When you think about a bow, your mind probably conjures up images of something that looks like a traditional longbow.
The sort of thing Robin Hood might have used. Or perhaps you think of the wooden toy version from which little kids shoot arrows.
Crossbows have been a hit for years now. With their sleek design, compact size, and easy to use features, it’s no wonder why they are so popular.
But with the increased popularity of crossbows has come an increase in variety.
But it’s unlikely that you would ever imagine anything like an airbow or crossbow.
These two types of bows operate in highly different ways and are more often found in horror movies than in the hands of many hunters and archers.
I will explore the detailed differences between crossbows and airbows and which is better for you as a hunter.
What is an Airbow?
An airbow is a bow that shoots arrows using compressed air rather than with the use of a bowstring. Airbow types vary from one another, but most airbows use either a pneumatic or a CO2-powered piston to launch the arrows.
The advantages of an airbow are that there is no string involved, so the bow is much easier to maintain than a crossbow. Airbows are also lighter than other bows and much easier to carry around in the field.
Airbows are also potentially quieter than crossbows when being fired. Airbows are a recent invention and are not as well-established or proven as crossbows.
Fewer types of airbows are available, so it can be more challenging to find the right one for you.
Airbows are more potent than crossbows, so their arrows travel at a lower speed when fired.
What is a Crossbow?
A crossbow is a bow that shoots arrows using a mechanism that holds a string. Crossbows are usually made of wood, metal, or synthetic materials.
Crossbows are used for hunting and recreational shooting. The advantages of a crossbow are that it can be mighty and accurate and can shoot an arrow much further and faster than most other types of bow.
Crossbows can be more potent than guns, so they help take large and dangerous games.
Crossbows can also be very accurate and so are helpful for hunting games that are not moving, such as birds in trees, or games that are not visible, such as fish in a stream.
Crossbows are generally more potent than airbows and can shoot arrows at a higher speed. This means the arrows have more incredible energy when they hit the target. Easy to use and very robust.
The disadvantage of a crossbow is that you have to cock it before firing it, so it can take longer to take a shot.
How Does Airbows Work?
The arrows used in an airbow are usually shorter and lighter than those used in a crossbow.
There are many air bows, but most use an air cylinder to propel the arrows forward.
The arrows are stored in a magazine, and the magazine is connected to the air cylinder. A valve will open when the cylinder is compressed, allowing the air to flow into the magazine.
The air will be released at a higher pressure than when it entered the cylinder, propelling the arrows from the magazine out of the bow.
The main disadvantages of an airbow are that it requires a source of compressed air, such as a pump or a CO2 bottle.
This means that you will have to carry around a more significant and heavier backpack if you want to be able to hunt with the airbow over long distances.
Airbows are also often noisier than crossbows and could spook the game more quickly.
How Do Crossbows Work?
Crossbow arrows are longer and heavier than the arrows used in an airbow. The mechanism that holds the string on a crossbow is called a ‘rewrap’ and is usually made of wood or synthetic materials.
The rewrap holds the string in place and pulls it back when the trigger is pulled. The string is connected to the end of the arrow, so when it is pulled back, it will draw the arrow toward the end of the crossbow.
The mechanism is designed to pull the string as tightly as possible against the arrow so that the crossbow will have the most incredible power and accuracy.
The advantages of a crossbow are that it is very accurate and robust, so it can be used to hunt large and dangerous games.
They are also generally more straightforward to use than other bows which are suitable for hunting.
The main disadvantage of a crossbow is that you have to cock it before you can fire it, so it will take longer to take each shot.
What’s the Difference Between an Airbow and a Crossbow?
The main difference between airbows and crossbows is how they shoot the arrows.
Airbows propel the arrows forward by compressing a cylinder of air, whereas crossbows use a string to pull the arrow back toward the end of the bow.
Airbows are often lighter than crossbows because there is no drawstring, so the mechanism that holds and pulls the string is absent.
Airbows are also easier to maintain than crossbows because there is nothing for the string to become worn or broken on.
The arrows used in airbows are usually shorter and lighter than those used in a crossbow, so the airbows are less powerful and slower to shoot than crossbows.
A crossbow will always be more powerful and accurate than an airbow because a crossbow uses a bowstring.
An airbow usually is shorter than a standard crossbow because there is no need for a string, and the bow is more compact.
The draw weight is the force you need to pull the string back. The airbow is usually lower than a crossbow, which means it is easier to cock.
This is important if you are a beginner or have any physical limitations that make cocking a crossbow difficult.
The cocking speed is how quickly you can cock the bow. The cocking speed of a crossbow is almost always slower than an airbow, as there is no draw mechanism to speed up the process.
The arrows used in airbows are shorter than those used in a crossbow, making the airbow less powerful and slower to shoot.
The arrows usually have a rubberized or plastic-tipped head that is less damaging to the target than the standard metal or carbon tip used in crossbow arrows.
This also slows the speed of the arrows as they fly through the air, making them gentler for indoor shooting.
Crossbow bolts typically come with a metal head and are better for outdoor shooting where you are shooting at faraway targets.
The firing mechanism of an airbow is a cylinder of compressed air that shoots the arrow forwards when released.
A crossbow uses a string to pull the arrow back to propel it out of the bow.
