“Recreational hunting weapon, equipped with powerful scope and firing trigger. Exceptional headshot damage.” —Trader description
The compound crossbow is a powerful single-shot weapon. It has a very high damage per shot, can penetrate multiple targets, and has a massive headshot multiplier of 4×, compared to the 2× multiplier of the rifles and the default 1.1× multiplier of most other weapons. It is generally used either to pick off lines of weaker specimens earlier in the game or individual powerful specimens such as Scrakes and Fleshpounds.
The sharpshooter perk gives various bonuses with the crossbow, and at level 6 spawn in with one.
|Level||Head damage||0.5× head damage†||0.35× head damage‡||Reload time||Cost per bolt|
|† Applies to the Fleshpound on Beginner to Hard difficulty,|
and the Scrake on Suicidal and Hell on Earth difficulty.
‡ Applies to the Fleshpound on Suicidal and Hell on Earth.
 Price and ammunition
The crossbow always costs £800 and always comes equipped with a partial load of 12 bolts when acquired anew. One bolt costs £20, making it one of the more expensive weapons to use in the game. However, the bolts are recoverable depending on where they land and the sharpshooter receives a discount on ammunition of 7% per level, up to a maximum of 42%.
In the hands of a sharpshooter of any level, the headshot damage is enough to take out all normal specimens but the Fleshpound and Scrake with a single headshot under all normal difficulties and player counts.
When used against weaker specimens more interesting tactics can be used. Against a single specimen which can be killed in a single body shot aiming down them, and possibly jumping for a better angle, will cause the bolt to impact in the nearby floor behind them for quick recovery of the bolt after their demise. Against lines of specimens it can penetrate multiple targets, this can even be used against powerful specimens if multiple headshots can be lined up, although the bolt is usually not recoverable afterward. Maneuvering into better positions, and forcing the specimens down paths where they have to come in a line can greatly help with this strategy. Changing the scope-type in the options to sprite based removes all scope sway (at the cost of the nice looking iron-sight model), allowing you to snipe on the run impeccably well.
If you have room to maneuver, strafe to line up enemies. If you're on flat ground, lining up headshots on enemies of the same type (and thus the same height) can kill large amounts of foes quickly and efficiently.
Care to conserve ammunition when possible; either by recovering nailed bolts from walls and ground or piercing a few weak specimen at the same time. A jumpshot would kill a line of weak specimen and you can recover the bolt easily afterwards.
This weapon is also extremely useful against Scrakes, as off-perk crossbow bolts can stun Scrakes if you headshot them when playing at difficulty levels lower than Suicidal. On Suicidal difficulty and above however, being a level 1+ Sharpshooter is required before it can be used to stun Scrakes.
 Advantages & Disadvantages
- Extremely powerful, especially on headshot;
- Equipped with a long-range scope for accuracy;
- Reliably decapitates all specimens;
- Capable of penetrating multiple targets;
- Reusable ammo.
- Expensive ammunition;
- Low ammunition;
- Reduced headshot multiplier at Hell on Earth as off-perk weapon.
 Bugs and exploits
It is possible to use the crossbow scope's zoom on other weapons. To do this, you must set your scope quality to textured, then zoom in with the crossbow. Once zoomed in, switch to another weapon and toggle the iron-sight quickly after doing so. This is most effective with the Sharpshooter class and the Handcannon.
Because the sharpshooter perk never gives a discount on the price of the compound crossbow, it actually provides a really good way to get money at the start of a new game. Simply select the sharpshooter perk (level 6) and fight off the first wave with the crossbow. Fire off all the ammo if you need to... then change perk to whatever you want to be and sell the crossbow for £600. This, combined with the bounty you get for the zeds you killed and the bonus for completing the wave, means you are likely to have £1,000 or more to spend the first time you see the trader.
|Equipment by perk|
|Weapon damage table|