All kinds of weapons should be carefully handled, and crossbows are no exception. This is because crossbows pack a lot of energy, and a misfired shot can cause much damage. In this article, we will look at which safety guideline for using bows is unique to the crossbow? 

A crossbow is designed with a stock similar to that of a gun and is a powerful weapon used for short-range shooting. There are different types of crossbows, and you can look at crossbow recommendations to choose the best crossbow for hunting. Crossbow arrows are usually shorter than conventional bows and are often referred to as bolts. Many safety rules are guiding us on using and caring for crossbows. Some of these rules vary from one state to another as different states have different laws that limit the use of crossbows. Some other general safety tips include; do not travel with a cocked or loaded crossbow and only using crossbows for short-range shooting.

Bow Safety Guidelines Unique To Crossbow

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Safety Guidelines Unique To Crossbows 

Let’s get to know which safety guideline is unique to the crossbow. 

Do not touch the rails of the crossbow while using it 

The rail or arrow track is the part of the crossbow where the arrow is lodged while waiting to be fired. It’s quite dangerous to hold the crossbow by the rail as getting your finger or hand caught in the string will cause serious injuries. Keep your hands off the rail as much as you can to avoid injuries. 

Make sure the crossbow is not loaded before climbing tree stands.

While hunting, you will use tree stands regularly as they provide a great viewing point and are a good place to scout the hunting area from. However, there’s always the tendency of wanting to climb a tree stand with a loaded crossbow. The trigger of a crossbow can easily be set off, and the loaded arrow would be shot. It is therefore advisable to unload your crossbow to avoid accidents and misfires. 

Check the bolts

When handling a crossbow, make sure you check the bolts before using them. There are different bolts for different models and designs of crossbows. Ensure that the bolts you use are built for your crossbow. Also, make sure you only use bolts that are in good condition. Damaged, broken, or cracked bolts can cause injuries. 

Using the wrong type of bolt or a damaged bolt would not only cause injuries to the bowman but can damage your crossbow as well.

Check the bolts

Use the right nocks 

Different bikes are built with different types of nocks, and there’s usually a list of nocks compatible with your crossbow in the manufacturer’s manual. Ensure that you always use the right nocks. If the nock doesn’t fit, it could lead to dry fire and cause injuries to the shooter and damage to the crossbow. 

Strong backstops

Backstops are used to stop misfired bolts and protect the environment from missed shots. You should ensure that your backstops are strong enough for the task by checking it for yourself and not assuming. 

It is important that there’s something to stop the arrow in its tracks if it misses the target, like a house wall or something strong enough. Alternatively, it’s better to have a lot of free space about 70m behind the target.

Strong backstops

Save a bolt for discharge

Crossbows need to be devolved when not in use, and the best way to do that is by firing a bolt. Some crossbows are built with a rope-cocking mechanism to decock a crossbow after use. However, if your crossbow doesn’t have this feature, it’s important you always have an extra bolt with you. 

Avoid dry firing 

Dry fire is a shot without a bolt. It sounds harmless, but it could lead to damage to your crossbow. Some crossbows are designed with anti-dry firing mechanisms to prevent dry firing. Crossbows with this feature are much better as they save you the cost of repairing damages caused by dry fire and prevent injuries. 

Every cocked crossbow is loaded

As long as your crossbow is cocked, it should be treated like a loaded weapon. A crossbow has powerful limbs and, when cocked, can easily be fired, and even if there is no bolt, it could damage the crossbow and cause severe injuries to the shooter. The shooter’s fingers can be badly damaged because there are no protective gears for the fingers. 

Take proper care of your crossbow

Every machine or equipment requires proper maintenance to function optimally, and a crossbow is no exception. Poorly maintained crossbows can lead to many accidents and injuries, and they can be easily avoided by taking proper steps in maintaining your equipment, such as repairing or replacing damaged parts as soon as noticed, waving the bowstring, and lubricating all mobile parts of the crossbow, and follow any other maintenance steps provided in the manufacturer’s manual.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do crossbows have a safety?

Many crossbows have automatic safety features that kick in immediately when the crossbow is cocked. Some models have safety that has to be manually activated. Whichever type of crossbow safety your crossbow has, it functions to keep the crossbow from being fired accidentally. 

What color is the safety on a crossbow?

The color of the safety on a crossbow may vary depending on the design and color of the crossbow. However, they usually stand out and are easily spotted. 

Are crossbows safer than bows?

Crossbows are equally as safe to use as bows. Whereas bows are more portable and easy to move around, crossbows are more powerful and easy to use. 

Is it safe to carry a loaded crossbow?

It is not safe to carry a loaded crossbow, especially in non-hunting areas, as it could easily be misfired and cause a lot of damage. Many crossbows can be carried when cocked, as long as they’re not loaded. You can always find steps on how to unload a crossbow in the manufacturer’s manual 

What is a major safety rule for archery?

One major archery rule is always to be sure of your target and what lies behind it, in front of it, and beyond it. 


Crossbows are great for short-range hunting, and you can get the best crossbow under $400. You can also get a crossbow under 500. Crossbows are famous for their silence during hunting; however, a crossbow is a machine and should be treated as one. It is important to follow all guidelines when using and taking care of a crossbow, and no matter the scenario, crossbow-specific guidelines are always the best when hunting with a crossbow.