PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 Review
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The 2020 PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 is a mouthful to say, and arguably too long of a name for a compound bow. However, the Mach 1 directly addresses the criticism from the previous carbon riser models to create the best carbon bow ever produced out of the PSE shop. To make things even better, the entire bow is made in America. The bow has laid back limbs, which absolutely deadens the bow after the shot. No more vibration, or excess noise out of the PSE carbon. The grip has also been redesigned making the largest point of criticism with the previous carbon models completely non-existent. One of the largest selling points of a carbon riser is the strength to weight ratio carbon has when compared to aluminum riser models. The Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 gives those customers a lightweight, 3.5-pounds bare bow rig to carry with them through the timber. For a bow this light, to be as shock-free as it is is a true engineering marvel in itself. PSE did something a bit strange on the Mach 1 speed rating, which has left many reviewers slightly confused. For years, the speed ratings for many bows have been overinflated, which means the bows have little to no chance of ever achieving those actual speed numbers, even at IBO specs. PSE has done with opposite with this bow. They posted a fairly slow speed rating on the Mach 1, and according to every review available on this bow posted to YouTube, the Mach 1 is over performing those numbers. Although this type of marketing seems silly, perhaps folks are more interested in a bow shooting faster than advertised. The price is the largest negative for most shooters considering the Mach 1, because it will be listed at most shops for $1599. That is a lot of money for a bare bow, even if it is the best one PSE has ever created. For shooters on the market for the warm to the touch carbon riser so many people appreciate on cold November mornings, the PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 is going to be mind blowing. For those not totally committed to a carbon riser, the price may be a bit too much to swallow.
FinishPSE has done a nice job in recent years giving shooters additional patterns to choose from in their hunting bow lineup. There was a time when the options were somewhat limited, and although the 2020 model year is still not offering as many options as some other lineups, what is offered looks great and is well done. Black, Kuiu Verde, Mossy Oak Country, and First Lite Fusion are the standard offerings on the carbon bows for PSE. In January, PSE also announced a partnership with the Nock On Nation signing John Dudley to the pro staff team. This gives shooters an option for the Nock On Edition of the Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 bow. This comes with a darker green riser, and Gore Subalpine limbs. This is the first time PSE has ever offered Gore camo as an option. To further match the Nock On Nation, the strings are Flo Green, along with the PSE symbols, Nock On logo, and decals that are historically white or red on PSE bows. This special edition bow looks much better in person than it does online, and also comes with a $100 larger price tag. For some shooters, it will be worth the upgrade, and others will find a pattern they like for $100 less.
RiserThe one-piece carbon riser design PSE brought to market gets slightly redesigned for 2020. One of the largest complaints of the previous carbon bows is the grip. With the riser being one hollow piece of carbon, the grip needed to be a bit beefier to make sure torque did not negatively impact the arrow flight. For 2020, engineers were able to slim the grip to give it a more standard feel in the front to back width, while not compromising performance and accuracy of the riser strength. PSE fills the carbon monocoque tube with a proprietary dampening filler to add some weight to the bow, and help keep it as quiet as possible after the shot. The Mach 1 is the most dead in hand carbon riser bow PSE has ever produced, which addresses another critique some shooters had with the outgoing 2019 models. The bow features a brace height of 6 ⅛-inches. The riser also helps keep the overall weight of the bow to an impressive 3.5-pounds before accessories are added. One of the largest selling points of carbon early on was the strength, and lightweight capabilities of the carbon riser versus an aluminum riser. For shooters wanting the lightest weight carbon bow they can get, the Mach 1 is the bow for them.The unique PSE cable containment system is a moveable carbon rod equipped with a roller that pulls sideways on the cable to help the draw cycle feel exceptionally smooth. For tuning purposes, there is some adjustment in the rod itself to tune with different vane configurations for the best arrow flight for each shooter and their set up. The carbon riser also has a front mounting stabilizer bushing, for those wanting to add some additional weight or a vibration dampening stabilizer. Unfortunately, the riser does not feature a rear mounted system for those wanting to use a back bar. However, shooters wanting a back stabilizer bar can still mount the back bar to the front of the riser with an offset bracket if they want to. The PSE string stop system helps keep the vibration of the bow away from the shooter's hands, and helps bring the string to rest after firing the arrow down range, keeping the string from slapping the shooter's arm or clothing. The carbon riser creation was brought into the PSE factory as well, so it is made entirely in house, which is pretty awesome also.
GripThe grip on the previous Carbon Air Stealth bows is arguably the most talked about grip on any PSE bow. Many shooters compared the grip to that of the feeling of a 2x4, which may not be that fair considering the dimensions. The grip itself was the same size as the aluminum riser bows where it fit into the shooter's hand. However, the thickness was larger than other models, and many shooters did not like that feeling. This grip is a more standard thickness, and shooters are loving the newly designed feel. In addition to the flat back grip, and new thickness, it is built directly into the riser, which means shooters will be holding onto a carbon handle. The carbon grip is amazing for anyone using the Mach 1 as a hunting bow. It will always be warm to the touch, and will not get as cold as an aluminum grip. For that reason alone, hunters will love the new grip. 2020 PSE aluminum risers feature a removable plastic grip, which has a larger feel than shooting straight off the riser, but the Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 does not come with this plastic grip option. PSE listening to consumers to redesign the size of the grip is another example of the company delivering what shooters really want, and that is truly special. PSE's constructive use of customer feedback created a better feeling grip, folks online are raving about.
