For decades, there has been a debate between the crossbow and compound bow. As they both are more modern creations. Crossbows were first used in the battle of Agincourt and their function and look history is quite different compared to the modern iteration. On the other hand, the compound bow is also an evolution of the historical hunting bow that depends on technological progress to attain its results.

Crossbow vs Compound Bow

While the crossbow and compound bow are the same in many ways, there are various in just many. To understand which of these is right, you need to look at the differences, so that you can be relaxed with the selection. I believe in personal experience, and if you want a hunting weapon for an upcoming hunting season, then you are in the right place!

I have made a guide on the differences between both the bows and their functions and how each of them is suitable for various situations. Experience has taught me the right path to choose between both you can decide what is best after getting used to both of the bows. Crossbow and compound bow has clear benefits over the other in specific situations.

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Difference Between Crossbow and Compound Bow

What Is A Crossbow?

It is also a type of weapon that shoots arrows with the help of tension to propel a bolt or an arrow. The arrow and bow are fixed on the front of the weapon with one end sticking out which can be used as a handle.


Crossbow has been used for several thousand years and was an essential weapon used by knights, hunters, and infantrymen. These bows are used today as well for hunting animals like moose, elk, bears, and deer. These are also used in modern warfare in different degrees of success. You can also use a crossbow for target shooting and hunting, but it is not recommended for competitions as they are more powerful than other types of bows.

These bows are currently available in varieties-compound (modern) and recurve (tradition). The compound is super-fast and accurate but time-consuming to reload besides recurve uses less energy and it’s easy to aim and shoot swiftly. It just takes 10 minutes every day to get used to it before using a new one.

After that, you require just five minutes daily for maintenance purposes. Depending on the feature and size these can cost up to $150 to $300.

Benefits of Crossbow

  • Powerful:- Crossbow is more powerful and accurate than compound bows as it includes a mechanical system that does most of the work for an archer.
  • Accurate:- While accuracy is very essential, a crossbow is more precise than other bows. So these make an excellent choice for those who want to shoot targets from a long distance or for 3-dimensional archery.
  • No String Vibration:- One of the most important benefits of a crossbow over a compound bow is that it does not recoil when firing which makes shooting easier on the shoulders.
  • Maximum Arrow Speed:- These bows offer you the maximum speed which is helpful for hunting. You can also fire more than an arrow as quickly as possible.
  • Kinetic Energy:- With these bows, you will get higher kinetic energy which is so handy for hunting. The bolts of these bows are greater than a compound and recurve bow.
  • Ease of Accuracy:- To harvest quarry, you require very less movement. The lower chance that aims prey will sense your presence.

Disadvantages of Crossbow

  • Unlike compound and recurve bows, these are heavier
  • Crossbows are not recommended for hunting competitions so it can be hard to practice with them.
  • The trigger pull of specific models might be time-consuming.
  • As crossbows are complicated, it needs extra maintenance and is prone to mechanical failure.
  • It can injure your shoulder
  • The mechanical complexity and the weight of the bow are not easy to manage in various ways than that of a crossbow, making it an excellent choice for users with less strength or experience.
  • These bows might not be available for hunting season which makes them hard to use as well.
  • Its louder notes make it harder to take decent shots in some situations.
  • These are expensive, have a shorter range, and use various types of arrows.

What Is A Compound Bow?

As you know, it’s archery took that uses mechanical benefits to store energy in the limbs so that you don’t have to stretch as far when pulling back. The result is, with very little physical effort, you get more and accurate power shots. One of the main advantages of using this bow is that it can shoot at a lot of distance due to its accuracy and power.

Compound Bow

The term crossbow vs bow is notable with their exact and rate use in sorts of individual works. If you are in search of a new bow, then I suggest you go for a compound bow. It is an advanced type of bow that is used in Olympics and other competitions for a long time. It is designed to be more precise than traditional bows by using cables and pulleys to store energy from your draw and release it at full strength. This makes arrow shooting with arrows easier with accuracy over long distances.

Compound bows are famous among hunters as they can fire arrows swifter than longbows or recurved, making them perfect for hunting small gales such as squirrels and rabbits. They are also perfect for target shooting as they provide greater precision when aiming the targets that are too far away or nearer. Also, they don’t give hand shocks that recurve and you will not feel the vibrations much after firing it.

These bows come with an adjustable draw length and its customizable to the archer’s strength and size. They also have a wide range of cam systems that enable you to adjust the draw weight from five to seventy pounds. This means compound bows are great for beginners and experienced archers who wish to use heavier arrows and shoot at various distances.

One of the beneficial effects of compound bows is that you don’t need any special training or skills. All you need is just practice time on the range before getting into the hunt.

Benefits of Compound Bows

  • Less Noisy:- These bows are not as noisy as a crossbow. Makes a perfect choice for hunting, as they can maintain silence when shooting and help you to take your target calmly.
  • Quick Shoots:- When using a compound bow, the mass effect is to make a simultaneous action using it. This means that you can take a shot and then another one very soon. This is not possible with a crossbow as it might be time-consuming to reload it to shoot again.
  • High Accuracy:- These bows are more precise than crossbows for hunting. This makes it easier to hit the target when aiming at it. The accuracy of hunting and stability makes this a preferred choice among archers.
  • Less Mechanical System:- Unlike a crossbow, this bow hasn’t any complex mechanical systems. All you have to do is just pull the string and the arrow will fly. This makes it easier than any other bow, which is so complicated in operate.
  • No Assembly Needed:- A compound bow does not need any assembling as you just need to fix the limbs into place when you buy it. With a crossbow, there are various installations and reloading methods that might affect hunting and practice make bored.

