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2012’s Top 14 Compound Bows, Part I

Here are the top 14 new compound bows for 2012 that are designed to help you become a better bow shot and bowhunter.


Man, I have a tough job. The assignment: Travel to the annual Archery Trade Association (ATA) trade show in Columbus, Ohio, and spend two and a half days trolling the aisles looking at all the hot new products designed to help you become a better bow shot and bowhunter. It’s rough, but I managed to get ‘er done.

My job was to ferret out the top hunting bow from each manufacturer and give you a brief overview. Naturally, many companies introduced several new bows, which makes selecting the “best” one a bit like asking a man, “Who is the best quarterback in football, Tom Brady or Drew Brees?” Of course, the right answer is “Both could play for me anytime! It’s just a matter of personal preference, but you could not go wrong with either guy.”

In this series I have listed the manufacturers alphabetically, not necessarily in the order in which I personally liked one bow over another. Here’s part one of our exclusive two-part series.

Alpine Archery Silverado Limited Edition: A cool feature of this bow is the Velocitric Hybrid Cams with a locking mechanism that enables shooters to relax the string for adjustments of peep sight installation and removal without a bow press. It just looks hot with its black, powder-coated riser, brown components and Mossy Oak Infinity camouflage-finished limbs. The bow is 31-inches axle-to-axle, weighs less than 4 pounds, and has a 7 ¼-inch brace height, adjustable draw lengths from 27 to 30 inches and an IBO speed rating of 330 fps. MSRP: $599

APA Innovations Mamba M6: Based in Biggar, Saskatchewan, APA builds very interesting hunting compounds. It is the only company that builds a nock wrench, broadhead wrench and carbide sharpener right into the bow’s riser, and its “Fang Riser” features a small hook on the top portion of the riser designed to allow the bow to be hung directly from a tree limb. But perhaps more interesting is the Cam Lock system that allows you to change out the bowstring and cables without the use of a bow press. The 32 ¼- dual cam Mamba M6 features 6 1/8-inch brace height, APA’s new HE (High Efficiency) 3 stage limbs, weighs 3.8 pounds and carries a blistering IBO speed rating of 355 fps. MSRP: $899

Bear Archery Anarchy: One of the fastest bows available this year comes from one of the country’s oldest bow makers. The new, 35 ¼-inch, single-cam Anarchy features the company’s new Flat Top Cam, which, when I shot it on the practice range, impressed me with both its smooth draw cycle and solid back wall, as well as a 7 ¼-inch brace height that makes it easy to shoot accurately. Bear has added a new customizable grip, 4X4 Roller Guard, Dual Arc offset String Suppressors and Max Pre-Load Quad Limbs. The Anarchy has a mass weight of 3.8 pounds, and an IBO speed rating of 340 fps. It has 80 percent let-off and can be adjusted from 25- to 31 ½-inch draw lengths. MSRP: $899

BowTech Insanity CPX: BowTech has established a reputation as a very innovative bow maker, and with the Insanity CPX the company unveiled a new flagship bow that combines the top features from two of its more popular high-performance bows—the Destroyer and the Invasion CPX—to “unleash the insanity.” When I shot this bow it was as stable and recoilless a bow as I have shot in a long time despite its high-performance features. The 32-inch dual cam Insanity CPX comes in draw weights from 50 to 80 pounds, has a mass weight of 4.3 pounds, 80 percent let-off, 6-inch brace height and IBO speed rating of 355 fps. There is also a CPXL version that’s 35 inches axle-to-axle with IBO rating of 340 fps and 7-inch brace height. MSRP: $999

Darton Archery DS 3900: New to the Darton lineup for 2012 is the DS-3900, a compact version of the Darton Flagship DS-3800, but uniquely different in many ways. The DS-3900 has a new, lighter riser equipped with EET Laminated Quad Limbs to power the latest design DualSync Cams—a unique Darton cam design that includes a second let-out groove on each cam that anchors the opposite end of each power cable instead of anchoring it to the axle—for both maximum speed and efficiency. A compact 32 7/8-inch axle-to-axle, the DS-3900 has a comfortable, well-balanced feel in the hand. The DS-3900 features an aggressive draw cycle and super low 5-inch brace height, weighs 3.9 pounds, has draw length adjustments from 24 to 30 inches, an 80 percent let-off and draw weights from 40 to 70 pounds. IBO speed rating is 355 fps. MSRP: $950

