A crossbow is a type of weapon based on the bow and consisting of a horizontal bow-like assembly mounted on a stock. It shoots projectiles called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which were derived from the word ballista, a torsion siege engine resembling a crossbow.
In modern times, crossbows have been largely supplanted by firearms in most roles but are still widely used for shooting sports, hunting, and when shooting in relative silence is an important consideration.
Crossbows exist in different variants. One way to classify them is the acceleration system, while another is the size and energy, degree of automation or projectiles.
A recurve crossbow is a bow that has tips curving away from the archer. The recurve bow’s bent limbs have a longer draw length than an equivalent straight-limbed bow, giving more acceleration to the projectile and less hand shock. Recurved limbs also put greater strain on the materials used to make the bow, and they may make more noise with the shot.
Multiple bow systems have a special system of pulling the sinew via several bows (which can be recurve bows). The workings can be compared to a modern compound bow system. The weapon uses several different bows instead of one bow with a tackle system to achieve a higher acceleration of the sinew via the multiplication with each bow’s pulling effect.
A compound crossbow is a modern crossbow and is similar to a compound bow. The limbs are usually much stiffer than those of a recurve crossbow. This limb stiffness makes the compound bow more energy efficient than other bows, but the limbs are too stiff to be drawn comfortably with a string attached directly to them. The compound bow has the string attached to the pulleys, one or both of which has one or more cables attached to the opposite limb.
You may wish to join an archery club. Here are a couple of clubs to join: