This review and buying guide for the best Barnett crossbows aims to be the most comprehensive you will find on the market, compiled after spending 56 hours of arduous research. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned crossbow user, we hope this will be a great tool for you to learn more about the brand and different Barnett crossbows, and perhaps purchase your 1st or 10th crossbow.
The Barnett Crossbow Brand
Barnett Crossbows is legendary in its niche. It had a long tradition since 1958 when Bernard Barnett started to make the first crossbows out of his garage in the United Kingdom. Eventually, the brand moved its headquarters to the United States, where it has been operating since 2003.
There’s no other company in the history of modern crossbows that has innovated as much, and brought to the world as many “firsts” as Barnett has. Moreover, Barnett was the first crossbow maker to break speeds over 300 feet per second. Regardless of your skill level or budget, you will find something in their product range to suit you and take you out in nature. No wonder their products are so popular.
The Most Popular & Best Barnett Crossbows (still available today)
Apart from the latest and newest crossbows from the new year catalog, some older crossbow models are so good that they became epic. Barnett is still selling them, and they stand behind with their awesome warranty. Not only have they been tested in the field and vouched for by many hunters. However, these popular crossbows are also at incredible prices since they have been out-trended by newer models. In this section, we are going to review the most popular Barnett crossbows that people are still fond of today. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be on the top of the trend, with the latest bells and whistles, you might want to take a look at the best products from the 2018 Catalog. However, if you’re happy with a crossbow that simply works well, then here’s the section for you.
Should you purchase an older crossbow model?
There are some advantages of buying an older model that’s still being serviced by the manufacturer:
- you will find an awesome deal – once the company comes with the new year’s catalog, the older models get discounted by a lot
- it’s been tested in the field by many hunters; if the company still sells it, it must mean it’s a good product
- you may draw from the experience of many other users, through consumer reviews, videos, and a wealth of information for a product owned by many
- the manufacturer is still offering their warranty; simply because it’s not in the last year’s catalog, it doesn’t mean that the company is not supporting it anymore.
However, there may be disadvantages of older models, and here they are:
- technology and materials advance quite fast, and an older crossbow model might be heavier, or louder, or more cumbersome in some way than newer models. Good news though: the crossbow industry is not innovating at such a rapid speed (like electronics, for example). A good crossbow is pretty much a good crossbow in 10 years from now.
#1. Barnett Jackal Crossbow – Best entry-level
✅ VIDEO – Watch a short Jackal video review
The Jackal is arguably the most owned crossbow in the United States. It is widely popular, and rightly so. We have performed an in-depth review to find out what makes the Jackal one of the most popular crossbows of all time.
The Jackal is a military-style stock, compound, good-looking crossbow.
Introduced in 2011, it is still available for purchase. The affordable price, ease of use, and all-around performance makes it a favorite among beginners and experienced alike. Despite the low cost, it ha all of the features you would want in a modern crossbow, including reliable safety mechanism.
It comes as a complete crossbow package, includes a quick-detach quiver, bolts, and premium red dot sight. Because of this, the assembly required is minimal, and you can almost use it out-of-the-box.
This crossbow is for shooting within a 50-yard range. It is ideal for training and target shooting but also used for hunting big game as well, especially with the help of some broadheads.
- Velocity: 315 feet per second
- Draw weight: 150 pounds
- Energy: 95-foot pounds
- Power stroke: 12 inches
- Arrow length: 20 inches
- Dimensions: 35.5 x 26.5 inches (LxW)
- Weight:7.7 pounds
-entry-level price point
-requires minimal assembly
-advanced features for an affordable crossbow
-suitable for both target practice and hunting (deer included)
-on the heavy side
-requires strength to cock, or buy a separate rope cocking device manually
-the red dot sight not good enough for hunting; most likely needs upgrading
-older design and technology; if you’re looking for more modern equipment in the same class and approximately the same budget, check out the newest best-selling model Barnett Whitetail Hunter II.
Who it’s best for:
The Jackal is an entry-level crossbow, ideal for the ones who don’t want to spend a fortune. Great features for both target practice and hunting at an affordable price, beginners and seasoned hunters alike. Preferred by experienced hunters as well for excellent features at a meager price.
