USA –-(Ammoland.com)- While we don’t know exactly how old crossbow technology has been around, we do know Sun Tzu wrote about them in “The Art of War” (c. 5th century BC) stating, “Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the releasing of the trigger.” (Szczepanski)
And, while I don’t know where crossbows are headed necessarily, ATA delivered great perspective on centuries of advancement and mind-blowing innovation. From Excalibur’s time-tested, more primitive, cam-less design (still packed with jaw dropping development and performance) to feature rich, premium crossbows catering to the world’s most discerning hunters and recreational shooters, one thing is for sure; after 2,500 years, our love affair with crossbows shows no sign of stopping.
Check out five eye-catching, performance-driven, adrenaline-charged crossbows that stopped traffic at the 2015 ATA Show.
Horton Storm RDX Crossbow
Where conventional crossbow technology ends, the Horton Storm RDX Crossbow begins. You may have seen reverse draw technology recently but not like the Storm RDX.
This adrenaline-charged crossbow sends 400-gr. bolts down range at a blistering 370 fps with the heavy-weight punch of 122 ft.-lbs. of bone-crushing kinetic energy.
While the Storm RDX features a staunch draw weigh of 165 lbs., models are available with Horton’s ACUdraw or Dedd Sled to take the pain out of drawing.
The Horton Storm RDX compresses to only 10-in. wide when fully cocked and boasts 13-in. tactical black limbs.
Other features include Horton’s Custom RDX Cam System, DynaFLIGHT 97 string and cables, 440 stainless steel cam bearings, self-locking limb pocket with limb-twist prevention, 20-in. machined aluminum tactical barrel, string suppressors, premium stock with adjustable butt plate and comb, 3.5-lb. Bullpup T3 Trigger, PlasticComp molded fore-grip and a 4x32mm multi-line scope.
TenPoint Stealth FX4 Crossbow
While the Storm RDX stopped traffic in its tracks for obvious quality and unconventional reasons of its own, the TenPoint Stealth FX4 Crossbow drew media crowds looking for a flagship crossbow from a company already considered the crème de le crème of crossbow quality.
True to TenPoint’s reputation, the Stealth FX4 delivers.
Like its sister crossbow, the Stealth FX4 capitalizes on 185 lbs. of draw weight to launch 400-gr. bolts at a red hot 370 fps and impacting with 116 ft.-lbs. of kinetic energy.
Whisper quiet, deadly accurate and armed with a refreshingly light and crisp trigger, the Stealth FX4 earns its place at the top of the heap of conventional crossbows at ATA.
Southern Crossbow Risen XLT 385 Crossbow
Drifting back into the world of unconventional, ultra-cool crossbow design with quality-driven, adrenaline packed innovation landed me in the Southern Crossbow booth.
The tactical world continues to grow by leaps and bounds so why should crossbow loving tactical operators be left in the cold? They shouldn’t and they aren’t! As a Marine Corps veteran, the Southern Crossbow Risen XLT 385 caught my eye immediately.
If you’re a veteran like me or just a guy in love with our modern tactical movement, you’re going to love this marriage of over 2,000 years of history with the look, feel and performance of an AR platform modern sporting rifle!
Reminiscent of my old M-16 A2 service rifle, but with limbs, cams, a string and cables, this bad boy also features a telescoping stock, AR-styled pistol grip and even a vertical fore-grip. Not for the faint of heart but true to its given name, the Risen XLT 385 delivers 385 fps of insane speed from a 200-lb. draw. Unlike many crossbows on the show floor I was also impressed with how complete a kit this tactical masterpiece includes.
While the Southern Crossbow’s maniacal Risen XLT 385 boasts a high-quality 4x32mm scope, the bundle also includes a 6-bolt quiver, 4 field tipped 400-gr. – 425-gr. Bolts, safety glasses, a cocking rope, foot stirrup and rail lube. Other notable features include a compound levering system, anti-dry-fire safety mechanism and a composite, ultra-stiff split-limb design.
If you’re caught in a world between medieval crossbows and tactical operations, the Risen XLT 385 just might hit the bullseye.
Parker Archery Challenger Crossbow
Parker Archery has long been considered a top-shelf manufacturer of crossbows and the 2015 lineup keeps the company soundly ranked among the best of the best; of course, as a patriot to the bone, “American Made” always perks my ears up and captures my attention, too. Still, the crossbow world has lacked any real focus on crossbows fit for youth and huntresses… until now.
For 2015, Parker unveiled the Challenger, touted as the “first ever youth and ladies model hunting crossbow,” complete with a 1.75-in. shorter length of pull. While the Challenger is lightweight, at 5.5 lbs., and designed for smaller framed shooters, quality, performance and, indeed, the adrenaline rush of high-velocity shooting (300 fps with 400-gr. bolt at 150 lbs.) are still cornerstones of this American Made beauty! The Challenger also boasts an adjustable draw weight, from 125 – 150 lbs., solid limb technology, G2 Bullpup trigger, elevated comb, vented forearm with safety trigger flange, premium Red Hot string and cables, and pink Muddy Girl Camouflage finish. The Challenger includes a 4-bolt quiver and 4 field-tipped bolts. An outfitter package also is available and includes your choice of 1X or 3X multi-reticle illuminated scope.
Stryker Solution LS Crossbow
Certainly not last in terms of mind-blowing performance or satisfying the whims of even the most discriminating crossbow hunters, the Stryker Solution LS holds its own as a premium crossbow stopping scores of media and dealer reps in their tracks and leaving them to jack their jaws up off the showroom floor. This beast unleashes 390 fps of whisper quiet destruction from an industry light 155-lb. draw. How do they do it? With BowTech’s typical, forward-thinking focus on research, design, innovation and development – see their line of compound bows to further support this claim.
The Solution LS boasts a light 6.9-lb. carry weight, premium multi-reticle scope, cam assist system, auto-flip magnetic safety, Cease-Fire secondary safety, Arrow Sensor safety, fore-end grip shield, Stryke-Lite Trigger System with .015-in. travel and 3-lb. pull, and non-slip arrow hold-down security. The Stryker Solution LS Crossbow walks the leading edge of optimum balance, size and weight and includes 5 bolts, a 5-bolt quiver, string stops and a cocking aid. If you’re looking for premium quality, uncompromising performance, blistering speed and comfort-driven shootability, you need to take a hard look at Stryker Crossbows!
While these amazing crossbows comprise my list of the five most notable product offerings at ATA for various reasons, the list is incomplete. Certainly, other crossbow offerings rank among the top-tier as well. In the end, like bows and any number of other personal equipment choices, the way a crossbow fits and feels before, during and after a shot is critical.
To complicate things, each person is different, what I look for in comfort, quality, shootability and overall performance may not be be-all, end-all fix for other discerning crossbow enthusiasts.
At the end of the day, investigate these crossbows and others before arriving at your own conclusion. 25 centuries of crossbow history are waiting for you to write your story.