The string is released, and the bow is opened up again for another shot.
The bowstring in a crossbow can easily get tangled, broken, or worn when fired repeatedly. In contrast, the compressed air cylinder in an airbow is a much easier mechanism to maintain and keep in good condition.
The string in a crossbow also has to be manually released every time you want to shoot. In an airbow, the release mechanism is automatic and much quicker, as there is no manual drawstring.
Airbows are less accurate than standard crossbows as they are slower to shoot and have a shorter adjustable draw length.
The adjustable draw length is the distance from the arrow’s tip to the string. The draw length for a crossbow will be longer than for an airbow as the string is much shorter, and there is no need to keep the arrow so far back.
Crossbows are also slower to shoot than airbows, but they are more accurate due to their extra power to move the arrow.
The extra power of crossbows makes them more powerful, so an airbow is less accurate at long distances as it is slower to build up that power.
Airbows are much less potent than crossbows as they have less draw force, and there is nothing for the string to become worn or broken on.
The arrows used in airbows are shorter and lighter than those in a crossbow, so the airbows are slower to shoot, less powerful, and less accurate at long distances.
The crossbow, however, is much more powerful as it uses a bowstring and more drawstring length to build up more power and shoot the arrow more accurately.
Arrows and Bolts
The arrows in airbows are typically made of rubber or plastic with a metal tip, whereas crossbow arrows have a metal tip.
This means that the arrows in an airbow are gentler on the target and are better for indoor shooting, whereas the arrows in a crossbow are better for outdoor shooting as they are more durable.
The optics of an airbow usually are not as powerful as those of a crossbow due to the slower shooting speed of the airbow, so they are not as good for accurate shooting at longer distances.
Crossbows are usually much slower to shoot, giving the airbow enough time to build up the power and shoot. Hence, the optics are much better for accurate shooting at longer distances.
The loading system for an airbow is the cylinder of compressed air that shoots the arrow forwards when released.
The loading system for a crossbow is a string that pulls the arrow back to propel it out of the bow.
The loading system for a crossbow is usually a cranequin system, where you hook the string onto a rotating wheel and twist the wheel backward to pull the string back.
However, the loading system for an airbow is an automatic mechanism that releases when you pull back the string, so you don’t need to pull a string back manually.
Airbows are usually much safer than crossbows as there is no bowstring and a string that can get tangled or broken.
There is nothing for the string to become tangled on, so there are no strings to break or get tangled.
A compressed air cylinder is a more accessible maintenance system than the bowstring, so it is much safer.
The crossbow, however, is much safer as the string is never pulled backward unless the bowstring is broken, and the bowstring is kept at the top of the bow.
This keeps the bowstring away from the user and out of the way, making it much safer than an airbow.
The crossbow also uses a safety catch that stops the string from being pulled backward, making it impossible to shoot the arrow accidentally.
The safety catch is a small catch pressed against the string when you cock the bow, so you must press the catch away from the string to shoot the arrow.
The automatic release mechanism of an airbow also makes it safer as you don’t need to press a catch to shoot the arrow, so it is impossible to shoot accidentally.
The airbow is also safer to shoot indoors as no bowstring can get tangled or broken on the airbow.
This means there are no strings to break or get tangled, so the airbow is much safer indoors.
The crossbow, however, is much safer to use outdoors as the bowstring is kept at the top of the bow and out of the way, so there are no strings to break or get tangled and no danger of the bowstring getting caught on anything.
What are the Similarities Between an Airbow and a Crossbow?
The main similarity between airbows and crossbows is that both will propel an arrow toward the target and can be used to hunt large and dangerous games.
Airbows and crossbows are both usually fired with a trigger and can be used by anyone with the correct shooting technique, so they are both suitable for all ages and abilities.
Airbows and crossbows are usually made primarily of wood, metal, or synthetic materials. Airbows and crossbows are usually very accurate and robust, and so are both useful for hunting large and dangerous games.
Airbows and crossbows are both usually easy to use and robust, so they are both suitable for outdoor use.
Benefits Of an Airbow and a Crossbow?
Airbows are much easier to maintain than crossbows because there is nothing for the string to become worn or broken on.
Airbows are also lighter in weight than crossbows because there is no drawstring. Airbows are easier to use than crossbows because there is no need to string the bow back before each shot. Airbows are also potentially quieter than crossbows when being fired.
Airbows are more accessible to transport around than crossbows because they do not require any string to be carried. Airbows are also less expensive than crossbows and are a more affordable option for many people.
Which One Is Better for Hunting: Airbow or Crossbow?
The main difference between airbows and crossbows is their method of propelling the arrows forward.
Airbows propel the arrows forward by compressing a cylinder of air, whereas crossbows pull the arrows back toward the end of the bow.
The advantage of an airbow is that it is much easier to maintain than a crossbow.
There is nothing for the string to become worn or broken, so there is no need to re-string the bow or take the mechanism apart.
Airbows are also lighter than crossbows because there is no need for a mechanism to hold the string back.
The main advantage of a crossbow is that it is much more powerful and accurate than an airbow. A crossbow will shoot an arrow much faster than an airbow and have much greater energy when it hits the target.
A crossbow can also hunt more extensive and dangerous games than an airbow.