A handheld pistol crossbow is great for hunting small game, or for target practice. I picked up an 80 pound Cobra pistol crossbow to try out to see how it shoots. After unboxing the crossbow, I immediately couldn't wait to assemble it and give it a test fire. My initial thoughts are for the low price (see on Amazon), this is an easy purchase for anyone. I think it will be especially great for survivalists interested in a cheap pistol crossbow, or anyone looking to have a bit of fun in their yard. In this Cobra pistol crossbow review, I'll cover specs, features, and many other topics related to this handheld crossbow.
Cobra Pistol Crossbow Specs
- 165 FPS
- 80 pound draw weight
- Weighs 2 pounds
- 23" long
- 12" wide
You might be skeptical of how much power can come from a handheld crossbow, so I'll list out the Cobra pistol crossbow specs. It has an 80 pound draw weight, which makes it really easy to cock, plus it has a self cocking mechanism that makes the cocking action even easier. Even though it's small, this Cobra crossbow can still shoot at 165 FPS (feet per second).
The Cobra pistol crossbow has a self cocking mechanism that helps improve reloading times and doesn't require the use of a rope cocking device. During the end of the cocking action, the safety is engaged automatically to avoid a misfire. It has an adjustable tactical sight to help aim.
The handheld crossbow comes with everything you need to get setup and going. Amazon mentioned it would come with 3 aluminum bolts with metal tips, but I actually received a set of 15 bolts! My lucky day I guess. It also came with minimal instructions, so if you are having trouble with assembly, check out the video I posted below on how to properly assemble your pistol crossbow.
Cobra Pistol Crossbow Review Video
Don't just take my word for it, check out this video for a Cobra Pistol crossbow review from another owner.
What Bolts To Use With Crossbow Pistols
Some crossbow manufacturers are really picky on what arrows and bolts you can use, but thankfully you can use generic bolts for any pistol crossbow. These bolts are so generic you can use them for either a 50 pound or 80 pound crossbow. I recommend buying a large count pack because if you miss your target, they aren't really worth hunting for and they're also easily damaged. You can get a 36 pack on Amazon for pretty cheap.
You can even choose to create your own bolt and broadheads if you'd like. Check out this Instructables article with step by step guide to create your own pistol crossbow bolt broadhead.
Can I use This To Hunt?
If you want to hunt with a pistol crossbow, make sure to only use it on small game (such as squirrels or bunnies) and at close range. Using it on anything bigger will most likely only hurt it and cause it to have a slow and painful death.
As a hunter, you should ALWAYS do your best to make the kill as painless and humane as possible. If you are not comfortable that you can hit a kill shot, do not pull the trigger. Another thing to keep in mind while hunting with a pistol crossbow is to know what is behind your target. You should not use this in a suburban environment as these bolts can still travel a far distance and may be illegal.
Is It Legal To Own A Pistol Crossbow?
As you should expect, laws vary by Country and State. Pistol crossbows are legal in the United States, but there are additional regulations in place if you're hunting. Review my crossbow laws article to find out the legality of pistol crossbows in your area.
Should I Buy A Handheld Pistol Crossbow?
If you're looking to hunt small game in your yard, or just looking for a target shooting crossbow, this is an easy purchase. It costs less than a meal at a decent restaurant and is easy to transport. It also wouldn't bad to be used as a home defense weapon since it's easy to store.
If you're looking for a survivalist crossbow, this is perfect for you. Its lightweight and small size makes it easy to store or attach to a backpack. You can easily and quietly hunt bunnies or squirrels for a good meal. Also great to take on a camping trip, or for Boy Scouts.
- Great for target practice
- Fun to use
- Easy to store
- Easy to shoot and reload
- Quality isn't the greatest due to its inexpensive price
- Isn't as accurate as a full sized crossbow
- Only good for close range shooting
- Tough to hit clean and humane kill shots
Can Kids Use A Crossbow Pistol?
Kids are allowed to use crossbow pistols the same as they're allowed to use guns. You should always be supervising your children when they're handling a pistol crossbow, or any weapon. This is not a toy and should be treated as a deadly weapon. Use your discretion in allowing your child to use this. Make sure to teach them proper weapon safety before ever letting them use this.
Best Pistol Crossbows
There are several other crossbow pistols for sale, so I will briefly cover what a few of the other fun ones are.
The Ace Martial Arts Crossbow Pistol is very similar to the Cobra, but it has slightly lower satisfactory ratings. A plus though is it is a few dollars cheaper as of this post. So if you want to take the risk of a slightly lower quality pistol crossbow to save a few bucks, then feel free to purchase this one!
The PSE Zombie Reac Pistol Crossbow is a perfect handheld crossbow if you want to have some fun! This handheld crossbow is upgraded from the others with a red dot scope, LED flashlight, and a fun paint scheme. This mini crossbow is also perfect for a Halloween outfit or completing a costume. It shoots at 215 FPS. It has an aluminum alloy stock and fiberglass molded limbs.
It costs about double what the other pistol crossbows go for, but you also get a lot more accessories. Plus it is a great conversation piece!
Just like any other crossbow, if you want your pistol crossbow to still work well after many shots, you need to know how to keep it properly maintained. Thankfully the only thing you need to do is make sure you apply lube wax to the string every 5-10 shots, and also put a dab on the flight track and spread it out. This will stop your pistol crossbow string from fraying and needing to be replaced.
Do not leave your crossbow pistol in a cocked position for more than a few minutes. Keep in mind these are made with cheap products (that's why they're so low cost). DO NOT ever dry-fire, your limbs will most likely shatter, or at the very least put a nice crack in your limbs and ruining your crossbow. If you ever see a problem with your limbs, your best bet is to just buy another to avoid personal injury.
If you fail to properly maintain your crossbow, then you will eventually have broken parts that will need replaced. Below are some common replacement parts for your pistol crossbow that you should keep in stock just in case.
- Replacement String for 80 lb crossbows. This is a polyester string specifically made for the Cobra System 80lb crossbow.
- Extra Bolts. Seriously, you will lose these while shooting! They are small and don't fly as straight as a full sized arrow. The great thing is they are pretty cheap, so you will definitely want to pick up an extra couple dozen if you plan on shooting a lot.
We found this video provided useful instructions to help figure out how to assemble a pistol crossbow correctly.
Increase FPS of your Cobra Pistol Crossbow
I found a video on YouTube of an easy way to tune and increase FPS on your pistol crossbow and get it up to 195 FPS!
I covered just about everything you need to know in this Cobra pistol crossbow review, and my recommendation is to just buy it. Seriously. It's a blast for target practice, and it costs less than a video game. It makes a great gift to a son, nephew, brother, anyone really.
It comes with everything you need to get more than your money's worth of fun out of it, so I definitely recommend you buy this pistol crossbow. Let me know your thoughts about these types of crossbows in the comments!