Hoyt Defiant 34 Review

Hoyt Defiant 34

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  • Complete redesign from the 2015 model
  • DFX cam offers cable stops or optional limb stop
  • String angle is comparable to a 37" axel-to-axel bow


  • Slow IBO speed of only 325 feet per second
  • $1049 bare bow MSRP is a little pricey for some shooters

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The Hoyt Defiant 34 is completely redesigned for 2016. The Defiant 34 gets new limbs, limb pockets, cams, and a new riser design. However, despite the changes the Defiant 34 actually loses speed from the Nitrum 34 of 2015. Although speed is not everything in regards to what makes a great shooting bow, those simply looking at the website specifications will not fully understand the design changes offered on the 34 for 2016. The DFX cams are a wonderful drawing cam system, which allows shooters to fully customize the back wall feel with an option for dual cable stops or a limb stop post. The new limbs and pockets are more pre-stressed than any other recent Hoyt design, which keeps the cam axels further away from each other at full draw. This means the 34-inch axel-to-axel bow feels more like a target bow with a 37-inch axel-to-axel measurement. The enhanced string angle will keep the shooters head in a more upright position, and bring the peep sight a bit closer to the shooters eye. This theoretically should improve overall accuracy and feel more comfortable while shooting. The IBO rated 325 feet per second is a slow shooting bow by today's standards, but those giving the Defiant 34 a shot will more than likely appreciate how great of a shooting experience the 34 offers. The price tag of $1049 is a bit hard for many shooters to swallow, especially since the performance appears to be less than the 34 option last year. However, Hoyt will more than likely have no issue selling a ton of these Defiant 34 bows.


The Hoyt Defiant 34 is not short of finish options available for 2016. This bow is a wonderful do it all bow, and Hoyt fully supports that offering the Defiant 34 in target colors and hunting finishes.

For hunting specifically, Hoyt offers the Defiant 34 in Black out, Realtree Xtra, Realtree Max-1, and Under Armor Ridge Reaper camo. This is the first time Under Armor has offered their camouflage pattern on a bow. Hoyt also offers what they consider "Custom Hunting" options, which include: a black out riser with any of the three already mentioned options covering the limbs. A Harvest Brown riser mixed with any of the three limb choices, Realtree AP Pink, or Realtree AP Snow. Along with this, Hoyt also offers the American Heritage package with red, white, and blue accents coupled with the black out of Realtree Max-1 and Realtree Xtra patterns. Hoyt also continues to offer the Bone Collector and Vixcen choices for shooters that want a more traditional looking hunting bow with some added flair in graphics and accessory colors.

Shooters wanting to go straight target colors will have a variety of choices to choose from as well. Target archery colors include: Pearl White and Powdercoated Black Gloss, as well as anodized Victory Violet, Silver Ice, Orange Torch, Mean Green, Jet Black, Harvest Brown, Electric Teal, Cobalt Blue, and Championship Red. Each of these comes with black limbs and pockets.

Shooters can further customize the look of their bow by adding any of the Hoyt accessory kit colors to their rig. The color kit includes rubber dampeners and a colored one-piece wooden grip.


The riser gets a fresh makeover for 2016. Although some of the past technology does carryover to the 2016 model, the shape and design is completely reworked giving the Defiant a brand new design. Hoyt chooses to keep the weight a bit on the heavy side for the Defiant 34, which tips the scales at an overall weight of 3.4-pounds for the bare bow. The additional cage at the bottom of the riser along with the offset and bridged design help add stability and strength, but weight to the finished product as well. Balancing stabilizer weight to the mounted accessories continues to be easy with the offset stabilizer mounting design on the 34.

In 2015, Hoyt introduced their take on a torque reducing riser design by creating the Zero Torque Cable Guard System. As the cable is drawn, the cable slide remains completely stationary, which in the past would lead to a great deal of stress and torque on the riser. Hoyt engineered their roller system to pivot as the string is drawn to bring the cables closer to the arrow as it is drawn. When the string is released, the moving roller guard is also returned to its rest position allowing for maximum string clearance and minimal noise or vibration.


Hoyt has been offering a variety of grip choices to their customers for a while now, and it is greatly appreciated. The grip is perhaps one of the most personalized touches on a bow, and it is nice to have factory options. The bow will come with a one-piece wooden grip, which has a little thicker, in the hand feel compared to the other two. Hoyt also continues to sell the rubber composite 180 grip, which fits nice and has a similar feel to the wooden grip in regards to size and shape. Hoyt also offers custom wooden side plates also. When the one-piece grip is removed from the riser with two mounting screws, the side plates basically just feel the indents designed into the riser on each side of the grip. This option offers the slimmest feel in the shooters hand, and is a great choice for those that want less grip to work with.


The limbs and pockets are another complete redesign for the 2016 Defiant 34. The dual rocker pocket system combined with the Ultra Flex limbs, and DFX cams create a longer feeling bow than the axel-to-axel measurement suggests. Hoyt has preloaded the split limbs more than ever before, which helps the string angle of the bow at full draw. The string angle places the peep closer to the shooters eye, and allows a more comfortable, upright head position. Each of these things should lead to a better shooting experience. The limbs are no longer entirely wrapped by the pockets. Instead, they are locked into place by three counter pressure control points, which maintain the zero tolerance Hoyt has offered with previous designs. The limbs are offered in several draw weight options including 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80-pound maximum weights. Each limb configuration is adjustable in ten-pound increments creating a 50-pound draw weight range, truly making the Defiant 34 an option for virtually everyone.