LimbsThe limbs are the Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 remain split, and wide like previous model year offerings. However, the PSE engineers laid the limbs back more than previous years, which they claim reduced vibration by 50%! Another critique of the outgoing model was the post shot vibration felt in the shooter's hand. Virtually eliminating this post vibration feel for 2020 is another example of PSE taking feedback and delivering a better product to consumers. The limbs are available in maximum draw weights of 50, 60, 65, and 70-pounds, and for the first time PSE is offering 80-pound limbs on the carbon riser as well. The laid back limbs, and wedge lock pocket system work well in making the bow quieter and more vibration-free, while still maintaining the strength and longevity shooters have come to love about PSE limbs and pockets. The limb bolts also offer 10 full turns of adjustment for shooters to get the exact draw weight they prefer, while keeping the limbs the same distance from the riser. The new look of the limbs no longer makes the PSE bow as aggressive looking as they have been in the past. However, the ability to lessen the noise and vibration after the shot is going to be a well received change from previous carbon riser offerings.
Eccentric SystemThe Evolve cam is the powering force behind the Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1, and for great reason. These cams have a massive following, and have been a staple in the PSE line up for a while now. To be honest, these cams do not really get the attention they deserve, and that is a shame. The Evolve cams may be the most adjustable cam system on the market today, giving shooters a ton of control over exactly how their rigs feel during the draw cycle, while being able to fine tune the feel of the valley. The cams are available in draw lengths ranging from 25-30.5-inches with a rotating module, in half-inch increments. In addition to this, shooters can choose from a couple let off modules, which give a high or a low let-off option. The high let-off module lets shooters choose 80, 85, or 90% let-off, and the low let-off module gives shooters 65, 70, or 75%. The ability for shooters to have so much say in the valley and holding weight of their rigs, really shows how committed PSE is in giving shooters exactly what they want. The Evolve cam system is not new to PSE, and is featured on a wide range of hunting and target bows. The system has cam spacers used to eliminate major left or right tears through paper, which do require a press and some patience to swap around. However, the end result allows shooters to keep their rest in perfect center shot, while allowing the cams to be pushed one way or the other to correct any left of right tears. The cables also split and connect to the cams instead of a yoke, which helps a great deal with eliminating cam lean in the whole system. From a shooter and tuner perspective, it is really tough to find a better cam system not based on personal preference. From a user standpoint, the Evolve cam is truly special.
Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe previous carbon models from PSE were great shooting bows, and the 2020 Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 takes all areas shooter's critiqued in the past and makes them better. To say the Mach 1 is the best shooting carbon bow from PSE is a real statement showing how dedicated PSE is in creating what shooters want. The Evolve cam can feel however shooters want it to feel. The draw cycle is amazingly smooth transitioning from peak weight, to the valley, and eventually the solid back wall. However, shooters can also decide what the valley and back wall feel like by adjusting the let-off to match whatever type of feel they want for themselves. The feeling after the shot is the best PSE has ever released on the carbon side of things, with 50% less vibration than the outgoing model. The hold on target is exceptional, with far less pin float than one would assume with such a lightweight bow. The speeds are even coming in faster than advertised, which is another selling point shooters seem to have gravitated towards as well. Some bows improve with incremental changes year to year, making it hard to notice from the previous models. The changes made to the PSE carbon model for 2020 make it the best carbon bow PSE has ever made, and the bows before it were pretty great bows. This Mach 1 is sweet, and deserves some recognition. Usage ScenariosThe Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 is a purebred hunting bow. This thing is made to truck around the wilderness chasing game. It is compact enough to be maneuverable in tight spaces, performs well enough to take down big game animals, and is comfortable enough to make any shooter feel confident. This bow is going to see a lot of time on the range, and in 3D shoots, but folks looking to be serious spot shooters or 3D archers a model designed more specifically for those styles of archery may be better suited. The carbon riser bow is the best carbon model PSE has ever made, and for the hunter wanting every advantage they can get, the Mach 1 is a real head turner.
PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1 vs. PSE Carbon Air Stealth
|Bow||PSE Carbon Air Stealth Mach 1|
|Brace Height||6.125 "|
|AtA Length||32.125 "|
|Draw Length||25 " - 30.5 "|
|Draw Weight||40 lbs - 70 lbs|
|IBO Speed||324 fps - 332 fps|
|Let-Off||80% - 90%|
|Where to buy|
Best prices online
These two bows are similar in name and looks, but the 2020 Mach 1 is an improvement over the outgoing model in almost every way. That is not a knock on the outgoing model, it is a great shooter. However, PSE really made changes to the Stealth shooters were most interested in, and the Mach 1 is the product of all the positive changes. For those already owning the 2019 Stealth, the Mach 1 is still a noticeable upgrade, but it may not be worth the hit in resale value to upgrade to the Mach 1. For those shooters not able to pull the trigger on the 2019 PSE Carbon Air Stealth, the 2020 model may force them to pay up for a new carbon riser bow.