Everyone laughs at the redneck with a crossbow… until a zombie is chewing on your face!
Thanks to badass Walking Dead icon, Darryl Dixon, the crossbow has taken a front-seat on the prepper stage as one of the best survival weapons you could use for anything from a zombie apocalypse to a real-world collapse of society.
But does the crossbow really deserve to be called one of the best survival weapon? Well, it certainly has its advantages… and disadvantages…
Advantages Of The Crossbow As A Survival Weapon
One of the biggest advantages of a crossbow for survival purposes is its silent signature. Let's face it… whether you're hunting for food… defending against a gangbang looter storming your home… or fighting off the undead that have you trapped in the nearby prison, there are times where you don't want others to know of your whereabouts. The loud *bang* of a gun can bring unwanted guests your way, like other criminals attracted to gunfire… or (as in the case of hunting in a collapse scenario) hungry townsfolk who want some of your meat. Another advantage is that “ammo” can be re-usable. As we've seen Darryl do a hundred times, walking up to your prey and pulling the crossbow bolt out of Zed's forehead makes it ready for another go on the rail. Also, unlike with a traditional bow, even newbies can be super-accurate with little practice. While with a regular bow, you have to make sure not just your aim is spot-on… but also your hand placement, draw of the string, hold… hold… hold… (grunt)… hold… With a crossbow, you don't have these factors and the weapon itself is holding the bolt back for you so you can let ‘er go at will with a trigger squeeze and a consistent draw strength every time.
Disadvantages Of The Crossbow As A Survival Weapon
First of all, crossbows are big and bulky – NOT the ideal travel buddy if you're bugging out to a secondary survival retreat, eh? When bugging out, the size and weight of your gear is of critical importance and the crossbow doesn't sit well if you're on foot. Maybe as a backup in the car… but not really on foot. In addition, because of its size, it's hard to conceal a crossbow and carry it around the local wasteland you once called “home”. Others who see you with a weapon like this (especially after watching Darryl's crossbow in The Walking Dead) may decide it will serve them better than you… and whack you in the head from behind as they ambush you for your stuff. Yet another disadvantage of the crossbow as a survival weapon is its “magazine load”… ONE! They take time to reload one bolt at a time so you'd better damn well make sure that first “round” counts. That's made especially hard when you look at the max-effective range of the crossbow… out to between 25-50 yards if you ask most legit crossbow hunters.
So, Is The Crossbow Really One Of The Best Survival Weapons For Your Arsenal?
Obviously with its advantages, it's at least worth trying out a friend's (before you sink the money down) and decide for yourself whether you want a crossbow by your side in the coming zombie apocalypse (or post-disaster protection). Take it out… lug it around… and test your accuracy at different ranges. Just don't test out whether or not it draws stares from diners down at the local McDonalds – it will! But when stealth is a must (and in a collapse, I'm a firm believer in stealth), adding a crossbow could make sense once you know how to design a “layered” survival weapons arsenal to employ the right weapons for the right “threats” you may face.