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How to Build a Survival Crossbow

A Survival Crossbow
By Joshua G. Hamlin

We, at Sigma 3, recently posted a video on how to make a survival crossbow. I would love to take credit for inventing this crossbow, but I cannot. I looked at some early crossbows for ideas, and converted them into one I could make primitively. For one, I tie the bow to the stalk instead of nailing it. To do this, a hole must be cut through the sides of the stalk so that the cordage doesn’t pass over the area where the arrow rests. I also add a trigger cap which guides the string and holds the arrow (or bolt) in place. The trigger system itself is very simple. It’s a “T” shaped piece of wood that leans forward when you pull back on the trigger, releasing the string, and firing the arrow.

Now let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of this type of crossbow. One of the things that is so great about this crossbow is that you can sight down the arrow to aim. You still have to figure in gravity and wind resistance, but with a little practice you should be hitting your target every time. Another advantage is that your bow is ready to fire, instantly. You don’t have to draw back if you see game; you can just point and shoot. But the biggest advantage is that the crossbow can be set, with a tripwire or bait. Of course this type of trap is very dangerous and very illegal. The trigger does not discern between animals and humans and will gladly take down either one. For this reason, this type of trap should only be used in an emergency and should be clearly marked so that people can see it.

There are some other problems with this type of survival crossbow as well. First, the trigger is very sensitive and can go off accidentally, causing serious injury or death. Even a slight bump can set it off. Be careful to never point this towards anybody or towards anything that may cause the arrow to ricochet. Another problem with this crossbow is that it’s awkward. It’s heavy and cumbersome. You can’t crawl through the bush without setting it off. Also, the arrow is only being held by the cap over the trigger so it will sometimes fall off if it’s leaned to the side. Finally, that string will get you. If your fingers or thumb are in the path of the string when the bow is fired it’s going to hurt. Be sure to hold the crossbow like shown in figure 2.

These survival crossbows are very useful and a lot of fun, so make one. Be sure to show us your results and feel free to ask for advice, anytime. Have fun and be safe

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