PSE Phenom XT Review

PSE Phenom XT

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out of 1 user review
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  from $525


  • A price point target bow with a suggested retail of only $699
  • 7 finish options
  • Goes all the way out to a 33-inch draw length


  • Shooters must have a 27.5-inch or longer draw length


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Editors' review

The Phenom XT is a great shooting target rig with draw lengths from 27.5-33-inches. The speeds are acceptable for a target bow, which clock in at 315 feet per second when measured at the 30-inch standard. When tested at the maxed out draw length of 33-inches, the speed rating increases to a faster 345 feet per second rating. The Phenom XT also features a deflexed riser design, which is much less popular than it used to be. The longer axel-to-axel measurement of 35.5-inches, in addition to the deflexed riser should make the Phenom XT a highly desirable target rig. PSE also offers the bow in a total of seven different finish options, which is amazing for the Mainline Series lineup, which generally has only three choices. Ultimately, the Phenom XT shoots amazingly well, but the suggested retail price of only $699 puts this rig in a league all by itself.


PSE typically offers three finish options on the Mainline bow series. Fortunately for those interested in the Phenom XT, PSE will offer a total of seven different finish options. Since the Phenom XT can reach out to 33-inches, some shooters may want to use this as a hunting rig because those that tall do not have many options to choose from. The more traditional camo option is Mossy Oak Break-up Country. For shooters interested in target colors, PSE offers Electric Lime, Imperial Purple, Scarlet Red, Admiral Blue, Platinum, and Black Onyx. All seven finishes are a matte finish and they look exceptionally well done. Those wanting to add more color to any option have the ability to choose a color kit to change out the rubber dampeners to better match personal style.


A deflexed riser is a bit unique on the 2017 market. By definition, a deflexed riser is when the grip is in front of where the limb pockets connect to the riser. This gives the bow a longer brace height, but also slower speeds than a similarly designed bow with a shorter brace height. Ideally, the hand being in front of the limb pockets also makes the bow a more stable platform to shoot from. 2017 models are more reflexed in design because speeds increase, and many companies strive to create the fastest shooting bows possible.On the Phenom XT, the deflexed riser gives the bow a 7 5/8-inch brace height. The axel-to-axel measurement of 35.5-inches in combination with the long brace height gives this bow great shootability characteristics creating a super stable platform. The aluminum riser cutouts also keep the longer framed bow at a fairly lightweight 4-pound mark. PSE did not get fancy with the string stop system or cable containment system. The string stop is the standard rear mounting string stop system with a rubber dampener. The cable containment system is a standard cable slide system. The rod does not pivot or flex at all, and the slide does not contain a roller system. To go along with the target side of things, the front mounting stabilizer hole will allow shooters a great deal of options to perfect and fine tune where they want weight to be distributed on their rigs. The 4-pound bare bow mark is a nice starting point, and should give shooters a ton of flexibility with how much weight they want to add to get things just how they like them.


The Phenom XT is equipped with the fairly popular PSE Raptor grip. This grip is a bit thicker than the traditional BEST grip of past models, but feels really great in hand. The flat back fits perfectly in the shooters had promoting proper hand placement and allowing steady pressure from the throat of the grip to where the palm meets the grip area. The Raptor grip is designed into the riser as a one-piece unit. There are no side plates and the minimalistic design does not distract from the flow of the riser. This is actually really well thought out because many target shooters custom wrap their grip, or use grip tape to get the exact feel and size they want. Having a clean slate to start from is ideal for shooters wanting to customize the fit and feel. With the grip being the only connecting point between the shooter and the bow, the Raptor grip on the Phenom XT does it very well.


