Mathews Z9 Review

Mathews Z9

Average user rating

out of 8 user reviews


  • Very Quiet
  • Very Smooth shooting
  • Forgiving
  • Fits archers up to 32"
  • Vibration Free


  • Slower IBO speed of 312
  • Price


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Editors' review

The long draw member of the 2011 Mathews Z family, the Z9, is specifically designed for archers whose draws lengths go to 32". The Z9 features the smooth driving Z9 Cam, SE5 Slimline Limbs, and the popular Grid Lock Riser packed into a 30" frame. Not as fast as the other bows in the Z line for 2011, but that is by design. The Z9's 8 3/4 " brace height and a more straight riser makes this bow very shootable for long draw archers and any short draw archer that is looking for a forgiving bow.


With Lost Camo finish, the Grid Lock Riser looked flawless on the test bow. All Mathews bows, accessories and components go through tough quality control measures. If the finish doesn't measure up, then the riser is stripped and refinished. The Grid Lock Riser is machined with several cutouts to reduce weight and add strength. As a Mathews standard, elastomer wheels are place near each end of the riser where Harmonic Dampeners or Harmonic Stabilizers are placed. The riser on the Z9 is not as radically reflexed as the others in the Z family for 2011. This helps the bow to be more stabile and forgiving, and helps to give the Z9 a longer brace height. This is especially helpful for the long draw archers who need the power stroke of the bow shortened to make the bow more shooter friendly for them.


The Mathews SE5 Composite Slim Limbs on the Z9 is nearly twice as strong as previous Slim Limbs and are 30% lighter due to their new SE5 Composite Material. Because it is stronger, the new limbs are able to be made thinner than any previous Mathews limb, yet remain more durable as well. Using the Sphere Lock Limb Cup System to connect to the riser, the limb can pivot to insure positive alignment and downward pressure at all times.


Mathews offers 3 grip options for almost all their bows, the standard grip for the Z9 is the walnut SlimFit Inline Grip. The narrow grip has the center line layer into it, and has been standard for Mathews bows since 2004. Being made of wood, it is warm to the touch in cold climates as compared to metal and looks attractive. Mathews other two grip options include the Classic Grip, which is made of wood, features a higher wrist sitting and had been their standard grip for many years. The other is the unique Focus Grip which minimizes hand torque and forces the hand pressure to the center of the grip. The Focus Grip is very narrow and made of polymer.

Reverse Assist Roller Guard

The Reverse Assist Roller Guard design, which is found on the Z9, allows the cables to resist wrapping and increasing pressure as they are free to move behind the roller guard. This brings added smoothness to the draw cycle. Typical roller guards where the cables are in front of the roller bring harshness to the draw cycle due to the pressure put on the cables during the draw process.

Z9 Single Cam & QCA

The Z9 utilizes a special version of the ZX Cam appropriately called the Z9 Cam. On the Z9, being a long draw bow, the A cam is for the 32" draw length instead of the 30" typically seen with the other Z Series Bows. The Z9 Cam also sports a yellow lobe on the cam as apposed to the red one on the standard ZX Cam. Designed for the long draw archer, the Z9 Cam produces an IBO speed of 312 due to the increase brace height of 8 3/4". However, by increasing the power stroke another inch or two definitely will add speed and the bow will remain shootable for those archers. Like all Mathews bows, the Z9 draw lengths are in 0.5" increments, but from 27" to 32" with this bow. Again like all Mathews single cam bows, to change draw lengths another cam must be installed. To speed up this process, the Z9 has the QCA (Quick Change Axle). Needing no special tools, the QCA makes cam changing quick and easy without the hassle of e-clips and an axle puller.

Draw Cycle

Although utilizing the Z9 Cam, the Z9's draw cycle is typical of the bows in 2011 lineup that utilize the ZX Cam. The weight ramps up quickly at the beginning of the draw cycle and is pulled through the center of the cycle until reaching the valley. Once at the valley there is about 3/16" to 1/4 "of creep until completing the draw by settling against the backwall. Overall the draw is smooth and the back wall is solid. The bow balances perfectly in hand throughout the shot sequence. There is no noticeable vibration or recoil at the shot. Like all Mathews bows, the Z9 is quiet.

