Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2015 Crossbow Guide

Last summer, I wrote about getting back into hunting.  After being away from the sport for the past 20 plus years, I wasn’t exactly certain on which weapon would be suitable for me since I have experienced gradual muscle loss and now confined to a wheelchair.  After consulting with those closest to me who are into hunting, I settled on a compound crossbow.  Since it was the first one, I didn’t want to spend any more than I absolutely needed to.  All of this was very experimental.

Scott Anderson - Handicapped Outdoors
First Deer - Pass Through Shot - Gig 'Em
I purchased a Barnett RC-150 for $169.00 at Academy.  It was a blast. I was enjoying shooting again and being very accurate even out to 55 yards.  Having come from a rifle back ground, the crossbow gave me the feel of a rifle with the experience of a bow.  I fell in love.  In October, I bagged my very first deer with it.  To say the least, it was a resounding success.

Since that initial experiment went so well, I needed to upgrade to a more serious crossbow and 2015 witnessed the introduction of several new models from trusted manufacturers that I took a long hard look at.  I was looking for something to exceed 300 FPS with a price tag I could live with.

Barnett Recruit
Barnett Recruit
My first stop was Barnett.  After all, they were my initial choice.  They introduced the Recruit in 2015. It was built to be a little smaller and a little lighter to make it easier to handle for younger shooters or those who might have a disability. Priced at $300, it was decent.  The speed generated with the recruit was a mere 250 FPS which wasn’t a true upgrade from what I had in the RC-150.

Barnett Buck Commander
Barnett Buck Commander
Barnett also came out with the Buck Commander Rage that shoots 330 FPS and has a draw weight of 155 lbs.  It is a reverse compound bow set up which places the majority of 6.4 lbs in the center of the bow instead of the front end.  It was a serious contender but at $750, I was happy to continue looking around.

My buddy Kyle shoots a PSE standard compound bow.  He knew I was looking for a good upgrade and sent me a text one day.  He saw where PSE was introducing a remake of their Fang Crossbow for 2015.  I followed the link and was blown away by the spec’s on this bow.  It had string stops.  Most crossbows with string stops start in the $700-$800 range.  It shot 345 FPS which meant I could reach out to 40-50 yards with confidence.  It comes standard with a 5-bolt quiver, rope cocking device and a 4x32 multi-reticle scope.  It has an ambidextrous anti-dry-fire safety.  On top of all of this, the upper scope and lower forearm mounts are both picatinny rails.  This means you can trick this bad boy out with just about any gadget known to the AR-15.

PSE Fang
PSE Fang
I was expecting the price tag to be in excess of $500 for sure…but it wasn’t!  For $300, you get a lot of bow.  I was elated.  I immediately called our local archery pro shop.  I love the name of this place – “Hoot-N-Holler”.  I wanted to order one but was told that PSE was backordered on the Fang.  Not just any simple backorder, they were behind by about 5,000 bows.

To anyone else, this would have been a sign to them to buy another crossbow.  Not me!  It meant that 5,000 other people had figured out exactly what I did.  Awesome bow at an awesome price!  I finally got one after about 3 months of waiting.  At the time of the writing of this article, they are caught up and supply is very good, so you won’t be waiting as I did.

So, how did they get away with the super low price-point?  My first best guess is you will likely want to change the scope.  Although decent, the one that comes with the crossbow just wasn’t clear enough for me and likely a cheap one.  So, I picked up a medium priced 4x32 scope at Bass Pro.  The quiver is also not incredibly impressive but will definitely do the job.  Chip, the pro who owns Hoot-N-Holler, instructed me to remove the quiver when shooting the bow.  At 345 FPS, the string does create a lot of energy.  The quiver connects to the crossbow via a plastic piece and this could break over time due to the energy exerted when shooting.  Truth be known, you may want to check yours regardless of make or model, as it too, could susceptible to break on any bow that exceeds the 300 FPS threshold.

The only other explanation for the lower price is that the stock is built as one composite piece.  The limbs attach very easily on the front end of the crossbow.  It is manufactured just like the majority of the crossbows in the marketplace today.  I will always encourage you to take it to your local pro shop and have them assemble and tune it for you.

The last thing you want is a crossbow coming apart during a shot.  You could get hurt very seriously.

Let me be crystal clear about something.  I am in no way running down any of the other crossbow manufacturers.  They all do a great job of giving us a tool that we can use to get back out there.  From the “Cadillac” version like Ten-Point Crossbows all the way down to the old RC-150, the weapon will only be as good as the shooter who is holding it.  I do want to applaud PSE for building a very good crossbow at a price that anyone can live with.  Kudos to them!


  1. I have read your post. thank's for tips & sharing. It’s a very useful post. Its always great to find good honest practical content. Thank you so much.

    1. Pham, thanks for the kind words. I hope that you are pleased with whatever crossbow you end up choosing champ!

  2. I am planning to buy my cousin a crossbow as a New Year hunting gift. Well, my search landed me on your article, and I am really inspired by the models you have on display, especially the Barnett Buck Commander, I will buy this one. You can read more on crossbows here: