Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow Review: Read this Before Buying

Barnett Recruit Review: What to expect

barnett recruit review featured image

This Barnett Recruit compound crossbow review is meant to inform you about everything you need to know about the crossbow, even the bad part. I’m frustrated with most reviews on the web now since they’re mostly sales articles instead of actual reviews.

I want to change that. Every review I write aims to make you an informed buyer instead of a misled buyer. With all that being said, let’s get started!

Summary: Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow Review

Are you in a hurry and have no time to read the full review? I know that feeling, so I made a visual summary for you:

Use: Hunting, Target Shooting

Build Quality

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Shooting Ability

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Ease of Use

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Value for the Money



  • Accurate
  • Compact
  • Light and balanced
  • Competitive price
  • Premium features

  • Reports of string breakage (read complete review for more information)

Conclusion Summary: Barnett Recruit appeals to beginners because it’s very affordable and it performs well overall – it’s easy to draw, easy to use, and easy to shoot. It’s also fairly accurate which makes it a good example of “you don’t need 1,000 for a good bow”.

I recommend it to people who are just getting started with crossbows – someone who’s not willing to invest in a high-end bow yet.

It’s also a great choice for people on a budget, since the performance versus the price is a great bargain.

Barnett Recruit Review: Complete Write-up

What is it?

Barnett Recruit is a compound crossbow that’s great for smaller frame hunters and women due to its compact size and light weight. It’s also a great entry-level crossbow due to its budget-friendly price and impressive accuracy.

We’re reviewing the compound Barnett Recruit, not the recurve one. Moving on…

What’s in the Box?

  • Barnett Recruit Crossbow
  • Premium Red Dot Sight or 4.32mm Multi-Reticle Scope
  • Rope Cocking Device
  • Lightweight Quiver
  • Two 20″ Headhunter™ Arrows
  • Lubrication Wax

Barnett Recruit Specs:

Property Value
Speed 330 FPS
Kinetic energy 91.9 ft lbs (380 grain)
Draw weight 140 lbs
Power stroke 12.5″
Axle to Axle 16.125″
Dimensions 34.25″L x 18.25″W
Overall weight 6.4 lbs

Barnett Recruit Features:

  • TriggerTech Frictionless Release Technology
  • Soft-Lok™ Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer
  • Magnesium Riser
  • Lightweight Composit2 Stock
  • Custom Composite Limbs
  • ADF (Anti-Dry Fire) Trigger System
  • MIM (Metal Injected Molded) Trigger
  • CNC Machined 7/8″ Picatinny Rails
  • Anti-vibration Foot Stirrup
  • Pass Through Foregrip
  • Safety Finger Guards
  • Single Bolt Assembly
  • Crank Cocking Device Compatible

NOTE: Read This Before You Read Anything Else!

It seems many people are not aware that there are two types of the regular Barnett Recruit compound crossbows – Barnett Recruit Terrain and Barnett Recruit Tactical.

Both are actually the same, the only difference are these two specs – scope and color:

1. Recruit Terrain comes with Desert Tan color and uses 4x32mm Multi-Reticle Scope

barnett recruit compound crossbow review - terrain

2. Recruit Tactical comes with Black color and uses Premium Red Dot Sight

barnett recruit tactical

That’s it – that’s the only difference. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s drill down on their features and specs:

Barnett Recruit Breakdown:

4x32mm Multi-Reticle Scope (Barnett Recruit Terrain)

It’s a waterproof, shock-resistant scope with five lines.

The scope is eight inches long and two inches wide. It’s only 12.8 ounces in weight, which means it adds very little weight to the bow.

The optics are multi-coated which aids in preventing glare and reflection. The image quality is also good even at long distance ranges. And even though it’s not a illuminated scope, it has decent light gathering qualities.

My only complain with this scope is it fogs up sometimes. I noticed this at cold temperatures. This is a big deal that you must consider if you live in a cold climate area.

I’m personally pleased with this sight because it’s accurate.

