The Best Crossbow for Women: Our Recommendations
Hello there, and thank you for visiting Complete Guide to Archery! Here, we’ll talk about the best crossbow for women, and the picks we’ve found to be great options. Hopefully there’s something here that fits your needs.
Before we dive in, there’s one thing we should mention: the most important aspect when it comes to selecting crossbows is the draw weight—that is, the amount of force it takes to pull the draw string back. We’ve tried to include that information in each of our reviews, because it can be the deciding factor in which crossbow might work for you. Here’s how it plays out:
> For a woman of average strength, a 150-pound draw weight can be an appropriate option;
> For a woman of above-average strength, a draw weight of above 150 pounds can work; and
> For a woman of below-average strength, a draw weight of below 150 pounds can be a good choice.
Those are just guidelines, and everyone is different, but that’s a good framework to start with.
OK! With that out of the way, let’s dive in:
Quick Picks: Our Favorite Crossbows for Women (and Why)
We’ll get to the nitty gritty details in a minute, but here’s a quick look at our list of the top crossbows for women. Each stood out to us for different reasons, and has different features that can apply to your personal situation and needs.
The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II: our overall favorite, thanks to its combination of high firing speed and low draw weight. Great specs, great extras, and great potential—our top pick for recreational shooters and bowhunters;
The TenPoint Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger: our recommendation for beginners, especially young women, because it’s an effective weapon with manageable specs;
The CenterPoint Sniper 370: our “best bang for your buck” pick—it’s highly adjustable, which is a rare thing among crossbows—and it can perform very well for a crossbow of its caliber;
The Barnett HyperGhost 425: our choice for experienced archers, because of its high bolt speeds and smooth shot, all produced by a sturdy, lightweight construction; and finally
The Barnett Avenger Recruit: a great mid-range option for smaller women who need a low draw weight but still want a well-constructed, powerful bow.
The Best Crossbow for Women: Our Selections
OK! Now that we’ve gone through our top picks, let’s go into a little more detail to explain exactly why we like these models so much. All these reviews extensively cover the specs of each model and discuss the pros and cons (depending on what you’re looking for in your crossbow).
The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II
Summary: With a small ATA and mid-range draw weight, the Barnett Whitetail Hunter II can be a great option for female bowhunters looking to take anything from small to big game.
> High bolt speed
> Medium draw weight
> Narrow ATA length
> Lightweight quiver
> No de-cocking method
In our most humble opinion, The Barnett Whitetail Hunter II is one of those mid-level crossbows that packs in some high-end features. Most importantly, it reaches bolt speeds of 350 FPS and kinetic energy of 103 FPKE, and that’s more than enough to take down big game like moose and elk with an accurate shot.
The Whitetail Hunter II has a well-made cam system and a manageable draw weight of 150 pounds—but that draw manages to create up to 350 FPS of bolt speed, which is really getting up there. Usually, you see that sort of FPS in models that have a draw weight of 175 pounds, and that can be difficult for women—and a lot of men, we might add—to draw. The Whitetail Hunter II also has a foot stirrup for added leverage when cocking and a rope cocking device as well, and that makes things a lot easier.
There are some design features that can really assist when aiming— the light weight of 6.4 pounds and the small dimensions (including a 16.125-inch ATA length) can make it easier to maneuver and hold steady, and that can make a big difference when you’re locking in on a target. The light weight is thanks to the thin yet sturdy skeleton stock, and the small dimensions are due to the expertly designed cam system. Design is one of those areas where Barnett stands out, and many of their crossbow have a solid structure.
The crossbow also includes some accessories that can increase the weapon's performance, without decreasing maneuverability or manageability. Most importantly, it comes with a 4x32 scope (meaning that the objection you see through the scope is magnified four times, and the diameter of the lens—not the side you look through; the other side—is 32 millimeters), and that's just about right for a crossbow's range. It's also got a lightweight quiver—the lighter, the better—and it's also got lockable latches and a pressure release valve so you can store it in a case for airline travel. Again, this is great for big game hunting since many big game hunters travel long distances to do so.
