This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Camping, Varmint Hunting or Bugging Out
Last week I received a crossbow in the mail. Before you start to think that it is an awesome thing to receive, note it was one of those fair type crossbows you see sitting on a knife table. I was glad to receive it (if you are a fan and sending stuff for review, please clear it with the editor’s desk first). It is still a less than ideal tool/weapon if you are looking for something cheap and easy for your bugout bag. Fun though to use, and a reminder you might not always have the luxury of making loud noises or using a lot of ammo.
The market for this crossbow is teens and people who are not allowed to own firearms. It is made mostly of ABS plastic and has a metal pull assist. This type of item, which is simply branded as “Powerful Mini-Crossbow,” is more of a novelty than an actual tool. For $17, the price on the invoice, you get what you pay for. If you are serious about survival and can own a good crossbow or a good firearm, skip over this for anything but plinking cans. 4 out of 10.
The box comes with the stock, the bow (production version), one string, and four plastic bolts. It is a nice simple box, and easy to open and get out. One major knock is that rather than a paper target, they put the target on the box. If you use the target, then the box is ruined. 3 out of 10.
The bow itself is easy to use. You have a draw assist, which saves your finger on the cord. The bow will hit a target about the size of a can or box consistently at 15 feet. The sights are good left to right, but the up and down sight is twitchy at best. 6 out of 10
The bow itself is a cheap but effective tool. You could hit small game if it was in the 15-foot range, though beyond that is a crap-shoot with the on-board sights. Stringing the bow is difficult by yourself, however, this is standard with any cross bow. Overall, for the $17 that it costs, it is a good little toy bow.
The bolts are another matter. They are made out of soft plastic. I broke one of the bolts on the second shot hitting nothing but dirt. This lowers the utility greatly because a bow with nothing to shoot is useless. 2 out of 10. NOTE: I tried shooting the WISH fishing darts out of the bow. It fires them with a slight yaw to the left. The bolt fully penetrated the box, which means that it should be good to penetrate a fish, if you can keep the line from binding up as it goes out of the bow.
It is a crossbow, that is cool. Being made of plastic, that is not as cool. The bolts are plastic and brightly colored, plastic is not cool did I mention that? Bright colors do make them easier to find. If you are a teen or live in a city, it is a pretty cool toy to have around. If you have real survival gear, then it is more of a novelty. This earns it a flat 5 out of 10 for the cool factor.
Overall, this is not a good survival tool, but it is better than nothing. If you cannot get your hands on anything else, this will do in a pinch. If you have any other options, then those will likely be a better option. With an overall score of 20, I cannot recommend this to anyone serious about their safety. It is a great toy to teach teens how to work with iron sights, but that is about it.