Parts of a Crossbow | [ 22 Parts ] Explained And Genuine Tips

Understanding the parts of a crossbow will help you get the most from archery or target shooting. You should know the crossbow anatomy and use it effectively for good shots. This is crucial in that it will help you take good care of your bow.

Your archery skills, like target shooting, will also improve. Both the compound bows and the re-curve bows tend to share some essential parts. A crossbow archer can either bow depending on their past experiences or your personal preferences.

Crossbow Manufacturer makes bows with slightly different features, and thus you need to have the basic knowledge of each part. Here are crossbow parts and crossbow terminology you should know. After reading, you will understand the crossbow mechanism and accurate crossbow firing.

Crossbow Parts Diagram

To help you get better crossbows information, check this bow parts diagram that shows you the anatomy of a crossbow at a glance. Check this crossbow diagram below for crossbow pictures.

1. Compound Bow

Parts of a Crossbow

2. Recurve Bow


Parts of a Crossbow and Accessories

When using a crossbow, you need to understand crossbow basics, and this will help you know how to use a crossbow correctly. On top of that, you should get the right type of crossbow and understand how to hold a crossbow for better performance. Below is a guide on breakdown crossbow parts.

1. Stock

This is the operational base of the crossbow. It is the part that attaches the barrel, the trigger, and the sight bridge. Whenever you are shooting a bolt, this is the part you should hold.

The stock should rest against your shoulder. It can feature various materials like wood, plastic, or composite materials. Some models of crossbows have adjustable crossbow stocks.

2. Crossbow Foregrip

This is the part you hold to get better control of your shot. Holding the foregrip helps you stay in line with your target. Some bows have foregrips that are removable and collapsible, and thus you will conveniently use them.

Using the foregrip when shooting prevents you from firing an errant bolt quickly. You will always have full control over the shots you make.

3. Trigger and Safety

After firing your bolt, the trigger will release the string. The trigger is under the latch in the bow or at the latch’s back, holding the string. Avoid firing by accident; the trigger has a trigger mechanism that it uses.

It functions like a gun. Some bows have triggers with dual safety systems, and this keeps you safe in your hunting session. In case you need to replace it, you can find several crossbow trigger mechanisms for sale.

4. Barrel

You can also call this part as flight rail or the track. Its function is to align the bolt with the string and thus giving you accuracy for every shot. Cheaper bows mostly have polymer and plastic barrels.

On the other hand, aluminum barrels are standard in higher-end crossbows. There are also carbon fiber barrels as they are light in weight, thus convenient for hunting. You will find the barrel at the top of the crossbow.

5. Risers

This is the point at which limbs attach in a crossbow. The limbs attach at an absolute angle perpendicular to the stock to bring convenience when using the bow.

You can find risers in cast aluminum or machined aluminum. You may also come across bows that have risers made from magnesium and carbon fibers.

6. Limbs

In re-curve bows, you will realize that the limbs are longer than those of compound bows. This is to increase the length and thus produce power close to that of a compound crossbow. At the end of each limb is a string that acts as a connecting agent.

Crossbow limbs are more massive in weight than those of a vertical bow to increase the power. You can locate the limbs at the end of a crossbow riser in a bow.

7. Cams

These are the wheels put at the limbs on the ends. The shape of the wheels indicates the draw force and the energy used in a bow. It is either round or oval. Cams have strings, and once you pull them back, the wheels turn.

There generates more kinetic energy, which is stored in the limbs. As a result, the limbs bend and release the energy when you pull the trigger. The amount of energy in the limbs reflects the curved nature of the bow.

8. Cable

The cable works closely with the cams to ensure that the crossbow is functioning correctly. Cables also allow you to adjust the firing power of your crossbow. You will find the cable under the barrel when you pull the string back with the cams’ intervention.

9. String

Any time you are loading the crossbow, you have to pull the string. It acts as a connector to the limbs. The string of a crossbow has materials like natural fiber, synthetic fiber, and polyester fiber.

The string out to be long-lasting and light in weight to transfer more energy from the bow with ease. You need to oil and wax the string often to prevent it from wear and tear.

Friction can bring wear and tear whenever the string goes down the barrel to release the bolt. It plays a vital role in increasing the performance and the firing power of a crossbow.

The string has to be healthy, of reasonable weight, and have a good stretch capability.

10. Serving

This part protects a string from the arrow retention spring by holding it in a cocked position. The length of a serving in a crossbow is around four inches. The serving is located in the middle of each side to enhance consistency in each shot.

11. Flight Groove

This part enables the arrow to be in a good alignment with the string of the crossbow. It creates accuracy whenever you shoot the bolt to a specific target. This groove reaches the center of the barrel.

12. Arrow Retention Spring

Wondering which part of the crossbow holds the arrow in the track until the trigger is squeezed? This is the primary function of the arrow retention spring. This is a metal bar that holds the bolt in the flight groove until the latch is let go by the trigger.

It prevents the bolt from slipping off whenever you move the crossbow from one point to another. This spring has either steel or plastic construction.

You can flip it over or make it a point straight down without the fear of losing the bolt. It also enhances correct arrow flight.

13. Latch

The crossbow latch holds the string and the taut together. You can release the taut by pulling the trigger. Whenever you draw the crossbow, it uses this mechanism to capture the string.

