We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Crossbow?

By Kat Yares
Updated Mar 06, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports&Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports&Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A crossbow is a modified bow and arrow system. Invented by the Chinese as early as 6 B.C. for military use, it did not become popular in Europe until over a thousand years later. The crossbow has a bow attached to a stock, allowing it to remain loaded when not in use. A lever attached to the stock aides in the loading of the crossbow. When the lever is released, the arrow, or bolt, will fire.

Crossbows are deadly accurate and have a firing range longer than a traditional longbow. They are easier to operate and are the perfect weapon for those who do not have the strength to effectively pull the classic bow. The disadvantage of the crossbow is that it takes longer to load and six to seven arrows can be shot by a longbow in the minute it takes to load the crossbow.

The extended range of the crossbow explains its appeal. Compared to the longbow, which can shoot about 280 feet (255 meters), the crossbow can cover approximately 380 yards (360 meters). At tactical range, both weapons can pierce plate armor provided the arrow was correctly tempered.

The Roman Army knew about the existence of crossbows, but chose to stay with the traditional longbow as the weapon of choice. It is believed that crossbows were introduced to Europe by William the Conqueror, at the Battle of Hastings, in 1066. The army of Richard I carried crossbows into the Middle East during the crusades and the crossbow was the preferred weapon for assassins of the time period. The use of crossbows spread across Britain and Europe and were used in battle until the 15th century.

After that time, they were mainly used for hunting. The use of a crossbow is still popular for hunting game and target practice. Crossbows today are made of many materials, including wood, metals and polymer plastics. Crossbows can be found in many styles and sizes from pistol grip crossbows to full size military models.

Sports&Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By ShadowGenius — On Jan 16, 2011

The Chinese repeating crossbow was a fast and effective asset to the rulers it served. This was very much a predecessor to the modern machine gun, complete with bolt magazines and firing multiple shots per minute.

By Qohe1et — On Jan 15, 2011

When the English conquered Wales, they gained the important asset of Welsh Longbowmen in their army. England was well known to have employed soldiers from the surrounding Celtic nations which it subjugated, and these soldiers worked as well for the new empire as their predecessor Gauls had for the previous Roman Empire. Their advanced siege and competitive battle techniques were brought under a single command and became a strong force in the hegemony of the British island nation.

By Armas1313 — On Jan 14, 2011

It has been argued that the victory of the British against the French at the Battle of Agincourt was a result of the superior Welsh Longbowman usage of longbows versus the Burgundian crossbows. Due to the relative speed at which the longbows could be reloaded and shot, as well as a greater number of archers, the English were able to rain arrows on the French at a much faster rate, and therefore had an easy victory.

Sports&Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports&Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.