*Last Updated: May 2024

The 5 Best Pistol Crossbows [Ranked]

Pistol Crossbows

Self cocking pistol crossbows are perfect mini-crossbows for hunting small game or just for backyard target practice.

Typically constructed from strong plastic and fiberglass, they usually feature an average draw weight of 80 pounds, with an average firing speed up around 165 ft./s.

Common features of these miniature pistol-crossbows include their rugged pistol grip and a self-cocking mechanism that makes it much more easy and safe to use.

In order to load an arrow, all you have to do is pull down the pivoting arm lever which will automatically engage the safety.


Our Top Pick: The Prophecy Pistol Crossbow

The Prophecy is definitely not a toy- and definitely not for kids.

One user advises, that the "self cocking" part of it is a bit misleading- the user themselves needs to do the 'cocking'. You'll also want to use a pair of rugged rubberized gloves to do so.

The accuracy is really good, apparently- you do need to use both hands unless you're resting it on something.

Another user explains that it has a nice weight- and that you can achieve solid accuracy within 15 yards. You might want to stock up on some replacement strings and wax if you plan on using it a lot.

Let's take a look at 5 of the best-selling self-cocking pistol crossbows on the market today and see how they compare.

Comparing Them

The Five Best Pistol Crossbows



Ease of Use

The Cobra System K-8025 Self Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow fires bows at a speed of about 165 FPS (feet per second) and it has 80 lbs. of draw weight. This self-cocking crossbow is ideal for both minor hunting and target practice. The Cobra has a pretty short reload time, most users say.


Moreover, it includes three aluminum arrows with metal tips and has an adjustable sight, too. Other features of this product include a strong plastic body and a compressed molded fiberglass bow. This product is a good option for those who want efficient and light weight tactical pistol crossbow.


Most users are satisfied with the quality of the product, with some saying that it is very good for targeting rodents with its metal-tipped arrows. Moreover, they are of the opinion that it shoots smoothly and has a good aim. Some users say that the included string is useless. Some reviewers opine that it is a bit difficult to assemble but that on the whole the Cobra pistol crossbow was a good buy.


Many customers are happy with the purchase as it is easy for them to operate the pistol crossbow and the instructions are quite understandable.

Video Overview



Ease of Use

With an arrow speed of 165 feet per second the Prophecy Pistol Crossbow is easy to cock and has 80 pounds of draw weight. Its unique feature is its power stroke which is 6-4/5”. It is very powerful and it shouldn’t be confused with a toy.


Customers say that they are really impressed by this crossbow because it is especially solidly constructed. Most of the users say that this pistol crossbow lets them shoot straight at targets. Other pros to this Prophecy pistol crossbow are a relatively easy assembly and robust adjustability. The Prophecy crossbow is good for those who want a powerful, effective and efficient crossbowing experience.


Customers say that Prophecy pistol crossbow does not require a lot of energy to use and that it can be difficult to string the crossbow, but once it is stringed properly it works fine. Users say that it has a solid construction, though hard for a child to cock (which is pretty good). Some people advise that its power should be increased so that it can be used more efficiently in hunting.

Video Overview



Ease of Use

The 80-pound draw weight Ace Martial self-cocking crossbow pistol has a solid design with a firm plastic body and a compact fiberglass bow. Most of the users say that this Ace Martial crossbow was a good buy, though some users complain that its screws get loose after a short time.


This tactical crossbow is most commonly used for small game hunting and target practice. It also ships with three aluminum arrows with metal tips and it has adjustable sight too. It is perfect for people who like target shooting as it has a very speedy reload.


Most the customers agree with the fact that its level of action is fairly smooth and once you have set it up it works pretty well. Once sighted properly, users were pretty impressed with its shooting accuracy. They say that its self-cocking feature is extremely handy.


Some users wish that there were an extra pair of strings included. On the whole, however, most were pleased with the quality, design, efficiency of the product and it is very powerful for its price as well.



Ease of Use

This 150 pounds draw-weight, real-wood, crossbow includes a scope and ships with bows. The fifty-pound crossbow is a very powerful option and is constructed from a high-tech fiberglass.


