Crossbow Stuck on Safety? Here’s What to Do

Crossbow Stuck on Safety

Let’s say you’ve gone hunting. After an entire day of trailing your prey, you are finally ready to shoot. You crouch, stabilize, aim, then prepare to shoot. You don’t want to scare the prey off, so you try to remove the safety—yet, something unexpected happens. 

Is your crossbow stuck on safety? 

Yes, a crossbow can get stuck on safety. However, there are a bunch of things that you can do to fix these issues. No matter what you do, though, you will want to be secure and remove the bolt safely, so you don’t hurt yourself when you are fixing the safety. 

Let’s take a look at how you can fix these issues with your crossbow. First, we will go into why safety is important when dealing with this issue. 

The Importance of Crossbow Safety 

The crossbow is an extremely powerful long-ranged weapon; however, the crossbow will likely fire wildly if you don’t put it on safety. Simply put, the most important function a crossbow may have is safety. 

Each crossbow comes with this feature and, even if you are buying a used crossbow, you shouldn’t buy it if the safety is lacking or damaged. You can always fix other parts of the crossbow itself, but without a proper safety function, that crossbow will not be fit for use. 

Just think about it this way: imagine you have a crossbow, and you cock and prepare it for use. You go to practice or hunt, and you can’t put it on safety or release the safety. In this situation, you are not only endangering yourself, but also others around you.

This is even more true when the safety is stuck. What can happen then is that the crossbow can suddenly release and do damage to either people or items around you and your household. Therefore, your crossbow’s safety could very well be the prime thing protecting you. 

Take a look from another perspective. A professional archer may be able to deal with it. In their case, they know the ins and out of their crossbow, and may be able to get away with more because their experience has taught them much about the art. However, an amateur archer must rely on safety to protect them at all times. 

This is especially so with crossbows, since all crossbow archers look to move hunting from practicing. Then, the importance of safety becomes even more apparent than before.

You can see these safety tips in action in this important video:

Hunting With a Crossbow 

Let’s say you are in the following scenario: you are hunting in the woods, moving around and have been trailing your prey for hours. After a long time, you can see that the prey is near. 

You continue trailing it and can finally see it. The conditions are harsh because it’s early autumn, and it’s especially windy today. You shoot, but you miss. The bolt misses a couple inches from the target and lands in the grass, and the prey runs off. 

However, you aren’t disgruntled by this. You simply put another bolt in the chamber, cock it, and continue running after the prey. After a few more hours of trailing the target, you can now see it again. 

This time you know better, and you won’t move in like last time. Instead, you plan to get much closer, then fire your shot, which is a smarter idea than what you tried before. 

You move in, take a deep breath, and lock on the target. By this point, you can make out the deer quite clearly. It’s before you now, the distance is perfect, and you have it on the kill shot. The only thing that’s left now is to pull the trigger. 

However, when you try to remove the safety, it just isn’t working. You try to do it again, but it still doesn’t happen. After you pull a safety trigger a few times, the animal hears you and runs away. 

Your Crossbow Is Stuck 

Your Crossbow Is Stuck

Now you are standing there, and the day has already passed. If you don’t find the target soon, you are missing out on an entire day of hunting, just like that. You may start panicking at this point, not only because your prey is running away, but because the crossbow seems to have broken at a prime moment. 

At this point, the best thing you can do is to take a few deep breaths and bring back your composure. The crossbow, no matter how fascinating it may be, is still a weapon of simple construction. There aren’t many things that can go wrong with it. Instead, you should put the bolt away from yourself and take a good look at it. 

There are few parts to take a look at. First, obviously, is the safety mechanism. There are some strings, the pulling mechanism, trigger, and buttstock. You should make sure you know how to inspect these things quickly and quietly. 

At first glance, you may have a hard time figuring out what’s wrong with it, though, as you continue looking, you may slowly notice that something isn’t right. 

Beyond recognizing something wrong with the safety, you should also be aware that there could be other minor issues that can result from your crossbow sticking, such as wires getting a little looser.

Problem Is Solved 

Most often, the problem is in how you cocked the crossbow. Today, most manufacturers build their crossbows with an automatic safety feature. This feature allows the crossbow to block the safety trigger if you haven’t pulled the strings to their full length when cocking the crossbow. 

You will usually be unable to shoot if you haven’t cocked the crossbow as you should. This is a convenient way to prevent dry fire, along with other injuries that could happen as a result of a poor safety system. 

In this case, you would remove the bolt, then watch for the bolts to not fire off while you are removing the safety. Put the bolt back in. With the use of your foot this time, draw the strings and cock the crossbow to full length. 

Once this is done, everything should click and fall into a place. Remove the safety, hopefully with ease now, and return it back. Then, you would do it again to check if it’s working like it should. You should find that it’s working like it should have the first time. 

Once all this is done, you are finally ready to continue trailing your prey once again.

Maintaining a Crossbow 

Maintaining a Crossbow

As you move through the woods, you would keep the safety on.

When you see your prey, remove the safety while you are still at a distance. As you do so, the animal won’t be able to hear you. Get closer, crouch, and be ready to fire your shot. When the target is locked on, take a deep breath, then pull the trigger. The bolt will fly right into the target, and you finally get what you came for. 

Remember that regular maintenance of your crossbow will help you avoid this kind of situation, or at least make it less likely to happen. Make sure to check on your weapon regularly and maintain it properly. Some good places to check include the strings, cooking system, chamber, and rest of the weapon to make sure it’s working as it should.

Check out our article How to Fix a Crossbow that Shoots High to learn more about crossbow maintenance.

Staying Safe at All Times 

Staying safe at all times is of the utmost importance. Most hunters—and archers for that matter—rarely, if ever, hunt alone. While some archers do love solitude, most of them hunt in groups because it’s much easier and more effective that way. It can also help if you run into trouble or in a problem.  

The first you want to do is to keep safe. Just as if you were in the army, in which keeping your equipment and weapon top-notch is mandatory, the same principle would apply to the hunt. If the hunter or an archer isn’t fully prepared, they could slow down and ruin the entire hunting party. Therefore, you should always come prepared. 

Make sure you are checking your weapon regularly, from its biggest part to its smallest part. That includes the strings, cocking system, chamber, buttstock, and safety system, which should all be inspected and tested before you go out to hunt or practice. 

The worst thing that could happen is you possibly blocking the moment you have to shoot, or hurting yourself or someone else in your party. Yet, as you are preparing to hunt, and your whole goal is to hunt the prey, you are going to come prepared. 

Remember that transportation of the crossbow is also important. You don’t want to be holding the thing every minute you’re out in the woods—that would be way too much weight on your arms. Get yourself a safety harness like this one to decrease the chances of issues arising from poor transportation.

As basic military strategy teaches us, preparation is half of victory. When you do anything in life, and especially archery, be and come prepared. That way, not only will you improve your archery skills, but you will also have better results in life. 

After all, that’s the whole point. Archery isn’t some sport—it’s a way of life. Respect that and improve in all aspects of life.


My name is Roland, and I have over a decade of experience in archery, both with bow and crossbow. I want to share the best tips and tricks about archery and help you reach the next level. So, browse through the blog and find relevant information about archery and stick around.

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