#2. Barnett Quad 400 Crossbow – Best for speed & accuracy at an affordable price
Update: The Quad 400 is no longer readily available on the market. Instead, check out the other crossbow in the Quad family.
✅ Video – Watch a short video review
This one is an older and trendy compound model as well, still available to purchase. The Quad 400 is a compound bow that has been an all-time favorite, very versatile all-around. It has been completely redesigned with improved materials and added features to maintain its favorite status among hunters. It has the speed and accuracy in delivering the bolt.
One notable innovation in the Quad 400 is the lightweight gas-assist composite stock, never seen before. It also comes with a cocking device attachment, integrated with the crossbow.
It comes in a package that includes the Quad 400 crossbow, quick detach quiver, and three 22-inch arrows.
- 345-feet-per-second firing velocity
- 150-pound draw weight
- 112-foot-pounds of energy
- 15.5-inch power stroke
- Nine-pound weight
- 37-inch length
- 26.75-inch width
- 22-inch arrows
-easy to assemble, string unit already assembled
-very accurate once properly sighted
-attached crank cocking device
-scope not precise for distance hunting (more than 50 yards)
-on the heavy side
-the attached cocking device may be cumbersome and adds on weight; you may want to detach it and purchase a separate rope cocking device instead
Who it’s best for:
The Quad 400 is an affordable crossbow for those who desire speed and accuracy. The Quad 400 offers just that, even if you’re just a beginner. After a quick assembly and proper sighting, you can take it to the woods and hit the target like a pro.
#3. Barnett Gamecrusher 3.0 Crossbow – Best lightweight for the money
Update: The Gamecrusher is no longer readily available. We recommend instead that you check out the very successful Recruit Tactical Compound Crossbow from Barnett.
It is another Barnett compound budget crossbow that offers good bang for your buck. What’s notable about the Gamecrusher is the lighter weight, partly because of the composite stock it comes with. At just 7.5 lb, it can be used with confidence by youth and women as well because it does not require too much strength. The price is affordable, without losing any of the features of a top of the line crossbow.
The Gamecrusher comes with 4×32 multi-reticle scope, which is good enough for a beginner or close targets, but if you’re a seasoned hunter, you may want to replace it with something better. Also, the included rope cocking mechanism is a lifesaver right out of the box.
The Triggertech technology incorporated in this crossbow offers a frictionless trigger functionality, which will increase your precision and accuracy. The Gamecrusher was the first Barnett crossbow to incorporate this technology.
Velocity: 340 fps
Kinetic Energy: 90 ft. lbs
Draw Weight: 165 lbs
Overall Length: 36”
Power Stroke: 11.38”
Overall Weight: 7.5 lbs
Axle to Axle: 21”
-rope cocking device included in the package
-frictionless trigger technology
-the scope is of lower quality, difficult for hunting
Who it’s best for:
The Barnett Gamecrusher is best for the people who prefer a lightweight crossbow but still be in the budget zone.
#4. Barnett Recruit Tactical Compound Crossbow – Best compact, for smaller-framed individuals
The Recruit comes as both compound and recurves crossbow. If you’re not sure which one you should get, here we have a detailed article about recurve vs. compound crossbows.
This Recruit model was introduced in 2017, and it became popular very quickly. If you’re interested in the 2018 addition to the Recruit compound series, look into Recruit Terrain. The difference between the two is just the color, the newer Terrain comes in a tan desert color, while the Tactical comes in a matte black.
✅ Video – Watch the Recruit Tactical official presentation
So let’s review the Recruit Tactical. It is an older year model, time-tested crossbow. The bow looks very sleek in its matte black finishing, featuring a composite stock which makes it lightweight. It comes with Triggertech technology, which makes the trigger frictionless, improving the accuracy of the shot. Part of the same system is the Anti-Dry Fire (ADF) system, which it’s a good safety feature, especially if you’re a beginner.
It comes with a rope cocking device, but it also allows for the integration of a crank cocking one, which you can purchase separately. It is effortless to assemble, as it comes with a single-bolt assembly technology. Well, it’s more than one bolt actually, but this means that assembly is relatively easy.
The package also includes a premium red dot scope, lightweight quiver, two 20″ premium Headhunter arrows, and some wax.
