It is not lost on crossbow manufacturer’s that more and more women are taking up target shooting and hunting so it begs the question, is there a marketplace just for them or do females have to rely on using crossbow products which are essentially designed by men, built by men and shot by men? In this article we're going to roundup the best women's crossbows on the market today.
It is probably fair to say that depending on height and stature, female shooters may want a smaller bow and one that is lighter. Rather than palm them off with a bottom of the range model or something designed for a teenager, smart bow manufacturers are now starting to cater for the specific needs of the female shooter. So what are the key features that you should be looking for in a crossbow as a female archer?
Draw Weights / Speed
The draw weight of a crossbow affects the speed and release of the bolt, this is effectively the level of resistance the bow exerts on the bolt. Draw weight will determine how difficult a bow is to load (or cock), how fast the bolt will fly and how much power it will strike with.
If you're a hunter, there are legal requirements for minimum draw weights when hunting with crossbows and these requirements vary by state, so make sure you know your minimum before you make a choice.
What you're effective to hunt with a crossbow comes down to the power of the bolt. That power is determined by the speed rating of the bow AND the weight/mass of the bolt.
We go into greater depth on this here, but the state minimums are a great place to start as that's what they were designed for.... ensuring your weapon is effective when hunting.
A cocking device can reduce the draw weight (the weight you're going to have to pull back to load it) of a particular bow by up to fifty percent.
A simple rope cocker is made of rope with two pulleys; it literally makes the crossbow easier to draw. You hold the bow down with your foot and pull on the rope handles instead of the string itself. This gives you a mechanical advantage over the bow that can make the difference between being able to load the bow or not. For a 130lbs draw crossbow the weight you'd need to pull would be reduced to just 65lbs. MUCH more bearable. Rope cockers are small, cheap and easily pocketable. Unless you're going to purchase a very low weight bow, they're an essential.
Cocking devices don’t have to be rope, there is also the option of a crank cocking device which is mechanical and permanently fitted to the bow, making the draw even easier. These are crank handles that allow you to wind back the string and give an even greater advantage over the rope cocker. Crank cockers will add weight to your bow, but they're ideal if you need a high power bow and don't have a high power body or are recovering from injury.
As I've already stated, more and more women shoot. Hunters and recreational target shooters. There's more and more gear becoming available by the year that's 'geared' (no pun intended) towards the female market. Playing to that market, some manufacturers are now opting for the pink look among their camouflage colours.
The non-issue with pink...
To some people the first thing you'd think there is that pink camo is surely going to be more visible than regular camo when you're out in the field? Won't pink make you MORE visible to your targets? The upshot is that deer and many other animals on only see largely in grey so your little bit of pink indulgence will not be visible to them anyway. It's the patterning that matters more than the coloration.
Our Top Picks
"stylish and compact"
The Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow is a stylish piece of kit with a very decent 130lbs of draw weight, set within a frame that makes it ideal for the lady shooter. Compact, easy to handle and lightweight, this bow still offers enough speed and packs a large enough punch for big game targets. The Recruit is adjustable and has been produced as a fusion of other bows from Barnett so it is suitable for a variety of users, not just those who might want a smaller, lighter bow.
It comes as a complete package in the box with some valuable bits of kit included such as the red dot sight and its performance is just as respectable as many other more expensive and sophisticated bows. Experienced male shooters are often quite envious when their lady companion starts shooting with a Barnett Recruit, it is far from the poor relation in the field.
Checkout our full review of the recruit.
- Easy and quick to assemble
- A narrower design than other bows which makes it handy in woods or tight spaces
- Quiet with smooth trigger action due to Trigger Tech technology
- Anti dry fire mechanism ensuring the shooter does not make a costly mistake which can shorten the life of the bow
- Pass-thru fore grip for enhanced safety and solid control
- Red dot sight which allows the user to keep both eyes open when aiming thereby increasing accuracy, allowing better judgement of distance and target speed
- A complete kit, bow, cocking device, arrows, bolts and sight for less than you would pay for just a simple beginner’s compound bow
- The strings can need re-waxing quite frequently to protect them from snapping and to maintain firing efficiency and range but Barnett do supply a tube of wax
- Some users report the sight as inadequate and change it for a different model
- The Barnett Recruit is a compact bow so beware if you are large of stature, you may need a custom stock extension
Lady Ranger - Wicked Ridge by TenPoint
"great combo of weight and size"
This is the perfectly proportioned crossbow designed for the lady shooter and made by TenPoint.
The Wicked Ridge has its own unique patented AC 52 self retracting rope cocking system which reduces the 150lb draw weight by fifty percent.
The Lady Ranger is the perfect fusion of weight, length of pull and size for a female shooter and it comes in Muddy Girl Camo with the added feature of hot pink strings to appeal to the color conscious lady in the field.
- Quick and easy to assemble
- Comfortable to handle and lightweight, it is slightly shorter than other bows
- Easy pull back due to the self retracting cocking system so you can take advantage of the really powerful draw weight without taking the strain
- The rope cocking system is already integrated so you don’t have to worry about remembering it or losing it
- Plenty of power without being unmanageable or unbalancing either the bow or the shooter
- The Lady Ranger is designed in a Muddy Girl pink Camo pattern
- The scope is not illuminated
- There are a lot of features on the bow which are designed for the young or novice shooter such as the over-sized reinforced nylon safety wings and this may not appeal to a more experienced lady shooter
Barnett Lady Whitetail Hunter
"a serious piece of kit"
With no concession to the female shooter other than perhaps the colors and certainly no stinting on performance, the Barnett Lady Whitetail Hunter is a serious piece of hunting kit. From the trusted name of Barnett, this bow incorporates all of Barnett’s tried and tested design and know-how, into a bow that is lighter and more suited to a female frame.
Easy to shoulder and to fire, the bow comes with a rope cocking device to ease the 150lb draw weight and thought has clearly been given to the balance of the bow in terms of the weight distribution for the length of frame.
- The bow comes almost entirely ready assembled
- The design of the frame supports the weight and power of the bow and the feel and action is very balanced
- It comes with a rope cocking device
- The added feature of an ADF Trigger system which prevents the shooter firing the bow without an arrow in place
- The color finish might be disliked by some as essentially this is one of Barnett’s best selling bows with a splash of paint on it
Crossbow Comparison Tables
All the bows we review (and some we haven't yet) get added to our comparison tables alongside a guide that helps you understand what features and specifications actually mean. They're a great place to get a quick overview of what's on the market, and find something that fits with your requirements.
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