Premium Red Dot Sight (Barnett Recruit Tactical)

It has 11 dot intensity settings and three dots. There seem to be no glare and reflection problems as well but I can’t tell for sure if it’s multi-coated like the 4×32 multi-reticle scope.

The Red Dot Sight is also accurate. It does have a tendency to get loose after some time. In my opinion, it’s not really a “premium” sight as Barnett claims, but it does the job. You should know this is a low end sight. My guess is it’s one of the compromises that was made to keep the entire package price as low as it is now.

You could always upgrade yours to a better, more advanced scope, or buy the Recruit Terrain instead since it uses a 4×32 multi-recticle scope.

Other features:

I’ll just go through each one of Barnett Recruit’s features. If you want to skip this section, you can click here to jump to the Accuracy section.

TriggerTech Frictionless Release Technology + Metal Injection Mold Trigger

“Once you go TriggerTech, you’ll never go back.” That’s what Barnett claims about this technology. What is this in the first place?


Photo by Barnett Crossbows

Crossbows with this technology uses a unique, free-floating roller between the trigger and sear. The result is supposed to be a smooth and light three-pound trigger with zero creep.

It’s also good to know that the MIM triggers have the tightest quality tolerance available. These two features combined gives a smooth and light trigger with no creep.

Soft-Lok™ Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer

This is Barnett’s own patented technology, and all Barnett crossbows have this feature. It self-adjusts in order to create a downward pressure on the arrows. It’s also a safety measure as it keeps the arrows secure.

ADF (Anti-Dry Fire) Trigger System

This is another feature that every Barnett crossbow has. It uses a spring-loaded safety bar that remains in place until the arrow is seated properly. This makes sure the crossbow never fires without being fully loaded with an arrow.

CNC Machined Picatinny Rail

All Barnett crossbows use the same CNC machined picatinny rail. This allows you to add any accessories you want which consequently allows for maximum compatibility.

Rope Cocking Device

The rope cocking device is easy to use. It feels like slicing the draw weight in half, which is exactly how it was advertised. Even women and smaller frame hunters will have no problems cocking this bow with the rope cocker.

Pass Through Foregrip

The foregrip is conveniently placed right below the rail. The placement also aids in the overall stability of the bow.

Anti-Vibration Foot Stirrup

The foot stirrup does not get in the way of shooting once cocking is complete.

Crank Cocking Device Compatible

You can use a crank cocking device instead of the given rope cocking device that comes with this bow. All you have to do is remove the check piece and install your crank cocking device. I haven’t really used a crank cocking device with this bow yet as I’ve been fine with the rope cocking device so far. But if you want to use a crank, then the bow is compatible for that.

Mostly Assembled: Single Bolt Assembly

The Barnett Recruit comes as a mostly-assembled bow, which means all you have to do when it arrives at your doorstep is to install a single bolt, and you’re ready to hunt.

I find this very user-friendly as it eliminates assembly time on our part. The less time spent on going through the manual, the more time for shooting.

I do suggest you to go through the whole manual, still. It instructs you how to take care of the bow, and taking good care of your bow makes it last for decades.


I’m impressed with the accuracy of this bow in this price. It’s accurate for up to 50 yards – that’s the maximum distance you can kill a game with it. I’ve shot it farther than that and I experienced huge arrow drops.

The scopes are alright and they do the job, but they’re not the best. I recommend the scope to be your first upgrade if you want to be even more accurate.

Build Quality

I’m going to tell you straight up – this crossbow has a lot of plastic casing. I think this is the major compromise that allowed it to be priced this low.

Ease of Use

140lb draw weight is smooth and it’s easy to cock. It’s also easy to load and fire. All-in-all this bow is very beginner friendly.


Because of its size and weight, Barnett Recruit is easy to move around with through the woods.

Barnett Recruit Problems

While a majority of owners are enjoying their own Barnett Recruit with no problems, there have been a few reports of the cocking string breaking up. I haven’t had this problem personally but I think it’s important that you should know that others have.