What’s notable about the Recruit series is that its light and compact, built for smaller frame individuals. The stock is adjustable, but not very quickly, and not by much. If you happen to be a larger individual, then you need to make a custom extension, or instead look into other options.
- Weight: 6.4 lb
- Speed: 330 fps
- Draw Weight: 140 lb
- Kinetic Energy: 91.9 ft/lb
- Power Stroke 12.5 in
- Dimensions: 34.25″L x 18.25″W
- Color: Black (matte finish)
-lightweight and compact, easy to maneuver
-Triggertech technology with ADF (anti-dry fire)
-easy to assemble, ready to shoot almost out of the box
-not suitable for larger frame individuals
-you may want to upgrade the scope
Who It’s Best For:
This crossbow is a great choice for those who desire a lightweight and compact crossbow, easy to maneuver and shoot. Smaller frame individuals, such as women, youth, and smaller-framed men, would be delighted with this product.
#5. Recruit Recurve Crossbow – Best for youth, practice, and small range hunting
Barnett is famous for its compound bows, and to this day, the majority of crossbows in their collection are compound bows. It makes the Recruit recurve interesting, and it proves the popularity of the Recruit to be expanded into the recurve style.
✅ VIDEO – Watch the Recruit Recurve official presentation
This crossbow is incredibly light, compact, and features an adjustable stock that makes it very suitable for youth that is still in their growing phase. Not only the size but also being a recurve means easy to use and lower maintenance. It makes it the perfect combination for youth, beginners, smaller-framed people who need an easy, out of the box crossbow that gets the job done. Some people may use it just for target practice, but it can kill larger game from up to 20-25 yards, so it’s ideal for small range hunting.
It comes with an adjustable red dot sight for light sensitivity. Although people usually upgrade the red dot sight, considering the low range hunting effectiveness of the Recruit Recurve, it may be enough. There’s no cocking device included, so it’s advisable to get a rope cocker, especially for youth and women, and other small-frame people that would find this crossbow most useful.
- Weight: 5 lbs
- Anti-Dry Fire Trigger
- Speed: 245 fps*
- Draw Weight: 150 lbs
- Kinetic Energy: 65 ft lbs
- Power Stroke: 12.5″ (in)
- Dimensions: 32.5″L x 27.675″W
-extremely lightweight and compact
-the red dot sight included may be sufficient for this crossbow
-extendable stock, great for growing youth
-no cocking device included
-limited to practice and small range hunting
Who it’s best for:
Youth, women, and smaller-frame individuals might benefit the most, due to the light and compact size. Great as an entry-level crossbow, easy to maneuver and maintain. Very good for both target practice and low range hunting.
#6. Barnett Wildcat C5 C6 C7 Crossbows – Best for intermediate-level hunters
✅ VIDEO – Watch the Wildcat C7 official presentation
The Wildcat is another super popular series of a compound crossbow. We will review the C7, which is the latest upgrade, but so that you know the C5 was the buzz when it first hit the market.
The Wildcat comes in a simple, clean design, with all of the features you would need as a beginner or skilled hunter alike. The color is naturally black, with some green accents that make it stand out.
The crossbow features the Triggetech technology with ADF (anti dry fire) system, comes mostly assembled, with a rope cocking device include in the package. It’s easy to assemble, and take it to the woods. The grip is very comfortable and safe, with finger protection design. It’s set up for a cranking device that can be purchased separately. The rubber coating on many parts of the crossbow makes it very practical in cold weather.
✅ VIDEO – Watch an extensive Wildcat C7 review
Draw Weight 125 lbs.
Weight 7 lb
Power Stroke 14.125″
Kinetic Energy 91 FP
Speed 330 fps
Cocking Aid Rope
-great safety features
-suitable quality materials that make it lightweight and durable
-Triggertech and ADF technology
-rope cocking device included
-the weak scope may need replacement to match the performance of the crossbow
Who it’s best for:
The wildcat is a great crossbow that can be used by beginners and advanced hunters alike.
#6. Barnett Vengeance Reverse Draw Crossbow – Best for professionals
The Vengeance is a class of ultra-modern crossbows in itself. It’s the first reverse limb crossbow from Barnett, and the first one ever to combine the Reverse Limb technology with Carbon Riser technology. The advantage of the carbon riser is that it reduces its weight by 43%, which is very significant, and you feel it when you hold it.
