Is The Barnett Jackal the Perfect Budget Crossbow?

Picking your first crossbow can be tough.

The choices aren’t exactly limited. And between styles, sizes, and everything in between, it’s not hard to get overwhelmed.

If you’re looking for a first crossbow for you or someone else, your best bet is to keep things simple. Catchy features can come later once you’ve got some experience under your belt.

For the first-time crossbow buyer, it’s hard to go wrong with the Barnett Jackal. It’s simple, lightweight, and inexpensive.

Is It Worth Your Money?

First time crossbow buyers or those looking for a basic, inexpensive bow, should definitely take a look at the Barnett Jackal. This crossbow offers buyers good power accuracy and a lightweight, durable stock.

The Jackal is also a great value that most crossbow shoppers will find very affordable. Although it's fairly basic, this crossbow is worth every penny at this price point.

A Closer Look at the Barnett Jackal

The Barnett Jackal is more than just an inexpensive beginner’s crossbow. While it probably won’t be winning any awards for innovation, it’s a solid performer.

Keep reading for a closer look at what makes the Jackal tick.


The Barnett Jackal is a compound crossbow with a split limb design. The limbs are a synthetic material that helps propel arrows at over 300 feet per second. A 150-pound draw weight brings overall power to 95-foot pounds of energy.

This crossbow uses a synthetic material for the stock as well, keeping the weight down and helping to balance the bow overall. While the stock is not adjustable, it is relatively short, making it a good fit for smaller shooters as many users report.

Along with a lightweight stock, the Jackal comes fitted with a red dot sight and a quiver with 3 arrows. A lightweight 3.5-pound trigger rounds out the package.


The Jackal is a fairly simple crossbow, but that doesn't mean it can't get the job done. In fact, it's a very capable bow.

Here are a few of the Barnett Jackal's most important specs:

  • Arrow speeds of up to 315 feet per second
  • Draw weight of 150 pounds
  • 95-foot pounds of energy
  • Lightweight, camouflage stock
  • Trigger pull of just 3.5-pounds
  • Overall weight of just under eight pounds

Ease of Use & Reliability

The Jackal's simplicity has some real upsides.

The stock and simple limbs make the Jackal easy to operate and maintain. Adjustable stocks are nice, but they also tend to add weight and complexity, by not including one Barnett keeps the weight and maintenance to a minimum.

The synthetic bowstring is also durable and long lasting, requiring little maintenance. Barnett does recommend frequent waxing though—much like other compound crossbows.

The one downside to the Jackal's ease of use, is its lack of a cocking device. This means users will need to purchase a cocking rope or other device to cock this bow easily. Crank cocking devices are out though as this crossbow is not compatible.


The Barnett Jackal provides a lot of power and value for new shooters. Here's just a few of its biggest upsides:

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    Very affordable
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    Great, simple crossbow for beginners
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    Lightweight, durable stock
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    Made by one of the industry’s oldest and best names


The Jackal is not without its downsides. It's a good bow, but somewhat lacking in the feature department.

  • No cocking device included
  • Stock is not adjustable
  • Simple, inexpensive build may not appeal to all users


One of the best things about the Jackal is the cost. At under $300 it’s a steal in a world of exotic, expensive compound crossbows.

This crossbow gives users enough power—95-foot pounds of energy—to take just about any North American game. For the price, it also has good accuracy that’s helped along by a decent quality red dot.

Who the Barnett Jackal This For?

The Barnett Jackal is a good crossbow for first time crossbow buyers or those looking to buy a first bow for a friend or relative. It has enough power and good enough accuracy for just about anything a newer shooter might throw at it.

While it would make an acceptable bow for a more experienced shooter, the lack of features and innovative design elements might leave them wanting. The omission of any kind of cocking device, or the ability to use a crank cocking tool, is a less than appealing too.

Our Opinion

The Jackal is far from an inadequate crossbow.

It has plenty of power and great accuracy. It even comes with a red dot optic.

When compared to the crossbows of 20 or 30 years ago, it’s a modern, advanced weapon that’s more than capable of taking large game.

The problem is …

There are also much more advanced crossbows at this point. I don’t have to tell you how fast technology and innovation move in the twenty first century.

But, that doesn’t mean the Jackal is a bad crossbow. It’s still more than capable of doing what most people want their crossbows to do: shoot things accurately.

For anyone looking for a first crossbow, or a simple but effective compound crossbow, the Jackal is a great buy. It’s well built by one of the best names in the industry and has plenty of power and accuracy for the average crossbow shooter.

Other Options Worth Looking At

The Barnett Jackal is a great choice for anyone looking for a first crossbow. The power and features are adequate, if not more than adequate, for most first-time users.

But, if you'd like a little more than a basic crossbow, the Barnett Recruit is a great alternative for just a few more dollars. The recruit offers users a slightly nicer stock that's also a bit lighter than the Jackal's. Buyers also get a scope and a rope cocking device.

Power and speed are very similar between the Jackal and Recruit and both do, of course, come backed up by the same quality manufacturing Barnett is known for.

If price and simplicity top your chart, take a look at the Barnett Jackal.

If you are interested in other crossbow reviews, we have that too.