Crossbow vs Longbow 2023 (Which Is Better & Why?)

There is some argument over which longbow is more effective when referring to Crossbow vs Longbow. During the medieval period, both tools were commonly used. The unique features of each tool bring with it their own benefits and drawbacks. You can use this article as a reference and guide for understanding Crossbow and Longbow. The first hand-held defense device was the crossbow. Medieval times saw an upsurge in the use of crossbows due to their effectiveness.  Untrained soldiers could use the crossbow effectively. Moreover, Crossbows require fewer trains than longbows. Because of this, the medieval period saw it become popular and widespread.

Crossbow & Longbow Comparison

Crossbow vs Longbow

In comparison with a longbow, a short cooldown is the main weakness of a crossbow without shields. In the future, steel bows will significantly increase the range of crossbows. The naval battle at Sluice (1340) was also a victory. In broad battles, aiming and shooting at one enemy was more accessible with a bow.

Additionally, crossbows did not offer the same firing range as the longbow, which was far more powerful. After reloading the weapon and shooting about five arrows at its mortal body, the English shooter could completely kill him. During the Hundred Years War, Englishmen started to learn to shoot from a bow almost since birth, as the tradition of owning a longbow was widespread.

Furthermore, training takes place at shooting ranges all over England. A large bow places more stress on some parts of the body than others including the left shoulder, left wrist, fingers. To understand the question “what is more effective,” you need to know that no definitive answer is available. It was the longbow that won the Hundred Years War, although, in the end, the French were triumphant.

 What is the Crossbow? 

The spring force will cause the arrow to fly when you set the bow and arrow and unlock them, so you don’t need skills in the art to shoot the arrow. During the 11th century, however, crossbows had a short range of about 60 yards (about 55 meters). The bow could only penetrate armor in vulnerable places, but there was nothing to prevent archers from killing the horses beneath the knights with their bows.

It was much easier to penetrate tough ground with a crossbow, especially with steel bows. A siege crossbow of huge dimensions was a powerful weapon. Crossbows are good weapons for firing from a close range because of their high penetration capabilities combined with their excellent accuracy. Compared to longbows, the crossbow’s main advantage is that it does not require long-term training to fire effectively, whereas longbows do.  The storming and defending of castles required them everywhere.

 What is the Longbow? 

In history, the most extended bow in English history, the Longbow, could be 120 to 150 cm long, depending on the archer’s height and tactic when shooting. This bow lacks a shelf or a sight and is generally equipped with a primitive handle made from a rope coiled or thickened. With the left hand grasping an arrow, an archer puts a glove over his plumage from a cut and uses intuition to aim.

Longbows are the primary ancestor of modern direct bow designs, and as such most modern models have the word Longbow (longbow) in their names. Solid wood or layers of wood are used to construct the modern Longbow. The low cost of this type of bow doesn’t belie its primitive design; they go hand-crafted from specially selected, processed wood varieties following unique recipes.

Crossbow vs Longbow Comparison – Which is Better

 Shooting Scope  


It does not take much strength or time to learn how to use a crossbow. Crossbows can be conveniently aimed and shot by people with less experience. Despite its inefficiency and frequency, the crossbow made a considerable contribution to medieval warfare, thanks to its many advantages. However, the crossbow is less efficient and shoots less often than the longbow, despite being more accurate.


For a novice to effectively fire a longbow, there must be strong archers, extensive preparation, and practice. Longbows are tricky to use, and learning how to master them takes a lot of practice. However, longbows were less reliable than modern defense weapons, but they were faster to reload to be used twice so often as crossbows. Archery with the heavy longbow requires the archer to drag the string as far back as their ear to penetrate the target.

 Draw Weight  


Crossbow draw weight refers to the amount of energy needed to pull it back to its locked position after being completely cocked back. Moreover, the rabbit you want to bring home won’t weigh more than 150 pounds if your goal is to bring it home. To hunt a variety of games, crossbows are available in different draw weights. To hunt big game like the grizzly bear or Cape buffalo, you need a crossbow that can draw up to 200 pounds of force.


Longbows of the English had draw weights between 80 and 150 pounds and could penetrate up to 350 yards through steel. A draw length below 24 inches needs a bow length of 64 inches, whereas a draw length of more than 24 inches needs a bow length of 72 inches. When you have a background in archery, you can use 15 pounds light as long-bow draw weight, especially if you have a compound bow.



Depending on the draw weight, the crossbow has a high range and speed. Despite their long-range, crossbows can only shoot up to 600 feet. The longer your shot range, the less effective it becomes. A successful deer hunt would be increased by being closer to the deer. but before buying, you must-read out how does a crossbow work  and Best Excalibur Crossbow.


In medieval times, longbows looked very different from those we have today. Longbows of today can fly 400 yards and shoot 200 yards accurately.

Advantages of Crossbow

  • Crossbow arrows can be fired immediately after the target has been marked with a crossbow cocked.
  • In terms of energy and impact, crossbows are far more powerful.
  • A single hand is enough to fire it.
  • Learning how to use a crossbow is much easier because it only needs to be cocked and fired.
  • There is a trigger on a crossbow, so you don’t need to hold the string with your hands manually.

Advantages of Longbow

  • It is quieter to use a longbow than a crossbow.
  • A longbow is low-profile, making it more challenging to shoot and aim.
  • In addition to having a more traditional look, the Longbow is also more affordable.
  • The drawstring of longbows can be adjusted more efficiently, resulting in greater penetration power.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is a longbow better than a crossbow?

The longbow was able to fire faster and farther than the crossbow, but their firing rate was considerably higher than that of the crossbow. According to legend, the best archers could shoot an arrow accurately every five seconds.

Q. Can a crossbow shoot farther than a longbow?

It was easier to shoot heavier things with bows. Faster and farther shots were made with longbows. Crossbows are easy to attack, but longbows need practice. It takes much longer for a crossbow to reload than a longbow.

Q. Why did people use crossbows instead of bows?

Nonetheless, other medieval cultures used crossbows to fight armored foes. The apparent reason crossbows are more effective than bows is that they require less shooting skill/training, shoot in sniper mode, and hold the whole draw when drawn.


We have provided a complete crossbow vs longbow comparison.  When choosing between various options, you have to consider its travel distance and penetration requirements. Crossbows are an excellent choice if you plan to hunt elk or deer from a long distance. For regular hunting from a shorter distance, a longbow is a better choice.


Leave a Comment