PSE Carbon Air Stealth EC Review

PSE Carbon Air Stealth EC

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Pros

  • The Evolve Cam System offers let off from 65-90% in 5% increments
  • Rated speeds of 342 feet per second with 90% let off
  • Lightweight carbon design of only 3.2-pounds

Cons

  • MSRP of $1499 is expensive for anyone
  • The looks of the riser are a bit polarizing
  • The grip is not every shooters favorite

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Editors' review

PSE is fairly new to the carbon riser market, but the Carbon Air Stealth equipped with the Evolve Cam System makes it one of the best looking carbon bows in the 2018 lineup. The Evolve Cam is one of the most outstanding pieces of machinery to come from the PSE engineers in a while. It has outstanding let off adjustability with two separate modules to choose from. Shooters can choose a high let off module from 80-90% or a low let off module from 65-75%. Perhaps even more impressive, is the performance of the Evolve Cams, which have a speed rating of 342 feet per second at a 90% let off. The riser design is fairly polarizing amongst the masses given the elimination of the bridged riser design. This simplifies the overall look of the bow a great deal, but also forces the grip to get a little thicker, which is another area where shooters seem to be divided based on personal preference. The price is impressive as well with an MSRP of $1499, which will turn off a lot of people from even giving it a test shot based on the cost alone.

Finish

The finish offered on the PSE Carbon Air Stealth is limited to only three patterns. Although the choices are limited, the finishes are very well done without blemishes or flaws. The black is perhaps the best looking, and may be the most popular of the three looks. Mossy Oak Country and Kryptek Highlander are the two camo patterns for the Carbon Air Stealth. Mossy Oak is not surprising since PSE has partnered with them for a while. However, the Kryptek pattern is a new partnership with PSE, and is very well received by many diehard PSE fans wanting something a little different. The PSE logo is proudly displayed on the limbs and grip area, and the badging around the sight housing is clean and simple. Overall, the finish looks nice and matches well with the simple lines of the carbon riser and PSE branding.

Riser

The carbon riser for 2018 keeps many of the design characteristics of the outgoing model, while inheriting a new design and some really great features. For similarities, the 2018 carbon riser sticks with the monocoque carbon construction. This means the entire riser is one-piece, which helps with the stiffening characteristics of the carbon because they are not glued together creating weak spots. The hollow carbon tube is also filled with the PSE agent, which helps keep vibrations to a minimum while adding a little additional weight to the overall design of the bow.

In regards to differences from the outgoing carbon bow from PSE, perhaps the most noticeable is the removal of the bridged riser. The bridge has been removed, which gives this carbon bow a more similar look to an aluminum riser bow. The lines on the carbon design are sleek with only a minor cutout on the top and bottom of the riser near the limb pockets. The overall mass of the bow, even with limited cutouts is still a super light 3.2-pounds.

The flexible cable system is a drastically different system than the outgoing model as well. The new system is known as the Flex Rod System (FRS), which like other PSE systems is designed to cut down on the amount of torque placed on the riser while the string is drawn to full draw. This rod is adjustable to allow for some fine-tuning of shooters to their specific vane and arrow configurations. This FRS is paired with the Vapor RollerGlide, which PSE claims is the smoothest cable slide on the market. Those interested can also retrofit the RollerGlide to previous cable systems if shooters have an older model PSE they want equipped with the new roller system as well.

The rear mounting string stop system is not overly special. It is similar to other PSE offerings, and does have full adjustability allowing shooters to keep it as close to the string as they desire. This rear mounted string stop is directly behind the front mounted stabilizer bushing for shooters to add some additional weight if needed.

Grip

The grip on the Carbon Air Stealth has gotten some hate from some of the early reviewers because of its thickness. The grip area is thickened a bit to eliminate the need for the bridged riser, which gives the Carbon Air Stealth a look like no other carbon bow on the market. To be fair, the width of the grip did not change at all from the outgoing model. The part resting against the shooter's lifeline is the same size as other popular PSE grips. However, the thickness of the grip has changed, which is the cause for arguments whether or not people like the added girth. For those with proper hand placement, and a relaxed grip with the fingers just touching the front of the grip, this will take some getting used to, but will more than likely not be a deal breaker. However, for those more used to gripping their grip, this grip may very well be a deal breaker for them in the end. It does not feel like the most comfortable grip in the PSE lineup, but for those willing to give it a try, it will defiantly function as a grip forcing shooters into a repeatable hand position.

