Best Crossbow Reviews 2018 – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

While hunting with dogs and guns is an enjoyable pastime enjoyed by many, it doesn’t even compare to the unique experience hunting with a crossbow offers. Not your typical hunting weapon, the crossbow has many features that a rifle doesn't, which makes it an exciting but challenging weapon to hunt with. Its unique characteristics make it worthwhile learning how to master its use. These reviews will help you pick the best crossbow 2018 for hunting.

Best Crossbow Reviews 2018

Knowing which crossbow is right for you can be a challenge in itself. While there is a very wide range of hunting crossbows on the market in 2018, coming in various shapes, sizes, weights and power levels, it can be a daunting task to find the crossbow best suited to your specific needs.

The following brief reviews will give you the ammunition you need to choose the best crossbow to go hunting with:

After all, your hunting success and experience are at stake. The major factors to consider when choosing the best crossbow are caliber, shooting range, velocity and the pulling mechanism each one is fitted with.

best crossbow 2017

The modified crossbows of today often come with hefty price tags, so choosing the best one will ensure that you have a crossbow that will not be easily destroyed, will provide you with the hunting experience you are seeking and have all the features you could ever want.

Ultimately the choice is up to you but in many cases the more money you spend on a crossbow the more satisfied you will be with its performance. This is not to say that just because a crossbow is expensive that it is superior to other models, though in most cases it will be more powerful than lower-priced models.

Whether you are looking to buy your first crossbow or are considering an upgrade to your current model, before you lay out a significant amount of money on a crossbow it is important to do your research to compare the pros and cons of several different models.

With so many features on the crossbows today it can become confusing to know which one is the best to buy.

Note: If in a hurry then I suggest you consider the following two models, the most expensive model for the professional crossbow user and the budget-friendly model for beginners:

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1. Review of the Barnett Ghost 410 CRT – Fastest Crossbow of 2018 (Editor’s Choice)

My personal favorite and quite likely the best rated and most famous of Barnett’s range, this crossbow is capable of an arrow speed of an astounding 410 feet per second, rating it as the fastest crossbow on this list.

What also makes this a good choice is that it is not overly expensive. While it does come with a weighty price tag it is certainly a long way from being the most expensive, and some would say it is cheap in comparison to the two crossbows mentioned above, and yet still provides good value.

best crossbow 2017

The best features of what is considered to be the fastest compound crossbow on the market in 2018 are as follows:

  • At a very light weight of only 7.3 pounds and draw weight of 185 pounds this bow is easy to carry.
  • Comes with a mounted scope with a red / green dot illumination which is controlled by a single button on / off switch.
  • It’s 15.4-inch power stroke is capable of creating an astounding 149ft/lbs of kinetic energy.
  • Designed to shoot 22-inch arrows this bow is capable of a velocity of 400 feet per second, making it an ideal hunting weapon for large game.
  • The crossbow is a little noisy and doesn’t come with a dampening system.
best crossbow 2017

The Barnett Ghost 410 is a very sturdily built crossbow that is very powerful, well-balanced and yet lightweight. Add to these features the shooting speed of 400 feet per second and this makes the Barnett Ghost 410 a top performer, and the perfect choice for both the beginner and the more experienced hunter.

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  • Velocity of up to 400 feet per second make this the fastest crossbow built
  • Compact and lightweight design still allows it to be extremely powerful.
  • Amazing accuracy allows for kill shots at 60 yards.


  • Dampening system not included so does make a bit of noise.

2. Review of the Barnett Buck Commander – Lightweight and Fast

Weighing only 7.1 pounds the Barnett Buck Commander is considered very light compared to many of the crossbows on the market today. It owes its light weight to being constructed of aluminum and carbon unlike other bows.

The Buck Commander is also very easy to handle and use because even when it is cocked it retains its compact size. Despite being both lightweight and compact the Buck Commander comes with all the features you could wish for in a crossbow.

All the tools are included so you can virtually take it out of the box and go hunting immediately.

best crossbow 2017


  • Fantastic performance at a very budget-friendly price.
  • Comes equipped with an anti dry fire safety feature that stops the bow from being shot when there is no arrow present.
  • ​Compact and lightweight design.
  • ​Well built, ergonomic design of excellent quality.
  • Represents great value.


  • Package does not include a sling.
  • No dampening system to reduce noise when firing.

3. Review of the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly SMF – Most Affordable of the Excalibur Crossbows

While Excalibur is considered a premium brand and usually come with a price tag that reflects that, the Matrix Grizzly SMF is surprisingly affordable. Easy to assemble and exceedingly easy to use, the design of the Matrix Grizzly is well balanced, making it a great recurve crossbow suited to hunters of both small and medium sized game.

best crossbow 2017

Ideally suited for teens and women, this crossbow weighs only 5.5 pounds and consists of a strong, durable and sturdy frame. Built to bear 200lbs of draw weight the Matrix Grizzly doesn’t disappoint on accuracy either.

