Although ballesteros did occasionally utilize the bow in combat, the English longbow never quite caught on in Iberia. In the Iberian military the ballesteros were men highly specialized in the use of the crossbow.
By the fourteenth century, this weapon [the crossbow] was often built from a combination of wood, horn, and sinew. The bolts or arrows, narrower than they had been before, were designed specifically to pierce armor. Their effective range was probably about 100 meters. --Castillian Reform under Alfonso XI by Nicolas Agrait
Because they were valued for their skills with the crossbow, the ballesteros usually avoided hand-to-hand combat; however, they still wore light armor and carried swords or daggers for their defense.