Last updated on August 6 by Josh Boyd
For many archers, shooting a bow is a year-round affair. When hunting season draws to a close, target archers jump headlong into their other pursuits. From 3D archery to indoor league competition, the options are limitless for those who want to take up target archery in one of its many forms.
In years past, the vast majority of target shooting revolved around traditional bows. However, much like bow hunting itself, target archery has seen a significant shift from recurve bow use.
Compound bows are now the target bow of choice for many, owing the popularity to their range of draw length and draw weights, and greater performance potential.
As with any bow, not all target bows are equal. Some models stand out above the rest in terms of craftsmanship and overall performance. The following are a number of the archery industry’s top compound bows for target shooting, all of which are sure to bring your shooting experience to the next level.
|PRODUCT||SPEED||OUR RATING||PRICE||BUY ONLINE|
|Bear Cruzer G2||315 FPS||$$||check on cabela's|
|Diamond Infinite Edge Pro||310 FPS||$$||check on cabela's|
|Original Genesis Compound Bow||170 FPS||$||check on cabela's|
|Diamond Prism||295 FPS||$$||check on cabela's|
|Bear Divergent EKO||338 FPS||$$$||check on cabela's|
|SAS Outrage||270 FPS||$|
|PSE Stinger Max||312 FPS||$$||check on cabela's|
|BlackOut Epic||340 FPS||$$$||check on cabela's|
While the Bear Cruzer G2 is one of the most highly sought after compound bows by bowhunters, it makes a wonderful target bow as well. Much of the Cruzer G2’s value as a target bow lies in its extensive range of adjustability and notable IBO speed rating.
The Cruzer G2 features an adjustable draw length range of 12 to 30 inches, and an adjustable draw weight that ranges from 5-70 pounds. This makes the Cruzer G2 a great bow for young archers who have not yet reached adulthood, as it can effectively “grow” with any archer as they age, thereby saving money on the purchase of an adult bow at a later date.
One of the most popular features of the Cruzer G2 is that archers can make adjustments at home without using a bow press. Adjusting the G2’s draw length is as simple as removing two screws from its cam modules, rotating them to the desired position, and tightening the screws in place. The G2 can be customized to fit any archer in minutes.
This dual cam compound bow is also notable for its stellar performance. The Cruzer G2 posts an IBO speed of 315 FPS, which is noteworthy in itself. As a general rule, the faster a bow is, the flatter an arrow’s trajectory will be. This can be of immense value when the archer misjudges a distance when shooting targets in 3D competition.
The Diamond Infinite Edge Pro is another hunting bow that is also versatile enough to be used as a phenomenal target bow. The Infinite Edge Pro is a great target bow due to its extensive range of adjustability. This is a characteristic that Diamond Archery is quite familiar with, as the company was one of the initial pioneers of the ultra-adjustable bow trend in the mid-2000s.
While many bows are relatively limited in their range of adjustment, the Infinite Edge Pro’s range of adjustability is nearly infinite. This bow can accommodate draw lengths of 13 to 31 inches and features a draw weight range of 5-70 pounds. In short, archers of every size, age group, and experience level should have no issues regarding fitment.
This bow is also no slouch in the realm of performance, as its IBO rating of 310 FPS is relatively impressive, especially for a bow at this price point. Additionally, the Edge Pro’s use of a 7-inch brace height also makes it quite forgiving to shoot, which can be helpful in a competitive setting. The bow also employs the use of Diamond’s Binary Cam System, which makes tuning a breeze.
The Infinite Edge Pro comes in a bow package, meaning that it is already fully outfitted with quality accessories before shipping. This package includes a 3-pin Apex Sight, Octagon Brush arrow rest, Octane Bantam 5 quiver, Octane Isolate 6 stabilizer, tube peep sight, and string loop for use with a bow release.
The Original Genesis Compound Bow has deep roots in competition archery. This bow has been a mainstay of the indoor competition scene since its initial release. It’s also the official bow of the National Archery In The Schools program. With Genesis’ heavy involvement in such programs, it doesn’t appear that this bow will fall out of favor anytime soon.
The Genesis Compound Bow is notable for its lack of a set draw length. While this might at first seem puzzling, Genesis has specifically engineered the bow in this manner, allowing it to be used by any archer without the need for further adjustment. An adult can fire this bow immediately after a child, without making any adjustments. This allows a mentor to teach a child the finer points of things like anchor points and form.
While the Genesis Original Compound Bow, rated at 170 FPS, is certainly not one of the faster bows on this list, it more than makes up for this fact in shootability. The Genesis Compound Bow features a generous 7 ⅝-inch brace height, which makes it extremely forgiving to shoot. This is just one of the many reasons that this bow is ideally suited for use by young or beginning archers.
