Daryl Dixon Crossbows: Not Just For Zombie Hunting

Picture of Horton Hunting Crossbow
The original Horton Crossbow Dixon used in The Walking Dead.

Ever since the earliest episodes of The Walking Dead, Daryl Dixon has been a fan favorite and it really isn’t hard to see why. The well-written character has been a zombie killing machine, and has more than held his own against human threats, as well.

Driving a motorcycle and wielding a crossbow like a sharpshooter, this zombie killing badass played by Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints, Boondock Saints All Saints Day) is one of the most popular TV show character of any TV show currently on the air.

Since we’re talking about zombies, one of the first things that many fans wanted to know is what type of crossbow does he use? It didn’t take long for the term “Daryl Dixon Crossbows” (and all the various name misspellings you would expect with that) to light up Google, bringing up a valid question: just what type of crossbow does everyone’s favorite zombie hunter prefer?

Thanks to 9 plus seasons of The Walking Dead, this has actually become a two part answer because the crossbow that Daryl Dixon started with is not the same model of crossbow Daryl Dixon uses now (and we reserve the right to say that again in the future depending on how many future switches there might be).

That’s right: if you want to know what Daryl Dixon’s crossbow is you need to get more specific because it changes in the early seasons!

You can confirm that in the interview he gave in Men’s Health right here, but if you’re more interested in the crossbows then read on to see us mention three big crossbows: the two that have been used by the character Dixon on the hit TV show The Walking Dead and one more recent model of the original, and that is much more available than the true original crossbow first used on the show.

The Original: Horton Scout HD 125

Artistic zombie picture
Well he’s still impressed with the crossbow.

The original crossbow being used is the Horton Scout HD 125, a crossbow that was relatively inexpensive and could be bought in virtually any local hunting or sporting goods store. The first picture of a crossbow in this article is that original crossbow.

The Horton Scout HD 125 was known as being a crossbow that in real life requires a lot of strength in order to load and use.

In fact, in a real zombie apocalypse it would be hard to argue with a crossbow being a decent weapon, but the Horton must normally be loaded mechanically, meaning it is not designed for fast loading or re-loading, but in a real world way that does give it some of the punch it needs to go deer hunting and have confidence that the bolt will hit hard enough on a well aimed shot to take down a large doe or even a buck.

The stopping power is admirable, but for anyone wanting to follow in the footsteps of Darryl Dixon there is one big problem: this exact model of crossbow is no longer used.

So what is the Barnett Jackal Crossbow?

Hunting cross bow with two bolts
Get your Barnett Jackal crossbow to do your best Darryl Dixon impression today!

That being said, there is still a version of this type of hunting crossbow available. Whether you love it because of the fandom around the popular TV character and the idea of shooting at zombie based targets, or you’re simply looking for an inexpensive hunting crossbow that is a great starter for a teenager getting into bow hunting or something that packs a lot of pop in one shot, the modern version of the Horton is the Barnett Jackal Crossbow, which is currently being solid in a package on Amazon.

The simple way to explain what the Barnett Jackal is the newest edition of the Horton model that previously enjoyed TWD fame, and one that is currently available for sale from many sources as both a reliable single crossbow, or as part of a package, as you can see from Amazon.com.

Currently sporting a high rating across many different outdoor websites, this crossbow is designed specifically for the hunter in mind. With a 150 lb draw weight, the energy comes in at an impressive 95 foot pounds and the bolts can move up to 315 feet per second, which translates to about 230 miles an hour – enough stopping power to be used for some serious zombie killing. Or for the more practical hunter, some decent hunting during crossbow season.

While there aren’t many frequent complaints with the Barnett Jackal crossbow, which is why it reviews so well, there are some minor things to keep in mind. One is that it does require fairly frequent lubing of the strings and careful maintenance. If you sluff off on the basic upkeep to this model, it will wear down quickly after a certain point.

The other is from some hunters who suggest that although the package comes with a decent red dot sight, it’s nothing special and a good upgrade to one of the premium hunting crossbow scopes would do a lot to help you get the most out of the Jackal crossbow.

This is a better version of the original Horton crossbow that the popular Norman Reedus character started the apocalypse with, making it a quality Darryl Dixon crossbow you can’t help but think the character would approve of.

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Stryker Strykezone 380 Crossbow

Stryker Darryl Dixon Crossbow
Get your own Stryker crossbow HERE!

The Stryker Strykezone 380 hunting crossbow is the model that Daryl Dixon took on the show to replace the original Horton model. In fact this was even a plot point as he took this crossbow as an “upgrade” on show to his Horton when they raided Morgan’s safe house when he was still working through the crazies.

This is another one of those crossbows that can be hard to track down if you are a major fan of TWD because since the switch there have been more changes made to newer models that have then replaced the older ones that might be more similar to the model that is seen on the show.

In fact, you can no longer find this particular model on many of the major retail websites, even the big ones like Amazon. There are some other models that are produced by Strykezone that can be found on the world’s largest online retailer, but the one that really sticks out due to its positive overall reviews is the Diamond Archery Stryker StrykeZone Solution.

If you look around and find a few Strykezone 380 crossbow reviews you’ll see what you expect from this company: a really solid crossbow that is designed to have the power to put down bigger game like deer. This isn’t just for rabbits and squirrels. While a crossbow might not be ideal in a zombie apocalypse, this wouldn’t be a bad choice if that was the direction you were going.

