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Crossbow article for India

prepared by -

john clark


Secretary General - World Crossbow Shooting Association

Where the crossbow belongs

Crossbow shooting has its origins in both military and in archery.

When was it developed into a sport?

The crossbow is reputedly 2500 years old having been thought to be invented by the Chinese. The crossbow was a military weapon up until perhaps the 18th century when gunpowder started to make it obsolete. The crossbow continued to be used for hunting right up into the 19th century and also for target shooting – particularly in some European countries.

Primitive crossbows are still used today for hunting in some parts of the world. The modern crossbow emerged in the 19th century and saw a resurgence after World War 2 – particularly in the USA, where it was used for rehabilitation of returning wounded soldiers. The ”Bailey” crossbow was developed at about this time and shooting followed the archery disciplines. The Bailey crossbow was effectively an archery bow on a rifle-like stock, being hand drawn. Meanwhile, older style and Medieval style crossbows continued to be used for target shooting in countries such as Switzerland and Belgium. The International Crossbow Shooting Union (IAU) was founded circa 1956 to regulate what was then called “Swiss Match” crossbow shooting. This saw the birth of the so-called “Match” crossbow. Match crossbows are used on10 and 30 m pistol ranges. Match crossbow shooting has its origins in a more rifle-oriented environment. In Europe, Match crossbow shooters use the crossbow to train for air rifle competition. The IAU recognised Field (Target) crossbow shooting in 1982. This push came from the archery world.

About the World Crossbow Shooting Association

The World Crossbow Shooting Association Incorporated (WCSA) was founded in January 2002 as a break-away organisation from the IAU. The IAU controlled Match and then Field (Target) crossbow shooting but was reluctant to embrace Sport crossbows and to modernise. The WCSA quickly moved to become a much broader-focused and flexible organisation and has developed the Sport crossbow, introduced the Forest round, embraced 3D and established bench-rest shooting.

Types of crossbow and crossbow events

There are essentially four different styles of contemporary crossbow:

  • Match
  • Target(also called Field)
  • Sport or hunting
  • Medieval

The WCSA controls Target, Sport and Medieval crossbow shooting, whereas Match and Field are controlled by the IAU.

  • Target crossbows are generally hand-made and look somewhat similar to match rifles. Stocks are orthopaedically adjustable and draw weight is limited to 95 lb. Open micrometer archery and rifle sights are used.
  • Sport crossbows are mass-produced and primarily designed for hunting. Most of these bows are fitted with telescopic sights with draw weights typically 150 to over 200 lb. Sport crossbows are divided into “Standard” and “Freestyle” classes.
  • Events include Outdoor Target, Indoor Target, Target Matchplay, Forest, 3D and Bench rest/prone competitions.
  • All shooting is conducted on archery –type ranges at distances from 10 to 70m. Shooting is done in the standing position except for Bench rest/prone.
  • Target shooting is similar to archery. Crossbow shooters and archers can participate on the same range at the same time. Outdoor events are conducted at distances from 35 to 65m on 60 cm multi-coloured archery faces.
  • Target Matchplay is a one-on-one “knock-out” competition similar to tennis.
  • The Forest round is conducted in a woodland setting on a course similar to golf. Twenty four two-dimensional animal Targets are set out at different distances.
  • 3D shooting is similar to Forest except that the targets are three dimensional rubber animals.
  • Bench rest/prone is conducted at 70 m using a 40 cm multi-coloured archery face. Shooters may either sit at a bench with the crossbow mounted in a cradle or may lie down on the ground to shoot.
  • World and Regional Championships are conducted every 2 years. Indoor and bench rest events are usually conducted as mail matches.

Number of countries involved

  • Organised crossbow shooting is conducted in 33 countries:
  • Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Chinese Taipei, USA

Crossbow development in India & South Asia

Crossbow shooting is a very new sport for India and is controlled by the Indian Crossbow Shooting Association (ICSA). The ICSA is a member of the WCSA with President Rajat Vij working hard to establish the sport. Mr. Rajat Vij has also been appointed as the WCSA’s Asian Development Officer, with interest being shown in countries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka.

    Head office :-

      Indian Crossbow Shooting Association
      16 North Idgah Colony, near police line, behind Gurudawara, opposite IG police residence
      Agra - Uttar Pradesh India
      Pincode 282001
      Mobile No: +91-9720433300
      E-mail: indiancrossbow.in@gmail.com
      Website: www.indiancrossbow.com