The reverse limb or reverse draw crossbows are the new kid on the block in terms of types of crossbows. It’s the most significant advantage that it offers a perfect draw weight vs. speed ratio, meaning that at relatively low draw weight, it produces very high speed and kinetic energy. The Vengeance has a draw weight of only 140 lb, and provides a speed of 365 FPS, a ratio unheard of in any compound or recurve bow.
Another great thing about reverse limb crossbows is is that the center of gravity is closer to the body, which gives the shooter a more comfortable hold and removes fatigues when holding for more extended periods. It is also narrower, allowing for a more comfortable slide through the bushes.
One of the many features that make the Vengeance an advanced crossbow is the adjustable fore grip. It allows you to set it in a vertical position, giving you a very comfortable and solid grip. Combined with the reverse draw which brings the center of gravity close to the body, it gives you the feeling of being on the battlefield and winning.
✅ VIDEO – Watch in-depth Vengeance assembly and review
- Velocity: 365 FPS
- Draw weight: 140 lbs
- Arrow length: 22”
- Reverse Limb technology
- Carbon Riser Technology
- Axle-to-Axle: 18.38″
- Stock Length: 34.75″.
- Color: Black, Camo
- Weight: 8 lbs
-reverse draw technology, which improves the center of gravity and effectiveness
-rope cocking device included
-higher price point, not a budget crossbow
Who it’s best for:
The Vengeance is definitely for professionals who want to enjoy the benefits of the reverse draw technology, and who are not deterred by the higher price.
If you like the reverse draw crossbows, take a look at the latest model: Buck Commander Revengeance
#7. Barnett Whitetail Hunter II – Best selling crossbow on the market
✅ VIDEO – Watch Whitetail Hunter II official presentation
The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II comes right out from the 2018 catalog to become a market-wide crossbow best seller. In fact, the Whitetail is a very successful line altogether, featuring multiple models including a women’s specific model. Super performant, packed with features, and at a very affordable price makes it a no brainer winner in today’s market.
The Whitetail is a compact compound crossbow, very lightweight at just 6.5 lb, and easy to maneuver. It ships mostly assembled so that you won’t have a problem putting it together and testing in the field right away. The stock is adjustable in length, which also makes it suitable for growing youth.
The Triggertech technology has raised a notch compared to the older model, with all stainless steel components, which makes it even smoother and durable. As always, Barnett cares about your safety, incorporating the already proven ADF (anti dry fire) and finger safety reminders.
One feature particularly appealing for this price range is how quiet it is, due to custom composite laminated limbs, and incorporated string dampeners.
The rope cocking device is included, and it’s also compatible with a crank cocker.
✅ VIDEO – Watch a features review of the Whitetail Hunter II
- 350 feet per second
- Draw weight: 150 lb
- Kinetic energy: 103 ft lb
- Overall weight 6.4 lb
- Axle to axle 16.125″
- Dimensions 34.25″L x 18.25″W
-very lightweight and maneuverable
-stainless steel Triggertech with Anti Dry Fire
-decent factory scope, unlike other models
-straightforward assembly right out of the box
-you may need to upgrade the scope for more advanced hunting
Who it’s best for:
Suitable for a wide range of users, both beginners and advanced. Compact in size and adjustable, it also fits smaller framed people like women and youth. Fantastic value, excellent quality, and features for the price point.
Barnett Youth Crossbows
Barnett has a line of products dedicated to young people. As archery, in general, is becoming more and more popular, many people want to share their hobby with their children. It’s quite a nice hobby to be practiced outdoors mostly, in nature, teaching skills, focus, and responsibility.
The Barnett crossbows dedicated to youth are:
The youth crossbows are made with a few things in mind:
-they have to be compact and lightweight
-have excellent safety features
-extendable stock, so it can grow with the child
There are a couple of other Barnett crossbows in the adult range that might be suitable for a teenager. Take a look at the newest bestseller Whitetail Hunter II, and if you want to take advantage of the recurve model, here’s the Recruit Recurve. Or any other Recruit.
Barnett Crossbow Pistols
If you’re looking for a crossbow pistol in the category of 50-80 lb draw weight, just know that Barnett is not producing in this niche. They have mid and high-performance crossbows. However, we put together a very comprehensive buying guide and reviews of the best crossbow pistols you can find on the market. Check it out. We’re sure you will find something suitable for your needs. Also, if you’re looking for a really mini crossbow just to play with, here’s a guide for that as well.
