Crossbows are fun to shoot and the horizontal format of archery is one of the fastest growing segments of the shooting and hunting markets. Crossbows are for boys, girls, teens, and adults who like the concept of shooting at targets or wild game in a manner that’s easy to learn and not difficult to master.
Like buying your first bike, car, or computer the best advice is to Keep It Simple Sam, or Sandy, or Uncle Si. You want to begin with a format that fits your physique and the ultimate goals you have in mind. Do you want to shoot targets in your back yard; sharpen your skills to go hunting; shoot competitively, or all of the above?
Regardless of the goals, you must begin with a healthy dose of crossbow safety. If you are an adult and familiar with firearm safety, you’ll want to go over the basics at the shop where you bought the bow or from a mentor. If you are a youngster, buy your bow with an adult and let him/her walk you through the introduction process. TenPoint’s crossbow safety features are state-of-the-art and a must-see for any new crossbow user. Crossbows are fun-but-powerful devices and must be used with respect.
When buying your first crossbow, begin with a basic model, yet don’t buy the cheapest bow in the shop. Crossbows that cost just a couple hundred dollars may not last very long and won’t hold their value. The TenPoint Titan SS is a great example of a quality entry level bow. As the brand’s least expensive model, you still get the basic safety and performance features of models costing twice as much, like:
- Split-limb compound bow power- This bow has ample power (333 fps) to hunt whitetail deer and shoot accurately at target distances.
- Weighing about seven pounds, it’s light enough for most teens and adults to handle easily.
- The 175 pound draw weight and compound design makes it easy to cock with the ACUdraw 50 crossbow cocking device. Cocking a bow consistently is one way that newbie’s often go wrong and this draw system specific to TenPoint, Horton, and Wicked Ridge bows is a huge advantage when getting started.
The anti-dry fire mechanism may seem unnecessary as you think, “I’ll never shoot a bow without loading an arrow first.” Believe me, everyone does and the anti-dryfire system makes shooting safer and acts as an insurance policy for your bow.
- Hand Shield and grip; crossbows can literally amputate a thumb if your hand gets caught by the bowstring upon release. Just as you never point a firearm at another person, crossbow users must never put their hands or fingers inside the bowstring. Most new bows have built in shields or forends that prevent contact between the bow string and hands, yet make sure that you can hold and handle the bow safely.
- Instant-detach 3-arrow crossbow quiver. At times you may want the quiver on the bow when shooting while at others it isn’t necessary. Having the choice is a nice option.
- Pick a scope that works for you and is designed for the bow. Many crossbow scopes adjust for arrow speed which will keep the reticle dot or marks on target at predetermined ranges. A single red dot scope is also great for beginners and TruGlo makes models that offer one red dot and multiple dots.
Buying a basic crossbow for starters frees up funds for other gear that will help to sharpen your skill and boost the pleasure of shooting. Like buying a basketball and a hoop, you will need a target at which to shoot. Initially, you should have a bag-style target because arrows are easily removed from and target faces tend to be larger.
Later, especially if you plan to hunt and use broadheads, you’ll need a foam target. 3-D animal targets are particularly fun to practice on and actually reinforce your shooting limits. After shooting for a week or two, you should be able to put an arrow into the vitals of a 3-D deer target every time while shooting from an off-hand position at 20 yards.
Once you become accomplished at a specific distance, move back five more yards and see if you can replicate the shots. In many ways this is like shooting at a basketball hoop and the more you practice, the better you will become. To really up your game, invite a friend over and play HORSE. Just make sure that you have a safe backdrop and double-check challenging shots so they can be made safely.
Finally, a soft crossbow case and string lubes are important pieces of gear. A little lubrication goes a long way and encasing your bow will allow you to travel to fun shooting locations without worry of sharp or hard objects wearing your string.
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