When shopping around for the best youth crossbow on the market, there are numerous factors to be taken into consideration; some are especially important when considering crossbows for youths. Safety will be paramount, but intended use is important too, are you looking for the best youth crossbow for deer? Or will you be taking aim at stationary targets only?
Throughout this article, I will address key points to consider when purchasing a new crossbow, and while this guide is focused mainly on younger users; the same factors need to be contemplated when purchasing for adults too. I will also be reviewing what I consider to be 5 of the best youth crossbows available; hopefully helping you make the correct decision when it comes to purchasing your next crossbow.
Product Quick Comparison
The accessories included with the purchase of a Barnett Recruit straight out of the box are;
o Rope cocking device
o 4×32 Scope
o Light-weight quiver
o 20” Headhunter bolts x2
This offering from Barnett comes with single-bolt assembly, making assembly intuitive and quick, with little requirement to consult the manual.
The Recruit can be purchased in both recurve and compound variations, a nice offering of choices from Barnett, both are available in a Tan color or matte black. With a draw weight of only 140lbs, the included rope cocking device makes loading this crossbow a breeze, with the option to use a crank cocking device available.
One of the big selling points for this model is that it features Triggertech technology from Barnett, leaving the trigger feeling frictionless. As long as you aren’t snatching the trigger, this will improve your accuracy quite noticeably.
Built for youths and bowmen of smaller frames, the stock is adjustable, allowing the Recruit to grow as you do. Wax included with the original purchase is an excellent addition, Barnett recommends waxing the bow-string every ten shots, to prolong its life.
Standard safety features are included here, with anti-dry fire and automatic safety on board to ensure safe practice when in use.
• Speed: 330 FPS
• Draw Weight: 140 pounds
• FPKE: 91.9 ft-lbs
• Size: 34.2 x 18.25 inches
• Weight: 6.4 pounds
• Power Stroke: 12.5 inches
• Type: Compound Crossbow
• Safety: Anti-dry fire, Automatic Safety
• Cocking: Rope cocking
- Easy assembly
- Adjustable stock
- Triggertech trigger
- Comes in both compound and recurve variations
- May be uncomfortable for people with a larger frame
- Recommend upgrading the scope
The Wicked Ridge is available in two levels of package, with the premium package featuring;
- Wicked Ridge quiver
- A 3X scope
- Camo stock
- 100-grain field points x 3
- 18” carbon crossbow bolts x 3
- 1 x ACU-52 cocking device
While the standard package comes with;
- Black stock
- A 3X scope
- Wicked Ridge quiver
The Ranger is primarily intended as a model to be used by youths, with this in mind I would suggest purchasing the premium package, as it comes with the cocking device. Making it easier for younger bowmen to make ready the crossbow without adult assistance.
The dry-fire inhibitor system stops the Ranger from being accidentally discharged without an arrow in place, protecting the unit from accidental breakage. Alongside this, an automatic safety feature becomes engaged when the bow is cocked, meaning it cannot be fired until the safety has been manually disengaged; perfect for younger users.
The only downside that can be noted with the Ranger, is that it can be a little louder than expected. But this can be fixed by purchasing some aftermarket suppression and fitting it to your new bow.
- Speed: 300 FPS
- Draw Weight: 150 pounds
- FPKE: 70 ft-lbs
- Size: 33.9 x 22.6 inches
- Weight: 5.9 pounds
- Power Stroke: 10.8 inches
- Type: Compound Crossbow
- Safety: Automatic Safety
- Cocking: Self-Retracting Rope-Cocking
- Accessories included
- Great safety features
- Premium package comes with cocking device
- Well designed for younger users
- Slightly loud, will require suppression for use in hunting
With this crossbow, you are ready for hunting in the mountains. The design features, excellent performance, convenience, and maneuverability. It is a perfect bow for any skill level. It has a lightweight, but very durable design.
With a draw weight of 185-pounds and speeds of 370 fps, it will ensure the user with both power and accuracy. It also includes safety features such as anti-dry fire and an auto-safety trigger, which provides safety to the user and the bow itself.
Other features which makes this bow stand out are the detachable quiver, 4×32 scope, three 20-inch bolts, and a carry sling. The feature that made this crossbow stand out from the rest is the AR-style stock and the interchangeable grip.
It is a crossbow that you can really make your own. It is the ideal bow for someone just starting, and for hunters of all sizes.
- Easy to set up
- Good service
- Value for money
- Very consistent speed and accuracy
- Quiver can move if bumped
- The sling is delicate
With this package you can expect to find included in the box;
o Premium red dot scope
o Rope cocking device
When designing a crossbow aimed for younger people, a few considerations need to be held in mind;
– The safety features must be top quality and well tested
– Weight of the crossbow
– Dimensions of the crossbow
– Extendable stock, allowing the crossbow to be adjusted as the user grows
– Draw weight
Barnett has certainly done that and designed a crossbow that is a great entry point for younger children. While this crossbow is certainly not suitable for hunting, it hasn’t been manufactured as such.
If you have younger children and are trying to get them interested in crossbows, this is a fantastic choice to teach them crossbow safety etiquette, and have them shoot practice targets in the back yard.