The Genesis Original is also available in many color schemes, allowing archers of every age group to choose a bow that provides some appeal. Additionally, this bow comes with a list of accessories, including an adjustable belt quiver for arrow storage, an arm guard for shielding an archer’s bow arm, and five aluminum arrows. For an additional fee, you can order specialty carbon arrows as well.
The Diamond Prism is the perfect option for young archers ready to graduate into a precision bow with several enhanced features. The Prism offers a significant range of adjustability in both draw length and draw weight. It’s ideal for teens and small-framed adults. This bow also features respectable performance figures, despite its reputation for catering to the younger archers among us.
While you would be hard-pressed to refer to the Prism’s 295 FPS IBO speed as blazing fast, this bow is plenty quick enough for hunting, should a target archer decide to expand their horizons. The Prism’s 7-inch brace height also makes it quite forgiving to shoot, which can be a benefit both on the range and in the woods.
The Diamond Prism features an effective draw length range of 18 to 30 inches, and a draw weight range of 5-55 pounds. While some may not like the Prism’s 55-pound maximum draw weight, more is seldom better when it comes to a bow’s draw weight in a competition setting. Additionally, 55-pounds is plenty to take whitetail deer-sized game at a moderate range.
Another feature of the Prism worth mentioning is the bow’s accessory package. The Prism comes outfitted from the factory with a 3-pin sight, arrow rest, quiver, peep sight, and string loop. This allows archers to get to the range much quicker than most would assume possible.
Bear Archery has recently released a bow that many target and competition archers will find to be nothing short of groundbreaking. The Bear Divergent EKO is one of the industry’s first compound bows to feature an adjustable let-off. Instead of a particular factory-designated let-off percentage, the EKO allows users to customize their shooting experience by fine-tuning the feel of their bow when holding in the valley.
The Bear Divergent offers shooters four individual let-off settings to choose from. Switching between these settings is as simple as making a couple of quick adjustments to the bow’s cams with an Allen wrench. The EKO offers 75, 80, 85, and 90 percent let-off settings, and archers can make all these adjustments in a matter of minutes. The bow’s highest let-off setting of 90 percent should be well-received by target archers, as this is likely to minimize arm fatigue.
Another talking point of the Bear Divergent EKO is its blistering fast IBO speed. At 338 FPS, this compound bow should be in every 3D archer’s bow case. Its relatively flat arrow trajectory will minimize the impact associated with misjudging yardage. Even with its strong performance credentials, the Divergent still maintains a 6 ½-inch brace height, which most archers will find provides ample forgiveness.
Some might find an issue with the Divergent EKO’s lack of draw length and draw weight adjustability. The EKO features an adjustable draw length range of 26″-30″, and a draw weight range of 45-60 pounds. While this will be more than adequate for the vast majority of adult archers, the Divergent isn’t the best choice for children.
If you are contemplating getting your feet wet in target archery, but have a limited budget to work with, then the SAS Outrage is the bow for you. This bow uses dual-cam technology to propel arrows at speeds up to 270 FPS. Although it would be difficult to classify the SAS Outrage as a “speed demon,” this bow is plenty fast enough to make the most out of a day on the range.
The SAS Outrage features an adjustable draw length range of 25 to 31 inches and a draw weight range of 55-70 pounds. While this makes the SAS outrage the perfect fit for most adult archers, it is worth mentioning that there are likely better choices for youth or small-framed archers.
It is also worth mentioning that the SAS Outrage features a rather long axle-to-axle length measurement. At 35 inches, this bow is certainly not compact. However, this won’t be much of an issue if its intended use is for target practice or archery competition. If you plan on using the Outrage for hunting, keep in mind that its use in tight confines might be somewhat limited.
Although you could describe the SAS Outrage as a budget compound bow, its fit and finish are on par with many compound bows offered at a significantly higher price point. The Outrage utilizes back pivoting limb pockets, engineered to the tightest of tolerances.
The PSE Stinger Max is one of the most proven and best selling compound bows on the market. It has garnered attention for its reliability and durability, which should put the minds of any target archer considering the purchase of this bow at ease. The Stinger Max has recently been updated by PSE to be more compact, yet robust in performance.
Although not as highly adjustable as a number of bows on the market, the Stinger Max’s versatility is still enough to make it suitable for all archers, from adolescence on. This bow features an adjustable draw length range of 21 ½ to 30 inches and a draw weight range of 40 to 70 pounds. This adjustment level makes the Stinger Max suitable for both target archery and hunting scenarios.
The PSE Stinger Max offers significant overall performance, sending arrows downrange at up to 314 FPS. The Stinger Max achieves this speed while maintaining a 7-inch brace height, which reduces the time an arrow is in contact with the bowstring. In turn, this minimizes the impact that poor form can have over an arrow’s flight upon its release.
Included in the Stinger Max’s accessory package are a 5-pin sight, Whisker Biscuit-style arrow rest, 5-arrow quiver, FX4 stabilizer, Mongoose peep sight, and nocking loop. These accessories alone add substantial value to the purchase of a Stinger Max. Few packages include this many high-quality products.
