Top 7 Best Pistol Crossbows for 2020

best pistol crossbow

Nativecompass is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Pistol crossbows go by many different names, including crossbow handguns, hand crossbows, and mini crossbows. However, they all refer to the same types of devices. These crossbows are fun to use to shoot targets, they tend to be very affordable, and they can even be used for hunting small game depending on the regulations where you live when it comes to crossbow and bowhunting.

There are many different brands and options available, and this can sometimes make it difficult to know if you are choosing the best option or not. If you are excited to start looking for a pistol crossbow of your own, and you want to choose from only the best, you are in luck. Below, we’ve gathered the seven best pistol crossbows on the market today, so you can be sure you are choosing the best pistol for your needs. Also, we will be covering tips on how to choose the best crossbow, caring for the crossbow, and more.

Best Pistol Crossbow for 2020

 NameDraw WeightArrow/Bolt Feet Per Second 
Prophecy 80 Pound Self-Cocking Pistol CrossbowProphecy Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow80lb. draw weight150 FPSCHECK LATEST PRICE
PSE Viper SS CrossbowPSE Viper SS Handheld Crossbow50lb. draw weight215 FPSCHECK LATEST PRICE
Prophecy 80 Pound Aluminum Self-CockingSnake Eye Tactical Self-Cocking Cobra Crossbow80lb. draw weight160 FPSCHECK LATEST PRICE
EK Archery Cobra R9 System Pistol CrossbowEK Archery Cobra R9 System Pistol Crossbow90lb. draw weight240 FPSCHECK LATEST PRICE
Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self CockingCobra System K-8025 Self-Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow80lb. draw weight165 FPSCHECK LATEST PRICE
iGlow 80 lb BlackiGlow Aluminum Hunting Pistol Crossbow 80lb. draw weight160 FPSCHECK LATEST PRICE

Prophecy Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow

Prophecy 80 Pound Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow

This bow from Prophecy is one of the most popular and bestselling crossbows in the world, and it’s based on the Barnett Commando Pistol, which was popular in the 80s and 90s. The bow is easy to cock and use, and it can provide 80 lbs. of draw weight. The arrows/bolts can travel up to 150 feet per second. The crossbow features the Cobra Limb System. The bow also features an adjustable rear sight and a bead foresight. It also comes with three aluminum arrows/bolts.

One of the other benefits of choosing such a popular crossbow is the fact that there is a range of accessories available for it. This includes the SAS pistol crossbow grip, which can provide you with added stability when you fire the bow, along with a pistol crossbow bag for storage and transportation. The bag even includes crossbow bolt slots. You can also find a stringer that can be used to help with cocking the crossbow.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • It’s a durable crossbow
  • Plenty of accessories are available for it

Cons

  • Some have complained that the aluminum arrows that come with the crossbow break easily

PSE Viper SS Handheld Crossbow

PSE Viper SS Crossbow

The PSE Viper SS is a high-quality, lightweight crossbow with a draw weight of 50 lbs. The arrows/bolts fired by the bow can reach speeds of 215 feet per second. The bow features an auto safety, as well as an anti-dryfire trigger. There is a fingerguard that provides additional security for the hands, and there is an integrated cocking mechanism that has a safety lock that serves as a second safety.

This is one of the most popular recreational crossbows on the market and is one of the best pistol crossbow options for those who are just getting started. It is fun to shoot the crossbow, and it is also easy to use. This crossbow also comes with three frenzy bolts.

Pros

  • It has an excellent design
  • There are plenty of safety features
  • The bow can provide impressive bolt speed when fired

Cons

  • Some buyers have complained that the assembly instructions are difficult to follow

Snake Eye Tactical Self-Cocking Cobra Crossbow

Prophecy 80 Pound Aluminum Self-Cocking

The self-cocking crossbow from Snake Eye Tactical is made from durable plastic and has an 80 lb. draw weight and shoots the bolts at 160 feet per second. The bow can be a good option for those who want to hunt small game, as it is accurate, lightweight, and easy to use. Since it is a self-cocking crossbow, it also means that you will be able to shoot it relatively quickly. It’s easy to load and is made from high-quality materials.

The crossbow comes with sights, but you can remove them and add your own sights or even a scope if you would like.