Most users are highly satisfied with it saying that arrows can travel 210 feet per second, but some comment that the end loops of the string should be larger so that stringing is easier. Other features of the product include an aluminum barrel, auto safety cocking mechanism and accuracy up to 60 yards. It is suitable for people who like large game hunting as it can even hunt down a deer. The scope of the bow is adjustable too.


Most of the customers are satisfied with the hunting crossbow and they consider it a nice bow for its price. They agree that its assembly is pretty easy and that it is durably constructed. As well, target practice enthusiasts were are impressed by the way the arrowheads pop off when they shoot at a cushioned target. Overall- a relatively inexpensive way of beginning crossbow shooting.



Ease of Use

The Barnett Jackal Crossbow is complete crossbow package includes a quick-detaching quiver, bolts, and a red dot sight. It is a sleek design with a military-style stock and high energy wheels with a synthetic string and cable system.


It shoots at 315 feet per second and has a draw weight of 150 pounds. But some users advise that bolt should be larger to use with the quiver. This Jackal pistol crossbow has a power stroke of 12 inches, an arrow length of 20 inches weighs 7.7 lbs. Moreover, it has quad limbs and high definition camouflage. The Barnett crossbow is great for those who are getting into target-practice sports.


Most of its purchasers say that it is accurate and easy to assemble. They say that it is great for people who like hunting, as well. A large number of customers are impressed by its scope and that the cocking rope makes it really easy to cock the bow. Some users advise that the quality of the cables could be improved.

Video Overview

Buying Guide

Some of the best advice that we have seen regarding how to use and purchase a crossbow comes from theprepperjournal.com.

They write that is advisable to purchase the best quality crossbow that you can afford- don't skimp. You'll end up regretting it.

Cheaper models will be less accurate, more prone to failure, and more likely to break down over time. You'll also want to load up on some quality arrows that are fast enough- arrow makers are always producing new and interesting, technologically advanced arrows for crossbows.

They advise to go after an initial velocity that it is at least 300 ft./s.

You might also want to purchase a rangefinder- using a laser rangefinder you will be able to quickly see how far away you are from a particular target. This information is invaluable to increase the accuracy of your shooting.

Another interesting piece of advice they have is to get completely comfortable with the pistol crossbow's trigger- every trigger is unique and as soon as you have developed a quality feel for yours your accuracy will definitely improve.

Probably the most important thing, is that you will have to proactively maintain your pistol crossbow- you need to remember that it is a machine that requires regular maintenance so that it is always fine-tuned and ready to provide you dead-on and accurate results.

VS Regular Crossbows

Pistol crossbows are a type of crossbow that is designed to be fired from the hand. They are usually made of plastic and have a pistol grip.

Crossbows, on the other hand, are weapons that use a bow with a string attached to it. The string is pulled back and then released, shooting an arrow or bolt out of the weapon. Crossbows can be used for hunting, target practice, or self-defense.

Pistol crossbows are not as powerful as regular crossbows because they don't have the same amount of power behind them when they shoot an arrow or bolt out of them.

Pistol crossbows also don't have the same range as regular crossbows because they can only shoot arrows or bolts up to about 20 yards away before they start to lose their accuracy and power. If you're interested in the more traditional options, check out these excellent crossbows.

Final thoughts

If you are looking to purchase a self cocking pistol crossbow, check out our reviews above and reference our comparison table to get a sense of what is available on the market today.

It's important, especially if you're a novice crossbow user, to take extra care when first using your pistol crossbow.

One user who purchased the Cobra System tactical crossbow says that when he first began using it, he made the mistake of pressing too hard on the safety release which actually caused it to accidentally fire.

He thinks it sometime design flaw, so he recommends paying particular attention when you first began loading arrows onto your pistol crossbow to ensure that you do it correctly and safely.

Once you get into a rhythm, you'll become much more comfortable using these specialized small-game tactical crossbows and there will be less safety risk, although still some, whenever you decide to use it.

It's also important to take notice of your State's hunting laws and general regulations about crossbows- you do not want to run afoul of local regulations and face a fine or even imprisonment.

Top 5 Staff

We are a team of product researchers that specializes in assembling comprehensive buying guides. Our team has a variety of backgrounds, with a mixture of soft and hard sciences represented. Check out our About page to read more about our reviews and editorial process.

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