Sponsored by: The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America
I saw the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow for the first time at the 2016 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. I am always on the lookout for equipment that will make hunting and shooting more accessible for people living with a disability, so I was definitely intrigued by this new product. I spoke with the folks at the Crosman booth and handled the Airbow. They answered my questions and we exchanged contact information. I knew that I needed to get my hands on a demo to shoot and handle before I could make a judgment, but I was excited about the possibilities that the Airbow could provide.
At first glance, the Airbow doesn’t look like a bow. It is built on the Benjamin precharged pneumatic platform, and it looks very similar to the Bulldog .357 airgun. There are no strings or limbs, and the full length, hollow arrows fit over a metal cylinder at the end of the barrel, above a reservoir of compressed air. The Airbow is 33.5″ in length and just 2″ wide, so it is easy to handle and feels good in your hands. It weighs 7 pounds, so depending on your abilities; you may feel more comfortable using shooting sticks.
The Airbow comes with three, 375 grain carbon fiber arrows made specifically for the bow. Also designed specifically for the Airbow is the CenterPoint 6×40 mm scope, with the adjustable objective providing parallax settings from five yards out and the custom MTAG reticle offering aiming points out to seventy five yards. The canted Picatinny base gives 20 MOA of additional adjustment.
Once I was back home in Wyoming and able to get an Airbow, I was immediately impressed with three specific characteristics. The first is how easy the Airbow is to use. Most mainline compound or crossbows require good upper body strength or some kind of cocking mechanism in order to operate them successfully. With the Airbow, the cocking mechanism is on the top of the barrel, and with two fingers, it can be operated smoothly and easily. Decocking is just as simple, and the lever is ambidextrous. One pull up and back down and the Airbow is cocked and ready to fire.
I was also impressed with the speed and accuracy of the Airbow. On a full tank, it will launch the arrows at 450 FPS, and it will continue to shoot accurately for eight shots before it needs to be refilled. The hollow shaft of the arrows means that the force of the air is driven behind the tip and not the nock, which results in incredibly accurate shot placement. No Archer’s Paradox to account for here.
Finally, I appreciated the safety factors of the Airbow. With no strings to be wary of, operating and shooting the Airbow is safe, especially for people who have limited feeling or mobility in their fingers. And since it is just as easy to decock as it is to cock, if you need to remove the arrow, you don’t have to fire it into a tree and risk damaging a broadhead in the field as you would with a normal crossbow.
I see two potential drawbacks to the Airbow. The first is simple- it runs off of compressed air. This means that you are refilling the tank every eight shots, and you need to have a way to hold and transport your air. The Airbow comes with an adapter for filling with a large scuba tank, or if you prefer, you can purchase the PCP Charging System tank from Crosman, which is small enough to fit in a backpack and can fill the Airbow approximately eight times. Filling the tank is a quick and easy process, but it does require additional planning and expense.
The other drawback of the Airbow is that it is not currently legal to use for hunting large game in some states, and not at all for hunting in other states. The Airbow, and airguns in general, are being reviewed in several states for eligibility during specific hunting seasons, so this has the potential to change in the future.
Overall, I am incredibly excited about this Airbow, specifically its potential to help more archers living with a disability be independent, safe, and successful in the field.
NOTE: The Archery Trade Association has formally released it’s position on the Airbow and has determined that it does not classify the Airbow as ‘archery’ equipment. See full report at:
The Airbow retails for $999.00. For more information, please visit http://www.crosman.com/airguns/airguns-airbow/benjamin-pioneer-airbow
For more please go to: The Disabled Archer