Elite Archery Answer: Elite Archery has been in business seven years now, and has become known for smooth-drawing speed bows. The Answer is no exception. This 33 ½-inch axle-to-axle bow weighs 4.1 pounds, and its most impressive feature is the new redesigned twin track cam with two module options. The Smooth Mod is easy to draw with an IBO speed rating of 330 fps, while the Speed Mod is a bit more harsh to draw and shoot but offers another 10 fps to the speed rating. Modules are available from 27 to 30 inches in ½-inch increments, and draw weights from 50 to 80 pounds. MSRP: $870

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30 Responses to 2012’s Top 14 Compound Bows, Part I

Buck wrote:
April 01, 2014

Has anyone even shot & hunted with the Winchester Quicksilver 34super speed ? All of you guys are missing out on possibly the finest bow ever made,no joke! They are seriously under estimated & over looked by 99.9 percent of archery world. Try one for yourself.

Ray Phillip wrote:
March 08, 2013

I just had an epiphany

rayy Phillip wrote:
March 08, 2013

I think I found a way to improve a compound bow

Wade wrote:
February 21, 2013

Just got the G5 prime shift! Idc what anybody says ive owned a z7 and carbon element and this g5 blows them out of the water on quietness smoothness let off and accuracy and dont forget speed! BEST BOW EVER GET ONE!

madjak wrote:
February 19, 2013

I started shooting with a pse mark flight 4 , 25 years ago now looking at bows with my son the cheap bows blow away the old pse I would be happy with any of these new bows all are much more advanced than anything just a few years ago

James wrote:
February 08, 2013

Bought the bear anarchy... Smoothest bow I've ever owned or shot

Rich wrote:
January 30, 2013

Most forgving an smooth shooting compound bows ax to ax 37 in or over. Short bows are fast but have a terrible peep angle at full draw. I suggest the Darton 4500 or the HCa Sp eliminator. Plenty fast truly accurate an very smooth draw cycle.7 to 8u in brace ht is also better

Cmclemore wrote:
January 04, 2013

Ive bought a G5 and really like it. But im shooting almost 400 gns. ? Is shld i back off the gns. Or does it matter.

Justin wrote:
December 12, 2012

All these bows are great if you have a grand to drop on a bow! I personally have had great success from my Bear Legion at a fraction of these bow's cost. The draw cycle and accuracy are amazing.

Steve wrote:
November 29, 2012

Natives used to kill animals with a stick and sharpened rock broadheads.

adam wrote:
November 20, 2012

i have been bow hunting over 25 yrs started with a pearson spoiler then a golden eagle, hoyt, martin,all good bows went back to Pearson tx-4 super fast smooth and quiet

Marnis wrote:
November 18, 2012

Hey everyone I'm just 14 and wants I bow so bad.... I'm in south africa..... And shoots impala and warthog nothing huge but I don't want I childs bow.... Wich one would be the best for this situasion?

mannix wrote:
November 14, 2012

Just bought a G5 Rev package and have been very impressed

Don wrote:
November 10, 2012

Funny, people always say that the bow that they just bought, or for that matter any other piece of equipment they bought, is the best one ever. Guess it's just human nature. If someone shot each and everyone and evaluated them all, maybe then I would believe what they say. Otherwise, I think it's just the same old I've got the latest greatest thing!

Jason wrote:
October 19, 2012

How do you rate the Hoyt Vector Turbo

Tom wrote:
September 29, 2012

As an entry-level bowhunter, I picked up the Bear Archery Encounter and I can honestly say that out of all the bows I test-shot... it is by far a solid piece of mechanics for the price. For an entry-level bowhunter on a budget, you can't beat the smooth draw and quietness of this bow. I paired it with a NAP Apache Micro APG Realtree arrow rest which has made fine adjustments not so brutal. Grouping is tight at even 65 yards, so tight in fact that I've had to replace fletches already from shooting them and tearing them. I will be the first to admit that there are better bows out there, but at the price Bear asks for the Encounter, it is very solid. The RTH package could come with some better accessories, but for an entry-level shooter it's a good start. At 58lbs draw weight with a 29.5" draw length (I'm tall...), it measured out at about 207mph / 304fps. Overall, it's a solid bow for the price... making it in my opinion a good bang-for-buck challenger to the higher end bows.

