Archery is gaining a good amount of attention and followers as a sport nowadays. One of its most common variation is crossbow archery, which basically involves shooting at a target point with the use of a bow and arrows. With its popularity rising like any other star, it is good to know the basics on crossbows as a starting point before getting into the sport itself.

Technically, a crossbow is made up of a horizontal wooden structure bearing the shape of a bow, which sits atop a frame that can be held like a handgun. This frame comes with a built-in assembly, which can hold the bowstring when it is drawn and can release it when desired. Its arrow is specifically referred to as either bolts or quarrels with the latter in reference to the arrow’s square-like heads. Crossbows come in different sizes, and the best crossbow for the money will come in your personal size. Some can be shot by placing them under one’s arm. Others have sizes designed to handle rocks instead of arrows.

Crossbow arrows are generally shorter. There is a set weight for them to maximize the kinetic energy achieved, but this is also affected by the crossbow’s other specifications. Bolts do not come with feathers at the ends like the typical arrows. They are fixed with a head that serves a certain purpose such as rigging or cutting rope. More so, the law of physics that govern a bolt’s journey to its target different highly compared to that of an arrow. Crossbows also usually come with an attached sighting device to ensure proper aiming.

What used to be a full weapon aimed for destruction is currently a tool for sporting and leisure activities. In some countries, crossbows come with less legal regulations in comparison to firearms. This makes them a favorite option for those who love hunting wildlife. In the sporting arena, there are different variations of shooting sports that use crossbow such as target, field and match crossbow. The International Crossbow Shooting Union is devoted fully to crossbow shooting and currently has 24 country members.

Legally, the ability to use crossbows is subject to the local laws, which differ across various jurisdictions. In 1139, a council held by the Catholic Church specified the ban on crossbow use along with bows and slings among Christians. Because of its potential as a lethal weapon, there are certain parts of the world that consider it as a firearm. However, not a lot of places actually require any form of license to own a crossbow. When it comes to hunting, some localities have specifications on the crossbows that can be used while others impose a law to use crossbows on specific times of the year only.

Because of the potential hazard that it brings, one should be fully aware of the safety requirements when handling a crossbow. It should always be unloaded and not cocked unless you are ready to shoot. It should be held with two hands and pointed to the ground at all times when not shooting. One should make sure that the bolt is loaded properly before firing. Doing so can result to a damaged crossbow and an injured archer. When unloading a crossbow, its bolt should have been properly loaded. There is no other way to uncock a cocked crossbow except by firing a shot. It is highly recommended to invest in a good quality crossbow case for safekeeping and prevent crossbow mishandling.

Crossbows are interesting equipment that have evolved over time. It is not surprising for it to be gathering its own set of admirers along the way. Knowledge on its basics, however, is always a must to avoid unnecessary problems in the end.