Crossbows are one of the earliest weapons invented by men, and they were used in wars since 6 BC. Nowadays, the crossbow retains some of its popularity in hunting, and most hunters appreciate their craftsmanship.

The recent models of crossbows have a fixed bow, allowing them to remain loaded. They can be used with traditional arrows, but also with rocks and specially made bullets. Here’s some insight into the most common types of crossbows and how they work.

Compound crossbows

The compound crossbow is one of the most common types.When looking at its string, the compound crossbow can be distinguished.Pulleys usually pull the string up, which lets it go - this energy release helps maximize the force.

Additionally, they have a shorter leg, which is useful for hunters in tight spaces.The compound crossbow, however, has the mechanism in the front, so it might make you slow when you aim.

Recurve crossbows

Besides recurve crossbows, another type is a bow that is very popular.Due to their lighter weight than compound crossbows, they make for an ideal weapon for someone who has a long way to walk.

Also, they are quieter and easier to maintain, as you only need to lubricate the rail and clean the trigger.With this type of bow, you do not need a bow press to change the string while hunting.

Contrarily, they are longer, harder to use in tight spaces, and harder to cock.These disadvantages notwithstanding, they are usually more affordable than compound crossbows.

Compound versus Recurve – which one is better?

The two models do have a series of differences. The main one is that the recurve type maintains some of the traditional crossbow features, while compound crossbows have a mechanical advantage due to the cams and cables involved.

If you are looking for a powerful crossbow that can fire at high velocities, then compound crossbows are substantially better. The compound crossbows have a heavier arrow, which means that your arrows will go further than the recurve type, and it will go deeper into your prey.

Accuracy is a key aspect of hunting.

Shot placement is crucial as it allows you to hit your target successfully. From this perspective, a recurve bow scores higher – the main reason is because of its simplicity.

The compound crossbow has a mechanical part of cams and cables, weakening the accuracy, especially if the cams are out of tune, which means you need to take your weapon to a technician.

A recurve crossbow has no such mechanism, as the tension from the bowstring remains equally the same without being influenced.

In terms of durability, both types have their caveats. The compound crossbow has more moving parts, which means that many things can go easily wrong.


The recurve crossbows have fewer parts, but you might need to replace the string every hundred shots or so. The main difference is that it is easier to replace a bowstring rather than fix the cam, but this might be up to personal preferences.

If you are hunting in tight spots or you usually travel quite a long distance, size is a crucial determinant in choosing the best crossbow.

A heavy weapon can tire you out while traveling, and it is hard to hunt in tight places with a heavy weapon.A compound crossbow would be a better choice in this case since it is significantly smaller than other crossbow types.Their smaller size and light weight make them a much more comfortable hunting device.

One last aspect to be considered is the noise, which is especially important if you are a beginner. A professional does not need to worry much about the noise, since by the time the deer hears it, the arrow has already hit them.

But beginners might want to get the chance for a second shot. This can be easy to do with an extremely quiet weapon, such as a compound. Thus, if you want to have a second chance, go for a compound crossbow, not a recurve crossbow – the latter is significantly noisier.

Wrapping up

So, what are the two most common types of crossbows? The most common types of crossbows are compound and recurve. They have quite a few differences. However, it is challenging to state which one is better as they are specially designed to fit different purposes and needs. Therefore, it is all down to your preferences and needs.