There are some beginner-friendly features, as well: The Whitetail Hunter II has an anti-dry fire mechanism, which is necessary not just for your safety but the integrity of the crossbow, as dry firing can damage it. Unfortunately, this mechanism doesn’t have a way to decock the bolt, meaning that once you’ve cocked the crossbow, you have to shoot it. That can be frustrating if you don’t see your quarry on a hunting trip. You’ll have to shoot the bolt at some kind of target block to get the bolt out (and hunters usually use a discharge bag, like the Morrell Yellow Jacket Discharge Bag, for that sort of thing.
The Whitetail Hunter II does come with two bolts already, though you will need to get your own broadheads if you plan on hunting.
Overall, probably our top pick for best crossbow for women, and just everybody else, too!
The TenPoint Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger
Summary: The TenPoint Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger is a bowhunting package that can be a great option for beginners who want to hit the ground running and have fun while learning the ropes of archery.
> Purple camo finish
> Manageable draw weight
> Wide ATA length
TenPoint has designed the Wicked Ridge Lady Ranger to not only be a great starter crossbow but great crossbow for learning and building enthusiasm for archery. It’s got all the aspects we’d hope to see in a starter crossbow: it’s got manageable specs, but it’s still easy to use.
Specifically, the Lady Ranger has 150 pounds of draw weight providing 300 FPS of bolt speed. For that amount of draw weight, that FPS is very good—especially for a starter bow. An included rope cocking aid reduces this draw weight a further 50%, so that, along with the front foot stirrup, can make it easier for smaller archers to load a bolt.
The 300 FPS of bolt speed produces 70 FPKE, which is a good middle ground. It’s high enough that you can still use the crossbow for serious applications, including hunting small- to medium-sized game like whitetail deer, but it’s not so high that beginners can’t handle it. You can still practice to improve your accuracy and increase your range.
Similarly, TenPoint manufacturers the Lady Ranger as a “ready-to-go” hunting package. That means it comes with important accessories like a 3x scope (respectable) and detachable quiver for three bolts (also respectable), along with three 18-inch carbon bolts with hunting practice tips. While you will still need to get real broadheads for actual hunting, these broadhead-shape practice tips can help you get used to the weight of broadheads while target shooting and can improve your accuracy accordingly.
Speaking of accuracy, the Lady Ranger is lightweight at only 5.9 pounds, and that can make it easier to hold steady, especially for archers without much upper-body strength. Unfortunately, the ATA is a bit wider at nearly 23 inches, and while that doesn’t add to the weight, it can decrease maneuverability and put more torque on the crossbow so that it’s more difficult to readjust. Most beginners aren’t at the level yet where they need to worry about making quick but accurate movements, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Altogether, we usually suggest the Lady Ranger as a starter crossbow, especially for a woman/young woman/teen (and the purple camo finish of the bow can make it a great gift for teens).
The CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow
Summary: The Sniper 370 from CenterPoint is our “best bang for your buck” pick, and is solid entry- to mid-level crossbow that’s highly adjustable—a rare trait for a crossbow—and it can be a great option for both recreational crossbow archers and bowhunters.
> Adjustable stock and forearm
> High bolt speed
> Safety features
> High draw weight
For a crossbow in the entry-level to mid-range level, the CenterPoint Sniper 370 has considerable power. It shoots bolts at 370 FPS, certainly enough to small- to medium-sized game, and potentially enough for big game at close range with an accurate shot. That can make it a good option for bowhunters to want to take serious hunting trips but perhaps don’t use their crossbow enough to justify a deluxe or high-end model.
One feature we rarely see in crossbows is adjustability. Compound bows have become very adjustable over the years, but that trend hasn’t happened in crossbows, and that’s one of the unique values of the Sniper 370—you can adjust the length of position of both the tactical stock and the forearm, which can make the model easier to hold for smaller people with shorter arms and smaller hands.
The important thing to take into account with this crossbow is the high draw weight of 185 pounds. That’s a lot and can be difficult for new archers to handle. While this may seem like an entry-level model at first glance, it’s probably better for someone who at least has a few hours of target shooting or bowhunting under their belt. The Sniper 370 does include a front foot stirrup to provide leverage for cocking, and that can help—a lot, actually—but it’s still on the high side.
