Dozens of hunters have had thumb amputations or severe injuries after using crossbows that were sold without thumb-guards. Thousands of crossbows have also been recalled because they can fire without warning.
UPDATE: Barnett Faces 30 Crossbow Injury Lawsuits
February 5, 2015 — Barnett Outdoors, LLC is facing about 30 lawsuits from hunters who had severe thumb or finger injuries after using high-powered crossbows lacking thumb-guards, including one lawsuit filed by a hunter in Georgia whose joint was shattered. Click here to read more.
The crossbow is a high-powered, single-shot weapon based on the traditional bow-and-arrow. Evidence suggests that crossbows have been used in warfare, defense, and hunting for thousands of years. Today, crossbows are widely used for shooting sports, especially hunting in areas where silence is an important consideration.
What is the problem?
The average American man has a ring finger at least 3” in length. Many crossbows have forearm stocks of 3” or less and are front-heavy. When the hand is curved around the stock, the thumb or finger naturally extends above the rail and into the line of fire.
High-powered crossbows are capable of shooting an arrow at 350 feet per second, or even faster. Anything in the way of the string will be cut off within milliseconds.
The easiest way to prevent injuries is to keep your fingers below the rail whenever the string is cocked. However, this can be a problem even for hunters who are always cautious. In the heat of the moment with a big buck in your sights, it is easy to momentarily forget your thumb position.
Anyone can be injured when shooting a crossbow. If you have experienced a crossbow injury, or you know someone who has, you know that the drawstring does not cut — it rips through tissue, splinters bones, cracks fingernails, and tears ligaments and tendons.
Dozens of Amputations Linked to Crossbows
December 11, 2014 — A News8 investigation into dozens of severe crossbow injuries has led to an “active compliance investigation” by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).
At least 15 lawsuits have been filed against Barnett Outdoors, the nation’s largest manufacturer of crossbows. The company is accused of selling dangerous crossbows that lack basic safety features, despite receiving at least two dozen reports of amputations or near-amputations in 11 states. Click here to read more.
Crossbow Thumb Guard
Preventing thumb amputations is as simple as installing a plastic thumb-guard on the stock, which can be made at home or purchased from retailers. No federal agency regulates crossbow safety, so manufacturers and retailers are not required to sell their products with thumb-guards.
Cabela’s Lawsuit Filed for Crossbow Injury
In June 2012, the Madison Record reported that a lawsuit was filed against Cabela’s for a man’s crossbow injury. The plaintiff bought the Tenpoint Phantom CLS crossbow in November 2009:
“Korte claims he was using his crossbow to hunt deer on Nov. 12, 2011. As he fired the crossbow at a deer, the bow string from the crossbow struck his left thumb and amputated it, his complaint says. Korte went to see doctors, who were unable to replace his thumb.”
Crossbow Recall: May Fire Without Trigger Being Pulled
In 2014, the CPSC issued two recalls for thousands of crossbows that could fire an arrow without the trigger being pulled. The first recall was issued on May 27 by Precision Shooting Equipment (PSE), for the TAC Elite, TAC Ordnance, and Enigma crossbows.
The CPSC warned:
“The crossbow can fire an arrow without the trigger being pulled, posing an injury hazard to the user and to bystanders.”
Just a few days later, on June 3, another recall was issued for crossbows that could fire unexpectedly. The recall was issued by Mission Archery for about 9,500 crossbows in the MXB product line, including the MXB 320, MXB Dagger, MXB 400 and MXB 360. The company received three reports of incidents, but no one was injured. Click here to read more