Buyer's Guide to Bows

Buyer’s Guide to Bows

When evaluating survival weapons, bows are often overlooked in favor of firearms. But bows can be effective weapons for both hunting and protection.

Unlike firearms, bows don’t require heavy ammunition, nor do they generate attention-grabbing noise when deployed. An added bonus: one arrow can be reused several different times.

New technology is making bows faster, quieter and more accurate weapons for just about any situation. Following is a collection of bows and accessories that would be a great addition to any survival tool kit and help put food on the table or keep you and your family safe.


MSRP: $999

Key Features: Balanced system, lightweight, compact

Description: New from Mathews is the Creed bow, featuring the all-new SimPlex Cam. This technology makes the Creed one of the smoothest-drawing, high-energy single cam bow ever created. The Creed is designed around a balanced synergistic system, giving it an amazing blend of speed, quietness and accuracy all in a lightweight, compact bow. Axle to axle, the Creed measures 30 inches with a seven-inch brace height, and it features IBO speeds of up to 328 feet per second. Reported draw weights are 50-70 pounds; draw lengths are 26-30 inches.

Manufacturer’s Comments: “Mathews has introduced new bow models designed with the discriminating archer in mind! Creed is the signature bow offered and is fueled by an all-new high-performance SimPlexCam. The Creed truly is Advanced Simplicity.” —Alicia Captillo, Mathews Spokesperson



MSRP: $149.99-$169.99
Key Features: Three-, five- or seven-pin configuration, tool-free locking knobs

Description: The IQ Micro Bowsight with Retina Lock Technology enables archers to shoot longer distances and tighter groups than ever before. The bowsight features micro adjustment control and .019 fiber optic pins for even greater accuracy and precision. Retina Lock instant feedback technology controls muscle memory, form and consistency, allowing you to shoot longer distances with tighter groups. Available in both right- and left-hand configurations, the bowsight also contains micro-adjust windage and elevation knobs, tool-free locking knobs, built-in sight level, and an adjustable second axis.

Manufacturer’s Comments: “If shooters torque their bows, or their anchor point is off, even a 1/4-inch, the shot can be off more than 10 inches at 40 yards. The IQ Micro Bowsight will increase your effective shooting range by 20 yards or more and increase your confidence. IQ stands behind this statement with a bold, money-back guarantee!”—Kim Calahan, IQ Bowsight Spokesperson


BEAR ARCHERY Empire Compound Bow

MSRP: $849.99
Key Features: New grip design, smooth draw, high efficiency

Description: Bear Archery’s Empire bow’s speeds are fueled by a combination of the all-new S13 Cams and the Max Pre-Load Quad Limbs. The fastest, smoothest and most versatile cam on the market, the S13 incorporates every critical aspect: speed, smooth draw cycle, maximum efficiency and ease-of-adjustment. Empire’s new advanced grip is designed to eliminate hand torque and deliver unmatched accuracy—regardless of your desired grip setup. Axle to axle, the Empire measures 32 inches with a seven-inch brace height, and it features IBO speeds of up to 330 feet per second. Reported draw weights are 50-70 pounds; draw lengths are 24-31 inches.

Manufacturer’s Comments: “We don’t think about a bow as being ‘just any bow.’ To us, they’re highly efficient, precise tools of the trade—exactly why each bow in our lineup must be light, fast, smooth, shock-free, and absolutely silent. The all-new Empire is every bit of those characteristics and more.”— Jason Pickerill, Media Spokesperson



MSRP: $499
Key Features: Smooth draw, incredible speed, quiet release

Description: The Mission Archery Ballistic bow features the Advance Vectoring Cam System, proven technology known for its smooth draw and incredible speed. Its highly efficient modular AVS cam system offers the perfect combination of adjustability and performance on just one set of limbs, so you can go from 26-30 inches in draw length and 50-70 pounds in draw weight without using a bow press. It also comes with a Dead End string stop and String Grubbs to dampen residual noise and vibration. The Ballistic measures 30.5-inch axle-to-axle, with a seven-inch brace height and IBO rating of 330 feet per second.

Manufacturer’s Comments: “Our goal at Mission is to build bows that outperform their price,” says Jon DuMars, Director of Mission Archery. “The Ballistic not only looks like a high-end bow, it performs like one too. It’s comfortable in hand, quiet, fast and deadly accurate.”



MSRP: $899.99
Key Features: Ultra-light, smooth performance, high tuneability

Description: The Dream Season DNA by PSE was created by using a riser forged out of state-of-the-art, ultra-light and ultra-strong aluminum alloy, the new DNA weighs in at only 3.7 pounds. It features PSE’s new Center Pull technology that places the arrow in the exact center of the bow for unparalleled tuneability and exceptional performance. The new Core cam produces speeds of up to 352 feet per second, has five inches of draw length adjustment on the inner-cam and is incredibly smooth. The DNA measures 31 inches axle-to-axle with a brace height of six inches.

Manufacturer’s Comments: “When the Drurys challenged the engineers at PSE to design a lightweight, high performance hunting bow, it seemed impossible. Stripping down a current model or creating a bow that was too expensive for most hunters was not an option. Instead, PSE’s engineers set out to design a bow that was entirely different, all the way down to its DNA.”


PARKER BlackHawk Crossbow

MSRP: $549.95
Key Features: Ultra-compact, lightweight, optimally balanced

Description: The BlackHawk crossbow features Parker’s proprietary Advanced Split Limb Technology with integrated Fulcrum Pocket System, making it ultra-compact while delivering IBO speeds of more than 320 feet per second. With the Bull-Pup trigger and ergonomic textured pistol grip, the BlackHawk is easy to maneuver in a treestand or ground blind. At a mere 6.5 pounds, the BlackHawk is also lightweight and optimally balanced for a steadier aim on the target. The BlackHawk features Parker’s EZ pull system that reduces cocking effort, making Parker crossbows the easiest to cock in the industry.

Manufacturer’s Comments: “Perfect for ground blinds with its spider web black finish, the BlackHawk is the fastest, lightest and most compact crossbow on the market.”



MSRP: $699.99-$799.99
Key Features: Smooth draw, low noise and vibration

Description: Quest Bowhunting’s Drive bow features the new Flux Cam, which provides an extremely smooth draw, allowing any hunter to make a quiet and steady draw in the woods. Drive also provides a stable platform with its newly designed machined riser to create one of the most forgiving and accurate bows Quest has developed. Drive also features the patent-pending I-Glide Flex, which reduces cam lean by 25 percent by minimizing side load from the cables, while creating an incredibly smooth draw. The Drive delivers IBO speeds of up to 330 feet per second, measuring 33.25 inches axle-to-axle with a seven-inch brace height.

Manufacturer’s Comments: “Quest has spent countless hours behind the CNC machines and out in the field to develop a bow that is geared towards forgiveness, smoothness, and accuracy. The all-new Drive by Quest is a bow that every hunter will trust to take down the next mountain or up the next treestand.” —David Hawkey, Marketing Director


Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the Winter 2013 print issue of American Survival Guide.

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