One of the stealthiest, most efficient tools to protect yourself, your home, and your family is the best crossbow for home defense. Over the past decade, crossbow tech has come a long way. Presently, crossbows are lighter, faster, more compact, quieter, and more powerful than ever before. Also, you might have seen pistol crossbows, and you’re thinking those are good for home defense and self-defense. Well, they are decent, and we included the best one available in our guide below.
However, if you want to truly protect yourself and your home, there are far better options. In this guide, we share our top crossbow picks for both home defense and self-defense along with helpful reviews of each. Plus, we’ll provide you with tips throughout the guide to help you make the best choice for your home.
How to Choose a Crossbow for Home Defense
First, let’s explore the key specs for you to consider while browsing the bows in this guide:
- Size & Weight – This is the most obvious spec to consider. Our favorite type of crossbow for home defense is the compound variety. This type is the lightest, smallest, most powerful, and it sports the narrowest axle-to-axle width. With this type of bow, you can easily navigate around corners and remain stealthy without accidentally bumping your bow. Alternatively, recurve models are less ideal because they’re wider.
- Power – When gauging the power of a crossbow, look for arrow speed in feet per second and kinetic energy measured in foot-lbs. The higher these numbers the more devastating the shot.
- Draw Weight & Cocking Device – A crossbow with a built-in cocking device is the ideal choice for home defense. A cocking device significantly reduces the draw weight and the time it takes you to cock and de-cock the bow. Draw weight is how much force you need to cock the bow, and it’s measured in pounds.
- Crossbow Sights – For home defense, a crossbow red dot or illuminated scope is ideal. Night vision or thermal imaging scopes are great too, but they can cost a pretty penny. The key takeaway is that you want a scope that allows you to see your target in the dark or in low-light conditions and stay focused on a moving target.
Now, it’s time to check out your options.
Best Home Defense Crossbow Reviews
In each of the reviews, we share reasons you might want to choose a specific bow, plus helpful pros & cons to consider. By the end, you’ll know which bow(s) is the one for you and have a better understanding of your options.
#1) EK Archery Research Cobra System Adder Repeating Crossbow
While EK Archery Research isn’t our favorite brand, the company currently manufactures the best repeating crossbow for home defense. In this case, “repeating” means this is a self-loading crossbow. Since one of the main concerns of using a crossbow for self-defense is the time it takes to reload it, this bow solves that problem.
The Cobra System Adder features an AR stock that is self-cocking with automatic reloading. Essentially, you get the fastest reloading times with this bow, and it fires up to 5 arrows per clip. Next, this bow is quite light at just 4.4 lbs, and it’s mighty compact at just 21.5″ long and 7.5″ wide. Third, the bow comes equipped with a decent red dot sight, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing one separately.
Lastly, if you want to use it as a pistol, there’s the option to remove the stock. In our opinion, this is a hybrid pistol/full-size crossbow that packs a lot more power than a dinky pistol model. With a max arrow speed of 230 fps, you get enough power for efficient home defense, though the shot won’t be as devastating as the shots delivered by our next two picks. All in all, this is a specialty repeating crossbow that’s perfect for home defense.
- Self-loading repeater crossbow
- Fire up to 5 bolts per clip
- One of the smallest crossbows
- Super lightweight at 4.4 lbs
- Arrow speeds up to 230 fps
- Red dot sight included
- The brand is relatively unknown
- Unclear warranty information
- Not as powerful as our next three picks
#2) Ravin R10 Crossbow With HeliCoil Technology
Now, if you’re ready to take a seat at the big boys’ table, the Ravin R10 is a powerful & compact Rambo-grade home defense tool. But don’t let the word “big” fool you, this is one of the smallest crossbows in the Ravin lineup. First, unlike EK Archery, Ravin is one of the best crossbow brands and our personal favorite. The R10 is the type of bow that won’t fail you during clutch moments, and it offers consistent pinpoint accuracy.
Regarding specs, the R10 has a max arrow speed of 400 fps, and it measures an amazingly narrow 6″ axle-to-axle when cocked. Next, it weighs just 6.8 lbs, and remember, this is a full-size model, not a pistol variety. The combination of it being so narrow and lightweight allows for excellent maneuverability around corners.
The final highlights are the built-in cocking mechanism to reduce draw weight and the included illuminated scope with five brightness settings. Also, if you’re new to crossbows, the R10 arrives fully assembled and pre-tuned. The only thing you need to do to get rocking is sight it in.