Silencing Package

The Z9 has a Harmonic Dampner placed in the top elastomer wheel in the riser and a Harmonic Stabilzer placed in the bottom elastomer wheel. These two accessories help to absorb recoil and residual vibration during the shot sequence. The three Monkey Tail Silencers, two on the cable and one located above the cam on the string, help to eliminate vibration and sound while the resulting loss of speed due to their installation is reported as 1-2 fps. Located on the string immediately between the Monkey Tail and the cam is the String Grub. The String Grub reduces vibration at the shot so the bow picks up more speed. As typical of all Mathews bows, the Z9 has String Suppressors mounted on the end of each limb which stop the string upon the end of the shot deadening vibration. Mounted in the bushing opposite the stabilizer hole, the Dead End String Stop also stops the string at the end of the shot, dampening vibration, thus eliminating noise.

Mathews Z9 vs. Switchback LD

BowMathews Z9Mathews Switchback LD
Version 20152009
PictureMathews Z9Mathews Switchback LD
Brace Height8.75 "9 "
AtA Length30 "33 "
Draw Length27 " - 32 "27 " - 32 "
Draw Weight30 lbs - 70 lbs40 lbs - 70 lbs
IBO Speed312 fps295 fps
Weight4.0 lbs4.36 lbs
Let-Off80% 80%
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compare more bows

The best comparison is to say the 2011 Z9 is an upgraded Mathews Switchback LD, which was last made in 2009. Although a few years difference in age, to the eye the design is strikingly similar. Both have the riser that is relatively straight, and while the Z9's brace height is 1/4" shorter than the LD, the 30" axle to axle length of the Z9 is 3" shorter than the LD's 33". The Z9 also comes in roughly 5 to 6 ounces lighter than the LD. Due to the improvement of technology, the greatest difference between the two is speed. The Z9's IBO speed is 312fps while that of the Switchback LD is 280fps. The Switchback LD was a great forgiving design for the long draw archer and Mathews just improved it with the Z9 design.


The Mathews Z9 is a forgiving bow due to its long brace height of 8 3/4" and slightly reflexed riser. With the smooth shooting Z9 Cam, the Z9 will provide shootable speed for those shooting a draw length greater than 30". With an IBO of 312, the Z9 will only appeal to those archers with a draw length of 30" or less if they are looking for a forgiving single cam that is short axle to axle. Retailing at $899.00, the Z9 is not a bow that will sell in high numbers due to the special market it is designed for, however, those archers that fall within that market will find a quiet, smooth shooting single cam bow that is relatively fast, highly accurate, and forgiving.

User Reviews

  • 8 reviews
  • ( out of 8 reviews for all versions)
I love this bow, extremely quiet and super smooth, shoots like a dream

Version: 2011 Mathews Z9


Pros: This bow is so forgiving Stays very true Quiet Fits my 32" draw

Cons: A lot of people would say the price is too high, but after shooting this bow, I would pay the price all day

Full review:

I have been hunting with a bow for about 7 years, the only prblem I have ever had is finding a good bow that can get out to 32" draw. Well I found my dream bow with the Z9, Shoots like butter, I cant believe how quiet and dead on this bow is! I love it! I use to never want a mathews, I thought they were over priced, But was I ordered the Z9 and shot it, my feelings changed in no time, I have had it less than 2 weeks, and I already through up a Mathews decal on my truck, Im proud to shoot it and will never turn away from mathews, Its a good investment! there is a reason there moto is "Catch us if you can"

Great Bow! Quite, smooth and accurate!. Long arm hunters dream!

Version: 2011 Mathews Z9


Pros: 32" draw lenght!! We tall hunters dont have many choices when it comes to bows. The Z9 is a dream come true!

Cons: Some don't like the string angle at long draw lenghts. It does not bother me.

Full review:

Slower than most bows but I am still shooting almost 300 FPS with a 32 in draw. This bow will not appeal to anyone with less than a 30" draw length. Super accurate and smooth! If you are a long draw hunter, you will love this bow.

