Survival Gear Review: KodaBow Bravo Zulu

Kodabow says that their name comes from the Native American word Koda or “friend” but I have to tell you that if you see this thing in my hands, I am anything but your friend.  When the SHTF, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of this hammer. 

By Jimmy C, a contributing author to

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The Bravo Zulu Hammer

From my experience dealing with the team at Kodabow, I can tell that the pride with which the company builds its platform and their service model does carry the spirit of friendship.  From the build process to receipt and follow up after use, this is one company that believes in their message.  Please watch my video review below of the legendary Kodabow Bravo Zulu.

I think it goes without saying that crossbows are not as fast or as functional as compound bows, but for a non-country boy like Jimmy C (that’s me) that never learned how to shoot a bow, this thing is easy to learn and use.  Although a little tough to draw at first, that is just the name of the game when asking something to come out as hot as these bolts do, and as I have become more familiar with the unit, it has become a lot quicker on the reload.

Specs: (From Manufacturer)

  • Adjustable military style stock (made in the USA)
  • 4 choices of draw weight 155 lbs, 185 lbs, 200 lbs, and 225 lbs draw weight
  • 8.3 lbs total weight
  • Matte black hard coat finish on all main component areas
  • High grade arrows with Field Points (made in the USA)
  • Kodabow Rope Cocking Aid (made in the USA by Kodabow)
  • Kodabow String Changing Aid (made in the USA by Kodabow)
  • Packaging varies by configuration
  • Full size scopes have reticles with 5 aiming points nominally 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 yards.
  • 3-Dot compact scopes have aiming points nominally at 20, 30, 40 yards.

Kodabow Pro’s

  • Built to last – from the steel arms to the aluminum and steel rail, the materials used by Kodabow prove they stand by their products.
  • Comfort and convenience can match raw power – Sure, there are crossbow out there that are more powerful and faster, but they are usually rigid framed, solid buttstock, and “plasticky” over priced POS.  Kodabow went the extra mile to include the known comfort and convenience of telescopic buttstock and custom fore-grip to help make this tool much more comfortable while in use.
  • Power – if you get hit by the Kodabow…you are going down.  After shooting this crossbow, we could barely pull the arrows out of the target and I got one stuck in a tree which we failed to recover despite our best efforts.

Kodabow Con’s

  • Hard to draw (got easier with practice)
  • Slow to reload (again with practice I will get faster)

All in all, you get what you pay for and after testing other crossbows, it is my opinion – “Don’t be cheap and get the best” Kodabow.  I am tough on my gear and God knows when TSHTF, you want gear that can handle the stress you will put on it.  The Kodabow Bravo Zulu delivers.

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19 thoughts on “Survival Gear Review: KodaBow Bravo Zulu”

  1. Good review, historically crossbows are slower on followup shots than are short and long bows. You can with training and practice be faster than a muzzle loading musket or rifle with a crossbow though and for the non-compound variety there are goats' feet and other devices to speed up the cocking and setting of the string. A good stirrup a the prod or bow part is an excellent addition to the crossbow.

  2. Looks like a good piece of gear. Walking Dead character "Daryl Dixon" makes it look easy. Makes you wonder why he would carry a crossbow against zombies.

  3. Interesting to note that Bravo Zulu is "NATOspeak" for well done (in a military sense normally but not always) seems a good choice here. with those draw weights I can see why it is mentioned that it was hard work to haul out the bolts from the target! Nice bit of kit and one of the few legal weapons in this bailiwick (England) where the authorities just crap themselves at the mere mention of the word "gun"!

  4. Yeah, this is cool. Of course, I can’t see a crossbow without thinking about ol’ Daryl from The Walking Dead, but you know… whatever.

    This is definitely going on the Christmas wishlist. Thanks, guys.

    • I'm gonna have to say something here, maybe post another comment.
      Daryl's major logical flaw is that he carries a compound crossbow in TEOTWAWKI situation. Via the magic of Hollywood it's never an issue, but his cams would have given-out long ago by Season 4 or 5, what are we on now? Anyway, I don't see him lugging around a bow press on the back of the motorcycle and it would be critical to have access to one in just such an occasion. Now, since you're looking at this one in particular, all is well, but whatever you decide to spend money on, make sure your new crossbow is a recurve and you can do all your own maintenance by hand!

