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

As an experienced crossbow hunter, I’ve ventured deep into the heart of the woods, where the thrill of the hunt meets the tranquility of nature. In this exhilarating world of archery, two ancient yet formidable weapons have captivated the imaginations of hunters for centuries: the crossbow and the longbow. These two instruments of precision and power each have their unique allure, drawing hunters into their respective realms. Join me as we embark on a journey to explore the epic battle between Crossbows and Longbows – a duel where tradition clashes with innovation, where history meets technology, and where the pursuit of that perfect shot is an art form in itself. Welcome to the world of Crossbows vs. Longbows!

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? 

A crossbow is a highly specialized projectile weapon with a history dating back thousands of years. It stands apart from traditional bows like longbows and recurve bows due to its unique design and method of operation. At its core, a crossbow consists of a stock, or a frame, with a horizontal bow (known as a prod) mounted on it. The prod is attached to the stock, and when the bowstring is drawn back and locked into place, the crossbow is primed and ready to fire.

One of the defining features of a crossbow is its trigger mechanism, which allows the archer to release the drawn bowstring with precision and minimal effort. This feature distinguishes the crossbow from traditional bows, which require the archer to exert consistent force to hold and release the string.

Crossbows are known for their remarkable accuracy, power, and ease of use, making them popular choices among hunters, target shooters, and even military forces throughout history. They offer advantages such as consistent accuracy, the ability to hold a drawn position for an extended period, and a higher draw weight compared to traditional bows.

Crossbows come in various types and designs, including compound crossbows, recurve crossbows, and reverse draw crossbows, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. They are often equipped with scopes, cocking aids, and safety features to enhance their usability and safety.

In summary, a crossbow is a potent ranged weapon that combines the precision of archery with the mechanics of a firearm, offering hunters and marksmen an effective and versatile tool for various applications. Whether used for hunting big game, competitive shooting, or recreational activities, the crossbow continues to hold a unique place in the world of weapons and outdoor sports.

What is the Longbow? 

The longbow is a traditional bow with a rich history that stretches back centuries, renowned for its simplicity and effectiveness in archery. Unlike the more complex design of the crossbow, the longbow is a straightforward and elegant weapon.


A longbow typically consists of a single, continuous piece of wood that forms a gently curved bow when unstrung. The design of the longbow is characterized by its long limbs, which give it its name. These long, narrow limbs store energy as they are drawn back by the archer.

One of the most distinctive features of the longbow is its absence of mechanical aids or pulleys. It relies solely on the archer’s strength and skill to draw the bowstring. The archer must exert consistent force to hold and release the string, making the longbow a challenging yet rewarding weapon to master.

Longbows are celebrated for their simplicity, durability, and reliability. They are known for their smooth draw and ability to launch arrows with remarkable speed and power, often rivaling the performance of modern compound bows.

Historically, the longbow played a crucial role in warfare, particularly during the Middle Ages in Europe. English longbowmen, for instance, were famous for their skill and effectiveness in battles like the Hundred Years’ War. The longbow’s ability to deliver arrows over long distances with accuracy made it a formidable weapon in both hunting and warfare.

Today, longbows continue to be cherished by archery enthusiasts and traditionalists who appreciate the timeless elegance and challenging nature of this ancient weapon. They are used in various archery disciplines, including target shooting, field archery, and historical reenactments, preserving the legacy of this iconic bow throughout the ages.

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.


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