Crossbows were the guns of the medieval age. Anyone with minimal training and practice, could kill or seriously wound someone. It bridged the gap between the average person and the bowmen. It also made more fiscal sense as the amount of training, practice, and physical prowess you would need for a bow and arrow vanish when put aside a crossbow.
But to answer your question, can a “Crossbow kill a Human”? Yes, a crossbow can kill a human. Although there are a lot of different types of variables that you must keep in mind, all of which can mean the difference between ensuring that you can defend yourself and cause a killing blow or just have a much more angrier aggressor only slightly worse for wear.
But let’s take a more in-depth look at what crossbows are and if they are not only effective but worth the time and effort to use them.
The Advantages of The Crossbow
A crossbow is a weapon of stealth and use. With enough practice, a crossbow can be more effective than a bow and arrow and can take on just about anything from rabbits to human assailants. The huge difference between a bow and arrow and a crossbow is its penetrating power.
Commonly known as draw strength, this factor of the crossbow translates to higher range and penetrating power. Most crossbows have a draw strength of 75-150 lbs, often times are used to kill deer and are strong enough to penetrate skin within about 250 feet.
A bow and arrow are limited to the amount of physical force you can physically achieve and can be affected by your stamina. The advantage of a crossbow is that it can be made to have a greater draw strength than what a human might be able to achieve without help. The loss of power with each shot, often associated with muscle fatigue, is mitigated by the reload mechanic of crossbows.
Another pro to having a crossbow on hand is the silence. It is difficult to find a ranged weapon with a good penetrating power that won’t make a huge bang. There is a reason why in most zombie shows you can see someone with a crossbow, the ability to remain hidden means that you can take out your assailants without them hearing or seeing you.
Disadvantages of The Crossbow
A crossbow is not without its faults. There are many factors that come in to play when actually using a crossbow. For instance, aiming is paramount in its effectiveness, but you have to remember that a crossbow is not the same as a gun. A crossbow bolt can be affected by the conditions of the area and will throw your aim off. Often times there are crossbows that have no sights, and the only way to get used to the range and speed is by continuous practice.
Also, a crossbow’s effectiveness is dependent on your ability to account for your aim. If you miss the first shot, you have to reload and that can take anywhere between 10 to 20 seconds depending on the type and the strength required to pull the bowstring.
Speaking of reloading, most crossbows are meant to be reloaded by either pulling the bowstring back by a winch or using a coil to coil to pull it taught again. As mentioned above, a crossbow can take a long time to reload as the bowstring must be pulled back before loading another crossbow.
Another con to owning a crossbow is the weight, most crossbows range from 10-25 lbs, which can become cumbersome if given enough time.
The Different Types of Crossbow
There have been many different types of crossbow since it’s creation around 500-700 BC China. However, the most modern incarnations of this timeless weapon are all different from each other, from subtle to huge ways. Below are a list of these crossbows available on the market.
Recurve Crossbow- The recurve crossbow is a favorite for those wanting a bit of flair in their weapon. The crossbow is characterized by its curved sides, which also function as an amplifier of force, causing projectiles to have high penetrating power. The only drawback with this type of model is that they are not as silent as other options. As the amount of draw strength is so powerful the sound of it firing is distinct and might give you away if you are trying to be stealthy.
Compound Crossbow- This crossbow is highly reminiscent of its counterpart the “Compound Bow” and shares many characteristics with it. For example, the crossbow itself functions similar to a compound crossbow as it is physically energy efficient due to the various pulleys that are at the ends of the bow which translates into you won’t be using as much energy to reload as you would normally. Another byproduct of this compound design is the relative ease of use, this crossbow is made for hunting and is easy to reload while also not being too heavy to carry. The only drawback is that it might not have as much penetrating power as some of the other crossbows on this list, but that does not take away from it’s effectivenss.
Repeating Crossbow- This crossbow does not have many applications in hunting situations but in a life or death one? This was the micro-machine gun from medieval times. The crossbow itself is created with the idea of using a clip of crossbows, and with each crossbow fired you could easily and quickly reload to fire another volley. While not as powerful as the average crossbow, you can still penetrate leather within a range of about 150 feet. The only true problem with this type of crossbow is its lack of accuracy and cumbersome nature. You might find yourself having some trouble hitting the broad side of a barn if you do not have some practice with this crossbow.
Rifle Crossbow- This type of crossbow acts as a “sniper” of the crossbow world. This type of crossbow is made to have a very high draw strength coupled with a very high level of accuracy. All crossbows of these types of models come with a scope and are known for their high level of penetrating power. The design is reminiscent of a compound crossbow, although the shaft of the crossbow is considerably longer and the bow itself is much smaller. The glaring drawback with this weapon is that it is a one-off weapon. The sheer size of the crossbow and its draw strength make reloading it difficult. It can take up to a full 20 seconds to successfully reload, and it can be shaved down to 10 or less with a lot of practice and physical force.
Pistol Crossbow- This type of crossbow is small and meant to be easy to reload and use in a pinch. While essentially a scaled down crossbow, it can still penetrate within 100 feet of the wielder. It is also one of the fastest crossbows to reload as the time it takes to draw the crossbow back is quick as the amount of force used is minimal compared to something like a Rifle Crossbow. Just keep in mind that this crossbow should be used as a last resort or a back up to your main crossbow, to ensure that you have the stopping power you need.
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Laws Regarding Wielding a Crossbow
Using them during hunting seasons are perfectly allowed, but are dependent on the state’s own discretion on whether or not the hunting season allows for it. There are however distinctions that you might need to double check in accordance to your state. For instance, those in Hawaii can’t use a crossbow in hunting areas unless they receive a special disability note. Another example is that the only state with a maximum draw strength is in Ohio, and it limits the crossbow strength to 200 lbs or less.
The rule of thumb is to double check if there is an issue on whether or not you can actually use your crossbow for hunting and you won’t be fined if found on your person.
There are many options in the world of crossbows to defend oneself. However, there are some types of models that are better suited for defense and others that are made for taking out targets down range. This type of weapon is ideal for someone wanting to defend themselves easily, without having to train for years and be in peak physical condition.
So while a crossbow is something you can get surprisingly easily do not forget that a crossbow can and will kill. Just be sure to treat it with the type of respect you would a gun.