?
In many ways a crossbow is a hybrid between a bow and a rifle – it is turned on its side, mounted on a stock, and the arrow is released using a trigger.
Crossbow limbs can be made in either a recurve bow or a straight bow design. But the way you hold a crossbow differs from the recurve and straight bow. Being mounted on a stock means that the bow is held like a rifle and its weight therefore is supported by the archer’s shoulder. When the bow is drawn a latch is used to hold it is the cocked position. This means that the archer is free to focus on their aim. And not having to waste concentration on maintaining their draw weight. For this reason alone the crossbow is a little easier to use than other traditional bows. This introduction to crossbows also highlights that crossbows use different bolts and arrows. They are shorter than the arrows used for other bows and always have stabilizing vanes at the back.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Like with anything there are advantages and disadvantages to using a crossbow. The most obvious advantage is their ease of use. A lot of energy is needed to hold your bowstring in a cocked position with a conventional bow. With a crossbow the mechanical latch does that for you. Thanks to the latch holding all the bows pent up energy, you can focus all your energy on your aim. And have the luxury of taking your time doing so. This mechanical intervention combined with the shorter limbs of crossbows means the bolts are fired with much greater speed. Additionally as a result, your bolts and arrows will also fly straighter and therefore hit your target with more accuracy.
But what are the disadvantages? The speed and power of these bows makes them pretty lethal. As a result they are often viewed as a dangerous weapon requiring special license to use. If you’re planning on investing in a crossbow you should check with your local authorities first. Another disadvantage of crossbows is that their specialized arrows and bolts are often more expensive than those for conventional bows. And they are not interchangeable.
Uses for a Crossbow
Crossbows are suited to all types of archery from target archery to bowhunting. Their size makes them easy to transport. This is another great benefit for field archery and also suitable for both beginners and experts alike. All in all, crossbows are a very versatile bow.
Getting Fitted for a Crossbow
As always you should consider the intended use of your bow before purchase. Smaller crossbows are ideal for both bowhunting and field archery as they are light and easy to move around with. If you’re more interested in target archery, then a bigger crossbow will be perfect. Their heavier weight will reward you with greater speed and accuracy.