Barnett Recruit Crossbow Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Barnett Recruit

Barnett Recruit

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130 lbs.12.5"300 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
20"34.25" / 6.5 lbs.
- Perfectly sized for women and smaller-framed shooters
- Quick and easy assembly
- Includes rope cocking device
- Only includes a red dot sight
- Only includes 3 arrows
- Some questions about quality of string
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best Barnett Crossbows

Package Contents

Welcome to our review of the Barnett Recruit crossbow. This crossbow is one of few crossbows designed for small-framed hunters, making it easy to hold and fire while still having the energy needed for hunting. Each package delivered by Barnett includes the following items:

  • Barnett Recruit Crossbow
  • Premium Red Dot Sight
  • Quiver
  • 3 20” arrows
  • Rope cocking device
  • Assembly hardware and tools
  • Owner’s manual
  • Warranty card

Putting the Crossbow Together

Assembling this x-bow is pretty easy, and I had it ready to go in about ten minutes. You attach the quiver, if you want it, and then attach the riser to the stock. Once that’s done, you mount the red dot sight or your scope, and you’re ready to shoot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crossbow that came together so quickly and easily.

Power and Accuracy

With a speed of 300 fps and 400-grain arrows, the Recruit deals out 85 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. While not the most powerful crossbow I’ve ever fired, this is pretty impressive for such a small crossbow. After all, this crossbow is easy to use for even younger children, so to shell out enough power to take down a large deer or even a larger game like moose, bear, or Cape buffalo.

Of course, all of that power is worthless if the Recruit can’t hit the broad side of a barn, so I jumped right into testing the accuracy of the crossbow. Sighting in the included red dot scope was quick and easy, requiring just a couple of adjustments before I was on target every shot. From 25 yards, I could maintain a 1” grouping without any real effort or concentration. Moving out to longer ranges, though, I saw my accuracy drop off because of the lack of magnification in the scope. From 50 yards, I had groupings around 3”, and 75 yards only gave me 5” groupings.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The Barnett Recruit

Your actual results will vary slightly depending on weather, and significantly with arrow weight change. See our Crossbow Ballistics Guides section for a complete understanding of how we conducted our tests and why this data matters.

What Hunters Can Expect

The Barnett Recruit might be a small crossbow, but you can expect big things from it as a hunter, as long as you’re within the “highly accurate” range of your game. I took the Recruit moose hunting, and managed to get within 35 yards of a nice-sized bull moose. I took careful aim through the red dot sight, and took my shot. The shot went clear through the moose, and he scampered off for about 20 yards and then dropped to the dirt. Excellent moose steaks and jerky followed soon thereafter!

The Recruit has an adjustable butt stock, so you can tailor the fit to your own frame. You can also count on the bow being narrow enough not to snag on bushes and trees as you make your way through the forest to your favorite hunting spot.

Cocking The Barnett Recruit

The Recruit has a draw weight of a mere 130 pounds, so it’s easy enough for me to draw even without the rope cocking device. I wouldn’t do that, though, because a rope cocking device helps make sure the string is pulled back evenly and consistently. The draw is smooth and light, and the string latches securely in the cocking mechanism reliably.

The Crossbow Scope

The Recruit only ships with a premium red dot scope, which is really a pretty run-of-the-mill red dot scope. The scope sights in easily, though, and holds true throughout months of use and abuse, but it is not the greatest for long range shooting. The optics are coated nice enough to resist fogging, and the adjustable illumination rheostat works easily and smoothly.

See our detailed guide on how to sight-in your crossbow


Barnett includes 3 20” carbon arrows with the Recruit, and these arrows are decent enough for target practice. I quickly replaced them with my Firebolt arrows for my hunting trip, though, because I wanted the absolute best I could take. Any 20” carbon arrows will work well with this scope, and Barnett recommends 400-grain arrows. I actually bumped this up to 425-grain arrows, and found they still shot at around 320 fps with plenty of kinetic energy.

You can also learn more about crossbow arrows and take a look at our broadhead recommendations

Safety and Design

Barnett has done a nice job with this blacked-out crossbow, using composite limbs and a composite stock. The compound crossbow features quad limbs for great energy, and a pistol grip that is very ergonomically designed. The adjustable butt stock makes it easy to tailor the crossbow to your own particular body size. The foregrip is passthrough with finger reminders, helping to keep your fingers out of the way of the string and cable. The safety and anti-dry fire mechanisms worked flawlessly every shot, and I enjoyed shooting the Recruit.

There have been a handful of reports of the string or serving separating on the Recruit, but I was unable to duplicate that particular problem. From the reports I’ve read and heard, though, Barnett quickly took care of the issues for the customers, but it’s worth mentioning because Barnett does have a reputation for bad strings.


Barnett provides a standard 3-year warranty on all of their crossbows. The customer service staff at Barnett are friendly and knowledgeable, and have never failed to take care of any issues I had with one of their crossbows.

What Crossbow Case Fits the Barnett Recruit?

The Barnett Recruit is rather compact and can be housed in the Carbon Express Deluxe Case. This soft case is not very expensive and goes for around $70. The Allen Company case is even less expensive at $30, is also a soft case, and will accommodate the Recruit as well as larger scopes.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading our crossbow review. The Barnett Recruit is an economical crossbow with some excellent features. It is designed with the woman or smaller-framed shooter in mind, and performs remarkably well in the field as a hunting crossbow. If you’re on a budget, this crossbow is a great choice. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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