Pros

  • It comes with 15 metal arrows/bolts
  • It’s a self-cocking crossbow
  • Works well for targets and small game

Cons

  • Some customers have complained that the crossbow is difficult to string

EK Archery Cobra R9 System Pistol Crossbow

EK Archery Cobra R9 System Pistol Crossbow

The crossbow from EK Archery has a very modern and almost futuristic appearance. It is on the pricier side when compared with the other options on the list, but it also provides some great benefits and features. For starters, this has the highest draw weight at 90 lbs. and the highest FPS at 240. This helps to make it stand out from the other crossbows that are on the list. It is a self-cocking bow, and it comes with six 7.5” bolts.

While this is a pistol crossbow, there is a deluxe version that has a shoulder stock. The bow is easy to use and shoot no matter the size of the shooter, and it is ready to mount a range of different types of accessories. The front end of the barrel features two Weaver/Picatinny rails mounted to the sides. You could add a flashlight and a laser sight to the crossbow, for example. You will also find Weaver/Picatinny rails below the crossbow in case you want to add a foregrip. This crossbow can be a great option for those who want to hunt small game and those who just want to shoot at targets.

Pros

  • The limb is pre-strung and does not need to be removed when you store the bow
  • Made of durable, high-quality materials
  • Powerful speeds of 240 FPS

Cons

  • The only real issue that some people might have with this crossbow is the price compared with other options – still, it is one of the best pistol crossbow options available.

Cobra System K-8025 Self-Cocking Pistol Tactical Crossbow

Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self Cocking

The crossbows are affordable and high quality. You will find that in addition to the crossbows discussed here, there are other options. Many come with more than the three arrows that are included with this crossbow. This is another self-cocking pistol crossbow, which means that the reload time is shortened. The body is made from durable plastic, while the bow is made from molded fiberglass. There is an adjustable tactical sight included on the bow.

The K-8025 features an 80 lb. draw weight and can fire the bolts at 165 FPS. The bow features a comfortable pistol grip, as well. As with the other crossbows on the list, it works well for both target practice, as well as small game hunting.

Pros

  • It’s an affordable crossbow
  • It’s easy to use
  • The tactical sight is adjustable

Cons

  • Some customers wish that the instructions for assembly that came with the crossbow were clearer

iGlow Aluminum Hunting Pistol Crossbow

iGlow 80 lb Black

The iGlow crossbow is a quality option for those looking for the best pistol crossbow for hunting small game. It’s powerful enough to take down small game, including rabbits. It features an 80 lb. draw and 160+ FPS for the bolts. The crossbow features an aluminum stock, as well as a fiberglass limb. The crossbow is durable and reliable, and it is very accurate, which helps with hunting, as well as target shooting.

The crossbow also has an auto safety cocking mechanism, and it comes with 15 arrows and an additional string in case you need to change out the first string. There is also room under the crossbow where you can store arrows. This makes them easily accessible when you have to get off a second shot as quickly as possible.

Pros

  • You have color options with the crossbow – black, autumn camouflage, or desert camouflage
  • Bolt storage on the bow
  • It is a very affordable option

Cons

  • A handful of customers have expressed concerns over the build quality, but these seem to be few and far between.

Why Choose a Pistol Crossbow?

With larger crossbows available, you might be wondering why you would want to choose a pistol version. One of the biggest benefits of choosing these types of crossbows is the price. When you look at the list above, all but one of the crossbows are very affordable, and the more expensive option has the quality and power to help back up that price tag. The pistol crossbows are less expensive than full-size crossbows, recurves, or compound bows. Also, you will find that the bolts tend to be cheaper than arrows.

These are small and light, which makes it easy to carry with you. They work well for hunting many different types of small game. They are silent, and they also happen to be fun to shoot even when you are just hitting targets. If you are going to be hunting with the pistol crossbow, you will want to choose an option that is at least 80 lb. draw weight to ensure that you are getting a kill shot and not just wounding the game.

The crossbows on the list above have sights on them, and often, you will be able to remove the included sights and add your own. You might want to add a type of sight that you prefer, such as a red dot or even optical sight. You may even be able to add a scope or other accessories, such as a flashlight.

