Barnett Recruit Crossbow Review

Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow Package

Barnett Recruit crossbow review


Description of the product

For many years, the Barnett Recruit was the undisputed crossbow for beginners who desire a "grow with" type of crossbow. Nowadays, even with new competitors, the Recruit line from Barnett still among the best if not THE best youth crossbow and best crossbow for smaller frame archers at such a competitive price on the market. To support this argument, have a look at our Best Youth Crossbows to compare its main competitors.

The Recruit Black is, according to me, the top of the line crossbow from the Barnett Recruit line. In fact, the Recruit is offered in several models with different colors, velocities and draw weights to answer any users need. However, Barnett will bring two new models for 2017 called Barnett Recruit Tactical and the Barnett Recruit Terrain. These two will dethrone the Recruit Black with their new technology but will keep the same quality and design. Stay tuned for their personal review soon.

Among the Recruit line, you will find the Barnett Recruit 100 Crossbow that comes either in Tan or Pink color. Both models are actually good looking crossbows. This crossbow is 100 lbs. of draw weight and comes with a rope cocking device to facilitate the cocking. The Recruit 100 generates 256 FPS for 58 ft-lbs. of kinetic energy with 400 grains bolts. For beginners, it's a perfectly balanced crossbow in between low draw weight and efficient velocity to have the best shooting experience or small and medium game hunting experience.

Another from the Recruit line is the Barnett Recruit 60 Crossbow that comes in green-black camo. This crossbow is 60 lbs. of draw weight and also comes with a rope cocking device. The Recruit 60 delivers 195 FPS which generates 34 ft-lbs. of kinetic energy with 400 grains bolts. Clearly designed for smaller size archers, this crossbow will exceed your expectations as a first crossbow.

Finally, the Barnett Recruit 30 Crossbow comes in a beautiful yellow-gold on black font. The design is really visual and attractive for younger shooters. This crossbow has an impressively low 30 lbs. of draw weight and to make even easier to cock, it comes with a rope cocking device. The Recruit 30 delivers 140 PFS and is expected to deliver 17 ft-lbs. of kinetic energy with 400 grains bolts. At such a low draw weight, everybody can enjoy shooting this crossbow. It is definitely the best youth crossbow for the money to get any kids or young adults into the sport without investing too much money.

Let's come back to the main subject here. The Barnett Recruit crossbow review is a deeper analysis of the specs and versatility of the Recruit crossbows. By doing the Recruit Black, you will have a good idea of what the other models are made of. It’s also an article to know why the Recruit Black is the top of the Recruit line and why it is one of the best "grow with" crossbow for beginners no matter how old you are.


Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow – Specs summary 

Model Reviewed

Cocking draw weight



Suggested arrow length

Crossbow uncocked | Weight

Cocking device

Hunting Deer

 Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow

 130 lbs.


300 FPS


 18" | 6.5 lbs.

 Rope Cocking Included




  1. Quality and Affordable crossbow
  2. Lightweight and a durable compact design
  3. Accuracy stays even with long distances (50 yards +)
  4. Many options toward velocities, color and draw weights.
  5. Excellent "grow with" type of crossbow
  6. Quick and easy to assemble
  7. Made for Youth and smaller frame shooters


  1. Questionable string quality (if not used properly)
  2. Basic but good sight
  3. Arrow retention spring is fragile (one extra is recommended especially if the first crossbow)


Specifics of the package


This package will answer beginners and even more experienced hunters' expectations. The Barnett Recruit crossbow package includes:

  • Barnett Stock and Riser
  • Premium Red Dot Sight
  • A 3 Arrow Quiver
  • 3 20” HeadHunters bolts
  • A Rope cocking device
  • Assembly hardware and tools
  • Owner’s manual
  • Warranty card


The 3 Headhunter bolts included in the package are well-balanced bolts for the Recruit with its 400 grain. It features a 20" carbon shaft from Easton with moon nocks and a 100-grain field points from Barnett.

If you are looking for alternatives, I would recommend the 20" 2219 bolts or the 20" Black Eagle Executioners. Keep in mind no matter which bolts you are buying to keep total grain equal or over 400 grain for maximum performances. It’s always better to have a bit heavier bolts then lighter.


Possible add-ons

Crossbow Cases:

To transport, to store or to protect your crossbow, a crossbow case is usually with more bolts the next purchase you will have to make. Many cases are on the market, the Recruit Black can be fit in those three soft cases: Barnett crossbow case, the Allen Force crossbow case or the October Mountain crossbow case. If you need something with a hard shell because you need it, I would recommend any Plano hard crossbow case.


After practicing for a few weeks, you might consider buying your first broadheads to practice with them and eventually hunt with them. It is important to buy the right broadhead weight so you don't go under the recommended minimum bolts weight from the crossbow manufacturer.

Hunting broadheads must be sharp and should leave a sufficient blood trail to recover your target after. NAP and Rage broadheads are made for blood trails. This is often a really important detail to find your target after a good hit. If you hesitate, you have other options like the two side blades broadheads like Magnus Killer Bee. These broadheads are simple but really efficient.


As mentioned earlier in this article, if you really want to increase the Recruit Black accuracy, I would suggest either the Hawke XB1 crossbow scope or the Excalibur Tact-zone crossbow scope. Those are my suggestions, however,  the Red Hot crossbow scope is a nice alternative at a lower price.


