Martin Firecat Review

Martin Firecat

Average user rating

Martin Firecat Review4.256 out of 6 user reviews

Pros

  • very fast bow with aggressive draw cycle
  • no bow press is required for adjusting draw length
  • excellent value for money

Cons

  • notable hump at the end of the draw cycle

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Editors' review

The Martin Firecat Pro-X is the flagship bow of the 2008 Martin line. While the Firecat's cam system is rather aggressive, many archers believe that the draw cycle is relatively smooth for the blazing speeds this bow generates. A lot of shooters strongly agree in that this bow is a great value for money. While it's not the smoothest and quietest bow out there, the Firecat is often described as being a great alternative to its more expensive competitors. Overall, while this bow is not ideal for beginners due to its aggressive feel, more experienced archers who like fast rigs will enjoy shooting this bow.

Be aware, that in 2010 the Martin design team decided to create a single cam version of the Firecat called Martin Firecat TR1. While having a similar name the Firecat TR1 is quite different to the original Firecat reviewed here. Therefore, if you are interested in a single cam version of this bow have a look at the Martin Firecat TR1 bow. Otherwise, keep reading this review.

Limbs and riser

A machined aluminum riser and a new Roto Limb Cup system help reduce the mass weight to 3.5 lbs. Compared to traditional limb pockets the Roto Limb Cup system has two main advantages. To begin with, this system is designed to align the limb perfectly to the cup and to help stabilize the bow. Secondly, the cup system is built with less material thus further reducing the overall weight of the bow. The Firecat is equipped with Martin's proved laminated Coreflex limbs which become parallel at full draw. Overall, the limbs, riser, and the new cup system help reduce the bow weight without affecting precision and stability.

Eccentric system

The engine behind this bow is Martin's blazing fast C.A.T Hybrid Duo Cam system capable of generating IBO speeds of 335 fps to 345 fps. This modular cam system is designed to maintain synchronization, reduce cam lean, and make the bow easier to tune. The draw lengths are adjustable over a 26"-30" range without using a bow press. The standard module covers a range of 26" to 29", while the long-draw module is used to further adjust the draw length from 26.5" to 30". The let-off is 80%.

Draw cycle

Multiple tests conducted by experts indicate that while the Firecat's C.A.T Hybrid Cam system is smooth, it is fairly aggressive (no surprises here - this is how fast speeds are achieved) and has a large let-off at the end. With such aggressiveness and 80% let-off the bow drops into the valley severely. However, this is not a problem for the majority of archers who say it takes a little bit to get used to it.

While some archers say the rapid let-off is something they really like, others say such design contributes to a pronounced hump at the end of the draw cycle. It is worthwhile to note though, that the hump can be significantly reduced or even completely eliminated by tweaking the bow properly.

Being an aggressive bow the Martin Firecat is not the most ideal choice for beginners. If you are just starting, consider getting a smoother and a more forgiving bow such as the Martin Bengal. On the other hand, if you are a more experienced archer and you like aggressive and fast bows, the Firecat could be a great choice for you. If you want a quieter bow consider getting the Bowtech Air Raid - a really quiet rig with similar specs.

Value for money

Admittedly, the Martin Firecat is one of the best bows for the money. While it's not the smoothest and most forgiving bow, the Firecat will cost you much less than some higher priced rigs with similar characteristics. While it's possible to get a better quality bow with similar specs, the amount of money spent may not be worth it especially if you are on budget.
Bow Martin Firecat Martin Bengal Bowtech Air Raid
Version 2010 TR2 2010 Mag 2010
Picture Martin Firecat Martin Bengal Bowtech Air Raid
Brace Height 7 " 7 " 6.875 "
AtA Length 32.25 " 32.25 " 33.875 "
Draw Length 26 " - 30 " 25 " - 30 " 26.5 " - 30.5 "
Draw Weight 50 lbs - 70 lbs 40 lbs - 70 lbs 55 lbs - 75 lbs
IBO Speed 335 fps - 345 fps 315 fps - 320 fps 321 fps - 329 fps
Weight 3.5 lbs 3.5 lbs 4.4 lbs
Let-Off 65% - 80% 65% - 80% 65% - 80%
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Summary

To conclude, the Martin Firecat is a fast bow with aggressive draw cycle. This is a quality rig at a very affordable price compared to similar competitor bows. Not ideal for beginners due to its aggressiveness, the Firecat is a great choice for speed addicts who don't want to spend a lot of money on quality bows.
Martin Firecat Review4.256



User Reviews

  • 6 reviews
  • ( out of 6 reviews for all versions)
  1. Fairly decent bow for the money. There are better and there are worse bows,

    Version: 2009 Martin Firecat Pro-X

    Rating:  