With only 30lbs of draw weight, your child should have no difficulty learning how to cock this crossbow themselves. An extendable stock and finger guides to keep fingers safe during operation ensures your younger child will get much use out of this crossbow.
• Speed: 140 FPS
• Draw Weight: 30 pounds
• FPKE: 17 ft-lbs
• Size: 34.25 x 18.2 x 8 inches
• Weight: 6.2 pounds
• Power Stroke: 12.50 inches
• Type: Compound Crossbow
• Safety: Automatic Safety
• Cocking: rope cocking
- Perfect starter model for juniors
- Light draw weight
- Extendable stock and finger guides
- Plenty of options for color, velocities and draw weights
- Easy to assemble
- Not suitable for more advanced bowmen
- Fragile arrow retention
King’s Archery has been around in the archery business for quite some time. It was great for us to find a new pistol crossbow in their arsenal of products. We loved that there are so many extras included with this device.
It came out of the box with 15 extra plastic body arrows, which last a long time. It also came with an additional bowstring, caps, and a mountable hunting scope.
The addition of the hunting scope is a game-changer since none of the other products we reviewed included that. If you do not need the extended range scope, you can also revert back to the iron sights.
It is constructed of fiberglass and metal, which is the lightest and most durable material we have seen thus far. It also features an 80-pound draw weight and fires at 165fps.
It was refreshing to have the ability to have a more extended range scope on this device. It made it much easier to hit the target from anything more than 20 yards away.
The instructions for stringing the bow are complicated, which seems to be a typical pattern of all the products we have reviewed. It was also quite tricky to assemble and needed two people.
- It came with a long range scope and extra arrows
- All fiberglass and metal design
- Difficult to string and requires two people
Crossbows designed for youths are still weapons that can have deadly consequences if misused. Youths should be supervised at all times when using a crossbow but should also practice safe handling of the weapon.
Alongside this, when considering buying a crossbow for a younger person; you should ensure your crossbow of choice has built-in safety features. Such as dry-fire safety and automatic safety locking.
As we are looking at crossbows targeted at younger users, the size and weight will need to be taken into consideration. Requirements will vary from person to person, depending on their age, weight, height, and level of strength.
Youngsters will find a smaller crossbow much easier to handle and maneuver when out on the range or participating in a hunt while a lower weight will provide comfort during prolonged use.
As kids can be fickle, it is important to stick within budget. If the person you are buying for already has some experience with crossbows and requires an upgrade, or has outgrown their current model; you will want to budget a bit higher to reap the benefits of improved features.
Whereas, if they are only just showing an interest in crossbows they will benefit from a lower budget model while learning the basics; and your wallet will thank you if they decide crossbows aren’t for them down the line.
When purchasing a youth crossbow draw weight will need to be considered first, as the effort required to cock the mechanism can be quite surprising to beginners. It will be worth checking if the product you are thinking of buying comes with a rope cocking mechanism.
Rope cocking mechanisms act as a pulley system, reducing the draw weight of your crossbow. Don’t worry too much if the product you are looking at doesn’t come with one, though, as these can be purchased separately.
Kinetic Energy (fpke) and Speed (fps)
The speed a bolt leaves a crossbow is measured in feet per second (fps), the manufacturer usually provides this rating. It is worth noting, however, that as there is no set standard for manufacturers to follow, the weight of bolt they use when measuring the speed can vary.
Because of this lack of standardization, relying on the fps rating is a poor way to compare similar crossbows, although manufacturers will most commonly use a 400 grain bolt when testing.
Speed, while important, is only one side of the coin when it comes to crossbows for hunting. The power that a bolt will strike its target with is measured in ‘foot-pounds of kinetic energy’ (fpke).
The fpke rating can be used when determining the lethal range of your shot, with distance, and the size of the game also playing a part, with the fpke dropping roughly 3 or 4% for every 10 yards traveled. The size of the game will also determine the fpke required to make a lethal shot;
• Small game will require between 20 and 25 fpke
• Medium game will require between 30 and 40 fpke
• Large game will require between 45 and 60 fpke
• Very large and dangerous game will require between 65 and 75 fpke
Recurve vs. Compound
The main difference between recurve and compound crossbows is the design of the limbs. On a recurve bow the limbs will curve out, and then recurve back on themselves, allowing them to retain a higher tension with shorter limbs.
Compound bows, however, utilize a much more advanced mechanism to create tension on the limbs. This means that, generally, compound crossbows will achieve a much higher fps and fpke than a recurve design.
As a recap, here are the main points you should be keeping in mind when on the lookout for a new youth crossbow;
- Easy to assemble
- Suitable weight and size
- Safety features
- Lower draw weight for youngsters
When it comes to the best youth crossbow, for me the Barnett Recruit Terrain 330 stands above the others. Combining safety features that function better than the competition, with a respectable amount of power, make this a great addition to any youth collection.
Adjustable stock and easy assembly are also very attractive features found within the Barnett Recruit series. While the scope may require an upgrade as the skill of the user increases, the building blocks of an excellent crossbow system are available straight out of the box.
I hope this article has gone some way to inform you of the features to look for when shopping for a new youth crossbow. Please comment below and let me know how you thought these items stacked up against each other.
If you have any archery related queries, don’t hesitate to get in contact.
Share the Love
If you found this post useful, please let others know about it by sharing it.