Let’s examine the best features of the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly SMF, as follows:

  • Capable of killing small and medium game, while being a compact crossbow it still boasts a maximum velocity of 304 feet per second.
  • Package comes complete with 4 arrows so can be used straight out of the box, either for target practice or hunting.
  • Included is an adjustable scope that helps insure great accuracy, when combined with 200 lbs of draw weight guarantee a kill.
  • Cleverly designed to be lightweight to make it easy to both carry and use, the Excalibur Matrix Grizzly is efficient and provides good value for money.
  • One disappointment is that this crossbow does not come equipped with an anti-fire mechanism so is not recommended as a good purchase for beginners.


  • Small, compact design is ideal for use within small spaces.
  • Well-balanced, lightweight design.
  • ​Package includes 4 bolts and quiver (attachable).
  • ​Easy assembly.
  • Adjustable scope provides good level of accuracy.


  • Unlike other models, the rails on this crossbow are not constructed of aluminum.

4. Review of the Barnett Ghost 360 CRT – Fastest and Most Affordable

Another of the more famous models made by Barnett is the Ghost 360 CRT. Its light weight, sturdily built construction and great accuracy make it a great model to begin with.

Its compact size and light weight make it ideally suited to hunting in cramped hunting condition. It does come with a higher price tag than many of the other models featured on our list but provides excellent value for money.

best crossbow 2017

As Barnett products are well-known for, the Ghost 360 is designed for ease of use and is well-balanced, weighing only 7 pounds. The Ghost 360 can be used with either 20 or 22- inch arrows and provides a shot speed of 360 feet per second. A good crossbow for hunting both small and medium sized game, the 360 is sure to provide a clean kill.

There is one issue with the Ghost 360, and that is that there is no cocking mechanism fitted on this crossbow, which causes a draw of 160 pounds. This actually makes it an ideal choice for teenagers.


  • Great level of accuracy.
  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • ​Easy to carry and use.
  • ​Comes fitted with Barnett’s 5 in 1 safety firing system.
  • ​Comes complete with an adjustable scope to insure great accuracy.


  • Does not come with a cocking mechanism.

5. Review of the Barnett Jackal Package – Best Beginner Crossbow (under $300)

Specifically designed with the beginner crossbow hunter / archer in mind, the Barnett Jackal package comes complete with a small number of bolts, a red dot sight and a quiver, so can be used straight out of the box.

Easily assembled in around 15 minutes this crossbow is capable of being put together by even the most novice of beginners. The package does not include Broadheads so those will have to be purchased separately in order to be able to hunt with this crossbow.

best crossbow 2017

Here are some of the best features of the Barnett Jackal:

  • With a price tag of under $300 the Jackal has a pleasing maximum draw weight of 150 pounds and arrow shot speed of 315 feet per second.
  • Package comes with everything needed except Broadheads.
  • Easy assembly.
  • Maximum stability provided by quad limbs but doesn’t add to the overall weight.
  • Powerful, fast, accurate shots provided by the cable system and energy wheels.

Jackal is quite noisy when fired but a dampening system would go a long way to reduce the noise level (to be purchased separately)

best crossbow 2017

I strongly believe the Barnett Jackal to be the best crossbow for the beginner, and if you are looking to start hunting with a crossbow this is the one to get. Along with an attractive price tag (under $300) the Jackal is a well-built, stylish crossbow manufactured by one of the best crossbow makers in the industry. Able to shoot a pleasing 315 feet per second this is all a beginner could want and need in a first crossbow.


  • Very well priced with lots of good features.
  • Ideally suited to beginner and intermediate users.
  • Strong and durable build and design.


  • Does not come with rope cocking mechanism.
  • Loud when firing arrow and does not come with a dampening system to offset noise.

6. Review of the Arrow Precision Inferno Fury – Lightest Crossbow for under $200

While the Arrow Precision Inferno Fury may be one of the cheapest crossbows included on this list don’t let its price tag fool you into believing that it lacks in quality or features.

The price makes it ideal for beginners who are not looking to lay out a lot of money on a more expensive crossbow while they practice and learn to shoot. Packed with all of the necessary tools, the Fury can be taken straight out of the box and used.

best crossbow 2017

Not designed for shooting large game, the Inferno Fury still provides a maximum velocity of 235 feet per second and draw weight of 175 pounds. Despite not being designed for large game shooting it is still capable of downing a deer at 20 – 30 yards.

At under $200 the Fury is durable and of good quality. An ideal choice for anyone on a strict budget or not willing to pay for a more expensive crossbow whether wanting to learn crossbow archery or hunting.


