When was the crossbow invented?
People have been hunting with bows and arrows since the Stone Age. The bow was a popular weapon as far back as ancient China and Rome. In medieval Europe, it became one of the most important weapons in wars between rival kings. 

The crossbow is a weapon that was bow-like in design and foreshadowed the parallel use of bow and trigger, the arbalest. This bow appeared in China around 200 BC and in Europe by around 100 AD. By the 12th century, a variety of bows were put to use in battle both on land and at sea. 

Inventors eventually developed devices such as chain-shots which could be loaded with rocks or bolts carrying incendiary substances, while other forms such as hand-held foot soldiers' weapons used simple bowstrings to launch projectiles at soldiers' opponents.

The Invention of Crossbows

In the Early Middle Ages, crossbowmen of the Byzantine Empire developed a weapon that shoots arrows. The earliest surviving example of this design dates from about AD 1280. These weapons spread widely in Western Europe by the late 13th century and came to be used in battle by many different peoples including Mongols, Turks, and North Africans. 

In Eastern Europe, they were more frequently used as hunting bows instead of battlefield weapons. In East Asia, they were more commonly known as yumi (Japanese) or sai (Chinese). Today, crossbowmen are still trained in the use of the yumi in Japan. The crossbow had a profound impact on medieval warfare, and by the end of the Middle Ages became much more commonplace in Europe than longbows.

As early as 400BC, Chinese warriors used it against their enemies as recorded by Confucius; "the strongest weapon among all these is the heavy crossbow". They were first introduced into Europe in the late eleventh century by invading Byzantine Greeks who employed it against the Normans and other invading Europeans during the Crusade leading to its spread throughout Europe. 

Earliest Crossbow

The earliest attested use of this new weapon was against Norman soldiers at the Dyrrhachium siege of 1081. In the 12th century, these weapons were still among the strongest battle weapons. In many instances, crossbows could pierce armor and be used as a means of defense against these heavy armor-clad knights, with the added benefit of mobility. 

They were also a more reliable alternative to shooting with heavy ballista or catapults which required several large stones to be placed in the ground above them before firing them. As a stand-off weapon, it was capable of penetrating armor and causing injury or death at ranges up to 300-400 meters. The longbow was generally superior for hunting large game.

Crossbow’s Anatomy

A crossbow is a short-range weapon designed to fire an arrow. It has a stock attached by a hinged arm to form an X. A bowstring is drawn back, where it remains for the duration of time necessary for the operator to anticipate the flight of an arrow, and then released in order to propel it into its target. 

The bow itself consists of a stock connected either by a riser or stirrup-and-grip combination to sling attachments that include at least one compound bow type which is used as the power source. It may also be constructed with more than one crossbow limb which shares a riser. The limbs may be connected to the stock by a swivel.

A small version of this bow is used by most pistol-whipping techniques, including wrist chokes and nerve holds. It can be useful in long-range engagements if its shots are accurate enough to reach a target without excessive loss of velocity. Still, because it is not powered directly by the muscle, at any distance other than close-in, its rate of fire is limited and it will in fact be gradually outranged even with the high draw weight.

  • Bow

The main component of the weapon is the bow which can be made from fiberglass or carbon fiber. The bow must also have a trigger that releases the string and fires the arrow. The most common types of bows are self-cocking and manually-cocking. 

A self-cocked bow uses its own kinetic energy to cock it. In contrast, a manually cocked bow requires some hand tool to cock it when not in use, such as a ratchet or lever release system. 

  • Limbs

The limbs of most crossbows are tipped with feathers, vanes, graphite, or sharpened metal blades called vanes. This provides extra stability to the arrow as well as enhances its aerodynamic qualities.


  • Arrow

The arrow shot must have a suitable head made of metal, plastic, or wood that contains an arrowhead. There are many different types of arrows and each one is intended for a specific use. 

For example, there are broad-head arrows that can be used against large game such as deer or elk, and field points that can be used for smaller game such as rabbit or pheasant. 

A special type of arrow called the broad-head will cause much more damage on impact and is, therefore, more effective for hunting large game animals. 

  • Additional Components

Most of these have additional components that stabilize the bow and enhance the accuracy of the shot. These components may include a crossbow rest, sight, and stabilizer. They are made to be highly portable and can be easily carried by one person, making them ideal hunting tools.

Available in Various Categories

Several different types of bows are made for these bows, such as recurve bows and compound bows. The main difference between these two types is that recurve bows use pulleys to control their draw weight while compound bows do not. A good example of a recurve bow is the traditional longbow which was used by many armies in Medieval Europe.

The most common types used today are recurve bows with a draw weight of between 100 and 200 pounds, in order to stay around the same length they must be fitted with a mechanical trigger. Other types are adjustable and mechanical, which use tension pulleys to adjust their draw weight. These types have better accuracy and performance compared to other bow types.

Also Read: Can You Put Power on a Crossbow

How to Choose a Crossbow?

You need to determine what type of hunting you want to do in order to choose the right type of bow. As we said before, there are different types of arrows that can be used depending on what you want to hunt or kill. 

  • Length of Arrow

The force of the arrow must be enough to travel over a great distance and still be able to penetrate the skin of the target. The length will also determine how far you can shoot, as well as how accurate your shot will be.

  • Power and Accuracy

Another factor to consider when choosing a crossbow is how easily it can be transported. They are normally made with lightweight materials so they are easier to carry and operate. You will also need to consider if you want a bow that shoots one or two arrows at once, as well as its draw weight which determines how powerful your shots will be. 

  • Budget

Before you start buying a bow, you have to first determine how much you want to spend. Remember that high-end bows will vary in price depending on how advanced and powerful they are. They are also built with more durable materials so they can withstand friction and the elements better than their cheaper counterparts. Just remember that the more powerful the bow, the higher your budget will go.

An Ultimate Weapon for Hunting!

Crossbows are great for hunting because they're quieter and less of a threat to other people. They shoot bolts through the air with much less noise than an arrow, which is good if you want to take down your prey in peace. 

Hunters find that these weapons don't disturb other animals too much either, which can make it easier to track them down. Plus, their bolts are lighter than arrows so you can carry more ammunition for longer periods of time without getting exhausted. 

The downside to using a bow is that its bolts tend to be weaker than arrows. You don't have the same distance or power when you shoot them, but they're better at piercing things than regular arrows and most bow bolts aren't powerful enough to pierce a bulletproof vest. 

These weapons are also more expensive than traditional bows so you'll have to spend some money on ammunition too. However, for hunting purposes, the price is worth it.