Eccentric System

To round out the major changes on the Defiant model, the DFX cam and a half cam system is also entirely redesigned for 2016 as well. Hoyt has chosen to still offer its three base cam system, but has added Rotating modules within the three-cam system for the first time ever. The rotating module is adjustable by half-inch increments without even using a bow press. The overall draw length adjustment ranges from 25-31-inches altogether. The number one cam can be adjusted between 25-27-inches, the number two cam ranges between 27-29, and the number three cam adjusts from 29-31-inches. Also new for 2016 is the ability for shooters to add a limb stop system for an even more solid back wall feel. This post does not have to be used, but is a nice addition for those shooters that want a more solid back wall. The DFX cams paired with a 7-inch brace height on the Defiant 34 model only shoots an IBO rated setup 325 feet per second, which is far from fast. However, the overall draw experience may be worth it for some to consider such a slow bow by today's standards.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

The Defiant 34 is a nice shooting bow from start to finish. The draw is easily manageable, the back wall holds well and is adjustable for a personalized feel, and the string angle is improved. However, there is no way to sugar coat it, but the Defiant 34 is slow. Yes, it has a generous 7-inch brace height, and it does feel more like a target bow, but 325 feet per second just seems disappointing. When drawing the bow, the peak weight never feels like it gets all the way up to the draw weight. To say it feels ten-pounds easier, may be an exaggeration, but to say it feels lighter than it measures is a fair statement. Some felt the outgoing Z5 cams had a little dump into the back let-off, and if that is the case, the DFX is an improvement because that sensation is non-existent on the Defiant 34. The back wall without the limb stop feels solid with just a bit of play on the back end. However, once the post is added, the back wall firms up to be extremely solid. Perhaps the highlight of the new bow is the improved string angle. Hoyt claims the new limbs and cams create an axel-to-axel feel of a bow that measure 3.45-inches longer axel to axel. This means the 34-inch model with feel more like a 37-inch target model at full draw. This difference is defiantly noticeable, and may allow shooters to shoot a smaller peep sight since it rests closer to the shooters eye at full draw. A smaller peep sight should calculate to a more accurate shooting bow. After the shot, the Defiant 34 has minimal recoil and wants to stay pointing on target down range. Overall, the feel and shot experience is a great one, but the speed may be too much of a compromise.

Usage Scenarios

Hoyt's 34-inch models in the past have always been in the discussion as wonderful multipurpose bows that can be used for everything. The 2016 Defiant 34 is more suited to all styles of archery than any other Hoyt flagship bow designed because of the string angle feel of a 37-inch target bow. Shooters simply wanting one bow that can do it all should take a hard look at the Defiant 34. It is listed at an MSRP of $1049, but considering shooters only need one bow to do it all, that is a very reasonable price for a bow that can shoot foam, paper, and animals.

Hoyt Defiant 34 vs. Hoyt Nitrum 34

Bow Hoyt Defiant 34 Hoyt Nitrum 34
Version 2016 2015
Picture Hoyt Defiant 34 Hoyt Nitrum 34
Brace Height 7 " 6.75 "
AtA Length 34 " 34 "
Draw Length 25 " - 31 " 25 " - 31 "
Draw Weight 30 lbs - 80 lbs 30 lbs - 80 lbs
IBO Speed 325 fps 330 fps
Weight 4.3 lbs 4.2 lbs
Let-Off 75% 75%
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If shooters were to simply look at the specifications of the two most recent 34-inch offerings from Hoyt, there might be some confusion as to which model is the upgraded 2016 model. However, the shot and feel are significantly different, and the 2016 design has a fresh look as well. Just looking at the specifications between these two models will not tell the entire story of the completely redesigned 2016 Hoyt Defiant 34. Although performance is basically a wash, the feel of the Defiant 34 is what really sets the bow apart. Those owning a Hoyt Nitrum 34 may struggle to see the bonus for spending an additional $1049. However, those hesitating last year to buy a Nitrum 34 should see enough of a difference from last year to consider a Defiant 34.


The Defiant 34 returns shooters to the feel of a longer axel-to-axel measurement bow with the convenience of a shorter measurement. It was not long ago the archery industry was full of 37-40-inch bows marketed for treestand hunting. Trends pushing toward shorter axel-to-axel bows have finally joined up with the feeling and stability of a longer model for Hoyt in 2016. Hoyt is not the first company to incorporate more preloaded limbs, but the introduction to this style of bow in their 2016 lineup should be well received. Although the Defiant 34 is pretty slow, and on paper does not look to be much different than its predecessor the Nitrum 34, the feel and shootability of the Defiant 34 is what should draw shooters to giving it a try and ultimately falling in love with it. The $1049 price tag may be a bit steep for some, but considering the Defiant 34 can do everything from shooting paper and foam to a Boone and Crocket, shooters should be able to justify the price tag. Those not concerned with the overall speed of a bow should give the feel of the Defiant 34 a try.

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