Are Crossbows Appropriate for Kids?


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Movies and TV shows have done wonders to increase the interest in archery, both traditional vertical bows and crossbows. The latter is by far the greatest growing field in archery. Crossbows are fun to shoot because they aim like a rifle and have a sight, trigger, and other amenities that make them easy to learn and fun to shoot. Nearly any crossbow will capture the imagination and curiosity of a child, yet hunting-caliber crossbows are for adults only. Modern, high-speed crossbows have an energy force of 100 ft-lbs. or more and a draw weight approaching 200 lbs. Should a child’s thumb or finger inadvertently be on the rail of a crossbow, the string would likely sever it completely. In recent years, crossbow manufacturers have gone to great lengths to protect users with shields and protective grips. But an adult bow will still be awkward for a child to shoot, and he or she may hold it improperly.


Luckily, several manufacturers offer crossbows for children that shoot rubber or soft-tipped arrows, and soft-draw weights that eliminate the power stroke problems. A toy crossbow can catapult a child’s interest in archery and shooting while teaching safety and shooting skills. Fun targets are the key to maintaining interest; a stack of ten empty soda cans quickly leads to archery bowling. A few examples:

Check out this marshmallow-shooting crossbow. | Barnett makes a crossbow for older children.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.