There is no doubt that crossbows have taken the archery community by storm, with more and more states allowing unrestricted use each season. If you find yourself looking for your own crossbow it will not take long to realize your options are vast. Well, I’m here to add another wrinkle, a different curve – the reverse curve crossbow.
What is a reverse draw crossbow you ask? Quite simply it is exactly what it sounds like, a crossbow on which the limbs face the opposite, or reverse, direction – that is the face of the limbs face you the shooter rather than the target. I have to be honest I do not know exactly why this design works, but it does and in many aspect it works quite well.
Slim design – with the riser and limbs reversed these crossbows are able to be made much narrower than a traditional forward facing model. The limbs are tighter to the stock, even prior to being cocked they are often narrower than a traditional crossbow when cocked. This makes this design and excellent option when hunting in tight spaces like a stand or small blind.
Better feel – with the riser and limbs located further back on the stock, rather than hanging off the front, reverse draw crossbows tend to feel more balanced to most shooters. This also results in being easier to hold for extended periods with less wobble while shooting.
High speed, reduced draw weight – the same technology which allows these backwards crossbows to shoot also allows for some impressive high velocity shooting. The majority of reverse draw crossbows exceed 320 FPS and often edge closer to the 400 FPS mark, one model advertises a blistering 440 FPS! Plus, this is accomplished with much lower draw weights than would be required in a traditional design, generally between 150 – 165 lbs.
No recurves allowed- the design relies on both strings and cables to redirect the energy of the limbs so it is not possible to make a recurve model reverse draw crossbow. Sorry traditionalist.
Limited after-market equipment– although the technology has been around for some time it has only recently become widely available. This means that there are limited aftermarket accessories or replacement parts available. Most models will only accept OEM equipment.
May be too high speed for beginners – with speeds pushing the envelope of what was ever thought possible some of the “best” reverse draw crossbows may actually be too fast for beginners to manage. Even experienced shooters may find a bit of a learning curve is required.
Bottom line is if you are looking for a crossbow, whether it is your first or a replacement for an older model, you owe it to yourself to consider a reverse draw design. Visit a local supplier, test a few and see if it one might not find a home in your bow cabinet. I know that is in my future real soon!