This might not be the exact same model as on the hit TV show, but it is the most recent rendition of it, and there’s a lot to be said for a hunting crossbow that can pull above 4 stars on Amazon (as of 6-29-2016) as this is one area where outdoor enthusiasts tend to be extremely picky and harsh in their judging.

There’s a lot that can go wrong on even the best designed of crossbows, so when you see one ranking well like that it’s time to have a closer look!

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camo PSE Fang crossbowPSE Fang Black Crossbow

Hey, after seven seasons of zombie killing and psychopath fighting with only two crossbows, a guy deserve another upgrade! If the picture here looks different than the sleek new crossbow that Dixon picks up in Season 7, there are two reasons for that. 

First, even with the other models they customize them a bit to fit into the post apocalyptic world so the look is never going to be exactly the same.

Second, while the pure black model was popular upon initial release, it also tends to sell out really quickly. As of this writing, the “black” camouflage version for hunters is the closest you’ll get when it comes to appearance, but in practical functionality it is the same crossbow.

This time it seems like they got some good consulting advice because the PSE Fang is a very solid choice for a new crossbow. Coming in with a higher feet-per-second velocity than the others on this list at 350 it is thick, sturdy, and yet very easy to load by hand.

That means top notch power with ease of loading – two things that are actually quite rare to find in a single crossbow. 

This is one that would not only be one of the better choices for zombie killing, but for the here and now hunter this is an excellent crossbow for hunting both small and large game. This crossbow can be used for hunting deer. It has the speed, stopping power, and fantastic scope to help you get the perfect bead in on game and bring home the meat!

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Okay, so Maybe Not the Best Zombie Weapon Out There

Maybe crossbows aren’t the best weapon, and for safety reasons they can’t be 100% accurate on TV with how they fire like in real life, but if you were looking for the original Daryl Dixon crossbows – these two models are the ones you are looking for. Thankfully after getting a surge in popularity, both companies have continued to move forward in creating even better models to follow.

One website that takes a look at better crossbow options for a zombie apocalypse scenario (if that’s the theme that is really interesting you in these fine hunting tools) then you may want to check out this article on Advanced Zombie Readiness and take a note at how the more modern version of these types of crossbows tend to make up a good chunk of the list, check out the video at the end of the article, and don’t forget other gear that would be useful in this scenario like a portable wood burning stove.

Good Homemade Video of Darryl Dixon Crossbow Evolution

Would a Darryl Dixon Crossbow Work on Deer?

From the very first season it is worth remembering that when we were first introduced to the now popular Norman Reedus character that he was hunting deer when they came across the wounded deer killed by a walker. This brings up a legitimate question considering how often Hollywood gets their details wrong, but since he was originally using a Barnett Jackal Crossbow, would that actually be an ideal choice when it comes to hunting deer?

In this case whether it was by happy accident or actually getting the details right from someone who knows, the Barnett Jackal is one of the highest rated models when it comes to an entry level hunting crossbow.

A true specialist might go for something a little more heavy duty from the same company’s “Ghost” or “Buck Commander Extreme” lines but for purpose of story perhaps going the entry level as in easy to use and fast to load makes a lot more sense in a post-apocalyptic world than a touch more stopping power.

While going with a Ghost or Buck Commander might not be exactly the same as following in this fictional character’s footsteps, it does go to show you how many options are available from a company that actually exists and knows their stuff.

Is the Crossbow Love Valid?

high end crossbow and 2 bolts

While serious crossbow hunters may be a bit annoyed at all the attention that has flooded the crossbow market, there are many positives that go along with this, as well. While it can seem silly to think about the crossbow in a post apocalyptic situation, the truth is for many survivalists and preppers talk about non-firearm options for hunting and self-defense have long been an important part of the conversation.

There are definite pros to love about the crossbow, but there are many cons as well. While a crossbow is designed to put out a heavy punch with its bolts, they do take time to reload and the larger models can be especially difficult for your average hunter or individual to load since it takes a lot of strength.

Another point worth mentioning here is that there are also more than one type of crossbow. There are the hunting crossbows and the more basic models you see on The Walking Dead as well as friends who like to hunt, but there are also pistol crossbows that are smaller and made for one-handed shooting and those definitely change the equation a bit when it comes to quick loading, use, and if you want to go with the main theme of how this article started: effectiveness against the walking undead.

What crossbow accessories are worth considering?

The right accessories are first and foremost going to depend on what exactly would enhance your shooting experience and your shooting ability. Is that a crank to help more easily and quickly load a crossbow, or maybe a hunting scope that attaches to the crossbow and allows a more accurate shot?

In addition to getting the best accessories, there is also the issue of targets. There are many different types of targets out there, and even “target circles” that can be put on larger targets if you want to focus in on really precision shooting. This can encourage concentration, focus, and really precise crossbow shooting.

Above all else, it’s important to find a crossbow that you can handle with your strength, your arm length, and your ability to properly handle a crossbow effectively.

While common one-pin sights for hunting bows aren’t going to work with a crossbow, there are excellent crossbow sights for hunters out there that can be added to a good quality crossbow.

In Conclusion

In recent seasons the character has often upgraded to automatic weapons and even a rocket launcher but hey, it’s the apocalypse – you have to do what you need to do. That being said, this probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of Dixon wielding his crossbow, and I don’t think it’s out of the question that Dwight earns a bolt to the head.

All that being said, the discussion on crossbows and hypothetical survival situations has certainly been interesting and it is cool to see where these discussions, and the show, will be going into the future.

Daryl Dixon Crossbow Stryker 380 Video Review

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