PSE Carbon Air 32 ECS Review
PSE took the archery world by storm in 2016 when they decided to join the carbon riser bow design market. There were some noted criticisms with their first take integrating a carbon riser, but those have all been addressed and upgraded with the 2017 models. For starters, the Evolve Cam System (ECS) is the best compromise PSE has to offer between high let-off and high-performance. Shooters will love having the option to have 65-90% let-of depending on the module chosen. In addition to that, the Carbon Air 32 ECS shoots up to 342 feet per second with a 6 3/8-inch brace height. The carbon makes the bow extremely light with an overall bare bow weight of only 3.3-pounds. This creates a bit of recoil when the bow is shot without any added accessories, which some people have noted as being a deal breaker for them. The suggested $1499 price tag is pretty outrageous, but for shooters without budget constraints, the Carbon Air 32 ECS is a standout bow with a ton to offer.
FinishFor the carbon models, PSE is offering three distinct patterns to choose from. Those wanting a traditional camo pattern can outfit their rig with Mossy Oak Break-up Country. Those wanting a little more creative design can opt for the Skullworks 2 look, which is a PSE only design. It is a black background with white and off-white; almost yellow animal skulls to offset the plain black background. Finally, shooters have the option for an all black look. Any colored limbs can be added to a black riser for a mix and match looks as well. All the choices look amazing on the minimalistic carbon riser. It would be nice to see some additional choices, or perhaps some throwback patterns, but it is definitely not a deal breaker to have fewer choices in regards to finish options available.
RiserThe riser on the Carbon Air 32 ECS is virtually unchanged from the previous model year with the exception of the cable containment system, which received a much-needed upgrade. The Airglide Cable Guard System is only offered on the PSE carbon bows for 2017. It functions similarly to a door hinge, flexing towards the middle of the bow as the string is drawn, while the cables slide on the integrated rollers. PSE claims this system reduces a great deal of friction placed on the cables in a more traditional system as the bow is drawn. It is definitely an improvement on the 2016 cable containment system utilized. The riser is still a solid, one-piece construction with a monocoque design, which means the carbon is a hollow shell. Since the monocoque design is hollow, PSE decided to create their very own Structural Rigid Acoustic Core (S-RAC) technology. This basically comes down to a filler material for the carbon tube, which helps absorb and remove noise and vibration. The final integration for the carbon riser is the "arch-bridge" design, which adds structural integrity to the whole riser and helps offset the stress throughout the whole riser. All this still weighs a minimal 3.3-pounds before accessories are added. All hardware added is titanium, which additionally helps reduce the overall weight of the bow. For the accessory mounting holes, PSE uses precision-machined aluminum threaded inserts, which are added to the carbon risers. The Backstop 4 system helps keep the string in place after the shot and helps reduce noise. The front of the riser also has a stabilizer-mounting hole to help with balance and weight distribution.
GripThe grip is a selling point for the Carbon Air 32 ECS. It has a narrow throat, and a stocky feel, but fits well in the shooters hand and is very repeatable. Shooters will not have to grip and re-grip trying to get the bow in the proper position. Aside from how nice it feels to use, the carbon grip is amazing in hunting situations because it does not get cold. Nothing beats a carbon grip in hunting conditions because of that. Shooters wanting to slap some grip tape or something to add a personal feel can do so without having to worry about side plates or rubber grip inserts as in past years either. The simple solid design is comfortable and works well on the Carbon Air 32 ECS.
LimbsThe limbs on the Carbon Air 32 ECS are offered in maximum draw weights of 60, 65, and 70-pounds. The titanium limb bolts are also 10 turn bolts, which mean they are adjustable in 15-pound increments instead of the industry norm of 10-pounds. This draw weight range is nice, but more than likely shooters purchasing a $1499 bow are not going to utilize an extended draw weight range. The limbs look similar to previous X-Force limb bows from PSE, which are highly pre-stressed. The difference for 2017 is the width of the limbs themselves. PSE has carried over their Wide Track Limb System from the target line up to the hunting line. The wider stance and added stability they provide helps even out the cam load and offer a more stable performance platform. PSE also decided to outfit the split limbs with dampeners as well.The Wedge Lock limb pocket is a neat design as well, which securely fastens the limbs to the riser. Offering multiple connecting points, the wedge lock creates a very sturdy hold on the wider limbs so they stay where they need to despite the load placed on them from the ECS cam system. The wedge also fits snugly against the limbs to hold them in place and giving another connection point as well.
