Mathews No Cam TRG 9 Review
Editors' reviewMathews has upgraded from the Dominator series of target bow models to the TRG 7, 8, and 9. The numbers after TRG refer to the brace height of each model. The TRG 9 has the longest brace height measuring in at 9-inches, and the slowest speeds of the three models with 301 feet per second. The TRG 9 is designed for larger framed shooters with and axel to axel measurement of 38-inches, draw lengths ranging between 28.5-32.5-inches. The newly redesigned cam system, the No Cam ST, has the ability for shooters to choose 65 or 75% let-off modules.
FinishAs a primary target bow, the TRG 9 is finished with a glossier target finish for the desired look most are wanting out of their moneymaker rigs. The limbs on each of the color options are black, and the wooden inlayed grip is the same dark finish on each model as well. Shooters can choose between black, black anthem, red, and blue. The Mathews logo is featured on the grip, the limb pockets, and the limb decals. None of the badging is overwhelming and looks nice. The graphics are like the rest of the engineering, simplistic. The grid lock riser features a substantial number of cutouts and surface faces, but the dipping process used by Mathews does a wonderful job covering all the surfaces on the TRG riser.
RiserLike the rest of the TRG lineup, the riser is long measuring in at just under 35-inches. The overall mass of the bow is heavy coming in at 5.35-pounds bare bow. This weight is heavy even for those wanting a heavy stable bow for target shooting. It does feature a reinforced riser component above and below the grip area for added stability and support designed to minimize riser torque from the roller guard system. The riser is characteristically a Mathews look with the Geo Grid Lock riser design. Although the design has a love/hate relationship in the archery world based on the look of the bow, the benefits of a lighter stronger riser the grid lock creates is hard to dispute.
The TRG 9 is dead in the hand and very silent after the shot. The efficient No Cam ST system helps with that, but the integrated harmonic dampeners and the Dead End String Stop assist with that as well. The Harmonic Dampeners are inserted in the cutouts at the top and bottom of the riser near the limb pockets. The dampener has a rubber dampener with a heavier piece in the middle. The riser vibrations are transferred from the riser to the rubber piece, which all but eliminates extra noise and vibration.
Shooters interested in the TRG 9 are more than likely pretty serious about archery and improving their scores. These shooters also want the freedom to fine-tune the feel of their bow with stabilizers and distributed weight. For that reason, Mathews has designed multiple stabilizer mounting locations for shooters to choose from, which will tweak the feel a bit differently than simply adding offsets and weight.
GripMathews uses a thin integrated riser grip with a nice looking wooden inlay featuring the classic Mathews logo. The inlay really has no function, and does not add or subtract to the feel of the grip, it seems to only be there for badging purposes. The thin grip leaves some wiggle room for shooters to add personal touches, like adding grip tape, without the modifications feeling too large. For a target bow, the thin grip is functional and feels great in the hand. It would be nice to have some factory options to be available like what is offered on Mathews hunting bow lineup, but it is understandable to let the serious target shooters get the personal feel they are interested in.
LimbsThe TRG 9 features split limb technology to store the energy of the No Cam ST system. The limbs are relatively compact in order to meet the designed geometry of the TRG 9. Maximum draw weights are available in 40, 50, 60, 70, and 80 pounds, which should meet the needs of anyone buying a new target model. The logos featured on the TRG 9 limbs are pretty simplistic. The minimal design looks nice and does help the bow look fairly upscale. The aluminum limb pockets are a nice upgrade from the standard plastic composite material typically used and also features an engraved Mathews logo.
Eccentric SystemThe entire TRG lineup is a complete redesign from the Dominator series offered in past years for Mathews target bow. With that being said, the No Cam ST is possibly the most discussed change to the 2015 target bow. The No Cam ST is a modular based system with draw length adjustments available from 28.5-32.5-inches. Shooters can also choose which Rock Mod to use, which will adjust the let-off to 65 or 75%. The TRG 9 is IBO rated for 301 feet per second, which is not blazing fast, but it also features a 9-inch brace height as well.
It is always nice to have an easy to tune bow, but shooters using their rigs to win competitions may appreciate an easy to tune bow more than other archers. The round and concentric string tracks not only provide an easy to tune system, but also a highly efficient cam. This means shooters are able to draw the bow more easily. When a cam is not efficient, the shooter is forced to draw a harsher draw cycle in order to have acceptable performance. The No Cam ST design allows shooters to have a great mix of performance and an easier draw cycle. There is also zero nock travel throughout the entire draw cycle of the TRG 9. No nock travel theoretically creates more accurate arrow flight.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe TRG 9 is a large bow designed for longer draw shooters that are serious about target archery. The shot sequence feels great with a favorable draw cycle and a nice feeling after the arrow is released. The weight never seems to be overbearing as peak draw weight is reached, and the rollover to the back wall is smooth and just sort of happens. There is not a hump and dump into the back wall, and it feels pretty solid as well. The long riser and heavy frame make for a sturdy platform that holds on target downrange very well without a lot of pin float. The TRG 9 is heavy even without any added weight of accessories, but it does sit perfectly balanced in hand and at full draw without any accessories added. The balanced feel is a great starting point for shooters to start their tweaking for the specific feel they prefer. After the arrow is released, the TRG 9 is silent and vibration free. As a target bow, it is easy to pull, easy to hold on target, and feels great after the shot.
Usage ScenariosThe TRG 9 is a target bow designed for longer draw shooters in the 28.5-32.5 range. However, what is available for shooters with a draw length over 31-inches is relatively limited. It is possible a 32.5-inch draw shooter would want to use the TRG 9 as a hunting bow, but it is primarily designed to be a target bow.
TRG 9 vs. TRG 8
These two bows are basically identical with the exception of the brace height and the speed. Those needing a 32.5-inch draw will more than likely want the Mathews TRG 9 because the 8 maxes out at 32-inches. Those with a draw length shorter than 28.5 will more than likely need the Mathews TRG 8 as well, which has a lower end draw length availability.