Hoyt Carbon Defiant 34 Review

Hoyt Carbon Defiant 34

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  • The feel of a target bow in hand and holding on target
  • Forgiving 7-inch brace height
  • Carbon riser benefits and warm to the touch feel in the coldest temperatures
  • Lots of finish choices


  • An IBO rating of only 325 feet per second
  • $1449 bare bow is hard to pay even if money is not an issue
  • There is a significant delay in getting this model into shops


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Editors' review

The Carbon Defiant 34 is a great work of engineering, which ends in a solid shooting bow that can be used for any style of archery. The DFX cam and a half system offers an optional limb stop to firm up the back wall more than anything of recent years. Those not wanting to change the back wall feel can also leave the limb stop off the cam for a similar feel to older versions. With the superior strength of the carbon riser along with the real feel of a bow over 37-inches axel to axel, the Carbon Defiant 34 is a perfect mix between hunting and target archery. An IBO rated 325 feet per second is a bit shocking at first glance, but after shooting the bow, and getting a true feel for how it performs, the slow speed may not be a large issue. The $1449 price tag is a bit scary on paper as well for a bare bow price. However, those wanting to get their hands on a Carbon Defiant 34 may have a struggle if it is before the summer of 2016. For whatever reason, there seems to be a very limited number of these bows available to the public even six months after the bow was launched in October. With all things considered, the Carbon Defiant 34 may be one of the greatest multipurpose bows produced by Hoyt if shooters can get over the slow speed rating.


The finish on the 2016 carbon lineup looks really great. Although longevity of the finish is still a bit unknown with so few Carbon Defiant 34's even in the hands of shooters right now, the original out of the box look is a great one. For those interested in the 34, there are a ton of options available for shooters to choose from along with a bunch of factory accent colors to add even more of a personal touch.Since the Carbon Defiant 34 is most comfortable as a hunting bow, the hunting colors are nice looking and offer a great deal of variety. Shooters can choose an all black bow, Realtree Xtra, Realtree Max 1, Realtree AP Pink, Realtree AP Snow, and brand new for 2016, Under Armour Ridge Reaper. Each of these patterns (with the exception of pink and snow camo) can also be added to an all black riser or a Harvest Brown riser. Hoyt also offers three separate premium edition packages as well, which include a different string and cable color combination along with a louder limb graphics and dampener color. The American Heritage package is offered on the blackout model, Realtree Xtra, and Realtree Max 1 camo options. The Bone Collector edition is available in blackout and Realtree Xtra, and features a cool looking florescent green string and dampener combo. The final special edition package is the Vixcen model. This is offered in blackout or Realtree Max 1 with pink or purple accent colors.


Carbon risers are really a different breed of design and feel. Hoyt has coined the marketing phrase "Carbon Done Right" with other manufactures incorporating this material in their designs as well. Hoyt's specific design utilizes over 50 custom carbon layers to get the strength and rigidity where it is needed the most. The hollow tubes maintain 97% of the strength the solid tubes, so engineers went that route to keep the overall mass of the bow without accessories as light as possible. Carbon risers are also warmer to the touch and stronger than aluminum, which makes for more comfortable sits on the stand in cold weather, and a more accurate platform to start with. Hoyt also incorporates a lot of technologies in their risers, which make the shooting experience a better one. The offset stabilizer mount and silent shelf are just two examples of great technology for shooters, without much glamour. The Zero Torque Cable slide system also carries over from last year. This system pivots as the bow is drawn to move the cables closer to the centerline of the bow, where they want to be as the arrow approaches full draw. As the arrow is released, the rollers return to their resting position without much added noise or vibration. Theoretically, this pivoting action will reduce the side torque placed on the riser from the cables and keep the riser from having a negative impact on accuracy. With the carbon being stronger than aluminum to start, this ZT cable slide system just helps add subtract more pressure added to the riser.


Hoyt grips have always been a comfortable option despite what shooters personal preference is in regards to size and shape. The Carbon Defiant 34 will come from the factory with a solid one-piece wooden grip with different colors offered on the camo risers versus the black risers. The grip is held to the riser with two screws on each side of the grip. Shooters wanting a different feel altogether can choose to remove the grip and add either Hoyt or custom side plates or an older style rubber composite grip. The side plates are the thinnest grip option available for shooters, but also may not be the choice shooters are interested in. The rubber 180 grip feels similar to the wooden grip, with the most significant difference being what the grip is made of. As a final option, some shooters simply remove the grip and work to make their own feel by adding tape.


The limbs on the brand new Carbon Defiant 34 may be one of the largest design changes on the 2016 rig. Although the cams are combined with the limbs to create the longer axel-to-axel feel at full draw, the highly pre-stressed limbs and new pockets really help make this a possibility. Sticking with what has worked in the past, Hoyt continues to offer their bows in a split limb configuration. Draw weights are offered in maximum draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80-pounds. With 50-pounds of draw length adjustment, and the popular offering of 65-pound limbs, virtually anyone wanting to shoot a Carbon Defiant 34 can. The AirShox dampening system from previous years has been eliminated for 2016, and Hoyt equips the bow with a rubber dampener, which slips between the limbs. This method of dampening and noise reduction is not as flashy as the system it is replacing, but will get the job done.Also worth mentioning is the change in equipment needed to pres the new limbs. The new design comes with a warning attached to the limbs, but how the bow can be pressed is different than in the past. It is best to seek out a Hoyt dealer, or the owner's manual for specific details on which press will work and what modification needs to occur to older presses for them to accommodate the new design. To get a bit more into the need for the more loaded limb design, Hoyt has attempted to make their bows feel like longer axel o axel models. In order to do this, engineers decided to create a more relaxed string angle at full draw so shooters can execute the shot with better form and a more erect head position. The limbs play a large role in creating this sensation at full draw. Hoyt claims the new design adds the equivalent to almost 3.5-inches axel-to-axel measurement. In other words, the Carbon Defiant 34, with an axel-to-axel measurement of 34-inches will really feel more like a bow with a 37.5-inch axel-to-axel measurement when comparing string angles. This ideally places the string in a better spot on the shooter's face, and the peep a bit closer to the shooters eye; hopefully leading to better accuracy in the long run.