Patrick Pedigo wrote:
September 25, 2012

I have the new bowtech insanity, and a better name it couldn't have. 80 yard shots in the ten ring is common. Paired with easton's full metal jacket and tipped with a rage two blade, deadly. Had to buy a new block due to pass thoughts. This bow is a little heavy, but its accuracy and power are well worth it. You owe it to yourself to shoot it, you'll be impressed. I shot everything that was offered, my choice is insanity cpx

Rocky6028 wrote:
September 10, 2012

Elite ANSWER is off the charts!!! Was a big Hoyt guy but now can't put the Answer down. Smooth draw solid back wall no creep at all !

Dani wrote:
September 09, 2012

I have a hoyt carbon matrix it's my first bow I had no bow experince when i got it . Within the first week of owning it I was hitting a tennis ball at 150feet on averige 4 time's out of every 6 shot's . So long story short I'm more than happy with my Hoyt

September 07, 2012

Hoyt is the best bow

Spike Hunter 87 wrote:
September 04, 2012

I got the Bowtech Destroyer 340 and Rage tips. I am hunting for deer this year. Are the better bows and arrows, I should know about.

Hunter Powell wrote:
September 03, 2012

Have the 2012 bowtech assassin love it pulling 62lb shooting 322 very fast and quite give Richard a holler at lake fork archery will give u a good deal

Philip wrote:
August 19, 2012

Last week I ordered the new Alpine Verdict in the black carbon fiber look. I'm down here in the swamps of Louisiana, I never shot this bow, never heard of Alpine. I hope I did not make a bad impulse buy, I did research on 2013 bows and did not feel comfortable paying 1000 for a bow, I'm setting this bow up to shot alligators and nutria rats, swamp animals.

James Sizemore wrote:
August 12, 2012

The answer to smoothness is the Elite Answer. With its solid back wall and a dwell unlike any other bow. This is a Bow all should take a look at. The grip and valley are second to no other bow on the market. A very awesome peace of hunting equipment.

Brandon wrote:
August 02, 2012

I shot all of the big name brands bows and the best I shot were by far the Heli-M and Insanity CPX. I shot PSE for over 20 years and was blown away at just how much better the Mathews and Bowtech were. PSE was always fast but never quiet and didn't have a solid wall at full draw. I went with the Bowtech Insanity Cpx just because I could get it for about 350.00 less than the Mathews. Hoyt must be crazy with this new bow, way too expensive 1200.00, and does not compete with Mathews and Bowtech in feel or quietness. But as they say.... Shoot for yourself.

Ed wrote:
June 18, 2012

Bought The Bowtech Insanity several months ago and have been able to set it down. Lucky for me my wife bowhunts to so I don't get nagged to do something else. The draw on this bow is a dream, and if you want to know what I mean heat up a knife and cut through butter. Yeah its like that! The let off is amazing and haveing an draw length of 28 @ 70lbs I shoot over 322fps with a 15 grain heavy arrow. I would not trade it for any other bow on the market. The only thing I must say is going from a Hoyt to a Bowtech it feels different in your hand at full draw, better but different.

Justin C wrote:
May 29, 2012

I have recently began to find an interest in compound bows and I want to find something that will help me to decide if they are for me. I don't want to get a simple cheap one but I dont want to pay an arm and a leg for one either. What would be the best for me and should I trust used bows or strictly buy new?

Jim wrote:
March 14, 2012

I purchased a g5 prime. the dealer had to order cams for my draw , I have been waiting 3 weeks now no cams .g5 prime warranty states 48 hour shipping.I hope the rest of the warranty is better !

Martin wrote:
January 27, 2012

How lucky are you? How do I get to be part of that gig? Being an Automation Engineer blows compared to that.

Leo wrote:
January 26, 2012

I bought a G-5 Prime last year. Having owned many other bows including Matthews, PSE, Hoyt, and several others. The G-5 is the best bow I've ever shot and I'm sure the new one is better. The parralel cams are awesome!