Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review

Barnett Vicious, reverse limb crossbow.
Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review – Keep reading for what you need to know.

Thanks for checking out my Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review.  I started using crossbows to hunt deer with in Wisconsin back in 2015.  My first crossbow was the Barnett Jackal, an entry level crossbow, but earlier this year I upgraded to the Barnett Vicious.

(UPDATE: The Vicious is no longer being made, but Barnett has a really nice upgraded version that is also reverse draw called the Barnett Revengeance which is new for 2018.  You can check out the Barnett Revengeance here).

There was a fair amount of research I put into purchased my new crossbow.  Earlier in the spring I wasn’t sure what it was I exactly wanted.  All I knew was that I wanted something smaller than the Jackal, and with a little more arrow speed.

My research eventually brought me to purchasing the Vicious, which is an upgraded version of the Barnett Reverse Raptor.  So let’s take a look!

  • Product:  Barnett Vicious Reverse Draw Crossbow
  • Price:  Varies online, $575 to $699
  • Cheapest Place To BuyAmazon
  • Warranty:  Limited 5 years
  • My Rating:  5/5

Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review – General Information

One of the main reasons I decided to go with purchasing a Barnett Vicious was it’s size.  I hunt from the ground, usually in a blind but sometimes I do like to still hunt with a bow.  Anybody switching over from a compound to crossbow will quickly find they are much more cumbersome and unwieldy in the woods.  Enter the reverse draw crossbow…

  • Weight:  6.4 lbs
  • Speed (fps):  340
  • Axle to axle not cocked:  16.75″
  • Axle to axle cocked:  9″
  • Draw wight:  150 lbs
  • Kinetic energy:  97 ft lbs
  • Power stroke:  15.375″
Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review - Getting it dialed in: A little lower than I want it to be at twenty yards.
Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review – Getting it dialed in: A little lower than I want it to be at twenty yards.

Most crossbows have additional features and the Vicious is no different.  Here is what technology and extra features Barnett is touting for the Vicious:

  • TriggerTech Frictionless Release:  zero creep, and a nice crisp 3 lbs trigger pull
  • Comes full assembled:  Most crossbow require some assembly, not this one
  • Carbon riser
  • Soft-Lok Floating Bristle Arrow Retainer
  • Anti dry fire trigger system
  • Reverse draw technology
  • 7/8″ picatinny rail
  • Crank cocking device compatible
  • Finger safety reminder
  • Adjustable butt-pad

Most crossbow packages come with everything you need to get started.  Here is what comes with the Barnett Vicious Crossbow Package:

  • 4 x 32 illuminated scope
  • Rope cocking device
  • Side mount quiver
  • Two 20″ Headhunter Arrows
  • String dampeners
  • Lubrication wax

What I Like About The Barnett Vicious Reverse Draw Crossbow

Back in 2016 I had the chance to shoot and get familiar with the Barnett Revers Raptor.  I like it a lot.  It was easier to handle than the beefy Jackal model I had, and it was faster and just as accurate.

I knew in 2017 I was going to upgrade and by a new crossbow, but I wasn’t what exactly I wanted.  Admittedly I always had the Reverse Raptor in my mind, but was not sold on it.  My need to do some thorough research was there in my thoughts, because I was open to spending close to a thousand dollars on a new crossbow setup.

Barnett Vicious Crossbow - Axle to axle when not cocked is a mere 16.75 inches.
Barnett Vicious Crossbow – Axle to axle when not cocked is a mere 16.75 inches.

To make a long story short and because you are here to read a Barnett Vicious crossbow review – I bought one from Amazon, and I am glad I did!

Like I said above, I hunt from the ground and use popup blinds more often than not.  The Vicious is in my opinion the perfect crossbow for using inside popup blinds.  Deer hunting, turkey hunting… whatever… this crossbow is compact and easier to maneuver around inside a blind.

