Bear Apprentice 3 Review

Bear Apprentice 3

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  • Comfortable to shoot
  • Great youth bow
  • Easy to adjust draw length without bow press or module change


  • Slide type cable guard
  • Only 70% let off

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Editors' review

The new Bear Apprentice III for 2014 is an improvement to the already great Apprentice II. With the large range of adjustments in draw length and weights it can grow with any youngster. This makes it nearly perfect to use throughout the childhood and adolescence of about anyone. It can be used to hunt large game with at some point when the user is mature enough to do so. The bow is well built and, as with all Bear products, their customer service is amazing to work with on any issues that could occur. It has adequate speed for a youth bow and feels good to shoot. This bow is simple to adjust and it doesn't take long to do so with growth or a change in users.


There are two color options available on the Apprentice III. It comes in either Realtree APG or pink camouflage. Both colors look great and should satisfy most youths. They both have a flat finish with no shine at all. Each option has been durable and have not had any peeling or chipping of the paint. The strength of the finish is important in youth bows when they usually get a little more beat up by kids.


This bow is nice and short for a child at 27.5" axel to axel. It is perfect for shorter kids and is fine for any of the taller ones too. Another benefit for younger kids is the light weight of this bow of only 2.9lbs. There are some stronger kids that may feel more steady with additional weight in a bow which can be added with a variety of stabilizers. The new riser on the Apprentice III looks great. It has a more tubular look with the edges being a lot more rounded. The riser has a similar look with the rest of Bear's bows. A stabilizer bushing is secured in the riser. Another new feature is the integrated string stop that now comes standard on the Apprentice. This is an attractive improvement that cuts vibration and noise.

The Bear Flared Quad Limbs are split limbs that do an amazing job. They help to produce a brace height of 6". This combination creates plenty of energy for a youth bow at every draw length. The Zero Tolerance Limb Pockets connect the limbs to the riser and help reduce shock. The small amount of hand shock that this bow does have a stabilizer would improve.


The improved grip design has eliminated hand torque improving accuracy. It only has a couple of narrow side plats on the grip of the riser and "Bear" is written on them. The width and angle of the grip is perfect. It feels comfortable and well proportioned in hand. It is thin and ideal for small hands. With it being bare metal it may get a little cold on the hand on cold hunting days.

String Suppressers

This Apprentice now has a new string suppression system with a standard string stop that cuts vibration and noise. This helps a ton when the bow is set at the higher draw weights and it doesn't hurt when set at a lower weight either.

Eccentric System

The cam system is great on this bow and highly adjustable in draw length. Bear's new dual G3 "growth cams" are third generation on Apprentice bows and are now adjustable in .5" increments. They will adjust from 15" to 27" in draw length. This huge range can find a way to fit nearly any child that would be able to shoot a bow as well as teenagers. It is very simple to adjust and there is no need for a bow press or additional modules to purchase to change the draw length. This user-friendly feature will be great for parents or other owners to work on as children mature. The Apprentice III has 70% let off and helps young archers get the feel of shooting bigger bows. There is a 20lb. to 60lb. adjustment in draw weight. It should also be noted that the draw weights can increase and decrease more with longer or shorter draw lengths. At 27" of draw, 60lbs. of draw weight, and shooting a 300 grain arrow the bow has an IBO speed of 265fps

Draw Cycle/Shoot Ability

The Apprentice III has a very good feeling draw cycle with most of the weight at the front. There is only a slight amount of recoil, but when at full draw this bow feels like it is fastened to the back and comfortable. This feeling is ideal for a youngster shooting a compound bow. The back wall is isn't spongy or rock solid, but just about right. A stabilizer would reduce the little bit of recoil there is and could improve the balance even more if it isn't too heavy for a smaller child. A carbon rod has a slide type cable guard that works fine for this type of bow. It isn't as smooth as roller guards, but it one minor thing that helps to keep the cost down on a youth bow.

Silencing Package

With the addition of the new string stop this bow is now one of the quietest in its' class. There are no other silencers on this bow, but it doesn't seem to need any. The new string stop dampens vibration and noise both.


Bow Bear Apprentice 3 Bear Apprentice 2
Version 2014 2013
Picture Bear Apprentice 3 Bear Apprentice 2
Brace Height 6 " 6.125 "
AtA Length 27.5 " 27.5 "
Draw Length 15 " - 27 " 15 " - 27 "
Draw Weight 15 lbs - 60 lbs 15 lbs - 60 lbs
IBO Speed 265 fps 265 fps
Weight 2.9 lbs 2.9 lbs
Let-Off 70% 70%
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The Bear Apprentice 3 has obviously made some positive improvements from the Bear Apprentice 2. Although there are still many similarities the III is draw length adjustable in .5" increments instead of 1". The grip design has changed slightly to decrease any hand torque. The Apprentice III has also added a new string suppressor system with the addition of a string stop integrated into the riser. This is probably the best improvement from the II. The III is also available in 15 to 50lb. draw weight or 20 to 60lbs where the II just had one weight range of 15 to 60lbs. The most noticeable change in this bow is the change in looks of the riser. It has a more modern looking and rounded or tubular look to it. It looks pretty sweet and most kids will probably think the same.

Perfect Usage

It is a good thing that this bow is built so well because with all the years that it could be used by a child it would be needed. It's great for getting the feel for the sport whether in target shooting, 3D shooting, or hunting when it comes time for some of the youth shooters. It's an ideal first bow that will most likely suit any youth that is ready to draw, aim, and shoot a bow. There are also some small adults or women who are at the entry level of archery that it would fit.


The value of the Apprentice III is tremendous for a child that still has a lot of growing to do physically and technically with shooting a bow. The bow is at the upper end of youth bows that are available on the market. It is well built and Bear has great customer service. It is a great investment for anyone who eager to learn how to shoot. It's hard to loose any money on the product when it has a food resale value like it has.


Any child with desire will get along great with this bow. Along with its' ease to shoot and its' good feel it gives a great idea of how an adult bow will feel someday. The large adjustment range and light weight make it great for any young shooter. It fills a niche in Bear's line up and it's an important one as an archer is just beginning with one of their bows. Even at lighter weights and shorter draw lengths it still has good speed with its' dual cams. If there ever happens to be any problems or questions that need to be answered Bear's customer service is amazing. The Apprentice III isn't apt to leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth for the first time shooting. The bow comes standard in a ready to hunt package including a Trophy Ridge 3 pin sight, Trophy Ridge Whisker Bisquit rest, arrow quiver, peep sight, and a string loop. The MSRP is $299.99 and with it being ready to shoot it isn't a bad price.

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