Tips for Choosing a Survival Crossbow: Recurve vs. Compound

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You will get to a point when you consider alternative survival weapons when you get serious about being a survivalist. In 99.9% of survival situations the standard three projectile survival weapons (the handgun, the rifle, and the shotgun) will work just fine. However, it is nice to have options. That is the thing the survival crossbow is; an alternative, quiet option, a nice survival weapon. I am going to give some tips in this article for choosing a survival crossbow.

Why to choose a Crossbow?

  • Crossbows never jam.
  • Crossbows are quiet.
  • Than cartridges crossbow bolts are easier to manufacture. The tools to do so are additionally less demanding to produce.

Crossbow manufacturers are similar to car manufacturers; however each one claims that they are the best. Although there are some differences in style, details and performance, crossbows all do basically a similar thing. From a trigger controlled bow they project a bolt. What features you need for survival is what you as the survivalist needs to figure out.

Survival Crossbow Options

Now, you have several different options to choose from, when choosing a crossbow for survival or hunting. Should your crossbow be compound or recurve and use short or long bolts? Also, what sort of game will you be hunting and how tall would you say you are? Do you need to have a cocking device or will you have the capacity to cock the crossbow by hand. I am going to focus on the differences between recurve and compound crossbows in this article.

Important Factors to consider for Recurve and Compound Crossbows:

Compound crossbows have too many moving part to be dependable for survival.


Recurve crossbows are usually easier to maintain and repair and thus they are simpler than compounds, which make them more reliable. Compound crossbows have small moving parts, for example, the cams that wear out and need maintenance.


When in a survival situation weight is an important factor to consider. Recurve crossbows are usually lighter than compound crossbows. However an ultra light recurve crossbow such as the Excalibur Phoenix weighing around 6.3 pounds weighs about a pound lesser than the lightest compound crossbows.


Because recurve bows go out of tune, Compounds are generally less accurate than recurve bows. Until you re-tune it just knocking a cam on a limb or dropping the crossbow can render it virtually useless.


Recurve crossbows can be restrung effortlessly but not in case of Compound crossbows. You need a bow press and then you need to tune it with the compound system.

Recurve crossbows are lighter, simpler, quieter, more accurate and more reliable than compound crossbows.


Recurves are much quieter. Less moving parts equals less noise.


Recurve crossbows do not have a cocking mechanism and require you to utilize your physical strength to cock. Cocking is easier with a compound crossbow.


The speed of the bolt is determined by the power of the crossbow. Compounds are generally more powerful than recurve crossbows. That does not mean that recurve crossbows are not powerful. They are just not as powerful as compound crossbows. As the size of the game increases speed of the bolt becomes more important.


Recurve crossbows are less heavy on the limb, and they are more balanced and are quicker to aim because there are no cams, pulleys, cables, or sliders.


For survival situations compound crossbows are too complicated. If you have been hunting with a vertical compound bow, then you may think that is the way to go with a survival crossbow. Not really. Recurves do not go out of tune because they are simpler, quieter, lighter, more accurate, and are more reliable. In a survival situation the only reason I can see someone choosing a compound crossbow over a recurve is if they lack the physical strength to cock the recurve crossbow.


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