Also, anybody who has ever stalked through the woods knows trying to do some with a crossbow can be a real pain in the butt.  sticking to cover is hard to do with a wide limb crossbow.  The Vicious makes it a little easier.  When cocked the axle’s are less than 9″ from each other!  This to me was a major feature I wanted in my crossbow.

I took it out in the woods around my cabin a few this past summer for some walks and practice stalks and noticed a huge difference from the wide limbed Jackal I had used the years before.

So yeah, I liked the easy to maneuver compact size, but what else do I like about this crossbow:

  • It’s an accurate crossbow:  Not all crossbows are, despite what you may hear or read online.  Faster crossbows, just like compounds, can be less forgiving in regards to accuracy.  At 340 fps this is not the fastest crossbow on the market, far from it, but it’s pretty darn descent and provides good arrow trajectories with accurate shot placement.
  • Reverse draw technology is awesome:  Reverse draw crossbows are more evenly weight balanced.  They are not front heavy like a traditional crossbow.  Having the weight more evening distributed helps carrying it during stalks, during offhand aiming and shooting.  If you have held a traditional crossbow on a deer for extended amounts of time waiting for a shot you know how exhausting it can be, and how it can affect your shot.  Reverse limb technology provide better crossbow balance.

    A highly maneuverable crossbow. When cocked the axle to axle distance is about 9 inches. Great for ground blind hunting and stalking.
    A highly maneuverable crossbow. When cocked the axle to axle distance is about 9 inches. Great for ground blind hunting and stalking.

  • Barnett’s TriggerTech is fantastic:  Crisp and clean trigger pull.  An even 3 lbs break.  I don’t know what else to say about this, it’s just so convenient and helps with accurate shooting and cleaner ethical kills.  But you need to practice… always practice.  Shooting any hunting weapon is a perishable skill and needs to be used or it will diminish.
  • Anti Dry Fire Trigger System:  Barnett is well know for this feature on their crossbows.  Put simply, your crossbow will not fire when it is cocked unless their is an arrow loaded into it.  Dry firing a crossbow will more than likely destroy it.  Sure, nobody plans to do that, or they shouldn’t if they know what the heck they are doing… but accidents can happen.  You can’t pull the trigger and fire this crossbow when it’s cocked – it has to be loaded in order to fire.
  • 4 x 32 scope:  Normally I replace any scoped that come with a rifle, and I did the same with I bought my Barnett Jackal.  But I have to admit, the scope that came with it is fairly descent.  I didn’t feel like I needed to get a new scope for the Vicious.  It has internal markings for arrow drop distances that you can determine through shooting and testing.  It’s nothing fancy, but it is certainly functional and has worked well for me so far.  I’ll keep using it.
  • Adjustable butt-stock:  This is something you see on many crossbows being manufactured, and it certainly is a nice feature that I like about the Barnett Vicious.  Just a few minor adjustments and my new crossbow was fitting me perfectly.
  • It’s quiet:  Crossbows typically are louder than compound bows, and the Vicious is no different.  However, I have noticed when shooting among other at the local range using various other crossbows that mine is quieter, noticeably so.  That is actually a design of the reverse draw crossbow.
  • It looks really cool:  Okay, looks are not that important, or at least they shouldn’t be… but to me this thing looks awesome!

Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy requirements for hunting wild game in North America.
Kinetic energy requirements for hunting wild game in North America.

What do you want to hunt?  I shoot a 400 grain arrow/broad-head when I hunt deer, that gives me 97 foot pounds of kinetic energy with the Vicious.  Of course that diminishes over distance the arrows travels.

At twenty yards kinetic energy drops to 92 foot pounds.  Then at 30 yards it drops to 90 foot pounds.  At forty yards the kinetic energy drops to 88 foot lbs.

Basically I know that I’m covered for hunting any big game I want to here in North America, as I don’t shoot anything with an arrow further than thirty yards away.

Check out the chart that shows the recommended kinetic energy for hunting various sized animals.  You can see that with careful planning and working within the limits of the crossbow you can hunt even the biggest game North American has to offer.

Cocking The Barnett Vicious

It cocks pretty easily.  Sure, it does have a 150 lbs pull, but with a cocking rope (it comes with one) it really is not a problem at all.  Because the limbs are reversed, the string actually start down by the foot stirrup – you don’t have to lift any higher than you normally would strong cocking any other crossbow.

You just have to be sure you cock the crossbow evenly.  But then you need to do that with any crossbow.  If you don’t evenly cock a crossbow you are going to find you are not consistent at all with any shots you make.  I don’t suggest ever hand cocking this crossbow.  Use the cocking ropes it comes with, or if you want get the Barnett Crank Cocking Device.


One thing I read often when doing research into reverse draw crossbows is that they tend to not be as accurate as traditional compound crossbows.  I could not find any reason for this that was attributed to design.  Personally I did not shoot any better or worse with my Barnett Vicious than I did with the Jackal I owned.

In fact I test fired a variety of crossbows last winter and didn’t find I was better or worse with one over another.  I appear to have hit a personal accuracy limit more so than the from any crossbow’s limit.

Here is how I sighted mine in and accuracy results from shooting offhand:

  • Twenty Yards:  I use the first reticle in the scope for my twenty yard sight in, and have it set to shoot one inch high at this range.  My arrows are touching at this range when I fire more than one.
  • Thirty Yards:  The second reticle is dead on for me at thirty yards.  My arrow groups are about an inch apart.
  • Forty Yards:  While I don’t shoot any game animals past thirty yards, I did site my Barnett Vicious out to forty.  At this range my scope’s third reticle is pretty close to dead on.  My offhand shots at this range tend to group at around 1.5 inches.
Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review - sighting in at forty yards offhand.
Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review – sighting in at forty yards offhand.

Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review – The Conclusion

First and foremost I am very happy with my purchase of the Barnett Vicious.  It is certainly a tight package that is going to fit my hunting needs perfectly.  Shooting it is so much fun.  I have had it out a dozen times over this past summer of not more, and plan on running it through some more paces yet before I take it deer hunting here in Wisconsin for the first time.

It certainly is not an entry level crossbow.  But nor it is a high end high priced one either.  With that said if you are thinking of getting into crossbow hunting and have some money to spend above an entry level weapon, I would say to be sure to check out this crossbow.

No regrets with my purchase.  Very pleased with everything about this crossbow.

I did some shopping around for the best price before I bought it.  My local pro-shop had one on hand, but the price was a little steep than what I was seeing online.

It’s hard to beat Amazon’s pricing, and in the end that is where I bought mine.  They are certainly worth checking out, and the price there does fluctuate a little.  The Barnett Vicious is a new crossbow for 2017 and does not much out on it for reviews.  It is an upgrade version of the Reverse Raptor, which is another fine crossbow.


If you have any questions about my Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review, please be sure to ask.  I will do my best to answer.

Check out the new 2018 Barnett Revengeance Reverse Draw Crossbow here!

As always thanks for reading,



TD is the owner and publisher of TD All Outdoors. He has been enjoying the outdoors since since he was a child. Over the years he has spent as much time as he can solo wilderness canoe tripping, overlanding, hiking, fishing, bushcrafting, hunting, hammock camping, and more. Aside from this blog, he also own his own coffee brand,

32 thoughts on “Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review

  1. Hello there! I’m actually interested in crossbow. At first I wanna try boy and arrow but after I read your review about this Barnett Vicious, crossbow got my attention. I still want to buy bow and arrow maybe after I buy crossbow. I found your review very informative and interesting. I didn’t know that crossbow packs a lot of power and features. It’s like a gun but its ammo is an arrow. Do you think that this is a great self defense weapon?

    1. Hi John Rico,

      Crossbow sure are a lot fun for just shooting and killing time, or hunting.

      As for self defense – I would have to say a big NO.  I actually have taken many self defense courses over the years, and a crossbow would be a very bad choice for that.  You have one shot to defend yourself… and that’s it.  Reloading it takes a lot of time.  Hollywood makes them look cool and makes them out to be formidable weapons, but they are highly limited.

