Cold Steel Cheap Shot 130 Crossbow: Toy or Weapon?

By Brodie SwisherOctober 29, 20191 Comment

If you watch outdoor TV, you may have heard about Cold Steel knives, spears, or blow guns. The wild man, Tim Wells, has done his fair share of using these tools to take a variety of game, from birds to bears, and everything in between. But for 2019, Cold Steel released their all-new Cheap Shot 130 crossbow. We saw it earlier in the year at the ATA show and figured we better get our hands on one to try out and see what the rig was all about. We were curious, was this thing a toy, or was it another Cold Steel killer that could be put to work in the woods on wild game? Here’s what we found.


We had to see for ourselves whether the Cold Steel Cheap Shot 130 is a toy or a deadly weapon.

Out of the Box

Digging into the box you’ll find what certainly looks like a small, toy-like crossbow that needs to be assembled. You’ll also find a red-dot sight, six 15″ carbon bolts, string wax, a nice shoulder sling, safety glasses, Allen wrench and two lens cleaning sheets. The Cheap Shot goes together surprisingly easy, assembling in minutes. It’s a very easy process. Something you could honestly do without the use of instructions, if you were so inclined.

cold steel cheap shot 130 - cheap-shot-kit

The compact design of the Cheap Shot 130 makes it easy enough for shooters of all ages.

First Impressions

As mentioned above, the crossbow looks more like a toy at first glance than a legit weapon capable of killing stuff. However, once assembled and the weight could be felt, it was beginning to feel like the real deal. It weighs in at 5 3/4 pounds, so it’s got sufficient enough weight to be stable in the hands. With the adjustable stock in the short position, the crossbow is tiny. It could easily be shot by really young kids. However, when I adjusted the stock out to lengthen it, it was well suited for my adult frame. It’s a very versatile little shooter.

cold steel cheap shot 130 - cheap-shot-trigger

Despite its lightweight design and compact appearance, the Cheap Shot 130 packs some pretty good punch.

Specs on the Cold Steel Cheap Shot 130

Draw Weight – 130 lbs.

Speed – 226 Feet Per Second

Weight – 5 3/4 lbs.

Overall Length – 29 1/2″ (short stock) / 33″ (extended stock)

Stock – Telescoping AR-Style Buttstock

cold steel cheap shot 130 - cheap-shot-shooting

The “130” in the Cheap Shot 130 name refers to the draw weight on this compact crossbow option.

Easy Handling

Due to its smaller size, this crossbow is super easy to handle. It shoulders well and doesn’t have all the weight and bulk that is common with what you may have experienced with other crossbows. It’s also really easy to cock with its pump-like cocking system. It’s similar to what we use to have when we’d pump up our pellet guns from our childhood. You extend the cocking handle forward, which also slides the trigger mechanism forward to grab the string. When you pump/cock the arm back into place the string is drawn into place and locked in. It’s actually pretty slick – and very easy.

You can cock this thing sitting down, standing, keeling, or even laying on the ground. It’s that easy. There’s no stirrup, rope, crank cocker or anything else needed to make it happen. It’s all built in for quick and easy cocking.

The company says what really sets the Cheap Shot 130 apart from all the competition isn’t its telescoping AR style butt stock, Picatinny rail, detachable foregrip, or its red dot sight. What really sets it apart is its phenomenal ability to shoot into 3 inches at 30 yards in literally just a few seconds. It’s fast to shoot – and reload to keep shooting – should the need arise.

cold steel cheap shot 130 cheap-shot-cocking

Cocking the Cheap Shot 130 is super easy with the simple cocking lever.

Cheap Shot 130 Performance

Let’s make it clear, the Cheap Shot 130 crossbow is not a toy. Yes, it’s small and lightweight, but it’s far from a toy. This thing will kill stuff, no doubt. At 226 feet per second, it’s zipping bolts at speeds we saw in our compound bows in years past. But this is not to be compared to the standard crossbows of 2019 that are zipping arrows at over 400 feet per second and deadly accurate out to 100 yards. The Cheap Shot 130 stands in a different category.

Will it kill stuff? You better believe it! The company calls it a “close range killer.” It’s taken plenty of small game, hogs and even deer at close range. The key is to keep it close. Penetration and accuracy seem to dwindle beyond 30 yards.

The Cheap Shot 130 crossbow is a great tool to introduce young shooters to the sport of shooting due to its size and simplicity to use. I’ll also take the challenge to chase critters around the farm with it when I’m not in the big woods chasing deer. I think it would be a lot of fun to hunt squirrel and rabbits with in the late season.

The Cold Steel Cheap Shot 130 sells for $279.99. Give it a closer look at

Brodie Swisher
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.
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