14. Sight

The sight helps you align the bolt increasing the accuracy rate you need to target as soon as you fire the shots. Crossbow sights are of three different types, namely pin, peep, red dot, and scope.

Pin and peep crossbow sights have pins that are adjustable for aiming the front. They do not use batteries, nor do they fog up.

The red dot sights use batteries and have up to three aiming points. Scopes offer a variety of options for aiming. This thus makes them the most used sighting method.

15. Sighting Bridge

At this point, you mount a sight on the crossbow to keep it in place when hunting. If your sighting bridge is strong, it will give a solid base.

This creates accuracy and consistency with shots made using the bow. Sighting bridges have metals that are light in weight. An example of them is aluminum.

16. Cocking Stirrup

Which part of the crossbow is designed to prevent the arrow from releasing accidentally? The cocking stirrup helps in cocking the crossbow and ensures no accidental release of crossbows and arrows.

It is located at the front of the crossbow. The cocking stirrup is in the shape of a hoop.

When using the crossbow, you have to place your foot in the cocking stirrup to prevent it from sliding whenever you draw back the string into its cocking position.

You will find it at the end of the barrel or the riser. The stirrup prevents the end of the bolt from damage during movement.

17. Quiver

This is the container that carries bolts. You can either mount them on top or under the bow. Some quivers are also parallel to the bow or the barrel. They are available in different sizes, shapes, and configurations. One quiver may hold up to four bolts.

18. Arrow Track

You will find this part between the bow and the latches on top of the flight rail. You can also call it a bolt channel or a flight track.

It serves the purpose of directing and guiding the bolt for an accurate and consistent flight. The bolt flight is also exact. The bolt then goes down the barrel with ease.

19. Limb Pockets

This is the point where the limbs attach in a crossbow. The bolts are well set during manufacture and thus don’t require adjustment.

20. Bolt and Its Parts

Parts of a bolt include the hunting arrows of a bow. They enhance convenience when using crossbows. The bolts have the same design as the arrows but only differ in the length.

These bolts are shorter when compared with the arrows. The length of bolts may range from 16-22 inches. Below are the parts of a crossbow bolt;

21. Shaft

It has aluminum or carbon fiber construction. They are highly resistant to bending and thus making them more durable.  The shaft acts as the central part of the bolt. The shaft is also light in weight due to the materials used to construct it, and it does not splinter.

22. Nock

This is a part you will find behind the shaft with either aluminum or plastic material. It serves the purpose of holding the bolt in place whenever you take a shot. There are several types of nocks: moon nocks (flat), Omni nocks, capture nocks, and multi-groove nocks.

23. Head

Broadheads have sharp blades and thus suitable for hunting. They are in three categories, namely, fixed blades, expandable blades, and removable blades.

On the other hand, it is the field points. They are pointed at the tip and have no sharp edges. They are suitable for use when you are training for target shooting. Spring

24. Spine

This is the resistance of the shaft from bending. The presence of more spines shows that the shaft is stiff.

25. Grains

The weight of the shaft is measured in units called grains. The manufacturer may choose to show the total weight of the bolt. They may as well indicate grains per inch (GPI) value for the bolt.

It would help if you calculated the shaft’s total weight by multiplying the GPI value by its length. If you want to convert the weight of the shaft from grains to grams, you will multiply the total weight (in GPI) by 0.0648

26. Fletching

These are the wings you will find at the bolt back, and they stabilize the bolt and prevent it from swaying away. The bolt spins on its axis once you release it from the bow and the fletching increases the stability. Longer bolts use longer fletching.

27. Scope

The scope magnifies the targets for varying ranges. There are two types of scope multi-dot scope and red-dot scope. They have different magnifying powers. Magnification maybe 40 yards in the red dot scope. However, multi-dot scopes can magnify up to 50 yards.

28. Safety

This is the part that prevents your arrow from releasing accidentally from your bow. Whenever you cock the crossbow, it may release manually or automatically. The safe thus acts as a control for releasing the bolt. Always be careful when using a crossbow to avoid unnecessary shooting as it may damage the surrounding and the bow itself.

How to Use a Crossbow

How does a crossbow work? After knowing the anatomy of a crossbow and crossbow terms, it is good to know how to correctly use your fastest crossbow. First, you should know the two most common types of crossbows and the right crossbow gear. Let’s; check how a crossbow works.


Whether you have a left-handed crossbow or a two-handed crossbow, the first thing you should know is loading a crossbow. You should know how to load a crossbow before shooting a crossbow.

To do this, keep your foot in the cocking stirrup to plant the crossbow on the ground while you pull the string back using the cocking ropes. You should know the various ways of coking a crossbow and how long a crossbow can stay cocked. You can get all this information in your crossbow instruction.

The next step is to take the stance and load the bolt. Get ready for shooting, and your thumb finger should always be below the rail of the crossbow and then shoot.


To maintain your hunting crossbow well, you should be familiar with crossbow components. You should also know how to shoot a crossbow accurately. This will make your bow serve you for a long time and give the best performance.

After using a crossbow;

  • Ensure that you de-assemble all removable parts.
  • Clean them as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Store the crossbow well for future use. It enables you to use it for a more extended period without it underperforming.

Take time to learn all the parts of a crossbow from the crossbow parts list above and apply the field skills. You can also find many crossbow parts for sale, especially if you are using a used crossbow. Whenever you are buying crossbow replacement parts, use parts from the same manufacturer to enhance use efficiency.