The repeating crossbow is one of the few weapons that have remained unchanged since its invention. It was first spotted in China and was capable of firing ten bolts in whopping 15 seconds.

Here’s a brief explanation of how a repeating crossbow works.

The Magazine

The idea of stacking bolts in a magazine on top of the barrel remains unchanged. It is the only way to add repeatability, but modern crossbows have a spring that keeps arrows in place. This little adjustment guarantees that a bolt will fire every time you pull the trigger. That makes modern crossbows more reliable than the original versions.

The Repeating Lever

The original design placed the repeating lever on top of the crossbow. This limited the functionality of the weapon, which explains why it stayed unchanged for a long time.

Modern crossbows, however, have a lever below the barrel. That allows designers to add a shoulder stock at the back and a scope on top. The result is an assault crossbow that is not only reliable but highly accurate too.

The Trigger

The traditional Chinese version came with a “slam and fire” trigger. While this was good enough at the time, it is not the safest way to operate a loaded weapon. The newer versions come with a proper lock and trigger mechanism that makes them incredibly accurate. Now you can aim and fire without having to spend too much time before releasing the next shot.


The main difference between most assault rifles and a modern crossbow is portability. You can dismantle a crossbow in seconds without any tools. This comes in handy when packing several bows for a hunting trip, especially if you don’t want to attract too much attention.

The string is the only part you need to replace on a crossbow. Once you get that out of the way, the crossbow becomes “brand new” again. Talk about convenience!