The etymology of crossbow refers us to the Latin word ballista, which comes from the Greek bállein. Crossbow is a weapon that allows launching different kinds of projectiles thanks to the fact that it has a bow and a rope. The concept is also used to name the machine that, in ancient times, was used for the same purpose.
The crossbows have a straight base, on which a bow is installed. This bow has a string that allows projectiles to be propelled, which can be arrows, stones, etc. While the crossbow was once an important weapon in warfare, it is now used recreationally for hunting or target shooting.
The origins of the crossbow go back several centuries before Christ: in “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu there are already mentions of this weapon. In the western world it began to become popular in the 10th century.
Among the advantages that the crossbow offers compared to other weapons, experts emphasize that it is not necessary to have too much precision to hit the target. It is also highlighted that it is possible to shoot a crossbow mounted on horseback, standing or even lying down. Among the points against, the difficulty of reloading appears: once a projectile has been launched, it takes a certain time and effort to fire again.
Ballesta, on the other hand, is the colloquial name for Helleborus fetidus, a plant that is part of the Ranunculáceas family group. It is a toxic species that was used to poison arrows.
Tips for learning to use a crossbow
Since the crossbow is a powerful weapon, we should not underestimate the importance of learning how to use it and knowing the relevant safety measures to avoid risky situations. Since, as mentioned above, it is much easier to master than the bow, for example, many people underestimate its potential and therefore do not spend enough time training.
First of all, it is recommended to start using the crossbow with the rope pointing upwards, until you get it to lock into place. Larger models have a stirrup for this, since pulling the rope back requires a lot of force. Loading the trigger of crossbows that are adapted to be used with one hand only, as if it were a revolver, is easier.
Before getting ready to aim it is necessary to check that the firing mechanism is properly tensioned. The placement of the projectile is another of the decisive steps, since the distance it can travel depends in part on this.
Unlike what many movies and video games can show us, using a firearm requires a combination of discipline and motor coordination: prior preparation is as important as the timing of the shot, if not more. Returning to the range of the projectile, it is known that in a good shot it can exceed 90 meters, although in most it does not exceed 18; To achieve the expected result it is necessary to estimate the distance from the target and then use the most appropriate technique.
The trigger should be pressed gently, as a sharp movement can result in a slightly off-target shot. The projectile leaves the body of the weapon with considerable power and at high speed, so it is necessary to make sure that you are aiming well before taking the last step.
Tutors advise students to use a straight pointed projectile for target practice. Sharps, on the other hand, are less safe and should be reserved for hunting; In addition, in target shooting they can cause problems and loss of time since they penetrate the target too deeply.