At approximately the same time that Bear launched the Divergent EKO, BlackOut began offering its own bow that featured an adjustable let-off. The BlackOut Epic is a top-tier bow that offers archers the ability to customize the characteristics of how their bow feels when pulled into the valley. Additionally, this bow features enough performance merit to turn the heads of those who crave the ultimate in arrow speed.
The BlackOut Epic offers four individual let-off settings, which each represent their own specific percentage values. These let-off settings span from 75 to 90 percent and increase across this range in 5 percent increments. The Epic’s 90 percent let-off value should find favor among target archers, as form-crippling arm fatigue will be minimized.
Additionally, the BlackOut Epic carries an insanely quick IBO speed rating of 340 FPS. When attempting to shoot targets at unknown distances, this speed will flatten an arrow’s overall trajectory and somewhat compensate for minor yardage miscalculations.
One factor worth considering is that the BlackOut Epic is not as versatile in its draw length adjustment as many other bows are on the market today. This bow features a 26 to 30-inch draw length range and a draw weight range of 25 to 70 pounds. While the Epic’s draw weight range is well suited for use by archers of any age and size, this is not necessarily the case in regard to draw length.
Before purchasing any compound bow, there are several factors worth considering. By putting ample thought into each of the following considerations, you’ll be ready to choose a target bow that will provide maximum enjoyment well into the future.
If you are looking to jump into target archery, you want a bow that you can shoot, and shoot well. The most significant factor which plays a role in a particular bow’s shootability, or lack thereof, is its brace height.
Brace height is defined as the distance between the deepest point of a bow’s grip, and its string. The greater a bow’s brace height, the less time an arrow stays in contact with the bowstring upon its release. As a bow’s brace height shortens, an arrow’s nock stays secured to the bowstring for a longer duration during the shot. This creates a greater window of time for improper form to impact an arrow’s flight.
Many of the most forgiving bows feature brace heights of approximately 7 inches. This generally means that a bow with a 7-inch brace height will be more forgiving to shoot than one, which features a 6-inch brace height.
Unlike bows used strictly in a bowhunting scenario, those used primarily for target shooting are shot repetitively. This can lead to rapid arm, back, and shoulder fatigue, which results in poor overall form. With every shot, muscles begin to tire, and accuracy tends to suffer as a result.
You can minimize this fatigue by choosing a bow with a high let-off percentage. In recent years, manufacturers have released many bows that feature 80 percent or higher let-off factors.
However, several new bows are available which feature adjustable let-off values. Bows like the Bear Divergent EKO and BlackOut Epic allow users to adjust their bow’s let-off to customize their shooting experience.
Before purchasing a bow, one must also consider how well a particular model conforms to their needs regarding adjustability. If you’re looking for a bow for a young or small-framed archer, make sure to choose a bow that you can adjust to a proper draw length and draw weight.
This is a bigger issue for some than others. While most bows can adjust to fit average-sized archers, those that are quite tall, or have yet to finish growing, should take care when making their selection.
Luckily, there are now many bows available that offer a wide range of adjustability, covering virtually any archer’s needs. Many of these bows feature adjustable draw length ranges of as much as 15 inches or more. Draw weight adjustments often range 50 or more pounds from one end of the spectrum to the other.
When strictly speaking about target bows, the value of a particular bow’s IBO speed can vary based upon the type of competition. As a general rule, the faster a bow’s rated speed, the flatter an arrow’s trajectory becomes. While this makes little to no difference when competing in indoor league shoots with known ranges, the opposite is typically true when competing in 3D shoots.
When shooting outdoor 3D courses, officials set targets at varying distances. It’s up to the competitor to gauge distance and aim for the shot. Even the best archers occasionally misjudge yardage, aiming either high or low.
In the case of a bow that propels arrows at speeds over 300 FPS, misjudging a target within five yards isn’t much of an issue. There will be very little difference between your point of aim and point of impact. On the other hand, a five-yard discrepancy can lead to a notable difference in point of impact when fired from a slower bow.
The following are some of the most commonly posed questions concerning target archery and selecting the proper bow.
In truth, you can use many of today’s modern compound bows for both hunting and target archery. However, the bulk of quality target bows feature generous brace heights of 7 inches to aid in shootability and forgiveness. These bows also use a lower draw weight and come in a number of color schemes.
As with any compound bow, target bow prices range significantly from one end of the spectrum to the other. This effectively excludes no one from taking part in target archery due to budgetary constraints. In fact, the bows covered in this review range in price from less than $200 to nearly $800.
You must first decide which form of competition you wish to compete in. There are many different avenues to choose from, including indoor league and 3D shoots. Once you decide which form of target shooting is for you, talk to the folks at your local archery pro shop, or scour the internet research to locate archery clubs.