Barnett Crossbow Scopes
The scopes that come with the budget crossbows right out of the factory are quite lousy. It is a major complaint of the people who bought Barnett crossbows in the lower price range. Honestly, the company would do themselves a huge favor by featuring a more serious scope in all their crossbows. Even for an entry-level, the scope is too weak than the potential of the crossbow. The weapon itself outperforms the scope as soon as you take it out of your yard and into the woods. 70% of the users report that the scope was the first item in their crossbow to upgrade. So, since it’s such a critical upgrade item, let’s look at the factors that are important in a crossbow scope:
- what is the range? remember, you will use a crossbow to shoot at max 50 yards, so you don’t need a more powerful scope than that
- how well does it perform in low light?
- how about night vision?
So, forget the premium red dot sight that Barnett sells. This one comes by default on some of the budget model packages, and people report it’s the first feature to upgrade. Remember, it’s not a scope, but a sight: it does not magnify. Also, it performs poorly in low light conditions. Do yourself a favor and go for a better one. Here’s what we recommend:
The scope features a magnification of 4x, which is sufficient for the 50-yard shooting range needed for crossbow hunting. It performs very well in low light, and also in the snow when contrast is extreme. Water-resistant and shockproof, is compatible with all full-sized crossbow in the Barnett range.
-doesn’t come with night-vision
Barnett 17056 1.5-5×32 Adjustable Illuminatedx 40mm
Full waterproof and fog proof
Tips: some jurisdictions do not allow for crossbow hunting after dark. Make sure you check with your local authorities if night hunting is allowed. The scopes are specifically made for rifles. While typically they have universal or adjustable mounts, check with the manufacturer to make sure they would fir your crossbow.
✅ VIDEO – Watch about safety and sighting in your crossbow
More Barnett Parts and Accessories
Accessories are a big part of any equipment. Barnett crossbows typically come with everything you need right out of the box, you will need some extras. You can check the links below to find accessories that would be suitable for your Barnett crossbow:
Your crossbow most likely comes with a quiver, but in case it breaks here’s where you can find one:
You will most likely go above and beyond the two or three bolts that come in your package. Make sure you follow the specifications of your particular crossbow, and choose bolts accordingly.
✅ VIDEO – Watch how to cock your crossbow
Manual cocking is only for the few courageous and strong individuals. The rest of us use cocking aids, the rope being the easiest and least expensive option. Some models have this included; if not, make yourself a favor and buy a rope cocking device asap.
Some more advanced crossbow models are crank compatible and would allow for installations of a crank cocking device. Some people like it, some don’t. It adds some bulk to the crossbow, which also means additional weight. It may be a little cumbersome to some people. Many hunters prefer the rope cocker even if they have an advanced model that could use the crank. But if you want to be at pace with the best technology, have the device handy at all times, and don’t mind spending an extra bit of money, here are your options:
To protect your crossbow, and to carry it with ease along with all accessories, the case is a must. Here are your best options:
Official Barnett Crossbow Resources
Here’s the official 2018 Barnett crossbow catalog, where you can find all of the current models. Don’t forget that some older models are still available for sale, and covered by the Barnett warrantee. So don’t worry if you don’t see the desired model in this catalog. Nonetheless, have fun exploring the latest and best in Barnett crossbows.
For all of the manuals for the current or previous models, here’s the link to the manuals page:
✅ VIDEO – Watch a short presentation of the latest Barnett models
Crossbows presented in this video: Predator, TS 390, Whitetail (not the pro)
Barnett’s TriggerTech™ Trigger Control System with ADF (Anti Dry Fire)
The Triggertech technology is a very advanced trigger technology that gives you more precision in using the trigger, therefore more accuracy and confidence in your hunting. It also comes with a much-desired safety feature, ADF, or Anti Dry Fire, which prevents you from shooting by mistake when you don’t have a bolt in place. It is a widespread mistake made by newbies and advanced alike that damages your crossbow.
Barnett is incorporating this technology in all of its newer models. Although the main features of this technology stay the same, some high end models feature more sophisticated materials, for example stainless steel.