Assembling the Recruit Black

Few steps are required to assemble the Recruit Black but shouldn’t be too difficult. It should take you between 10 to 15 minutes even for a beginner.

  • Unboxed everything from the package and make sure you have all the pieces mentioned in the owner's manual.
  • Insert the riser into the stock and push in to lock it and screw the appropriate bolt in it.
  • The next step is to mount the Red Dot sight followed by the removable quiver and the stirrup and you are ready to hit the shooting range.

Here a video showing exactly what you have to do if you still have a question about assembling the Recruit Black or any models from the Recruit crossbows.


Tip: As a beginner, you might want to get familiar with this subject: how to sight in your crossbow. This article will demonstrate how to make sure that your sight or scope is perfectly aligned for the right distance when aiming.


Accuracy and Velocity

Kinetic Energy:

The Recruit Black offers the most kinetic energy available from the Recruit line of crossbows. Its 300 FPS with 400-grain bolts will deliver 80 ft-lbs. of kinetic energy. To raise that number a heavier field point or broadhead will increase its momentum and then its kinetic energy. For example, a 425 grain bolt would generate 84.9 ft-lbs at 300 FPS. Considering that the toughest game like moose needs a minimum of 65 ft-lbs. to be tackled down, this crossbow is clearly efficient enough to kill it.

However, energy loss due to distance decrease the Recruit velocity (normal law of physic for all crossbows) and I would not recommend using it for tough games for that reason. That said a large game like a black bear or a medium game like deer is no problem at all for the Barnett Recruit Black compound crossbow even with distances. 

Accuracy and distance:

The Barnett Recruit crossbow is an entry-level crossbow but has nothing to envy from other mid-range or high range price crossbows toward accuracy. As mentioned previously, the Premium Red Dot Sight will do its job and allow you to keep good groupings until 40 yards but over that distance, you might have to consider another scope.

Barnett has the Crossbow Scope Illuminated Reticle 3x32 as its common scope for other crossbows which is a good scope for the money. However, if you really want to invest in the best scope for the money, I would suggest either the Hawke XB1 crossbow scope or the Excalibur Tact-zone crossbow scope (I know, an Excalibur scope on a Barnett...). They are more expensive but they will follow you as long as you keep shooting or hunting.


The impression of the crossbow


The Recruit Black has a sober black finish leaving a nice stealth sensation. Its vented stock and forearm design were created to toss away some pounds to keep this crossbow as light as possible. Rubberized stirrup absorbs some of the vibrations and offers a good grip while manipulating the crossbow. 


Barnett always recognized safety as a really important aspect of their crossbows. As a beginner crossbow, it’s crucial to have good automatic safety and a good anti-dry fire mechanism because the probability of miss using the crossbow is higher with a beginner than with a more experienced shooter.

The automatic safety is then engaged after being cocked and the anti-dry fire mechanism can only be disengaged when a bolt is properly seated into the latch. Shooting is then possible after disengaging the automatic safety.


Lightweight at about 6.5 pounds and its compact design with 18" uncocked make it easier to carry in the forest or to aim for several minutes. The stock is smooth on the shoulder and is adjustable. 

Its adjustability can suit any adult height which will make your life even easier. The 130 lbs necessary to cock is down by over 50% with the rope cocking device.

Tip: Always make sure that your foot is well placed into the stirrup when cocking the string and make sure the rope cocking device is well sited on both sides to avoid damaging the arrow retention device.

Like I mentioned previously, beginners should consider buying an extra arrow retention device in case of miss-cocking the string.


Hunting situations


This aspect won't be an issue while using the Recruit Black. I would have expected a louder crossbow than it is in reality for this entry-level crossbow. The vibration produced by the Recruit Black is comparable to higher price range crossbows. Extra vibration can easily take care of crossbow and string dampeners.

The trigger breaks with about 3.5 pounds of pressure and doesn't interfere in its quietness. Barnett created a nice entry-level crossbow to give its user a really nice hunting experience.


It might look cheap at first look but it’s a solid, accurate and efficient crossbow to shoot or hunt with. Its narrower design and the fact that this crossbow is a lightweight make the Recruit Black a really maneuverable crossbow.

To increase its efficiency, I would recommend replacing the sight by a scope. Enhancing the scope combined with its low draw weight and narrow lightweight design at such an affordable price makes this crossbow a really serious choice for a really wider audience.



Barnett strings are known to wear out faster than other brands. However, the proper maintenance of the string and cables will definitely increase its longevity. Do not wax the serving in any circumstances; it might enhance the possibility of miss-shots.

For safety, it is recommended to wear safety glasses when shooting in case the string breaks unexpectedly. 

Crossbow itself:

Clean any debris in the bolt way, especially the light rail. Using lube wax on the light rail will prevent the string to wear out faster. Occasional inspection of cams and trigger system will help to keep your crossbow healthy.



The Barnett Recruit compound package is clearly on the top of the market since its apparition for any beginners or smaller frame archers. It has a good warranty that covers a lot if a problem occurs.

The Recruit Black is the top of the line crossbow of all Recruit models and is the best "grow with" type of crossbow from Barnett Crossbows. The Recruit compound crossbow is the best crossbow under $300 no matter the category making it a serious option for your first crossbow.

Thank you for reading us and do not hesitate to leave any comments or questions below about this Barnett Recruit Crossbow Review.

Have a nice hunt!

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