Limbs

The Carbon Air Stealth gets several limb configurations, which includes maximum draw weights of 50, 60, 65, and 70-pounds. Each limb bolt also adjusts 10 full turns as well. The Wedge Lock pocket design is also featured on the split limbs, which allows for a zero tolerance connection of the pocket to the limbs and the riser to the pocket. The X-Force split limb technology has been a staple of PSE for years, and the heritage carried over to the carbon line up is a welcomed addition as well. There is a factory dampener installed between the split limbs, and can be swapped out for a few different color options to help jazz up the overall look and feel of the rig.

Eccentric System

The Evolve Cam System is not a new system for PSE, but adding it on a carbon riser bow may have created one of the most sought after bows for 2018. The Evolve Cam System is one of the most adjustable cams on the market in regards to draw length and let off. Shooters ranging from 25 1/2 all the way out to 31-inches can be fitted for the Evolve Cams on the Carbon Air Stealth. This 5 1/2-inch draw length range is going to fit almost every shooter on the market for a high-end flagship bow in 2018. Along with this, the cam system also features speeds up to 342 feet per second with a 90% let off! Shooters can opt for a let off ranging from 65-90%, in half-inch increments depending on the module they choose to use.

The Evolve Cam System has a engineered quad track system, which keeps the cables more centrally located on the cam system. This allows the cable to split differently and mount on the inside of the limbs instead of yoked and mounted on the outside of the limbs. When the cables are closer to the centerline of the bow, the tuning, nock travel, and performance becomes more optimal as well. The Evolve Cam system is also extremely easy to draw considering its performance, and transitions well into the valley and the solid back wall aided by dual stops.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

This is hard to talk about given all the adjustments the Evolve Cam System has to offer. Shooters have the ability to change the feel of the valley and let off in an unheard of range from 65-90% let off. Shooters can opt for 6 distinct valley and performance settings depending on the let off module of choice, with the highest let off still clocking arrow speeds up to an impressive 342 feet per second! For those wanting more speed, a lower let off module can be chosen, and the Carbon Air Stealth turns into a lightweight, high performance carbon machine.

The Evolve cam system is an extremely smooth drawing system, no matter which let off option shooters choose. Each of the let offs has an outstanding transition into the valley and ultimately the let off. These cams feel outstanding, and give shooters almost a false sense of how high performing this rig really is. For a bow of this performance, shooters have become used to a much more demanding draw force curve than what they will experience with the Evolve Cam System.While holding on target, the bow is uncharacteristically sturdy on target. The lightweight rig does not feel lightweight on target, and it holds very well as the target gets farther down range. For shooters feelings like the weight may be a little too light compared to what they are used to, the Carbon Air Stealth balanaces really well and allows shooters to stack weight where they want it without making the bow too heavy. Adding weight to the bow creates a great feeling bow, without ever getting too heavy because of the light starting weight. After the shot, shooters will be amazed at how well the bow wants to stay on target. There is virtually zero hand shock, and the arrow being released hardly impacts where shooters had their pin before firing the arrow down range. This bow is a dream to shoot, and feels balanced and sturdy on target.

Usage Scenarios

The Carbon Air Stealth is a legit hunting bow designed for every single circumstance. For those wanting to pack it a long ways up and down mountains, the lightweight bow will be pleasing to haul around. Fro those wanting to take it in a tree or ground blind, the somewhat compact 33-inch axel-to-axel measurement is a great mix between being stable and compact enough to be comfortable. The price of the bow is going to have shooters wanting to use this as a multi-purpose rig, which it could handle well enough in the hands of the right 3D shooter, but it really is most at home in hunting situations.

Summary

This is a great bow, and will win over a ton of faithful followers after getting a chance to spend some time on the range with one. The largest downside to the Carbon Air Stealth is going to be the $1500 price tag. Is it worth the extra money? For some shooters, it absolutely will be. Unfortunately, for other shooters, the price alone is going to make it a no go for them. The Evolve Cam System on such a lightweight carbon riser makes this rig the ultimate hunting bow though. With almost the perfect specifications for an overwhelming majority of the hunting community, and the ability to make so many customizations to the feel of the draw cycle, the PSE Carbon Air Stealth is going to be hugely popular for 2018. The grip and the overall looks seem to be polarizing features on the bow as well. However, most shooters will not choose to eliminate a bow based on looks alone, and the grip fits well in the hand of shooters who are willing to adjust to the added girth. Overall, the Carbon Air Stealth is going to be a super popular hunting bow for PSE in 2018.




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