My speculation is due to its compact size, light weight, low price, and positive overall performance, this crossbow appeals to people that are just getting started with crossbows. And so a lot of problems sprout from beginners not knowing how to take care of their bow. That’s why it’s very important to read the manuals that come with every bow you purchase and follow the instructions.

Here are some tips to remember in order to take care of your crossbow:

  1. Apply lube wax to the string and cables every five to ten shots. Failing to do so will cause the string to break.
  2. Apply lube wax to the top rails, front, flight track, and safety lock of the crossbow to prevent friction.
  3. Never dry fire a bow. Dry firing means shooting the bow without an arrow. This will break the string and even cause injury.
  4. Change the crossbow string immediately when it starts to fray. This can be as soon as one year of use for some strings. It depends so inspect your bow always.


A common question that usually comes up with bows is, can you kill a __________ with it?

Given a kinetic energy of 91.9 ft lbs, Barnett Recruit can kill large game. This kinetic energy was measured using 380 grain arrows. Therefore your own kinetic energy will vary depending on your arrow. The default Headhunter arrows that come with the package has 380 grain.

Barnett Recruit Pros and Cons:

  • Accurate
  • Compact
  • Light and balanced
  • Competitive price

Barnett Recruit Reviews: 2nd Opinion

Here’s what others have to say about the Barnett Recruit compound crossbow:

Barnett Recruit Price

I had this bow from Amazon for 299 USD. You can click here to check the current price.

Is is Worth the Price?

Hands down – yes. Read other reviews in Amazon and you’ll find happy owners who say it’s worth twice the price.

It’s in the 200 – 300 dollar range, and it’s a perfect bow for that kind of budget. Just don’t expect it to perform like high-end bows like the Barnett Ghost 420.

That being said, if you can save up a bit more, then even better – you get what you pay for after all.

For Barnett Recruit’s price however, it’s a great deal in my opinion. It does the job well and can accurately kill game for up to 40 to 50 yards. More distance than that and the arrow drops fast. For its price, I’ll take it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you attach a grip or rail mount light?

Yes. The picatinny rail in front of the molded grip can fit a foregrip or a rail mount light.

Is it only for small frame men and women?

No. Even people as tall as six feet own the Barnett Recruit and say they love it. The bow is just narrower so it’s compact on the width category. The only reason that the Barnett Recruit is described as a perfect bow for women and small-framed hunters is because it’s compact and light. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be used by men as well. It’s actually an advantage when hunting because of its maneuverability.

Is it good for beginners?

Yes. Aside from being sent as a package that includes every thing you need to get started, the bow is also easy to use. It’s easy to cock, load, and fire. It’s also lightweight so it won’t weigh down beginners that aren’t used to holding up crossbows yet.

Barnett Recruit Crossbow Review Conclusion

Should you buy this bow? It depends. If it’s the bow you can afford, then rest assured that it’s worth the price and it will do the job well.

That’s why it appeals to beginners because it’s very affordable and it performs well overall. It actually performs better than some bows that are a bit more expensive. That’s the reason why even seasoned hunters have nothing but good things to say about the bow. It’s a good example of “you don’t need $1,000 for a good bow”. It IS a good bow.

If you could save up more to buy a high-end bow, then I recommend that you go that route instead – I believe that this will be a better investment in the long run. After all, you get what you pay for.

However when it comes to its price versus what it actually offers, Barnett Recruit is a great bargain. I recommend it to anyone with a budget around $200. You might be someone who’s just getting started and you’re not sure if you’ll love crossbow shooting yet, so maybe you don’t want a high end bow right now. If that’s the case, then you can’t go wrong with the Barnett Recruit.


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2 Responses

  1. Matthew Greeves says:

    I agree with the problem of this crossbow breaking strings. If you read the reviews on Amazon most people don’t wax. That will surely snap the string. I have this crossbow (the Tactical as well just like you) and it’s awesome, works great, and accurate as hell. Pretty happy with it, got it as a Christmas gift 😉

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