Dead on

Version: 2011 Mathews Z9


Pros: Accurate, quiet, smooth, forgiving and a killing machine

Cons: nothin

Full review:

I shot a z9 that wasn't even mine at a pro shop to see if I liked it and after three shots right near the bulls and all of them touching each other I was impressed; but feeling the "nothingness" at the shot almost like the bow didn't go off and I was sold. I shot a 9 point, a doe, a coyote and a raccoon with my 9 this past season and I can't emphasize enough how effortless this bow is to shoot. It is the epitome of how a bow should be. I'm shooting 305 fps and my broadheads fly like darts and it's so quiet it's sick. Speed bows aren't the answer, accurate bows are.

Smooth, accurate and quiet.

Version: 2011 Mathews Z9


Pros: Excellent quality fit and finish, smooth, quiet, forgiving.

Cons: Not the fastest bow on the planet, but the smooth draw and quiet shot are more important to me than a few more fps. No complaints from the deer that are in my freezer.

Full review:

Awesome bow for long draw shooters. I shoot an indoor league and am constantly being told by other shooters that they can't believe how quiet the Z9 is. Pricing is in line with other high quality bows with 32" draw length. Would definately buy this bow again.

This bow is amazingly accurate and smooth to shoot

Version: 2011 Mathews Z9


Pros: extra draw length, speed, and amazing accuracy

Cons: people complain about the price, but let me tell you. It's worth every penny. you truely get what you pay for!

Full review:

My brother recently purchased this bow and we have the same draw length. The first time I ever shot it, I was shooting a very tight group at 50 yards. Ever with all mods and flashlight the bow is still lightweight and easy to shoot. I highly recommend this bow to anyone that can squeeze it into their budget.

One heck of a bow, would not consider any other for individuals needing 32" draw

Version: 2012 Mathews Z9


Pros: Super quiet, super forgiving, super smooth, fast enough, super accurate, just plain super!

Cons: I can't find anything not to like about the Mathews Z9

Full review:

The bow shoots like putting soft butter on toast. Super smooth and accurate, very easy draw, steady in the hand, quiet, amazing product. There are not many bows that have a 32 inch draw. I have a Bear Encounter that has a 32 inch draw and these bows are night and day. Bear makes a decent product, but I cannot shoot a group of 3 arrows at 20 yards anywhere close to my Mathews. Simply an amazing bow. I have practiced around my farm, and have shot many rabbits and even shot a fox after it was trying to take one of our chickens! Simply a smooth, steady, easy shooting, highly accurate product. I wish other companies could compare, but they simply do not. Not a product everyone can afford, but worth saving up the money and getting it compared to other bows on the market. I cannot say enough about this product, they are simply the best.

Ultimate bow for the long draw! Smooth, accurate, and minimal depreciation.

Version: 2012 Mathews Z9


Pros: Uncommonly accurate, smooth, attractive, and well-made. Can't say much better than that!

Cons: If your testosterone has the best of you and you want the fastest bow available, this isn't it. Do you really need a .300 Mag to shoot a deer?

Full review:

I've been bowhunting deer for more than thirty years. I've used some of the earliest compound bow models, a recurve bow, and modern high-end equipment. In the end, if the bow lacks reliability and accuracy, my confidence is gone. Many purchases require prioritization of cost. I have zero regrets that my priority went to the Z9!

Outstanding Bow

Version: 2014 Mathews Z9


Pros: quite, great for tall people, scary accurate.

Cons: Tough to find a case to fit it.

Full review:

With a 31 1/2 inch draw length, this was one of the few bows that was on my short list, and boy and I glad I put down the money for it. My first time at the rage after getting this bow dialed in I shot a group of 5 arrows at twenty yards that were all touching each other. Each and everyone one. Then I did the same thing at 30 yards. And then I put 5 arrows in the size of a baseball at 40 yards. FIRST TIME AT THE RANGE. And this is definitely NOT because I am a "great" archer. I couldn't get 5 arrows within a volleyball at 20 yards with my previous bow. It's very easy to draw, quite as quite gets, and just a blast to shoot. If you have a long draw length, just stop looking and buy this bow. Seriously. The only thing I had a hard time with was finding a good case for it because of its size. Ended up spending a couple hundred bucks on an SKB that is a HUGE case. But, it comes with a nice little warranty.

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