What Sets A Crossbow Apart From Other Bows? (Revealed)

When it comes to hunting and targeting, there are a variety of bows and arrow types that you can use: compound bows, recurve bows, longbows, and crossbows. It’s important to understand the major differences between these weapons to decide the appropriate one for you.

Then again, what if someone walked up to you and asked, “What sets a crossbow apart from other bows?” Well, the list is long, but the biggest difference between a crossbow and a traditional bow is that you pull a trigger to fire a crossbow.

Let’s go ahead and learn more!

Table of Contents

Main Difference between Crossbow and Other Bows

Well, it’s quite tricky for a novice to know what separates crossbows apart from other conventional bows. That being said, we’ve listed a few key points below to deliver a clear understanding of the major differences.

Easy to Cock

The biggest difference between a crossbow and other bows is that a crossbow is much easier to cock. With other bows, you have to use your hands or a lever to pull back the string.

But thanks to the unique mechanism of the crossbow, you can cock it pretty effortlessly. This one feature alone distinguishes this bow from others.

Bow Limb

Crossbows are equipped with extremely powerful limbs that stop as soon as you shot a crossbow arrow. So, it’s certain that these types of bows are more shock-absorbent than any other bows due to their physical mass.

Ease of Carrying

Another feature that distinguishes the crossbow from others is its ability to be carried even when loaded. So, you’re always ready to take down your target without wasting the time pulling the strings and load arrows.


Crossbows have higher accuracy potential because they have larger sights — the part of an arrow or bolt where an eyepiece goes. 

This makes aiming easier while shooting at longer distances than with compound bows since they lack sights altogether or have smaller ones compared with those found on crossbows.

Crossbow Vs Compound Bow Vs Recurve Bow

Crossbow vs compound bow vs recurve bow

These three types of bows are all used for hunting and targeting as well, but they’re very different. Let’s take a look at each one and see how they stack up against each other!


A crossbow may be the best option for you if you’re looking for a weapon that will allow you to get off shots at greater distances. 

They’re also quite mechanical and simple to use, so even if you’re not a seasoned crossbow hunter, you’ll be able to load it and take down your target.


The range of a crossbow varies depending on the model, but the average range is between 20 and 30 yards. Some newer models offer a range of up to 50 yards or more.


Crossbows are heavier and larger than compound bows, but their extra weight gives them a significant advantage. When it comes to shooting, the extra weight can make the crossbow much more stable and easier to shoot accurately.

Compound Bow

Unlike crossbows, compound bows have a built-in pulley system that lets the string travel further as it releases.

These bows also use a single cam to pull back the bowstring and keep it taut before releasing. This helps increase power when shooting an arrow at your target!


When you’re out on the hunt, you want to be able to make every shot count. Compound bows are made for that purpose. They have a draw weight between 30 and 60 pounds, which means they can send an arrow flying in between 30 and 40 yards.


Compound bows are a bit more complicated than crossbows, but they’re still not too difficult to use. They’re also lighter than crossbows, which means you don’t have to worry about your hands getting tired during long hunts.

Recurve Bow

A recurve bow, also known as a traditional or Olympic-style bow, is a longbow with a curved shape. It has the distinctive feature of having its tips curve away from the archer when strung. 

They’re also preferred for target shooting by many archers around the world because they’re easier to handle than compounds when shooting from unstable positions like sitting down or standing on one foot!


The range of the recurve bow is between 20 and 30 yards on average. Some bows can shoot up to 35 yards, however, so it’s important to check the specs of your bow before purchasing it.

That being said, the range an arrow can travel depends on several factors, including the type of arrows you’re using, the weight of the arrow, your strength and skill as an archer, weather conditions, and more.


Unlike compound bows, recurve bows are heavier and longer. For novice archers, they pose more of a challenge. However, this makes them more accurate, especially at long ranges. 

And if you’re a beginner you’ll find recurve bows are easier to draw back than compound bows.

Does Crossbow Have More FPS than Others?

Crossbows are known for their high velocity. But what is FPS?

FPS stands for feet per second, and it’s a measurement of how fast an arrow leaves your crossbow. Higher FPS means faster arrows, which means more damage to your target.

Well, compound or recurve bow stands no chance against crossbow. That’s because, the top crossbow arrow speed is 460 FPS, although some specialized crossbows may go as fast as 600 FPS.

The second contender is the compound bow with FPS between 300 to 340. That leaves the last one the recurve bow. Well, you can expect to see 315 to 330 FPS from a recurve bow.

Learn more: How fast does an arrow travel? (accurate answer)

How Accurate Shot to Expect from Crossbows?

When it comes to accuracy, you can most likely expect less error from a crossbow.

That’s because they are designed to be easier to use however, they can be slower and less accurate due to their design limitations.

On the other hand, a compound bow delivers more accurate shots thanks to its less vibration. With that being said, operating a compound bow is quite technical like cam wheels and additional pulleys. So, you better make sure that the technical aspects are functioning properly.


What makes a crossbow different?

The mechanical trigger of a crossbow allows it to fire arrows, unlike other bows.

Are crossbows more powerful than bows?

Crossbows are more powerful than bows because they have a lever-action mechanism that can fire multiple arrows at once. This makes them more effective than traditional bows, which fire one arrow at a time.

Wrap Up

We hope that this article has helped you to better understand what sets a crossbow unique from other bows. 

Of course, there are many more factors to consider when choosing your next bow-hunting weapon, but we believe that knowing how each type of bow works will allow you to make an informed decision based on the needs of your situation. But, I’m sure crossbow hunting would give a great experience.

Hi, I am Brandon smith! I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I discovered my passion for archery at an early age.. Archerytipscentral is my blog where I share those tips on archery which I've learned along my archery journey.

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