Eccentric SystemThere was nothing wrong with the 2016 Carbon Air HD cam system, and many shooters converted to PSE simply for the easy draw cycle that system produced. However, PSE took what shooters loved most about that cam, and made pretty significant improvements to create an even more highly sought after cam. For 2017, PSE has integrated the Evolve Cam system on several bows in their Pro Series line up to an overall pleased crowd of fans. On the Carbon Air 32 ECS, the draw length adjusts using a rotating module system in half-inch increments from 24.5-30-inches. The let-off range is also available in five percent increments from 65-90% spread out between two separate modules. All adjustments, like in the past for PSE, can be made without the use of special tools or even a bow press. In combination with a 6 3/8-inch brace height, the Carbon Air 32 ECS also brags of speeds up to 342 feet per second.The Evolve cam is a slick piece of engineering to say the least. As a typical yoke cam bow, the PSE engineers decided to mount the cables differently by fixing them to the quad track cam system instead of on the limbs. The idea behind this is to keep the cables closer to the center of the bow, which will hopefully allow for a better shooting system overall. This gives shooters the benefits of a yoke system, with a new twist on how the cables function with the cam system. PSE claims this is the most adjustable and easiest to adjust cam system they have produced to date.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe Carbon Air 32 is a dream to shoot. The draw cycle starts off with a pretty steep build up to the peak weight. The roll over to the high let-off is what may be the best feature of the cam system. Historically, high let-off systems produce a major dump into the valley, and the ECS cams are totally free of that feeling. Shooters will notice a transition and the pulling weight reduced significantly, but there is not a dumping feeling like some other cam systems produce. The string stops help make the back wall fairly solid, but shooters pulling really hard into the back end of the shot may experience some sponge feeling. The dual string stops do feature rubber, which contacts the cables and may contribute a bit to the sponginess. It is by no means bad, and actually what many shooters prefer, but it is not as solid of a feel as a limb stop assisted back wall. The valley is extremely long, especially at the 90% setting, and letting down the bow from full draw will require the shooter to feel as though the string needs to be pushed forward. Holding on target is an experience like none other, especially with 90% let-off. Shooters pulling 70-pounds at 90% let-off are only holding a total of 7-pounds at the back end, which makes it feel like it could be held all day. After the shot, the Carbon Air 32's lightweight frame has some felt recoil. It is not necessarily hand shock or vibration, but there is some feedback shooters are sure to experience. Adding accessories and a stabilizer helps, but shooting the bow bare will have some feedback. Overall, the Carbon Air 32 ECS is a great shooting bow, and everything about it feels premium and well thought out.
Usage ScenariosThe Carbon Air 32 ECS is a high-end hunting bow with all high-demand features in the archery business today. The carbon air is geared and designed for the woods, and will be especially beneficial for those traveling a long way to and from their stand or backpacking the mountains because of how light weight it is. For $1499 it would be nice to use this bow for more than one style of archery, but it does not have the specifications most shooters are looking for in a target or 3D model. The Carbon Air 32 ECS can be used to practice on the 3D range for hunting situations, but there are more than likely better options for serious 3D shooters.
PSE Carbon Air 32 ECS vs. PSE Carbon Air HD
|Bow||PSE Carbon Air 32 ECS|
|Brace Height||6.375 "|
|AtA Length||31.5 "|
|Draw Length||24.5 " - 30 "|
|Draw Weight||50 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||334 fps - 342 fps|
|Let-Off||80% - 90%|
|Where to buy|
Best prices online
PSE Carbon Air 32 ECS & PSE Carbon Air HD are very appealing to shooters wanting a carbon riser bow from PSE. For hunting rigs, they are both very similar and will meet the demands hunters have on their equipment. The final decision will come down to which cam system shooters like the most. Those demanding a high let-off option, the ECS cam may be more appealing. For shooters wanting a similar draw cycle, but a more traditional cam system and design, the HD model may be more enticing. One bow is not necessarily better than the other, but the decision will be based on personal preference for which cam feels the best in hand.