How to Choose the Best Pistol Crossbow

When you are choosing a pistol crossbow, you will need to make sure that you are getting the best pistol crossbow for your needs. One of the first things that you have to consider is just how you are going to be using the crossbow. If you are only going to be shooting targets, any of the options above should work very well. If you are going to be hunting, remember that you want to stick to more powerful options that are at least going to provide an 80 lb. draw.

You might also want to consider the self-cocking crossbows. This simply means that you will be able to cock the bow with your hands rather than relying on another device to pull back the string.

Keep in mind that the bows do not come assembled, and the quality of the instructions included can vary from one to the next. All of the options on the list above are quality bows, but they don’t all have quality instructions. Fortunately, you should be able to head to YouTube to find videos that can show the assembly methods for all the pistol crossbows, which will make assembly easier.

You may also want to consider the weight of the crossbow you are choosing. Those that are lower in weight will be easier and more comfortable to carry with you when you are out in the field and hunting. Fortunately, you will find that the options on the list above are all lightweight.

Something else that you will have to consider is the laws in your area when you are buying a pistol crossbow for hunting. Make sure that you are complying with the laws in your location.

You should also consider how easy it will be to get replacement parts and accessories that you might need, such as the strings. For the most part, you will not run into trouble when it comes to the string or the bolts that you are using. There are plenty of string options that can work for different brands of bows, for example. However, if you find a string that you like, it’s a good idea to buy multiple to have them around. This way, if you were to break a string, you will have plenty of others that you can use to restring the crossbow quickly.

Crossbow Safety Tips

Even though these are affordably priced, it is important to remember that they are weapons and not toys. They can be very dangerous when you do not provide them with the proper respect that they deserve. Just like a firearm, you need to keep certain safety tips in mind if you hope to eliminate the chance for injuries to yourself or others. Let’s look at some of the most important safety considerations that you need to always keep in mind when using crossbows.

  • Always treat a crossbow like it is a loaded firearm, whether you have a bolt in it or not. Getting into this habit ensures that you do not make any costly mistakes.
  • Always keep it pointed in a safe direction. An errant bolt can do a severe amount of damage.
  • Do not place your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire, and you have a target. One slip of the finger means a lost bolt, which is the best-case scenario. If the bolt were to hit a pet or a person, the results could be catastrophic.
  • Do not dry fire the crossbow. It is not good for the weapon, and if it were to break, it could still send parts downrange that would effectively become shrapnel.
  • Before firing, make sure that the bolt is in the proper location, and make sure that the safety is on until you are ready to fire.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation when it comes to the size of the bolts to use with the weapon.
  • Don’t walk around with a bolt in the pistol – wait until you are ready to shoot to add the bolt.
  • Do not leave it cocked for an extended period.
  • Uncocking a bow should be done by firing the bolt into a target – it can be dangerous to try to un-cock by hand because of the amount of pressure it contains.

These are some of the most important safety tips that you will want to follow when you have one of these devices. They are fun to shoot at targets, and they can be great tools for hunting, but they are not toys that should be given to children to play with because of the damage they can cause. If you have children that you want to teach, you need to consider it the same as a firearm. Make sure they know the safety protocols and that they respect the crossbow, and do not store it in a location where they will have easy access to it.

How to Take Care of Your Pistol Crossbow

Maintenance of the pistol crossbow tends to be relatively simple. You will want to make sure that you are storing it away safely whenever it is not in use, and you will want to follow the guidelines from the manufacturer on the basic care of the device. Also, you will want to pay careful attention to your string to ensure that it is in good shape before you use it each time. It’s a good idea to carry an extra string along with you whether you are out hunting, or you are shooting targets.

Do not store other items on top of the crossbow, and do not just toss it in a closet or the garage. If you want it to keep on working and providing you with the results you need, you need to make sure that you keep it in good condition. Ideally, you will be able to get a storage bag where you can place it while you are not using it.

Find Your Pistol Crossbow Today

There are some great options for those who want to have the best pistol crossbow for their collection. Whether they shoot targets, or they are hunting small game, there are options available that can work well for them. Take the time to look at the options above and find the solution that will work the best for your needs.

Scroll to Top

Get the latest gear news, product reviews, editor-curated deals and more.

All in your inbox.