Best PSE Bows Ever Made
PSE Archery offers a remarkable roster of compound hunting bows. These are our favorites.
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This past year was a challenge for many in the outdoors industry, but it was also one of innovation, customization, and growing options in the fascinating world of bow design. We’ve come to expect nothing less. Each year builders are turning out the best hunting bows that make us more accurate in the woods and on the range. PSE Archery has long been one of the top bow makers in the game offering scorching speed bows, classic hunting bows, and precise target bows. The best PSE bows offer a little something for everyone.
The Best PSE Bows
Of course, legendary bow maker PSE Archery always unveils numerous offerings, and the 2021’s lineup is long and distinguished. But there are also some great PSE bows from the past that are just as worthy today as they were when first introduced. If you’re part of PSE Nation or wanting to join the crowd, take a peek at the seven best PSE bows. Read each bow review carefully and find the one that’s right for you.
Most Accurate: PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1
I love an excellent carbon bow build, and PSE Archery has created a standout compound with its Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1. Built with a new longer carbon riser, this 32 1/8-inch axle-to-axle bow will perform as well in tight treestands as it will on mountain hunts. Hitting a top speed of 332 fps, this airy (3.5 pounds) rig carries well and shoots even better. Balanced and smooth, the grip is a direct-to-riser design, and it feels great in the hand. Plus, when the conditions are frigid, you’ll appreciate it’s warm-to-the-touch feel. Boosting the bow’s accuracy and stability is the laid-back limb design and tried-and-true Evolve Cams. Made in the USA, this 6 1/8-inch brace height bow is ready to make all your bowhunting dreams come true. The bow is also available in a Nock On model for all the John Dudley fans. Best For: There isn’t a bowhunting endeavor you can dream up that this bow couldn’t handle. It’s a sweet shooter and highly accurate.
Peak Draw Weights: 50, 60, 65, 70 and 80 pounds
Draw Length: Adjustable in ½-inch increments without a bow press between 25.5 and 30.5 inches
Best for Long-Range Shooting: PSE EVO EVL 34
I appreciate when a bow maker goes the extra mile to make a flagship that’s even more accurate, more dead-in-the-hand, and more enjoyable to shoot than the models that came before it. Enter PSE’s new-for-2021 EVO EVL 34. Designed for pin-point arrow placement no matter how far you stand from the target, this 6.75-inch brace-height bow hits a respectable top-end speed of 338 fps and measures 34 inches between the axles (this is not a compact bow). At 4.7 pounds, the bow is a tad on the heavy side, especially when decked out with accessories, but I find a heavy bow is easier to hold on the target. The EVO EVL 34 was built with a broad limbs stance to boost overall performance, and between the split limbs, the manufacturer’s best cam build to date — the Evolve Cam sits ready to unleash fury. The Precision Buss Tuning System makes getting a perfect tear through paper a breeze, and multiple sight mounting locations and the addition of QAD’s Integrate rest mount sweeten the setup. The bow is also available in a 32-inch axle-to-axle model. Best For: Those bowhunters who want to shoot accurately at long range, love to tune and tinker, and appreciate customization. Peak Draw Weights: 60, 65, 70 and 80 pounds. Draw Length: Adjustable in ½-inch increments without a bow press between 26 and 31.5 inches
Best for Bowhunting on a Budget: PSE Nock On Embark
Easy on the wallet but long on performance, the Embark is another member of PSE’s John Dudley-inspired lineup of Nock On bows. Built with a forgiving 7-inch brace height and with a bare weight of 4.3 pounds, this 31-inch axle-to-axle bow is designed for shootability. The ZF Cams roll over smoothly and allow the bow to hit a max speed of 327 fps. With plenty of speed and a build that promotes accuracy, this bow is great for a newcomer or an experienced archery who is looking for an affordable upgrade with plenty of features. The limb pockets are wide, and the riser promotes stability. I also like that the bow is adjustable down 10 pounds from peak weight and is fitted with a wide range of draw lengths. Best For: New bowhunters and veteran shooters who want a bargain. This bow packs a lot of punch into a price tag that comes in well under $1K. Peak Draw Weights: 60 and 70 pounds. Draw Length: Adjustable in ½-inch increments without a bow press between 23.5 and 30.5 inches.
Best PSE Bow with Accessories: PSE Drive NXT
As I mentioned earlier, PSE doesn’t take shortcuts when it comes to building a bow for every archer at every budget. The 2021 Drive NXT is their bargain-level bow, and it’s built in an ideal configuration for most hunting scenarios. The machined riser and ZF Quad-Track Cam System work in concert to give the shooter an enjoyable shooting experience. Balanced and forgiving, the bow hits my personal favorite axle-to-axle measurement of 33 inches and features a 7-inch brace height. This bow is not a flamethrower. The Drive NXT hits a top speed of 330 fps, which is still plenty fast for hunting applications. Other notable features include PSE’s swappable ComfortGrip System, a lower stabilizer mount designed to up accuracy even further, and quick-disconnect sling mounts. The bow is offered as a bare bow or in a package ($850). Best For: The bowhunter on a budget looking for a solid bow in a package that’s loaded with accessories. Peak Draw Weights: 60 and 70 pounds. Draw Length: Adjustable in ½-inch increments without a bow press between 24 and 31 inches.