Eccentric System

The DFX cam system is a neat system from Hoyt for 2016, and includes a few designs not offered with a Hoyt model bow in recent years. The Carbon Defiant 34 is IBO rated for 325 feet per second. The DFX cam remains a three base cam system like Hoyt has done for a while now. This creates a more user and shop friendly cam system by allowing some adjustment to the draw length, but also helps maximize the cam efficiency by not having 6-inches or adjustment from one system. The number one cam is 25-27-inches, the number two cam is 27-29-inches, and the number three cam is 29-30-inches. New for 2016, Hoyt has designed a rotating module within each base cam, which can adjust the draw by half-inch increments. In the past, new modules were needed for each draw length change to occur. The second major change for the DFX cam system is the optional limb stop post that can be added to firm up the back wall while at full draw. Those really wanting a solid back wall without any play can now have that with their Hoyt bow.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

The Carbon Defiant 34 is an awesome bow, in large part because of the nice draw cycle the DFX cam system offers. The initial start of the draw force curve starts out fairly steep with the weight reaching peak weight pretty quickly. From there, the draw cycle levels out as the bow approaches the valley and back wall. The valley and back wall can be adjusted a bit to give shooters the feel they desire, which is a really nice option for shooters to have. While pulling into the back wall, which feels like past Hoyts without the limb stop, or very solid with the stop in play, shooters will be comfortable with the amount of creep offered on the DFX cam. There is a little bit of room to relax without the bow wanting to spring forward. The shot is absolutely silent and the feel in the hand is a typical carbon bow feel, which is dead. The 3.8-pound bare bow weight never feels too heavy or too light while holding on target, and the bare bow balance is spot on. While holding on target, the pin float is very minimal, and the bow is easy to aim. The speed on the 7-inch brace height bow is a bit underwhelming honestly at an IBO rated 325 feet per second. However, many shooters will gladly take the easy drawing smoothness offered on the DFX cams as an even trade for a little slower arrow speeds.

Usage Scenarios

Although the Carbon Defiant 34 is a designed hunting bow, it would also make great all around bow. The DFX cams are also the featured cams on Hoyt's target bows for 2016, and the 34-inch Carbon Defiant will feel more like a 37-inch target model on the shot. The lighter mass weight of a 3.8-pound bow may be a little too light for some serious target shooters, but the ability to add more stabilizer weight to a lighter starting spot may be very appealing to some shooters. No matter what shooters style of archery is, the Carbon Defiant 34 will produce great results.

Carbon Defiant 34 vs. Defiant 34

BowHoyt Carbon Defiant 34Hoyt Defiant 34
Version 20162016
PictureHoyt Carbon Defiant 34Hoyt Defiant 34
Brace Height7 "7 "
AtA Length34 "34 "
Draw Length25 " - 31 "25 " - 31 "
Draw Weight30 lbs - 80 lbs30 lbs - 80 lbs
IBO Speed325 fps325 fps
Weight3.8 lbs4.3 lbs
Let-Off75% 75%
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Since Hoyt released carbon risers, they have always made sure anything offered in carbon is also available with an aluminum riser as well. Although some shooters claim to not feel a difference between the two risers, and the difference is diminishing as the years pass, the carbon riser bow seems to have a different feel. Perhaps the riser is more dead in the shooters hand, maybe it's the overall weight difference, or perhaps the difference is simply the feeling shooters get for spending a lot of money on a high end bow; whatever the feeling is, shooters choosing to go with the carbon model rarely regret the decision to do so. Although the Hoyt Carbon Defiant 34 and Hoyt Defiant 34 are the same bow on paper, many shooters will gladly fork over the additional money for the carbon version. With that being said, there are many shooters with no interest in spending the additional money. Although it may be a little simplistic to assume the final decision of purchasing either bow comes down to price, that may be the case. Both bows will shoot exceptionally well, and will perform well for any style of shooting.


To be honest, the Carbon Defiant is not a very appealing bow on paper. Speeds seem to be slower than previous Hoyt models, the lightweight carbon riser bow still tips the scales at 3.8-pounds, and the price tag of $1449 is scary even if money is not a factor in deciding which bow to purchase. However, the shooting experience of the Carbon Defiant 34 is very pleasurable. After shooting this fully redesigned piece of machinery, it is truly hard to find anything wrong with the bow. The solid hold on target along with the longer bow feel make this bow a breeze to shoot, which should be seen in accuracy as well. The Carbon Defiant 34 can be used for all archery disciplines ranging from 3d to indoor spots, and will most definitely perform in the woods for anything shooters want to hunt. Those judging the bow without giving it a fair test shot are really missing out on a superb shooting bow. If you can afford a Carbon Defiant 34 and can get over the sticker shock of the MSRP tag, this bow really is a nice offering for anyone on the market.

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