      Great for hunting!  Not so much for home or self defense. I could go and on about self defense and make several recommendations, but that doesn’t fit into the theme of this website so much.


  2. I have never shot Barnett Vicious crossbow, but I have seen and handled them at my work many times. It certainly is a legit hunting crossbow for North American medium and large game animals. Unfortunately, here in Oregon, we are not able to hunt with crossbows so not too many people have them. I do appreciate that it comes with the cocking device as I know that is extremely difficult to cock it without it.

    1. Hi Austin,

      I tried drawing it one by hand, it is doable, but I certainly wouldn’t want to do it if I didn’t have to.  The cocking rope that comes with it works great, and is supper easy to setup and fit to the Vicious.

      I am sure crossbow hunting will come to Oregon sooner than later.  Many states over the past few years have passed their usage…. brings more money into the State.


  3. Since this crossbow is 6lbs, I can assume most other crossbows are much heavier, or just bulkier and awkward?

    I never knew crossbows were more difficult to use in the woods than compound bows. I always thought crossbows were cool. Whenever I see them in movies, they look really light and easy to use lol.

    1. Hi Jack,

      Yeah, Hollywood makes them out to be versatile and cool… huge misconception.  When it comes to hunting they are not for everybody, that is for sure.

      This crossbow is lighter than most, and since it is s reverse crossbow design the weight is more centered, and not front heavy like standard compound crossbow.


  4. Just read your review of the Barnett Vicious Crossbow. Great job explaining this amazing crossbow!
    I have a lower back injury and I got this cross bow. My favorite feature is the reverse draw technology. It makes this very easy to use!
    Anyone that may be in my situation should certainly consider getting one of these, I love mine!

    1. Hi Brendon,

      Thanks for checking out my review.  Back injuries are another big reason why people look to the crossbow for their hunting tool needs.  A crossbow with a mechanical cranking system, like the Barnett Vicious is capable of utilizing, makes it possible for many people to still be able to enjoy Autumn hunting.


  5. Hello,
    We live in Arizona and my family likes to do an annual javelina hunting trip. My brother has been looking at a crossbow for a while now. I am going to have him check out your review. I know he is looking for something that is versatile enough, as you mentioned, to hunt pretty much anything in North America, yet it is super lightweight and compact. This thing really packs a punch. One question for you, do you have any recommendations for a teenager? My son is going with us next year, and I am interested in getting him a crossbow as well. I agree with you, this crossbow looks cool, and the name sounds really cool! Thanks for sharing, this is right in line with what my brother is looking for.

    1. Hi,

      I am a fan of the Barnett line of crossbows – mostly because of the way they implement the safety features they put on their bows with the finger guards and anti-dry fire technology.  So if I was to make a recommendation on a youth crossbow, I would first say look at Barnett, and then after that to look at the Recruit line of crossbows.

      They make a variety of crossbows in the Recruit line, some are made for smaller children where the arrow speed is under 200 feet per second.  Then they make the Recruit Terrain, which is a 330 feet per second bow… it retails for around $279 online.  Pro shops are likely to cost more.


  6. The scope rings that came with the scope were not the correct size for the rail. Did you have this issue?

    1. Hi Steve,

      No, I never had any issues like that. I would contact Barnett ASAP if you haven’t already. I am sure they wills end you the correct rings.

      I was out over this past weekend putting more arrows down range at my cabin. Been warm, a little to warm to feel good about going out bow hunting in Wisconsin. Temps are dropping though. Good luck with your Barnett Vicious! I love shooting mine…


  7. What a great website. I enjoy the outdoors and especially fly fishing so this spoke to me. I normally fish out west and in the Florida keys however. How is the fishing around your area? Wisconsin looks like a great area to hunt, fish, canoe and camp. All your images are awesome! I assume they all are yours. Website is easy to navigate and well thought out. I really enjoyed it and will be back.

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for checking out the website and commenting on my Barnett Vicious Crossbow Review.

