When gathering information about crossbow targets, you're going to find that a lot of the information is somewhat similar to bow/archery targets. However, that still raises the question, "Do you need a special target for a crossbow?"

To answer the question directly - No, you do not need a special target for a crossbow.

However, if you think about it, it's honestly a pretty fair question considering a lot of target manufacturers label the their archery targets as 'crossbow targets'. Why would they do this? Is there any difference?

We're going to dive into this particular area and answer some of the popular questions related to this topic. At the end, I hope this provides a little more clarity and allows you to go out and find the best crossbow target for your needs.

Are There Specific Targets For Crossbows?

Yes, technically there are specific targets made for crossbows and crossbow hunters, but when you really get down to it there's no difference... or at least from what I can tell.

Is There Any Difference Between A Bow and Crossbow Target?

In all honesty, there's not really any difference between a bow target and a crossbow target. Some crossbow target manufacturers claim that these specific targets have greater stopping power, but if you do any research on standard archery targets they're able to stop bolts up to and past 500 fps.

What Is A Crossbow Discharge Bag?

A discharge bag is a portable crossbow target brought along in order for hunters to safely disengage their crossbow by shooting their bolt into an easy to hit target at close range.

Some hunters have been known to take a pile of old shirts or towel, stuff them into a case, and use that as a discharge bag. Personally, it's not something I would use, but interesting to see what people utilize out there.

Crossbow Discharge Bag

What Is A De-cocking Bolt or Bolt Tip?

A de-cocking bolt or bolt tip is a specifically designed crossbow bolt that allows you to safely disengage your crossbow at the end of the hunt without having to shoot your broadhead into a target.

De-cocking Bolt or Bolt Tip

Important Fact: Do not dry fire your crossbow to release the string.

Do I Need A Specific Crossbow Target To Practice?

As stated previously, you don't need a specific type of target to practice shooting your crossbow. However, it is important to understand the type of tip or point you're going to be practicing with. 

If you're only going to practice shooting with a field point then almost any target will do the job. But keep in mind, if you're want to dial things in with your crossbow broadhead, you're going to have to find a suitable targets that's going match. Said differently, not all crossbow targets are going to successfully stop broadheads, so make sure to read the specifications before making a purchase.

Types of Crossbow Targets

For a full list of the different types of archery targets, we have an in-depth blog already written, but here are the highlights:

1. Cube/Block Targets

2. 3D Targets

3. Traditional Targets

4. Bag Targets

5. Paper Targets

Final Thoughts On Crossbow Targets

And there you have it! All the information you need to figure out if you need a special target or not for a crossbow. Of course, if you really want to buy a "crossbow target" then I don't see any harm in it. However, it's really no difference between that and a standard archery target.

Additionally, it's important to note why de-cocking targets and bolts are important, and at the same time realize that many of today's latest crossbows are beginning to incorporate de-cocking mechanisms to minimize the need for such items.

For a blog about the Best TenPoint Crossbows, we have that too!