  • At 4.8 pounds this is by far the lightest of the crossbows on our list.
  • Its lightweight design makes it exceedingly easy to use.
  • ​Provides excellent value for its low price tag.
  • Backed by great customer service and a 1 year warranty.


  • Low quality arrows included. We recommend you purchase better quality ones separately.
  • It’s slow speed makes it suitable for only small game hunting

7. Review of the Barnett Wildcat C5 – Best Value Crossbow

One of the most popular crossbow models offered by Barnett, the Wildcat C5 is designed for both beginner hunters and those considered being of intermediate level.

Well built and of good quality, the Wildcat C5 is fitted with quad style limbs with energetic wheels, giving it a stable and powerful draw. The draw weight of 150 pounds is easy to pull thanks to the string and cable system the C5 is fitted with.

This bow is considerably heavier to the other crossbows we have reviewed on this list, weighing in at 8.5 pounds. Designed with both performance and comfort in mind, it comes fitted with a comfortable grip and built-in thumb hole to aid in proper placement of the hand.

best crossbow 2017

Some of the best features of the Barnett Wildcat C5 are, as follows:

  • Its equipped with a cable system that make pulling the 150 pound draw weight easy.
  • Good velocity at 320 feet per second.
  • Generates 91 FP of kinetic energy making it capable of hitting both stationary and moving targets with ease.
  • Quiver and 3 20 inch solid arrows included.
  • No dampening system so can create too much noise when shooting an arrow.
best crossbow 2017

Barnett is well-known and enjoys an excellent reputation for good reason. Once you shoot the Barnett Wildcat C5 you will see why they have earned their reputation for producing excellent crossbows. Lightweight design, fast speed and power, along with great accuracy make this one of the greatest crossbows money can buy.

Add to this the fact that it has provision for a cocking device to be attached and this becomes everything you could want or need in a crossbow. Everything you need is included in the one low price. There is very little to be disappointed about in this crossbow.


  • Great quality, durable design.
  • Comes with solid arrows.
  • ​Ideal for both target practice and hunting game.
  • ​Great for beginners.
  • ​Comes with 5 Years warranty.


  • Does not include rope cocking device.
  • Quality of sight included with crossbow is not that great.

Crossbow Buying Guide

As mentioned earlier it is essential that you research the different models of crossbow and find one that is suited to your needs before spending your money.

There are several factors that make up the overall selection of a crossbow:

  • Draw weight.
  • Arrow speed.
  • Scope.

Provided all of these factors meet your needs then the bow is worth considering for purchase. You should also take stock of what accessories are included with the crossbow, as some crossbows come with very little and others with everything you need. Two of the things that you should make sure are included are the padded slinger and rope cocking device.

Draw weight – this refers to the power required to pull the arrow before firing. Typically the more power required (i.e. draw weight) the faster the arrow will travel and the more power it is likely to have. Draw weights range from 75 to 200 pounds.

Arrow speed – this refers to how fast the arrow travels when fired. The minimum ideal speed is 300 feet per second. A crossbow that has a higher draw weight, is light weight and has a fast arrow speed is the ideal crossbow for hunting.

Hunters of large game will choose a crossbow with a fast arrow speed so that they can kill their prey with a single shot. An equally important factor in hunting is the power with which the target is hit and arrow speed plays a large part in determining this.

Scope – this refers to the ability to be a considerable distance away from your target and yet still be assured of being able to kill with a single shot. This is largely dependent upon the power behind the shot and the weight of the crossbow.

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The Barnett Ghost 410 is My Personal Choice

The Editor’s choice, the Barnett Ghost 410 has an arrow speed of 410 feet per second and is versatile in that it is capable of being used by both professionals and beginners.

It is disappointing that noise suppressors are not included, making it somewhat noisy. Other than the noise factor this crossbow is good for a variety of users, and is a good all-round choice.

Tips for Crossbow Users

  • Your string will last much longer if you remember to wax it every time you load an arrow into the bow.
  • Don’t pull the string of an unloaded crossbow as serious damage to the bow can occur, making expensive repairs necessary or in extreme cases rendering your crossbow useless and irreparable.
  • The lighter weight of the bow and arrows the easier it will be to carry so bearing this in mind when purchasing a new crossbar could be an advantage if you intend to be hiking long distances to hunt.
  • Learn how to properly use the scope before using the bow. Thoroughly read the manual that comes with the scope and familiarize yourself with all of its instructions. It is not the right time to try and figure out how your scope works when you have a perfect game animal in front of you.
  • The manual that comes with your new crossbow can be packed full of helpful information for beginners and more experienced crossbow users alike. Read it thoroughly for tips on use and proper maintenance.
  • Handling your crossbow with care and keeping it well-maintained at all times will insure it lasts you a long time and continues to perform well for many years to come.