      Wisconsin is a fantastic State for all things outdoors.  We have it all.  You asked specifically about fishing, and between the lakes, rivers, streams, and the Great Lakes, you are guaranteed to have a great time.


  8. Great in-depth review. I’ve been on the fence investing in a bow for sometime now since I actually haven’t used one before and I’m fairly new to hunting. I’m just not sure if I would be getting too ahead of myself pouring all that money into my first bow. Would you recommend this bow to a beginner or would you say to start out with something a little less expensive?

    1. Hi Charlie,

      Great questions.  It really depends on the person/hunter.  You said you are new to hunting.  Do you enjoy it and do you see yourself going archery hunting every year?  Do you enjoy shooting a bow or crossbow?  If you answered yes to those questions and have the money to spend, then yes, I would get a bow or crossbow that is beyond the entry level.

      The Barnett Vicious Crossbow is not really a top end bow.  It certainly is not an entry level bow either.  It is a mid level bow, one that will give you lots of use for many years to come.


  9. I just ordered one today online , my friend and i went into Cabelas after i ordered it
    this evening looking at crossbows and the salesmen told me that Cabelas stopped selling the Barnett Vicious reverse draw crossbow due to limb issues and customers not happy with accuracy and inconsistent shot placement !He explained that it has a solid limb construction and they were failing . I haven’t been able to find any information or reviews stating this . Can anyone comment on this information ?

    1. Hi,

      Never heard that before. I spent some time researching online last night for an hour trying to find anything regarding what you have said and couldn’t find anything anywhere. I sent an email to Barnett Service last night and had a reply a few minutes ago that there is no such issue with the Vicious. A little more digging online revealed to me that the Barnett Reverse Raptor, which is a previous model design to the Vicious, did have some issues with limb creep, and was why they discontinued that crossbow line and created the Vicious – as an upgrade and fix. The Reverse Raptor was discontinued last year.

      So I think the guy at Cabelas had his crossbows mixed up and fed you some bogus info. When in doubt, always check the reviews online, and if still in doubt, ask the manufacturer. One of the reasons I do a lot of buying online after reading as many customer reviews as possible is because customer know… they use the product and report the good and the bad. Salesmen in stores don’t always have the full picture, or they are biased, or they just make stuff up. Not saying that guy at Cabelas was knowingly feeding you bad info, but it seems like he probably had his information backwards regarding the discontinued Reverse Draw Raptor and the Vicious.

      Mine works great. No issues at all ever, and is more accurate than I am. When I shoot it from a rest the arrows are tight and touching in their groups. When I shoot it off hand at thirty yards I can shoot 1.5″ to 2″ groups. I noticed on Amazon as I write this that the Vicious is on sale for $602.

      Have fun with your new crossbow when it arrives! Let me know how you like it once you get it – good or bad, I want to know.


  10. Great review! I have only ever hunted with rifles and pistols, and have only recently thought of trying to use a crossbow, but I wasn’t sure where to start. It seems like the reverse draw makes this crossbow much easier to handle, so if I decide to purchase one, I think I will try this one! Have you noticed any negative aspects of this after using it for a while?

    1. Hi,

      I have not found any negative aspects of using the Barnett Vicious Crossbow, other than it is a lot of fun to shoot and target practice with! 

      It is a great crossbow, fun for arrow flinging, and hunting.


  11. TD , I also called Barnett and talked to them and was told it is a awesome crossbow with no issues , plus they reminded me of a five year warranty . I then called the distributor and was reassured no issues and that he has had a increase in sales from previous purchasers bragging of it’s performance . It should be here Friday aqnd i’m excited to shoot it .


    1. Hi Mark,

      Yeah, sounds like the salesperson had some bad info. I am heading up to my cabin in northwest Wisconsin this weekend. Temps are finally cooling off and ‘feels’ right to get out and do some deer hunting. I am feeling great about my Barnett Vicious…

      If you think about it, let me know you input in your new crossbow after you get some time to mess with it.


