How Powerful is a Pistol Crossbow?

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Welcome to this article that talks about how powerful a pistol crossbow is. They might be smaller than traditional crossbows, but they still pack a punch and deserve a spot in your hunting gear. Pistol crossbows are smaller and compact, which makes them easy to hold and maneuver. They are usually made of strong plastic or fiberglass. Pistol crossbows have an average draw weight of 80 lbs and an average firing speed of 165 feet per second.

How powerful is a pistol crossbow? Pistol crossbows that are sold on the market today are powerful enough to use for small game hunting. An 80 lbs pistol crossbow can take down small game from varied distances of 20 to 40 yards. You can also try using broadhead arrows and shorter ranges to take down smaller or larger games effectively.

This article does not contain any product recommendations. If you are interested in purchasing face pistol crossbows, here’s our buying guide with products.

Can pistol crossbows be used for hunting? What are the features of a pistol crossbow that makes it powerful? These are some of the questions that we will talk about in this article. To help you get started, we have also shared tips on finding a powerful pistol crossbow that you can use for hunting small games. Check out the rest of this post for more tips and information.

How powerful is a pistol crossbow

How Can I Test the Power of a Pistol Crossbow?

To test how powerful a pistol crossbow is, you can try shooting it on various objects. Most pistol crossbows have a draw weight of 80 lbs or less. To use it effectively, you need to go closer to the target. For instance, if you aim at a deer using a pistol crossbow of 80 lbs draw weight, your maximum distance should be 25 yards. If you try shooting the bolt for a more extender range, there is a chance that you will miss the target. Moreover, even if you succeed at hitting the prey from a long distance, it will not be a clean kill. To make sure that you can get a humane kill, you need to shoot closer to your target.

✅ Video – Pistol Crossbow Power Test

Preparedmind 101 shared the video below on YouTube, which demonstrates how powerful pistol crossbows are. A lot of people think that because of their size, pistol crossbows are toys. But they are wrong. These are not toys and should not be used for fun. Pistol crossbows can shoot through 4 soda cans at about 6 feet and pineapple from 6 paces. Check out the video below for a demonstration of how powerful these types of crossbows are.

Are Pistol Crossbows More Powerful Than Full-Sized Crossbows?

Pistol crossbows are less powerful as compared to full-sized crossbows. The maximum amount of draw weight for a pistol crossbow is between 50 lbs to 80 lbs. The full-sized crossbows have a draw weight of 300 plus pounds. This means that if a pistol crossbow has a large amount of draw weight, it becomes more powerful. Usually, the smaller size draw weights are better than higher draw weights, but it will shoot at a much slower speed. However, higher draw weight produces more power, but it makes them a little harder to cock.

How to Purchase a Powerful Pistol Crossbow?

The draw weight, bolts, game size, and scope are some of the things you need to consider when purchasing a powerful pistol crossbow. Specifications, features, and themes can be confusing, especially for beginners. To help you get started, we have addressed some of the most important aspects you need to consider and explain them below.

Draw Weight

The draw weight is the amount of weight you have when the crossbow is pulled back. This means that the further you pull it, the more weight you have until it is maxed. If you want to have powerful shots, you need to look for pistol crossbows with high draw weights. 50 lbs to 70 bs draw weight is ideal for beginner hunters who would only hunt rodents and small birds. On the other hand, you need to have at least 80 lbs draw weight to hunt bigger animals.


Manufacturers usually send light aluminum or plastic bolts with the pistol crossbow. Even though these bolts are ideal for target practice, you cannot hunt using them. For hunting, you need to sharp-edged metallic or thin aluminum bolts that can penetrate deep inside an animal’s body and will not let it escape the shot. If a weak bolt hits an animal; it can quickly run off with the wound. On the other hand, when a cutting edge bolt is fired, it will produce an effective and clean shot. You can also check out this article that talks about the best crossbow bolts. We have written a review of the best bolts that are available on the market.

Game Size

When looking for a powerful pistol crossbow, you need to consider your game size. Killing boars or bears is not possible with the use of a pistol crossbow. These animals have thick layers of fats wherein small bolts could not penetrate. Hunting with the use of a pistol crossbow limits your choice since it cannot be used in every game. Pistol crossbows effectively hunt squirrels, small dear, rodents, birds, elks, rabbits, and turkeys.


A scope will increase your accuracy. The bolts of pistol crossbows are smaller in length than other bolts, making it challenging not to miss a shot. To make sure that you hit the target accurately, use a scope along with the bow. It can magnify up to 2 times or more on the object. You can easily focus and mark the right spot to attack.


You need to consider speed if you will use the pistol crossbow for hunting. The crossbows do not store as much energy as other types of bows. Because of this, the faster it is, the better it is used for hunting. Take note that fast speeds allow the arrows to be more penetrative, which results in a higher chance of killing your target. On the other hand, if you want a crossbow for target practice, speed is not an issue because the targets are stationary and can easily be penetrated.

Can Pistol Crossbows be used for Hunting?

Yes, pistol crossbows can be used for hunting. On the other hand, the arrows fired from a pistol crossbow are less powerful than traditional crossbows. This means that you need to get closer to your prey to get a clean shot. It would be best if you stalked the animal at a closer range, and good shot placement is important for a clean kill.

Pistol crossbows have a lower draw weight, which results in less kinetic energy, most especially at longer distances. Moreover, their lack of stock and front-heavy designs also makes aiming more difficult. When using a pistol crossbow, it is ideal to limit your shots to 20 yards or less. Pistol crossbows allow greater mobility because of their size. They are also smaller, lighter, and easy to maneuver.

Related Questions

Do I Need a Permit to Own a Pistol Crossbow?

You do not need to have a permit to own or use a pistol crossbow for target practice. Some states in the U.S. have a minimum stock size and draw weight needed for hunting using a crossbow. You can check this site for useful resources. If you have questions about small game hunting, you can get in touch with your local DNR department.

What are Pistol Crossbows Used for?

Pistol crossbows are usually used for hunting small games, target practice, and in some cases, fishing. A lot of people used them as a form of entertainment, like target shooting in their backyards. We have also written this review about the Cobra pistol. If you are interested in purchasing this type of pistol crossbow, you can check out the review for more information.

How Heavy is a Pistol Crossbow?

The weight of the pistol crossbows ranges from 4 to 8 pounds depending on their design. Pistol crossbows are usually made of plastic or fiberglass, which makes them lightweight and compact. They are convenient to use and to carry around.

How Far Can You Shoot a Pistol Crossbow?

If you do not care about accuracy, a powerful pistol crossbow can shoot as far as 500 yards. Most professionals recommend shooting from a distance between 20 to 80 yards, depending on your accuracy and target if you want to have an accurate shot. For beginners, it is best to stick between 20 to 40 yards.


You have reached the end of this article that talks about how powerful a pistol crossbow is. They are considerably weaker as compared to longbows and are nowhere near the strength of a gun. On the other hand, they are powerful enough for target shooting and hunting small games. You can always improve or upgrade a pistol crossbow to make it more powerful. There are accessories available to provide better accuracy, like a scope. You can check online for tips on how to upgrade your pistol crossbow. We hope that we have answered your questions with regards to how powerful pistol crossbows are. Thank you for reading!