The pistol crossbow arrow: Steambow’s drive to produce quality arrows, not gimmicks
Steambow started selling small crossbows with the release of the AR-6 Stinger in 2018. Since then, they’ve been both imitated or simply copied. Yet they are still ahead of the curve in performance and quality. What did they do differently?
When did small crossbows get so serious?
Why was Steambow’s entry into the small crossbow market so significant? Pistol crossbows had been around for quite a while, relying on backyard tin-can destruction as a selling point.
Cheap designs, mated to cheap production and topped off with, you guessed it, cheap arrows.
After all, if you’re not building for serious work, you won’t invest in serious components.
It’s that simple.
Arrows were either wood, or cheap, bendy plastics. Even years later, when a few more offerings were introduced to the market, the best available was thin aluminum with crimped tips.
The market shift from gimmick to genuine tool really only came in 2018, when Steambow mounted their precision-milled, aluminum, 6-shot magazine to an existing mass-manufactured pistol crossbow. This crossbow had a cocking mechanism that suited the rapid-fire potential of Steambow’s design, and so the AR-6 Stinger I was born.
Steambow knew their design needed to hit consistently to be taken seriously so they made arrows that were tough, stiff-spined and consistent in weight and construction.
These were arguably the best that the pistol crossbow market had seen to date and by some margin.
Pushing for greater performance
The initial AR-6 Stinger I was popular, but Steambow felt the need to improve. If consistent shooting was no longer a problem with the arrows, then making the platform more stable would surely improve accuracy even further.
With that in mind, Steambow built the AR-6 Stinger II with an added shoulder stock. This, in turn, increased the leverage of the cocking system allowing for stronger limbs too, such as 90-lb Pro limbs.
Again, Steambow ensured its arrows were also up to the job: strong and consistent enough to give accurate hits and withstand the stronger draw weight.
Imitation: the sincerest form of flattery
The success of the Stingers didn’t just catch the attention of the buying public: other manufacturers also decided to get in on the action with variations of Steambow’s theme. Once more, arrows were one of the clearest signs of how much effort went into the design.
Some made the effort, others did not. In spite of this, Steambow has led the way introducing the next stage in evolution: hybrid carbon/aluminum precision arrows.
The new standard
These hybrid carbon/aluminum precision arrows have staggering front of center values for flawless flight stability. Although a higher FoC means a faster drop in velocity, typical Stinger II ranges make this issue insignificant: all you get is the pin-point accuracy.
The hybrid feature is due to the arrows having an aluminum sleeve running within a carbon shaft. The aluminum sleeve means greater overall weight (and kinetic energy) while the carbon shaft ensures the arrow is stiff and strong enough to handle higher draw-weight poundages.
Add to that tips that are screwed and also glued and aluminum nocks and you have arrows that are clearly better than any others currently on sale.
All Steambow’s arrow line-ups have consistently included 3 types. The first are the target arrows offering excellent value if used correctly: perfect for putting holes in dedicated archery targets or similar materials. For those wanting more punch, Steambow were the first to bring out heavier, high-penetration bodkin arrows with hardened steel tips. Where an impact on a tougher material would have damaged the tips of the target arrows, these just power through. Finally, for more serious tasks, there are the hunting arrows equipped with 2D razor-sharp, fixed broadheads capable of inflicting extreme damage on the target.
These improvements bring comfort, cost and benefit to the user. They also open the doors on how powerful a small crossbow can be, since arrows need no longer be the limiting factor. This is particularly true given engineering challenges have, so far, failed to prevent Steambow exploring the limits of what’s possible.
Come look at Steambow’s products and see why they are the first name in quality.