  12. Great post, Timothy, on the Barnett Vicious Crossbow.
    I am very impressed with all the detail you have provided about this medieval weapon.
    I was not very familiar with the reverse model, however, you describe it so well that I will be looking into it more closely in the future.
    Your Kinetic Energy Chart and your sighting descriptions add a lot to this post.
    I like its more narrow profile and I can see how it would make navigation much easier.
    How old is this “reverse” technology?
    Do you have friends that use “reverse tech” or did you try this out, simply because of the more narrow profile?

    1. HI Paul,

      Great question on hold old the reverse technology is – after you asked it I went online and did some quick research, because I was curious too.  Sadly I couldn’t find any definitive info on exactly how old that technology is.  I did find some information that it was being played around with heavily about a decade ago.  But I think it was being researched before that.

      I didn’t really have any friends that used crossbows when I made the switch from regular compound bows due to may broken sternum.  After having some struggles with a traditional crossbow while hunting I went out to look for ‘options’ on finding a smaller and more maneuverable crossbow.  That led me to the reverse draw crossbows, and the Barnett Vicious.  The narrow profile was a big highlight for me as a ground blind hunter.


  13. My dad has a crossbow for when he hunts behind his house. I’m not sure what brand he has but I know he was looking to upgrade soon and with the holidays coming up, I’m trying to do some research for my mom to be able to get him one. My dad sometimes has trouble with one of his arms and I was wondering just how easy the cocking rope and/or the Barnett crank cocking device is to use? Do these devices make cocking the bow considerably easier, or just a little easier? Thanks for any info you could provide!

    1. Hi Bill,

      I personally use a rope cocking device on my Barnett Vicious and it makes it much more easy over hand pulling, and it also pretty much assures that string will be pulled back evenly which is important for accuracy.  Now, with that said, I have used a crank device a few times on another Barnett crossbow, I think it was a Barnett Ghost 360, and the crank made it really easy… I mean really easy.

      If your dad has trouble with one of his arms, the crank device is the way to go.


  14. I was training to use a bow that was a gift that i lost in a fire which made me sad but I found this a good review.

    I now want to go out and pick one up to start the training again. (my wife would kill me)

    The crossbow looks pretty bada$$ by the way. How long have you been using the bow?

    1. Hi Shannon,

      I’ve been hunting with a bow off and on since I was in my late teens.  Switched over to the crossbow just a couple years ago.  It has been a lot of fun.  Even if not hunting I like to go out and just fling some arrows at targets with the crossbow.  You are right… the Barnett Vicious is pretty bad-ass looking!  I noticed they have been coming down in price as well.  


  15. Hey TD,

    I have always been eager to see and even operate this like sophisticated crossbow but as fate would have it have never had the chance to.probably because iam not a fun of games to be precise outdoor ones.But from what i read here makes it a mind changer and thinking of how i would one day own it atleast for my two sons.Its is a great game especially that proper aiming is ensured to hit the bulls eye and hence thinking it will be a great training tool to them

    1. Hi Diana,

      Thanks for checking out my Barnett Vicious Crossbow review and taking time to comment.  Crossbows are a lot of fun to shoot and practice hitting targets with.  I can spend a couple hours at a time doing just that during the summer months messing around in my yard, or up at my cabin.


  16. I really like your review, really detailed. I’m someone that has never shot a bow before or knows nothing about it, but my family members are looking for one, is this bow good for learning on? Been kinda searching for one last little bit haven’t really found anything. Glad I came across this review

    1. Hi,

      I wouldn’t consider the Barnett Vicious an entry level crossbow, but it is not at all difficult to learn to use, and get better using with practice.  I would suggest that if a person is not sure if they will like using a crossbow to hunt or just to target practice, to buy a cheaper model first and see if they like it.  If you already know it is going to be something that is enjoyed, go ahead and get a better crossbow, like the Vicious or a higher end model, and enjoy it to the max!

      A good way to test things out before buying a new crossbow is to sometimes go to an archery range where they rent out crossbows… take one for a test drive so to speak.


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