- 400 fps arrow speed in a compact package
- Just 6″ axle-to-axle
- Self-cocking system
- Includes everything you need to get rolling, including an illuminated scope
- Arrives pre-assembled and pre-tuned
- Pinpoint accuracy
- Lightweight at 6.8 lbs
- 5-year warranty
- Does not feature a silent cocking system like our next pick
- Not the most budget-friendly
#3) TenPoint Turbo M1
The second & final Rambo-grade self-defense crossbow in our guide is TenPoint’s Turbo M1. As the name implies, TenPoint built this bow for speed and maneuverability. Also, like Ravin, TenPoint is one of the best crossbow brands. First, the main feature of this bow that sets it apart from the rest of the bows in this guide is the silent cocking mechanism.
You’ll find that the ACUdraw PRO silent cocking device is user-friendly and extremely easy to cock. Next, the Turbo M1 comes in only slightly behind the R10 in the power department with a 380 fps max arrow speed. Nevertheless, that’s a devastating speed that gives ample power for defense situations.
As for size, the Turbo M1 is bigger than the R10 at 9″ axle-to-axle and 32.5″ long. Comparatively, that should give you a better idea of how much power Ravin packed into the smaller R10. Lastly, the advanced ambidextrous T5 trigger on the Turbo M1 is one of the safest available, and there’s the option to choose this bow with a rheostat-controlled, illuminated scope.
- Silent cocking device for stealthier reloading
- Compact design
- 9″ width for tighter maneuverability
- Made in the USA
- Precision accuracy
- Weighs just 6.25 lbs
- Lifetime warranty
- You might want to change out the scope for a red dot
- Does not arrive fully assembled (though assembly is not difficult for most)
#4) Barnett Explorer XP370
Now, if you came here looking for a get-the-job-done budget home-defense crossbow, Barnett’s XP370 is the first one to check out. While it is difficult to go from Ravin to TenPoint to budget Barnett, the XP370 certainly won’t break the bank. First, it’s important not to expect the same level of quality from this bow as the two preceding bows. Because if you do, you’re bound to be let down.
So, with that caveat out of the way, this is a great bow for the money, and it’s ideal for home defense. A couple of reasons to choose this bow are the included red dot sight and impressive 370 fps max arrow speed. Next, it weighs just 6.2 lbs, and the axle-to-axle width is 16.5″ when uncocked. This is important to note because while it is narrower than a recurve, it’s a good bit wider than the two tactical models above.
Lastly, this bow does not feature an integrated cocking mechanism, and it has a 165lb draw weight. Instead, it comes with a rope cocking device. The good news is that it is easily upgradable to accept the Barnett crank cocking device, which is one of the best available. All in all, for the money, it’s tough to beat the value delivered by this bow. As long as you’re using it for home defense and not hunting, you’ll more than likely be more than satisfied.
- More affordable than our top three picks (at the time of this writing)
- Excellent power for the money (370 fps)
- Includes a rope cocking device
- Lightweight at 6.2 lbs
- Red dot sight included
- Wider than Ravin and TenPoint models
- No built-in cocking system
- Assembly instructions could be better
#5) Ace Martial Arts Supply Cobra System Self-Cocking Pistol Crossbow
Our final pick is the best pistol crossbow for home defense. Compared to the three preceding picks, this pistol model is more user-friendly and the easiest of all the models to use right out of the box. Clearly, the advantage of choosing a pistol crossbow is its small size compared to a full-size crossbow. However, a pistol model can’t be counted on to disable a home intruder with a single shot like a full-size model.
Comparatively, a pistol crossbow uses smaller bolts, and you don’t really have the option to use different heads. Additionally, this little guy has a max arrow speed of 165 fps. So, when you combine the smaller arrow with the lower max speed, you get a much less devastating shot. In the event of a home intrusion, this may only be able to slow an intruder down with a single shot rather than completely stop them.
The final highlights of choosing this model are the included scope, lightweight fiberglass construction, and it includes 39 aluminum arrows with two bowstrings. Overall, this is undoubtedly better than nothing, but you might find yourself wishing you had bought a full-size model after firing a pistol crossbow.
- The smallest option in our guide
- Most affordable
- Includes arrows and a scope
- More powerful than most pistol crossbows
- Small bolts
- Must be strung
- Instructions aren’t clear
Are you planning to use a crossbow as your primary home defense option? If you answered yes, then a full-size model is your best crossbow for home defense. As a secondary option for home defense, a pistol crossbow has the capability of helping you protect your home. On the other hand, a pistol model does make a better choice for self-defense since it’s very compact.
In conclusion, be sure to go over the factors we mentioned at the beginning of the guide if you’re still on the fence. The advantages of choosing Ravin or Tenpoint models are their accuracy, compactness, power, ease of use, premium components, and stealth cocking systems. Finally, we feel that EK Archery’s repeating crossbow is a very suitable choice for home defense because of its advanced automatic reloading tech. Just know that the company is not the most well-established if you decide to take that route.