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2017 Barnett Recruit Tactical Review – Perfect For Beginners?

2017 has been a big year for Barnett. They have introduced quite a few new crossbows that have raised the bar in capability. The Recruit Tactical has blown its predecessor out of the water in terms of speed, draw weight and more while still maintaining the same quality and design.

Along with the Recruit Terrain, the Tactical is the cheapest compound in Barnett's new line. (Check current prices on Amazon) This makes it a great low budget crossbow. Don't let the price fool you though - this crossbow has a lot to offer. In this Barnett Recruit Tactical review, we will find out just how much value you will get from this compact crossbow.


Is the Barnett Recruit Tactical Right For You?

Barnett Recruit Tactical Review
  • Pros
  • CONS
  1. May feel a bit awkward for large-framed folks
  2. Doesn't include sling or case
  3. Only includes two bolts to shoot with

Recruit Tactical Crossbow Specs

  • Weight: 6.4 
  • Speed: 330 fps
  • Draw Weight: 140 lbs
  • Kinetic Energy: 91.9 ft/lbs
  • Power Stroke 12.5 in 
  • Dimensions: 34.25"L x 18.25"W

This crossbow is generally made for people with a small frame. With small dimensions and impressively light weight, the Tactical is easy to maneuver around and fire. On top of that, it is extremely easy to cock.

The fact that it is made very compact does not mean that large-framed people can't enjoy this crossbow. It only means that if you are, say, a 6'4'' you might feel a bit awkward aiming this weapon around. If that's the case, you can always make a stock extension. 

In many ways this weapon is THE ultimate crossbow for beginners. First of all, it allows you to start hunting without breaking the bank.

With such a low price you can get the exhilarating experience of hunting with a crossbow. The second reason is that it is extremely light and easy to cock. This is important because if your arms take too much of a toll, your aim will be badly affected. And finally the third reason is that it is surprisingly easy to assemble. 

Accessories and Assembly

Like mentioned before, this crossbow comes with everything you need to start hunting right away. Besides the bow itself, each package delivered by Barnett includes the following items: 

  • ​Premium Red Dot Sight
  • Rope Cocking Device
  • Lightweight Quiver
  • Two 20” Headhunter™ Arrows
  • Lubrication Wax
  • Owner's manual
  • Warranty card
  • Nuts, bolts and hex key

This crossbow comes with what Barnett calls Single Bolt Assembly.​ That means that you will basically only need to get the two main pieces together, the stock and riser/limbs, and bolt them together. It's very important that you don't over-tighten the bolt.

After you have them attached then you will have to place the Premium Red Dot Scope on the picatinny rail and the quiver under the stock. And that's it - after that you're ready to do some practice shooting. 

Important tip: Once you've fired the crossbow about 20 times it is important to check on the attached bolts because sometimes they get loosened after initial shooting. ​

Cocking The Barnett Recruit Tactical

One of the great things about modern crossbows is how easy it has become to cock them, and the Barnett Recruit is no exception. When owning a crossbow you can never go without a rope cocker. Luckily, if you don't already have one, Barnett has you covered since they have it included in the package. 

Sometimes people ask me if it's okay to cock a crossbow with just bare hands​. To that I would say that, while it can be fine, I wouldn't recommend it since if you don't pull the string evenly it will mess with your accuracy.

Fun fact: rope cockers reduce about 50% of the crossbow's draw weight. That means that since the Recruit Tactical has a draw weight of 140 lbs, with such a device you would essentially be lifting 70 lbs. 

If for one reason or another you struggle to lift the 70 pounds, fortunately there's an even easier way to cock this crossbow. And that is by using Barnett's own Crank Cocking Device. This tool is designed to be fully integrated into the stock, making it as convenient as possible. For more on how this works you can watch this video:

I would be remiss to not mention the foot stirrup. This foot stirrup is thick yet wide enough to fit the biggest boot around. It is thick so that you can get a good hold of it as you try to cock it. Barnett has also incorporated an anti-vibration foot stirrup. This is important because it means it wont rattle around and make noise every time you fire your bolts.

Firing The Barnett Recruit Tactical

After you look at this crossbow overall, you might see that how it shoots is where it really shines.​ For starters, let's look at the speed and kinetic energy that it generates. At 330 fps and a kinetic energy of 91.9 (ft/lbs) this crossbow packs a real punch. For comparison, the last Recruit model had only 300 in speed and 85 in KE. This translates into a big difference in the field. It means better accuracy at 50 yards plus and it may very well mean the difference between killing your prey or not. 

Speaking of which, If you are thinking of taking this crossbow out to hunt, you might like to know how loud this crossbow is. I'd say that the level of noise is about average. In other words, you will have no problem hunting at the 30-40 range. As you may know, most of the firing noise is caused by vibrations. To help against that, Barnett has added an anti-vibration foot stirrup. 

As mentioned before, this is a very light weight crossbow. At 6.4 pounds, you will have plenty of energy to carry it around and maneuver it and still have the strength to get steady and accurate shots.

Premium Red Dot Sight

So how accurate is this crossbow? The Premium Red Dot Sight simplifies your shooting experience. The red dot allows you to use both of your eyes, which means you can better assess the distance. The scope alone comes at around $80 to $100, so you know you're getting it at a bargain.

Safety Features

Since a lot of beginners will be trying this crossbow out, it is pretty important that it has safety features which prevent them from mishandling it and getting injured.

Included in the weapon is an anti dry fire system.​ This prevents it from firing when the string is pulled back, which allows you to safely place the bolt on the flight track. This is done automatically as soon as you cock it, so you don't need to worry about it. All you have to do is flip the safety switch once you're ready to shoot.

Not only does the anti dry fire system protect you but it also protects the crossbow, because firing it without a bolt is very damaging to the string.

Another safety feature is its pass-through fore grip. ​It gives you enough distance from where you hold it to the flight track so that your fingers are never in danger of getting hit by the string.

Barnett Recruit Terrain vs Recruit Tactical

You may think that the Recruit Terrain may have a few differences from the tactical, but as it turns out they have the exact same specs and features. The only difference in these crossbows are cosmetic ones. ​

The Terrain is colored with Desert Tan whereas the Tactical is black. It's also the only crossbow in Barnett’s line of full-size models featuring a solid desert tan stock. Personally I don't put too much importance on a crossbow's camo because I don't see it as a big factor when hunting. ​But if you like the pattern better you might as well go with the Terrain. 

What The Recruit Package is Missing

Despite the many great accessories and features that the 2017 Barnett Recruit has, there are still a few things that will leave you wanting. For starters, the package does not include a case. I think it's necessary to have a proper case just so that it can protect and preserve your crossbow as you take it to places. So when you get this crossbow, you might as well take the this extra cost into account.

So what case should you get? You can never go wrong with Barnett's standard crossbow case, but if you want to know what else is out there you can check out our evaluation of different crossbow cases.

The second thing that this crossbow package could use is more bolts! Like mentioned before, you only get two 20 inch Headhunter Arrows. ​While these bolts can certainly last, it can be such a hassle if you only have 2. When practicing, you don't want to retrieve your arrows after only two shots - you want to spend more time actually shooting! While it's not necessary, you might want to get yourself more ammo.

Barnett Recruit Tactical Review - Conclusion

As you can see​ the 2017 Barnett Recruit Tactical is an ideal crossbow for people that want to get into the crossbow game. This weapon has the specs, features and accessories that will allow you to start hunting effortlessly. While there are things that could have been better, there's really no reason to complain given that it comes at such a low low price. 

I hope you liked our review. Feel free to leave a comment or question in the comments section below. We're always happy to hear from you!

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