      Besides this one in particular, you might also look into Excaliburs but we all know how expensive those are. Mine is a Barnett Panzer V, cheap but built to the same standards as their higher end compounds – same design as one of their top models, in fact, but for only $199

  5. Longbows, short bows, composite bows, compound bows, and recurves take a long time to train with to become truly good. Like with a rifle, a crossbow is easier to learn to get good with. That is why many medieval armies trained crossbowmen rather than archers. To train a militarily proficient archer you begin with the great grand father. You can train a raw recruit with a crossbow and in short order have a proficient crossbowman.

  6. Do I even want to know the MSRP on that thing? …worse than Excaliburs?

    As soon as I verified that it's a recurve I was sold. The armchair experts hock the whole "If it ain't compound it's crap!" lines, but while it's true that most compounds can out-perform most recurves, they cannot out-last them.

    Walking Dead has done a number on crossbow common sense. In a temporary bug-out you wouldn't even bother w/ a crossbow, most likely. In a TEOTWAWKI, however, they could be quite a boon, but they require a lot of maintenance and on top of rail lube and string wax and recycling bolts and retrieving heads and eventual homemade fletching the last thing you can afford to possibly worry about is your cams needing realignment every several dozen shots or so. Unless your bug-in has it's own bow press (something 100% vital which basically no one owns) then your fancy compound bow's usable lifespan is already a ticking clock. There's a reason folks take their compounds to the pro-shop every. single. season.

    With recurve you eliminate this problem – it won't be a walk in the park, but with no more than solid leverage and a spare pare of hands you can manually restring most recurves in one swift effort. Think about this.

    If you're a recreational crossbow hunter then, by all means, get a high end compound. But, if you're a prepper with the crossbow itch, get a recurve!

  7. Compound or long bow also has a very good advantage in hunting and self defense- knock down power.

    The longer arrows and broad heads used on a more traditional style of bow are nasty. I would not want to get hit with a bow or crossbow but the bow has a little more knock down on medium to big game. Crossbow is hands down more accurate so its a double edge sword.

  8. Now after rereading the article I would like to say that this is a top end crossbow and perhaps may not fit into everyone's prepping budget. Look over the other offerings and find the one that fits you and your needs. Then go take the time to learn it and use it until you come to be one with your crossbow enough that you can work it without thinking about it. That is what I will have to do as at age fifty I think taking the time to learn how to use a regular bow will not be practical whereas learning to operate and fire a crossbow will be almost as easy as learning to operate and fire a firearm. The reason I am thinking of a crossbow is not as a defensive weapon just yet, but as a reusable hunting weapon.

  9. This is really great and much faster than the other Bow but a good practice is require to handle and after some times you came to know well about its usage. It is superb and better than the other one. Thanks for sharing this information.

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  10. Yes, I have a couple of crossbows, nowhere in the price range of this; the 185lb. version is $900, no bolts included! They are fun to shoot, but at least in my state you can't use them for hunting unless you are 100% disabled. (To me this would mean dead, politicians???) As a practical weapon for hunting or self-defense, especially after SHTF, it'll be left at home. How many bolts and/or arrows can you carry, a dozen or so; how many bullets, hundreds I would say! Arrows and/or bolts shot at stationary targets get lost, if your target is alive and wanting to stay that way, your lost rate will surely be higher! Do we even need to bother to compare accuracy or killing power past 50 foot or so for a rifle vs bow/crossbow? Are you sneaky enough to get that close to someone who might be ready, willing, and able to shoot you probably with a firearm? The only real advantage of a crossbow/bow over a rifle is noise level, not that bows are completely quiet! If you can carry both (plus whatever your hunting) with you, more power to you Arnold (flex that bicep)! Why does Daryl carry a crossbow on Walking Dead; because it's a TV show and it looks cool to shoot zombies through the head! Why doesn't he ever run out of bolts? Come on, even a good handgun has the range and killing power of a bow!

  11. I'll pass on bows you need the bow a arm protector a quiver arrows most that self destruct on impact.
    the only reason anyone I know even has a bow is for bow season.

    carrying a bow and a bug out bag better hope for a wide trail or your going to get hung on every vine and tree limb.

    here again a Ruger hunter with a brick of rounds as far as quiet an animal that does not die is not quiet
    squealing bellowing running kicking and may escape and your arrow gets lost or damaged, I see no up side to a bow.
    over a handy accurate pistol.

  12. The Kodabow is a top quality crossbow and completely travel friendly as it breaks down into the smallest area of any known crossbow. Being a recurve you can be self sufficient provided you invest in strings no bow press etc required. Very difficult to get here in the UK there is only one supplier—over-120-… and they get them in to order.

  13. My 8 years old son also loves outdoor archery, he always gets ready to go to try something new with compound bows and arrows. I would really appreciate the author of this post for sharing his experience with us.


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