Several other features also make this crossbow a good option for bowhunters, including the 4 x 32 scope (just right for crossbow shooting) attached to a MOLLE mount, so you can adjust it to make a more accurate shot. It’s got integrated string suppressors to vibration and prevent noise, something essential for hunting, but also important in recreational shooting.
The Barnett HyperGhost 425 Crossbow
Summary: A powerful, high-end model, the Barnett HyperGhost 425 combines blistering bolt speeds with a tough, lightweight frame to make a ready-to-hunt model great for experienced archers looking to take their game to the next level.
> High bolt speed and kinetic energy
> Durable frame
> Available TriggerTech
> Ready-to-hunt package
> High draw weight
Hands down, the Barnett HyperGhost 425 is our favorite high-end model. It has a machined cam system that produces 425 FPS of bolt speed (425!) and 152 FPKE of kinetic energy, making it one of the fastest models we've seen, capable of taking down just about kind of North American game, including even big game like moose, elk, and bear. It manages this with just over 20 inches of ATA length, meaning you should be able to both maneuver it and aim it more easily—and use the 1.5 x 5 x 32 illuminated scope to do so. Those are pretty fantastic specs for a crossbow scope, and much better than the 4 x 32 specs you usually see on a crossbow.
With that kind of power, the HyperGhost needs a reliable design, and while at 7.7 pounds, it's a little heavier than many of the crossbows we've come across. It's also probably not a great choice for beginners, because it's got such a high draw weight (it clocks in at 206 pounds, and that's getting up there), but it's hard to get around that—the draw weight is responsible for the incredible power, and you can't really have one without the other. So that may be too much to handle for someone inexperienced. Nevertheless, it’s a good option for women who want a high-end model with a lot of speed, and there are some features that make it easier to draw—it’s compatible with the Barnett crank cocking device, and that can make cocking the bowstring much easier despite its high draw weight, and it also has an integrated stirrup and step-through riser, and that can make things easier as well.
Additionally, Barnett offers the HyperGhost 425 as a “ready-to-hunt” package. Not only does this mean a Mossy Oak Original Tree Stand camo finish that’s great for stand hunting and helps you blend in with most deciduous forests, but it includes bowstring wax, three Hyper Flite bolts, and a parallel-oriented quiver that can make grabbing bolts and reloading the crossbow a bit easier.
Our last bit of praise for the model is its safety features. Oftentimes, you'll come across a high-end crossbow that has a lot of bells and whistles, but it's designed without some of the safety features you'll find on simpler crossbows. Barnett seems to take safety seriously here—not only does it come with their standard anti-dryfire mechanism to prevent damage to you or the crossbow, but you can opt for a TriggerTech trigger upgrade that increases the smoothness of the mechanism with a three-pound, zero-creep shot. This can be a great tool, and can improve accuracy.
This is our pick for best crossbow for women, men, everybody.
The Barnett Avenger Recruit Crossbow
Summary: This mid-range model can be a good choice for experienced female archers who need a lower draw weight and plan to hunt primarily small- to mid-sized game.
> Low draw weight
> Adjustable stock
> Machine injected metal trigger system
> Relatively low bolt speed
> No bolts included
At only 130 pounds, the Barnett Avenger Recruit has the lowest draw weight on our list. That doesn’t mean this is a weak model. On the contrary, Barnett’s decades of experience in the archery industry have allowed them to produce an effective cam system that produces 330 FPS of bolt speed, which is fantastic for a crossbow with a draw weight of 130 pounds. While that may be low for the large game like moose, elk, or bear, it’s enough for whitetail deer, turkey, and the other common small- to mid-sized game that the average bowhunter goes after.
It’s this low draw weight/high bolt speed combo that makes the Avenger Recruit a good option—if you just want to hunt whitetail or mule deer, you don’t necessarily need the blistering speeds that come with high draw weights. You can go with a lower speed and therefore a lower draw weight that you can more easily manage.
