Hoyt Pro Defiant Review

Hoyt Pro Defiant

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Pros

  • Solid platform remains similar to the 2016 Defiants
  • New riser design
  • Addition of adding limb colors for target models

Cons

  • Not much change from the 2016 Defiant
  • MSRP of $999 for hunting colors and $1149 for target colors

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Editors' review

The newly released Pro Defiant for 2017 features a really cool looking aluminum riser, which gives the bow a nice edgy look. For some shooters, it looks like a Nitrum and Defiant hybrid riser. Aside from the fresh riser design, and some limb color options for the target color side of the lineup, the Pro Defiant is basically the same as the 2016 Defiant. The DFX cam and a half system stay on the Pro Defiant lineup and the 31 remains at an axel-to-axel measurement of 30.5-inches. For shooters not pulling the trigger on the Defiant series last year, the Pro Defiant new looks may be enticing enough to make the purchase for 2017. However, shooters already owning a 2016 Defiant, they may struggle spending $999 MSRP tag on a bow that has some beefed up looks. Shooters wanting to purchase the new target color configurations will also have to pay for it since the target colors are an MSRP of $1149. Although the prices are a bit steep, they are not increased over last year, and are competitive with other flagship model compound bows on the market for 2017. The Pro Defiant is an awesome bow, tunes well, and has some great specifications for such a compact bow. Shooters should appreciate everything it has to offer, it just stinks there is not much different for the 2016 models.

Finish

Hoyt finish options have evolved over the years to give shooters virtually any finish option they could want. For shooters just wanting a hunting bow, and some stand by patterns, they offer that with Realtree Xtra and Realtree Max-1. For shooters wanting a more unique camo pattern, Hoyt offers that with Under Armour Ridge Reaper. There are also some special finish configurations with the Bone Collector Edition Blackout or Realtree Xtra riser and black limbs complete with the neon green logos and Bone Collector badging. For those wanting to keep things simple and stick with a solid black, Hoyt offers that as well. For 2017, Hoyt is also offering a cool looking Buckskin riser, which can be paired with any limb color option they prefer. So shooters can have an all camo bow, a black riser bow with cam limbs, or a buckskin riser with camo limbs. For shooters wanting things a bit flashier, they can choose something from the target side of the finish choices. The target options have a black riser, with the choice of blue, green, orange, purple, red, and white for limb colors. The strings and wooden grip on the target models also match the limb offerings, which is a nice touch as well. To further customize either a hunting bow or a target bow, there are several accent colors to choose from as well. These colors include black, red, green, blue, orange, pink, purple, and yellow. These color kits are sold in dampeners and string stops, or including a grip as well. All in all, shooters have a ton of options for making their bow look exactly how they want it to.

Riser

The riser on the Pro Defiant 31 is the only major change on the aluminum series Hoyts for 2017. Although the functionality of the riser is similar to the previous 2016 Defiant series, the newly shaped riser does give the bow a bit of a space-aged look, which some will love and others will hate. The Zero Torque Roller Guard System is a slickly designed unit, but does remain unchanged from previous Hoyt's. As the bow is drawn and the cables rotate the cams, the cables naturally want to move in towards the centerline of the bow. This puts a lot of side torque on the cable system, and ultimately on the riser as the bow makes its way to full draw. The cables are not able to completely be straight up and down because they would be in the sight line of the pins, and perhaps contact the arrow as it sits waiting to be fired. The Hoyt system flexes inwards, but it does not interfere with the arrow, vanes, or sight window. As the arrow is released, the system returns back to its resting position, without interfering with the flight of the arrow. There is a tunnel on the bottom of the riser, which helps reinforce the strength of the riser. The riser also features a bridged concept, which helps to reinforce as well. In the past, this has been a bit of an arched support, but for 2017, it gets a more defined angled look, which matches nicely to the other cutouts featured on the riser to help with the weight reduction. However, the 30.5-inch axel-to-axel measurement bow still tips the scales at 4.2-pounds. This helps steady the bow while shooting downrange, and helps reduce some noise after the shot, but for such a compact bow, one would anticipate it being a bit lighter before adding accessories. The off-set mounting system works well also to balance the vertical weight of all the added accessories. The sight, quiver, and arrows can really add up to a significant amount of weight on one side of the bow. The stabilizer being off-set to the opposite side of the vertical centerline not only helps shooters to stop wrestling the level on their sight, it also allows shooters the benefit of adding a stabilizer off the front of their bow.

Grip

Hoyt equips the Pro Defiant with a one-piece wooden Pro Grip, which is factory standard for the hunting or target finishes. The stained grip is not always the same stain or color, but the grip shape is. This grip is a bit wide, but fits in the hands of shooters very well. For shooters demanding something a bit more streamlines, shooters have the option to choose side plates as well. These are wooden, and bolt on each side of the grip area. This forms a substantially smaller grip, but it is still contoured nicely and fits well in the shooters hand. Each choice is a nice option, and Hoyt offering two unique styles and shapes is a nice bonus as well.