Best PSE Bow for Beginners: PSE Brute NXT
This is a popular bow that’s back in the PSE lineup with a few added features. The Brute NXT promises an uberly-adjustable draw-weight and draw-length range. Perfect for youth archers and those looking to get their start in the world of compound bows. The bow measures 30 ¾ inches axle-to-axle and has a mass weight of just 3.5 pounds with a 6.5-inch brace height. Maneuverable and easy to tote around the woods, this compound is an excellent choice for the beginner female bowhunter. The bow’s draw length is adjustable down to 50 percent from peak weight options. The Brute NXT can be purchased as a bare bow or in a ready-to-hunt package. Best For: Those looking for a starter bow that is highly adjustable. Peak Draw Weights: 55 and 70 pounds. Draw Length: Adjustable in ½-inch increments without a bow press between 22.5 and 30 inches.
Best Affordable Deer Hunting Bow: PSE Stinger Max
The Stinger Max has stood the test of time and is as popular today as it was when it first launched. This year it has received a slight upgrade. With shorter limbs and a more extensive cam system, this bow was created for those who spend their hunting season perched in treestand or huddled in a ground blind. The new SS Cam delivers a smooth draw and features a letoff rating of 80 percent. A great introductory bow, the Stinger Max is fitted with a hard limb stop to create a firm back wall and ensure the bow is ready for use in all S3DA events. The brace height is a forgiving 7 inches, and the bow measures 30-inches between the axles. Great For: Those looking for a classic, affordable deer hunting bow. Peak Draw Weights: 55 and 70 pounds. Draw Length: Adjustable in ½-inch increments without a bow press between 21.5 and 30 inches.
Best PSE Bows for Kids: PSE Mini Burner
The Mini Burner will fit any youngster with a draw length between 16 and 26.5 inches. At a mere 2.5 pounds, this is a light, compact bow that kids won’t struggle to carry in the woods or across a 3-D range. The grip is angled well, and though it’s a direct-to-riser grip, it does sport side plates. The draw range is adjustable from 4 to 40 pounds. When you couple this with the highly versatile draw-length range, young archers have a bow they can grow with. Letoff is set at 65 percent, and the bow comes with a package that includes a 3-pin sight, arrow rest, quiver, stabilizer and a trio of carbon arrows. The bow ships at 25 pounds of draw weight and is available in multiple finish options your youngster is sure to love. Best For: Youngsters looking for a highly adjustable bow they can grow with. Axle-To-Axle: 26 inches. Brace Height: 6 5/8 inches.
The Best PSE Bow of All Time
When a manufacturer creates so many different models its hard to pick the single best PSE bows. With multiple flagship models and mid-priced bows created each year, I can tell you I haven’t clipped a release onto every PSE ever made. With that said, in my opinion their best bow is this year’s EVL EVO 34. I love the feel that a long axle-to-axle bow provides, and this rig’s platform is steady. It points and shoots incredibly well. The tuning process is a cinch. I like PSE’s willingness to join the ranks of bow makers that put QAD’s new Integrate Mounting System to practice. This system eliminates the use of the traditional Berger hole and allows, via a pair of slits in the riser, to add QAD’s riser-mounted UltraRest Integrate MX. The letoff is adjustable between 80 and 90 percent, and PSE’s Quick Disconnect barrel mounts mean you can easily mount accessories. Did I mention the bow shoots like a dream and seems to let the pin hover on target? Ultimately, that’s what you’re chasing in a hunting bow.
How Fast is a PSE Full Throttle?
PSE Archery is known for making some fast bows, and their Full Throttle, introduced in 2014 was the fastest. It had an advertised IBO ranking of a scorching 370 fps. With a 5.25-inch brace height that’s a lot of bow to handle. It’s worth noting that the Full Throttle was not PSE’s flagship bow in 2014, that was the DNA SP. The Full Throttle is more of a specialty bow for true speed freaks. Because it wasn’t a flagship, we never ended up testing it in our annual bow test.
What is the Fastest PSE Bow?
As mentioned above, the fastest PSE bow, and the fastest hunting bow made, is the PSE Full Throttle. But, the fastest bow that Outdoor Life has ever tested is the PSE Expedite at 354 fps in 2018. The Expedite nearly won our test that year, but was edged out by the Mathews Triax, which outperformed it in noise and vibration scores. Still, the PSE Expedite is a killer speed bow that points and shoots well.