Crossbow hunting and target shooting has long since entered the mainstream of the outdoor world. What used to be a small niche has rapidly become one of the most popular ways to hunt. As any serious hunter will tell you, fostering the next generation is an important part of sharing your love for the hunt. Youth crossbows are smaller and less powerful versions of full up hunting crossbows designed for young hunters to use. Today we’ll be reviewing some of the best youth crossbows on the market to help you pick out the perfect one for your child.

Best Youth Crossbow

Best Youth Crossbow

Picking out a youth crossbow requires a bit of work. There’s a huge range of types, power levels, and weights to consider before you make a purchase.

The most important thing is to properly size a youth crossbow for your child. We’ve put together a list of great youth crossbows across the range of draw weight and power. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Barnett Recruit Terrain Crossbow

Barnett Recruit Terrain Crossbow

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The Barnett Recruit Terrain is a compound style crossbow. It weighs 6.4 lbs, has a 140 lb draw weight, and ships mostly assembled for easy setup.

It includes a variety of accessories and extras, including a 4×32 scope, a rope cocking device, lightweight quiver, two Headhunter arrows, and lube wax. This gives you everything you need to start practicing right out of the box.

It’s relatively low weight and medium draw weight make it perfect for a youth who has some experience with crossbows. It’s a little too strong for younger arbelists but great as an intermediate crossbow.

It includes both a standard trigger safety and an anti-dry fire mechanism. It also has a nock sensor to help ensure the most effective firing.

Overall the Barnett recruit Terrain crossbow is an excellent choice for an intermediate arbelist looking to increase the power of their crossbow.

Leader Accessories Crossbow with Quiver

Leader Accessories Crossbow Package

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The Leader Accessories Crossbow is a recurve style bow made for the entry level market. It weighs just 5.85 lbs and has a 160 lb draw weight.

That makes it suitable for slightly older youths who can handle the stronger draw. It’s designed to give you everything you need to get out there and shoot.

It comes standard with a red dot sight, four aluminum arrows, string, wax, a padded sling for easier carrying, a quiver, and a cocking rope. It’s easy to set up and intuitive to use once ready.

It includes both an anti dry fire mechanism and a standard safety. You can choose from either black or green camo patterns.

If you’re interested in buying your child a crossbow but don’t want to break the bank, the Leader Accessories Crossbow is a great choice.

Daisy Youth Crossbow

Daisy Youth Crossbow

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Daisy is well known for their bb guns, slingshots, and other projectile tools for the youth market. The Daisy Youth Crossbow is specifically designed for young arbelists to practice the fundamentals of crossbow shooting without having to work with a high-powered weapon.

It has just a 29 lb draw weight and an automatic safety. It engages whenever the crossbow is cocked, helping youths develop good habits safely. The Youth Crossbow uses a recurve design and has an adjustable rear sight.

If you want to introduce your child to crossbow target shootings the Daisy Youth Crossbow is an excellent way to do it. It’s lighter, easier to work with, and a lot less expensive than many similar crossbows on this list.

Last Punch Wood Crossbow

Last Punch Wood Crossbow

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The Last Punch Wood Crossbow is a heritage style crossbow designed to evoke the designs of the past. It’s a recurve crossbow with a handsome wood stock and a 150 lb draw weight.

It comes standard with a 4×20 scope and a pack of practice arrows. 150 lbs is just about right for an older youth beginning to develop their strength. It gives them the feel of a full powered crossbow without straining their muscles too much.

Overall the Last Punch Wood Crossbow is an inexpensive and attractive youth crossbow. It’s a good way to introduce a youth to the sport and help them develop an interest in it.

Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Crossbows

Wicked Ridge Crossbow Package

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The Wicked Ridge by TenPoint Crossbows is the crossbow you purchase when your child is ready to move up to the real deal. It’s a compound crossbow with a 150 lb draw weight.

It weighs just 5.9 lbs and comes in a woodland style camouflage pattern. Out of the box it includes a 3x multi-line scope, integrated self-retracting rope cocking mechanism, three arrow quiver, and three carbon arrows with practice stubs.

It’s designed to function exactly like a full-sized hunting crossbow, but in miniature. It’s slightly smaller in every respect and has a draw weight light enough for a young hunter to handle with ease.

If you’re looking to transition your young hunter from practice crossbows up to something that can actually hunt, the TenPoint Crossbows Wicked ridge bears a second look.

CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow

Center Point Sniper Crossbow

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The CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a crossbow package designed for younger hunters. It’s a compound style crossbow with a 185 lb draw weight.

It has a fully adjustable stock and fore grips to better fit your shooting style. The 185 lb draw is definitely on the high side, but within the possible range for a teenage hunter.

The Sniper 370 has integrated string suppressors to help reduce noise and comes with everything you need to get started. It includes a 4×32 scope, a quiver, three 20 in carbon arrows, and a rope cocker.

It has a built in anti dry fire mechanism and an integral safety. This helps prevent any accidental discharges.

If you’re looking for something affordable that can be used for hunting the CenterPoint Sniper 370 is a great choice.

Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Youth Crossbow

Picking out the best youth crossbow comes down to several different factors. You need to find a crossbow that your child is capable of operating safely while still challenging them to learn and grow.

Before reading our best youth crossbow buyer’s guide we think you’d also like our best archery targets guide.

Price

Price is a sticky subject when it comes to youth crossbows. This is especially true if you’re buying your child their very first crossbow.

Kids go through hobbies faster than a hot knife through warm butter, so unless your child has already participated in crossbow activities it’s probably best to start with something inexpensive.

If they’re on their second or third crossbow you can move up to more expensive competition grade/hunting style crossbows.

Safety Features

There are two main safety features you should make sure are present on your child’s crossbow. The first is a traditional safety, the same type found on the majority of firearms.

This prevents and accidental pull of the trigger from releasing the latch. Like the safety on a firearm this isn’t a foolproof system.

Thankfully it’s a lot easier to visibly tell if a crossbow is ready to fire than it is with a firearm. Even so, a good rule of thumb is that every crossbow is loaded and every loaded crossbow should always be pointed in a safe direction.

The second safety feature is an anti-dry fire mechanism. There are various types on the market, each of which prevents your child’s crossbow from releasing the string when there is no arrow notched.

A layman might think a dry fire is no big deal, but they would be very, very wrong. Crossbows aren’t designed to be dry fired. Any time it happens there’s the risk of a catastrophic failure of the crossbow.

If your child’s crossbow dry fires it must be thoroughly inspected for damage before being used again.

Size & Weight

The size and weight of a youth crossbow really depends on the size and weight of your child. You want to get them a crossbow that they can easily handle and aim.

The last thing you want is for them to struggle to hold up a too heavy crossbow while trying to hit a target. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Types of Crossbow

There are several different types of crossbows available for you to choose from. Some of the most common types include:

  • Recurve Crossbows
  • Compound Crossbows
  • Reverse Draw Technology (RDT) Crossbows
  • Reverse Limb Crossbows

There are definitely more but these are the ones you’ll see the most. They’re widely available in a variety of different styles, colors, and sizes.

Draw Weight and Power

Draw weight and power are used to measure the strength of a crossbow. For a youth crossbow draw weight is the most important number to consider.

A 100 lb draw weight is a good starting point, with 200 lbs about as high as you should go. This gives them plenty of power but is still light enough for them to cock without straining themselves.

String

The best type of string for a youth crossbow is heavily dependent on what type of crossbow it is. For recurve bows you need to know the material used for the limbs.

Unreinforced wood limbs require the use of dacron string. If you try to use something like dyneema the increased strength of the string can damage the limbs.

You need to balance the draw weight of the crossbow with the rated weight of the string.

Brace Height

Brace height is the distance between the string and the deepest part of the limbs. Depending on the type of crossbow you choose you may need to adjust your brace height periodically.

Compound bows come from the manufacturer with a set brace height. You shouldn’t change this as it can cause damage to the various components.

For a recurve bow the manufacturer will provide you with a recommended brace height, but you have the option to adjust it. A shorter brace height provides more power to the arrow and gives you a faster shot.

Unfortunately it will also be noticeably louder. You need to balance performance and noise.

Extra equipment

Picking out the best youth crossbow is just the first step. You’ll also need bolts, a quiver to hold them, scopes/sights, and things like targets.

There are basically endless accessories and add ons you can purchase to improve your child’s crossbow experience.

Final Thoughts

Before you consider brands, features or extras, make sure you have the sizing down.

One of the best ways to encourage a child to lose interest in crossbow hunting is to give them a crossbow that’s too powerful and just not fun to shoot.

If you get sizing and power levels right the rest of the stuff really becomes a matter of preference.