Limbs

The Pro Defiant split limb system offers a draw weight for just about anyone with six different configurations all together, which include maximum weights of 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 80-pounds. Each draw weight can be safely lowered ten-pounds off the maximum draw weight as well. The split limbs are not a new system, but the ULTRAFLEX limb system was introduced in 2016. These limbs flex differently than the previous model years, and when working with the new DFX cam system, the combination provides a better string angle at full draw. The Pro Lock Pocket System holds the split limbs to the aluminum riser. The pocket system gives a total of six connecting points to keep the limbs in the most secure location possible. A solid connection point with no variance helps the function of the Pro Defiant be as repeatable as possible. The limbs perform the same way every time, and this means the arrow flight is the same each time. The Pro Defiant has an old school limb dampener from the factory, which is a simple split limb rubber dampener. For what its worth, they do look pretty cool compared to the older styles, but the function is the same it has always been. These dampeners can also be swapped out for other colors with the Hoyt color kits. The accent colors offered are black, blue, green, orange, pink, purple, red, and yellow.

Eccentric System

The DFX cam is carried over from 2016, and for most Hoyt shooters that is a good thing. These cam and a half systems are fantastic overall, and have some great features shooters will truly appreciate. Performance wise, the DFX cams are not setting speed records at an IBO measured 331 feet per second. However, with a 7-inch brace height, the Pre Defiant still has acceptable speeds and performance. The draw lengths range from 24-30-inches, which can be changed in half-inch increments with a rotating cam module. Hoyt is a bit different in regards to offering three separate base cams instead of one cam system to cover the entire draw length range. The number one cam system can be adjusted from 24-26-inches, the number two cam can be adjusted from 26-28-inches, and the number three cam can be changed from 28-30-inches. For shooters that have a choice between cam systems with a 26 or 28-inch draw length, it is typically better to choose the cam which maxes at that draw length because it will perform a bit better.The cams are designed to work with the limbs in a way that creates a better feel at full draw. The string comes off the cams at the highest point possible on the cam, which ultimately increases the string angle of the bow. String angle is something that has not been talked much about on hunting bows in recent years, but it is noticeable with the DFX cams. Obviously, the actual axel-to-axel measurement does not change with the cam system, but at full draw, the string angle measures the same as an older version Hoyt bow with an axel-to-axel measurement of 3.45-inches longer. This may not seem significant on paper, but it does place the shooters posture and head position in a more upright position making the Pro Defiant a bit more comfortable to shoot.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

The Pro Defiant is an awesome shooting compact-sized bow. The 30.5-inch axel-to-axel bow takes up the space of a smaller model, but feels like a longer axel-to-axel bow based on the string angle and weight. The riser length is short, but it is built off a solid platform giving shooters a bit more stable feel at full draw. Hoyt recognized the old compact bow design flaws, which made a steep string angle often forcing shooters into an uncomfortable head tilt to get everything properly aligned. With the cams and limbs working together, the 30.5-inch axel to axel has the string angle similar to one of previous Hoyt turbo models at 33-inches, and it feels like a longer bow in the hand as well.The draw cycle is silky smooth from start to finish, although the weight seems to stack up pretty early on in the draw cycle. The cam and a half system is easy to pull, feels nice through the valley, and is customizable on the back end. Shooters can shoot with the installed cable stops, or add the optional limb stop to firm things up on the back end even more. Shooters have different personal preferences for what feels best, and some find they have a different preference based on the release they choose. The option to use either style back wall is a fantastic integration, and helps boost the DFX cam popularity with shooters. While pulling into either back wall, the bow holds well on target and is comfortable to aim. The valley is pretty generous as well, and allows shooters a little wiggle room, but not enough to get super sloppy and shoot with bad form. After the shot, the bow is dead quiet. There is a little ring with the aluminum riser, but with some added accessories, this vibration is virtually non-existent. For a designed hunting bow, the Pro Defiant is a great choice, and should be very popular with those on the market for a new bow.

Usage Scenarios

The Pro Defiant is a designed hunting bow. Although the engineered axel-to-axel measurement feels more like a 33-inch bow, the compact design makes the Pro Defiant great for hunting situations and tighter spaces. For the average Joe wanting to stay in good shooting shape, the Pro Defiant may also accompany some shooters to the 3D course over the summer as well. However, anyone with money to win on weekend shoots will more than likely be choosing a different rig.

Pro Defiant vs. Defiant

Bow Hoyt Pro Defiant Hoyt Defiant
Version 2017 2016
Picture Hoyt Pro Defiant Hoyt Defiant
Brace Height 7 " 7 "
AtA Length 30.5 " 30.5 "
Draw Length 24 " - 30 " 24 " - 30 "
Draw Weight 30 lbs - 80 lbs 30 lbs - 80 lbs
IBO Speed 331 fps 331 fps
Weight 4.2 lbs 4.0 lbs
Let-Off 75%, 80% 75%
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These bows are identical specification wise, and feature the same technologies as each other as well. Each bow shoots great, and shooters will not go wrong choosing either as their dedicated hunting bow. The updated look of the 2017 may turn more heads, but the performance will be identical between the two models, and it may even be less expensive to purchase the 2016 Hoyt Defiant brand new off the rack versus a 2017 Hoyt Pro Defiant.

Summary

The Pro Defiant is a great shooting compact hunting bow, which feels great on the shot and is designed to simply perform. It is not category winning in any specific area, but simply shoots great, and is backed by a pretty recognizable name in the archery world. Some shooters may be disappointed in the 2017 Pro Defiant because it does not offer anything earth shatteringly new over the previous 2016 model. However, it is important to keep in mind how great the DFX cam system is to shoot, and how well thought out the shorter hunting bow actually is. For diehard archers wanting a shorter bow, the Pro Defiant deserves a test shot without a doubt.




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