The AirBow: Coming to an Archery Season Near You

The mere mention of the AirBow seems to stir excitement among hunters across the country these days. Some are giddy at the idea of a new weapons category for hunting, while others seem to see their blood pressure boil at the thought of such a weapon being allowed in an archery-only season in their home state. So what’s the fuss on the AirBow?

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the Airbow.

According to the website, the Pioneer Airbow is an all-new category of big game weapon featuring full length arrows and full weight broadheads, all driven by air. Based on Benjamin’s proven American-made PCP platform, the Pioneer can be cocked with two fingers (and decocked just as easily), fires 8 shots in the same amount of time it takes to fire three from a crossbow, all at a blazing 450 FPS.


Pioneer Airbow

Specs on the Airbow

Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP) Airbow

  • Powered by 3000 psi of compressed air
  • Integrated pressure regulator delivers 8 consistent shots at 450 FPS
  • Bullpup configuration, short 33.5” overall length
  • Ambidextrous top cocking bolt
  • BONUS: Realtree AP camo decals included
  • Comes with 3 custom arrows with field tips, 6×40 mm scope, sling and quiver
  • 160 fpe with 375 gr arrows @ 450 FPS
  • Length: 33.5 inches
  • Weight: 7 pounds

What the Airbow is Not

It’s not a bow. Right? Seriously, no strings or bending of limbs – can the Airbow even be considered a bow?

Crosman says, “The Pioneer enhances everything enthusiasts enjoy about archery hunting while making the sport safer and more accessible.”

But is it actually an archery weapon? Maybe we need to define what archery is first.


Archery is the art, sport, practice or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows. The word comes from the Latin arcus. Historically, archery has been used for hunting and combat.


Is the Airbow coming your way?

One wildlife officer we spoke with in Tennessee said their terminology for the weapon is, “Pre-charged Pneumatic Gun That Shoots an Arrow.”

So what is the Airbow?

It’s a new opportunity for hunters. It’s a new category of weapon that has quickly found its way into hunting seasons across the country, and even a few archery-only seasons as well. That’s right! The state of Virginia and Tennessee are among the first to allow the use of the Airbow in their archery-only seasons for disabled hunters. And if I were a betting man, I’d say it’s coming to an archery season near you, sooner than later.


It shoots an arrow, but is it really a bow?

The good thing is these states seem to have a pretty thorough process for obtaining such a permit for the use of an Airbow. I reached out to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and spoke with Captain Jamie Davis, Conservation Police Manger, Region III regarding the use of the Airbow. He shared the application below with me as what would be required for using the Airbow as a disabled hunter during archery season.


A similar application process is taking place in Tennessee where the commission recently voted to allow the use of the Airbow for hunting in the Volunteer State according to the following statement…

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission has announced that starting with the 2018 hunting season, big bore PCP air guns .35 caliber or larger such as the .357 Caliber Benjamin Bulldog will be legal to hunt Deer, Elk, and Bear during the Tennessee Modern Gun Season. The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow will be legal means to harvest Deer, Elk, Bear and Turkey during the Modern Gun Season for all hunters and during the archery season for disabled hunters.

Staff at the TWRA central office shared that obtaining a permit to hunt with the Airbow would not be as simple as it was to secure a crossbow permit years ago. Disabled hunters would be required to have one of four Permanent Disability Licenses offered by the state, including Type 168, Type 169, Type 189 or Type 198. Like Virginia, Tennessee will utilize an application process for disabled hunters to be eligible to hunt with the Airbow.


Would you hunt with the Airbow if it was legal during archery season?


What are your thoughts? Is this is a good move to allow disabled hunters to hunt with the Airbow, or is this merely the first step on the slippery slope that’ll usher in the Airbow to archery seasons everywhere and for every hunter? Comment below, and let us know your thoughts.

See more on the Pioneer Airbow at


Brodie Swisher

Brodie Swisher

Editorial Manager at
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
Brodie Swisher


  1. Crossbows were only for disabled hunters as well. The real question is should hunting technology be frozen in time? At what point in time, what types of technology, do we have any no go areas where we all agree new technology should not be developed/introduced?

    • Agreed. In 20 years we may be reading an article about how some new company is promoting a rail gun or energy rifle and how simple and quick it can kill any game animal. Where do we draw the line?

    • I would guess that most who have commented here saying this type of technology isn’t ethical or shouldn’t be allowed to harvest game have never seen one or much less shot one. I own one and have no problem with it not really being considered a bow. However, for those old enough to remember some of these same arguments were made about compound bows when they became popular in the 1970’s. The Airbow shoots an arrow about 100 FPS faster than most speed bows and with the capability of increased accuracy. I plan to use mine in gun season.

  2. Archery is a skill developed over time and practice,fine tuning your skills and making you a better hunter and shooter. I see the disabled being able to use it but a healthy person with no disability should be proud to shoot a regular compound or even recurve and should not accept a air rifle that shoots arrows like a bullet. Take some pride and be a proud accurate hunter! No scope needed..

  3. Ulf backman says:

    Airbow has its followers and many will enjoy hunting with it – but it is NOT a bow. It should not be legal during archery season.

  4. Clarence says:

    I’ve never thought a crossbow should be legal during bow season. Now the airbow is nothing but a gun with with a big projectile. Both of these do nothing but take away from real archery and help put more lazy hunters that want to say I killed a deer with a bow in the woods during (ARCHERY) season. Hunt with them during rifle season.

  5. Its not a bow and does not belong in archery season. There will come a point when technology increases our harvest success rates enough when we will either have to limit the amount of tags given or shorten the season length to reduce total harvest.

  6. I’m disappointed to see this propaganda posted here. There was a big push to get this air gun legalized in VA this year, thankfully it was shot down with the exception of disabled hunters. It is not a bow and it has no place in archery season no matter how much the Big Hunting Industry wants to cram it down our throats. I have no problems with this air gun being used in firearms season, but stop with the push to get a gun legalized for archery season.

  7. In the article above why does the Airbow have 2 different names, the Crosman Pioneer and the Benjamin Pioneer??

  8. In Washington state there is an Archery season and a Modern Firearm season. I would say that this Airbow definitely counts as a Modern Firearm. It’s super cool! But it shouldn’t be competing with strings and sticks. Even a compound bow could be called “traditional” compared this! Haha!

  9. There is an Archery Season, Rifle Season, Shot gun Season, Primative weapon Season, Muzzleloader Season, etc. Why Not an Air Bow Season!

  10. Next up: semi-automatic arrow shooting guns–err–bows! Completely eliminate the need to reload! They can have their place in their own limited hunting season. It’s not archery. Crossbows are not archery either. Archery is a practice and a skill of bodily mechanics. Give them their own season. Leave archery season to the archers. Thank God I have private hunting land now to not deal with such politics.

  11. Even a shotgun (rifled barrel slugs) and a 30-30, both with a fixed 1 or 3 power scope are 10x (much) better than any bow, crossbow, or Airbow. But bows do have their place.

  12. I have to agree with a majority of everyone on here. The airbow shouldn’t be used during archery season. First off the whole thing I enjoy about archery is that it’s a challenge. After watching the video above, it was nothing less than shooting a gun just a different type of projectile. The Airbow also makes a very distinct sound. Archery is a season where it’s about stealth and being able to not make noise when taking your shot besides the slight muffle of the arrow hitting the deer and maybe your string releasing. Put the airbow in with gun season.

  13. Stupid…the Indians are laughing at us


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