Disadvantages of Compound Bow

  • A compound bow’s strings can be twisted, which means it is not easy to shoot straight.
  • You need to consider the poundage on your arms, this is applicable for both crossbow and compound bow.
  • These are tactical and require a bit of practice
  • With a compound bow, comes a package of components. There is a trigger, stabilizer, and sight on the front end of the bow to attach an arrow before firing it into prey or target when hunting. But with a crossbow, you need so much attachments since it can be fired with just one hand so that you can use your other hand or arm for better balance.

Which Is Good? A Crossbow or Compound Bow

For hunting, I suggest you go for compound bows. They are so precise and controlled, they also use modern materials that make aiming easier. compound bows are an excellent choice if you want something to hunt with.

Now let’s look at the features of both

1. Measuring The Shooting Range

Crossbow or Compound Bow Shooting Range

A shooting range of a crossbow is about 40-80 yards, while a compound bow’s range is between 30-60 yards. But the whole method is gained with more careful consideration, and an experience bow hunter can calculate a longer shooting range.

Some shooters choose shooting and hunting range better in the crossbow and some say it’s challenging to aim with a crossbow, which is not as accurate. On the other hand, compound bows are more accurate and controllable as their modern design works better for hunting purposes.

2. Aiming

Crossbow or Compound Bow With Aiming

While aiming for an object with a crossbow and compound bow, accuracy is the thing that gives you a clear result. But if you are shooting at prey that is moving it is almost not possible to hit it with a crossbow. Compound bows have better-aiming abilities as of their material and design that makes use of modern technology.

But a crossbow needs more time to put a bolt into the string, so it might not be precise in shooting at prey. Compound bows on the other hand are crafted with hi-tech materials which enable you to shoot arrows quicker and with more precision when you do the aiming correctly.

So, I suggest you go for a compound bow for hunting.

3. Power of Shots

Crossbow or Compound Bow With Power Of Shot

If you need more power, then a compound bow is going to offer you more power than a crossbow. A compound bow is designed to be able to shoot quickly and with high velocity when the string is pulled back. With a crossbow bolt an elastic band launched at a slow speed and less momentum.

4. Price Range

Crossbow or Compound Bow Price Range

The price of a compound bow ranges from $150-$250 while a crossbow can cost you around $400-$800. A crossbow is more expensive because of its complex structure. While a compound bow is not the right choice if you want to shoot at prey that is nearby. But when the target is far away, the compound bow can be a preferred choice.

5. Maintenance

Crossbow or Compound Bow Mantaince

A compound bow is so easier to maintain than a crossbow. A compound bow is very easy to use and maintain, which means it is durable and can last longer. As both bows have various parts to maintain so for a crossbow you require to maintain all its parts. So basically, both crossbow and compound bows need maintenance for longevity and further use.

6. Draw Weight

Crossbow or Compound Bow Weight Comparison

In terms of draw weight, a compound bow is more powerful than a crossbow. A compound bow has a higher range of weights and some can reach up to 100 pounds and heavier.

7. Noise

Crossbow or Compound Bow Slient SHooting

In the case of noise production, a compound bow is less noise than a crossbow. This is because the strings are connected to the arrow and not the cable.

8. Target

Crossbow or Compound Bow Target Accuracy

You can’t use both the bows to shoot a target as they are different in that way compound bow needs more space to move around while the crossbow doesn’t need many areas or any space at all. So, for various aspects, the target of compound and crossbow have their unique aspects.

But overall, a compound bow is an excellent bet for those who want to practice hunting, shooting, and hunting.

9. Accuracy

In case of accuracy, a compound bow is more precise in the long run than a crossbow because of its design. Fact of distance, speed, and ammo, both the arrows have various amounts of carrying in terms of ammo capacity with it. But for distance and speed, they both are the same.

To Conclude:- I suggest a compound for beginners and hunters hunting near a bush. A crossbow is perfect for those who prefer killing the prey at a close range.

Frequently Ask Questions:-

1. Why crossbows are expensive?

These are expensive because they have to include various parts of their functionality and structure to offer an unbeatable bowhunting experience. So, this tough process is reflected in its cost.

2. Are crossbows more powerful than a bow?

There are various things involved, which also include shooting techniques, stroke lengths, and arrow rests. They also deliver more energy than other bows.

3. Can I use a crossbow for a hunt?

These bows are suitable for all seasons except archery only. For hunting, a crossbow must have a draw weight of 100 pounds.



About David Gray

David Gray is born & raised in Bozeman Montana, USA. He has been hunting & fishing since 2009. And used most of the outdoor gear during his 22 years of hunting experience. He likes to spend most of the time in the woods, on the trail, or by the water. He taught us about his outdoor journey and equipment experience.

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