The Best Reverse Draw Crossbows Reviewed ( 2019 Hands-on Guide )

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How it Works & What They Do Best

The reverse compound crossbow design works because it brings the limbs towards the shoulder stock and adds an extra bow string to propel the arrow forward while making an extremely compact bow.

The reverse draw can be used with a shorter power stroke, shorter axle to axle length and smaller, more aggressive cams — all making for a small, more efficient crossbow.

Removing all the materials and shrinking everything down makes it:

  • light
  • more balanced
  • easier to use in ground blinds and heavy brush

The limbs still expand violently outward which reels in the bow string and snapping out the arrow at high speed.

The “D” shape of the inverted crossbow is just like on a compound bow and does a great job keeping vibrations to a minimum.

The whole reverse design is a significant step into the future and is inherently lighter on the hand, easier on vibrations, plus a better weight distribution. These all lead to their greatest strength and a longer power stroke.

While manufacturers have the ability to make an ultra-compact bow, they decided to link them with an extended power stroke for copious amounts of power.

Advantages of the Reverse Design

The benefits of the reverse design are distinct and can be well worth the money if you have the budget.

Horton Storm RDX

 

Better Weight Distribution

Even with the basic longer power strokes, these bows have better weight distribution than traditional bows. This is because the limbs are between your hands, back toward your torso.

This also makes maneuvering with the bow easier because the limbs are being pulled in and forward.

 

More Powerful Bow

If you’re chasing a game where every foot pound of energy counts, reverse limb bows are your crossbow of choice.

They can shoot heavier arrows flatter and further to hunt a game that would normally be very hard to reach with archery tackle. Speed of more than 415 FPS can be achieved with these bows, while still enjoying a compact design.

 

Smaller Overall Design

The limbs on reversed bows at full draw are closer at their widest part than most traditional bows.

The longer power stroke designs of reversed bows allow them to use shorter and thinner limbs that readily bend in closer to the center line. Even just a few inches can make a world of difference in the event you find yourself in a ground blind or enclosed tree stand.

 

Traditional vs Reverse Draw Crossbow

Traditional

TenPoint Stealth FX4
TenPoint Stealth FX4

Traditional bows are the answer for someone who wants every option available at every budget level.

They are widely available and are much cheaper than most reverse bows because they require a smaller string. Also, fewer things can go wrong during the operation.

 

Reverse Draw

Scorpyd VTEC Extreme
Scorpyd VTEC Extreme

On the other hand, the mechanisms in reverse bows are more complex. There are more things that can go wrong on the field, if that is important to you. But many of these bows are also a little over-engineered to make sure the limbs can handle the extra stress.

One of the biggest downsides to the reversed design is the cost. Not only do they cost more upfront, but they are also harder on bow strings and have more moving parts. The mechanisms are more complex and finicky and are best left to the professional to service.

They’re expensive in the long run. If money is an issue, then a reverse limb bow may not be a good idea. You might end up skimping on accessories like optics and high-quality arrows.

 ProsCons
Traditional– Less cost

– More options

– Higher quality

– Bulkier design

– Awkward weight distribution

– Less powerful

Reversed– More powerful

– Lighter weight

– Less draw weight

– More compact

– More expensive

– Less options

– Fewer companies make them

 

Practical Differences

Reverse crossbow technology is becoming more common as people get used to the design. Other than the obvious differences in design and cost, the real-world implications of reversing the draw is a big deal. It has:

  • More compact design
  • Smaller distance between the axles when not cocked
  • The weight distribution is more like a rifle because the largest parts of the limbs fall between your hands when you shoulder the weapon.

With traditional crossbows, you have to make certain compromises in its features like power, size, or design. But the reverse draw crossbow offers just about every advantage you can think of without any compromise.

These bows haven’t caught up yet in quality and the market. Most shops offer traditional crossbows with more options and better quality at price points simply because more conventional bows are sold.

 

Is it for Me?

If you’re a hunter who wants the newest technologies available when you head out to the woods, then a reverse draw crossbow is an excellent option for you to consider. They are more expensive and you have fewer options, but better choices.

The performance difference between a traditional and a reversed bow can be as much as 20%. So if you’re looking for a bow to take down a dangerous game, especially in tight places, then a reversed draw bow is your best option.

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