At the same time, the Avenger Recruit is no beginner model. It’s a mid-range crossbow that’s designed for long-term use by experienced archers. This can be seen in the tough construction including a skeleton stock and adjustable mount for the scope. The trigger is also more finely tuned for those looking to step up their accuracy—it's a metal-injected mold design that can increase smoothness by maintaining tightness.
Speaking of the trigger, Barnett manufacturers with some important safety features: it has an anti-dry-fire mechanism that won’t let the crossbow release the bowstring unless there is a bolt loaded, as doing so could damage the crossbow and even hurt you or others if the frame splinters.
Finally, Barnett includes several useful accessories with this model. Specifically, the Avenger Recruit comes with a front-end quiver that’s also parallel to the barrel allowing for easier reloading, and it comes with a 4x32 scope. That's just about right for a crossbow of this caliber (and you can replace it if you want to step it up a bit).
We like this model—it's just 6.4 pounds, definitely on the lighter side of things so it can a good option for trekking around—and it packs a lot of punch.
Important Crossbow Specs and Features to Pay Attention To
Just a few things:
Bolt Speed vs Draw Weight
Bolt speed is perhaps the most important spec to look at, and specifically if you’re interested in bowhunting. That’s because bolt speed, measured in feet per second, or FPS, usually translates to kinetic energy, measured in foot pounds of kinetic energy, or FPKE. This is basically the power of the crossbow and determines what game you can hunt.
For big game like moose, elk, and bear, you want a crossbow shooting close to 400 FPS. For mid-sized game like turkey, whitetail deer, and mule deer, 250-350 FPS is enough. For small game like rabbit and squirrel, you can use even slower bolt speeds under 200 FPS.
Bolt speed is also important for accuracy because a faster bolt flies straighter and travels farther before it begins to drop. Therefore, a faster crossbow can mean you can hunt larger game at longer distances, improving your odds of a successful shot.
Bolt speed comes at price, though. This is draw weight, or the amount of force required to cock the bowstring. For example, a crossbow with 150 pounds of draw weight takes the same effort to cock as lifting a 150-pound rock off the ground. That’s a lot, and 150 pounds is actually relatively low for a crossbow.
As a result, most crossbows include stirrups to use your foot as leverage when cocking the bow as well as aids like cocking ropes and cranks. Still, a high draw weight can be difficult to manage for smaller people and can increase the amount of time it takes you to load and fire the weapon.
When looking for the best women’s crossbow, whether for yourself or a woman in your life, you have to consider the experience level of the archer in question. We generally classify crossbows as beginner or entry-level, mid-range, and deluxe or high-end.
A new archer doesn’t necessarily need the most deluxe model. For one thing, they don’t know if they’re going to stick with archery long term yet. More importantly, though, deluxe models often come with features that can complicate the learning process like advanced trigger systems and adjustable stocks. Plus, they may be too powerful for beginners to manage.
On the other hand, beginner crossbows usually can’t stand up to the serious applications that an experienced archer might want them for. Plus, a veteran archer probably does want those advanced features that can give them just a bit more advantage on the hunt or the range.
A number of accessories are commonly used with crossbows, especially for hunting. These include scopes, detachable quivers, slings, cocking aids, and hunting broadheads for your bolts. Manufacturers sometimes include these accessories with their models in different combinations.
Included accessories are usually a big plus, but sometimes they can be low-quality items that don’t match the experience level of the bow. In this case, they may be more hassle than they’re worth since you’ll just have to change them out for an aftermarket version.
This is the important thing to pay attention to with accessories. For example, a beginner scope with a beginner crossbow is great, but a beginner scope on a deluxe crossbow is a pain. Make sure they match on whatever model you choose.
Crossbows Know No Gender
We’ve included a few crossbows made specifically for women in our list, but please keep in mind—there aren’t really any “male” or “female” crossbows. If you can pull the draw weight on a particular model, well—that model can be a good option! That’s the most important thing, really—being able to handle the draw weight and load a bolt.
We hope our discussion helps you in some way, and if you have any questions, feel free to pop over to our “Contact” page and drop us a line. Good luck, have fun, and be well!