    Pros: Easy draw / hold. Pretty well balanced. Light weight

    Cons: Does not perform at advertised IBO. Somewhat noisy/"creeks" even with their string stopper and string Jax

    Full review:
    I bought my Firecat Pro X new January of 2009. I shoot a 29 1/2 inch draw at 70 lbs with a 350 grain carbon. The best speed I acheive is 268 fps. It was set up at full IBO specs and tested by a professional bow shop. No change in speed. We went to a 300 gr shaft and only gained a short 6 fps in speed. I have killed four deer with it but I honestly have to say I’m not very impressed. I owned an old Martin compound that actually out performed the Firecat Pro X. Martin company wasn’t much help.I’ll shoot it again for 2010 hunts but plan to change to different bow.

  2. Very good bow. 61#, 350gr arrow and 28.5" draw. shooting an averate 274. AS ADVERTISED speeds.

    Version: 2010 Martin Firecat TR2

    Rating:  

    Pros: best bow for price bar none. I paid 450 new. 2010

    Cons: Bow shipped with wrong limbs. However, one call to Martin and they shipped new limbs at no cost. Nice.

    Full review:
    Very smooth draw cycle. Solid back wall. Low vibration. Moderate noise. VERY light. Not really sure what more you could want out of a bow. I paid 450 brand new. Bear Attack shoots quieter, but not $250 lighter. Lastly, I got the black version, and it looks bad to the bone :)

  3. Good bow for the money, 61#, 28" draw, 350 grain gold tip, average 280fps, (2008 cat cam)

    Version: 2008 Martin Firecat Pro-X

    Rating:  

    Pros: This bow is a blast to shoot, it is very accurate providing I am.

    Cons: The servings on the strings started coming apart after only a few days of shooting. I had to reserve both cable ends, center nock serving and added serving to protect the string from the cable guard.

    Full review:
    I really enjoy shooting this bow, even though it did take a little getting used to the little valley compared to the older bows. Once I got past that, my accuracy really came together. The bow was easy to tune providing you set the draw stop where you are right at your break over point, (very short valley), this really helped for perfect arrow flight and my speed also. I paper shot for a day or so with the draw stop pin back to far, (to much valley) bad tears and not good speed. Re-adjusted the pin and its been perfect ever since. I would give this bow a real good 5 star rating if it came with good strings.

  4. Great for the money and extremely quiet

    Version: 2009 Martin Firecat Pro-X

    Rating:  

    Pros: Its really quiet and accurate. Its light weight

    Cons: Could be faster.

    Full review:
    I boight my martin firecat used. It shoots great and i can almost touch arrows with it. Its lite weight makes it a joy to carry. The only down side to it is its not real fast. At 27.5" 64lb its only going around 270 wich is ok but could be better. All in all though its a great bow for the money and i highly recomend it.

  5. Performance on par (or above) with much more expensive hunting bows

    Version: 2008 Martin Firecat Pro-X

    Rating:  

    Pros: Fast, quiet, light weight, accurate, CAT cams are very tunable, great value, good grip

    Cons: Machining on riser isn’t quite as perfect as some but it doesn’t detract from it’s performance. For the difference in cost I can easily overlook this very minor issue.

    Full review:
    I bought my Firecat new in Sep 2008 for $550. I was immediately impressed with the aggressive cams and the hump just before the valley but learned how to tune the cams to minimize the hump and get a little more speed at the same time – a win-win for me. I shoot 29", 495 grain arrows with my draw weight set to 64.4 lbs and 29" draw length and consistently get 260 fps, shot through my Shootin Chrony. I haven’t calculated how close this comes to IBO rating but I know it’s close. This bow is a real shooter and can perform better than I’m capable of. I have an outdoor range with shooting spots set at 20 yards and increasing 10 yards out to 80 yards. When I do my part (consistent anchor, grip, etc.) the bow shows my how good it is by grouping my arrows as well as I could expect, and often enough better. I’ve looked at and tried several newer, more expensive bows (Hoyt, Mathews, BowTech to name a few) and haven’t found any yet that really WOW me to any extent that makes me want to buy something else. I’ve had several people comment on how quiet it shoots too.

  6. Easy to set up and get shooting accurately

    Version: 2010 Martin Firecat TR2

    Rating:  

    Pros: Lightweight, low hand shock

    Cons: not that quiet

    Full review:
    Set up 29" @ 60# with PSE Tri-Van rest, Carbon Force STL Hunter 300 arrow 28".
    Easy to get set up to hunting accuracy to 50 yards. Nice shooting bow if you do your part. Not really forgiving.
    Real world data, all of it measured with scales and chrono.
    75 grain tips = 345 grain arrow = 280 FPS
    100 grain tips = 370 grain = 270 FPS.

    Overall very happy


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