The limbs on the Phenom XT are the standard X-Force limb technology with highly pre-loaded split limbs. These are offered in maximum draw weights of 50, 60, and 70-pounds, and with 13 turn limb bolts, the standard 10-pound weight range is increased quite a bit. The limb pockets on the Phenom XT are a plastic composite, which takes a bit away from how the bow looks overall. The machined pockets on the high end PSE target bows look and perhaps function a bit better than the plastic ones on this model. Obviously, PSE is not releasing a bow without great function limb pockets. However, in an attempt to keep the overall price of the bow down a bit, the cheaper built limb pockets help with that.

Eccentric System

The Drive Cam system is featured on the Phenom XT. This hybrid cam system builds in a ton of adjustment for shooters needing to tune, and they are all easily done. Draw length adjustments are made possible with a rotating module system, which is a quick and painless adjustment thanks to the letter indicators. The bottom cam handles all the adjustment in the system, including the draw length and the cable stop post. The round two-track cam on the top, serves basically as a wheel for the string to rotate on, which gives the bow characteristics similar to a single cam system. This hybrid system has virtually no cam timing between the top and bottom cam since the bottom cam is the primary cam. The cams do not need to be in sync with each other like a dual cam system with the top cam being a wheel to pull the sting against. Shooters will also enjoy the 75% let-off setting. This is not as high let-off as some other PSE models in the 2017 lineup, but it does keep things easier at the back end, and the lower let off allows for quicker arrow speeds.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

The Phenom XT is a dream to shoot. It feels similar to other bows with the Drive cam system, but the added brace height and the longer frame of the rig make it a really nice stable rig. Shooters will enjoy how easy the bow is to draw throughout the transitions in the draw cycle. The cams roll over nicely into the forgiving valley, and the stiff back wall feels nice to pull into as shooters settle their pin on target. For sore shoulders, or those wanting a lighter target bow, the Phenom XT weighing in at an even 4-pounds makes it quite a bit lighter than other target models with similar size specifications. The balance of the bow is pretty great right out of the box as well, which means shooters can easily add weight exactly where they feel it is needed instead of working to level the bow out first and then getting the weight where they want it the most. After the shot, the bow still wants to point on target, which makes it pretty simple to aim and follow through with. The arrow speeds are not fast, but they will not need to be super quick in order to shoot paper targets. For a target bow, the Phenom XT performs well, for a budget friendly target bow; the Phenom XT performs better than expected.

Usage Scenarios

The PSE Phenom XT is a designed target bow, which is going to do fairly well in the 2017 target bow market. Some shooters at the upper end of the draw length range, which goes as long as 33-inches, may use the Phenom XT as a hunting bow. However, the Phenom XT is a designed target bow for the majority of shooters. For those wanting to get serious about target archery, but not able to afford a premium bow, the Phenom XT is the best of both worlds. This bow is a great shooter, and when shooters look at the suggested retail price, the bow will seem even better than it shoots based on how affordable it is.


The Phenom XT is a great offering to the target community. Archers just getting started with target shooting may be a bit overwhelmed and sticker shocked to see what some high-end target models sell for. The Phenom XT shoots exceptionally well, and has a suggested retail of only $699, which is less than many hunting rigs. As a target bow, the Phenom's lightweight 4-pound bare bow frame is sure to win over a lot of believers. The balance of that weight is great as well because shooters are able to get stabilizer weight directly where they want it to be without needing to level the bow off first. The Phenom is slow, which may not be a huge deal for indoor spot shooters, but those with aspirations to use this rig as a 3D bow, may need to practice on their yard judgment to eliminate any errors which will not be corrected by fast arrow speeds. It may be slightly disappointing for shooters with a shorter than27.5-inch draw length because the Phenom XT does not dip under that. However, the Phenom SD could be exactly what those shooters are wanting. For a budget friendly target rig, the Phenom XT is exactly what it is advertised to be. For those wanting the latest and greatest target archery technology, the Phenom XT will not be the bow of choice. For those just beginning in archery, wanting a lighter weight target option, or those just not willing to spend big money on a target bow, the Phenom XT is fantastic.

User Reviews

  • 1 review
  • ( out of 1 review for all versions)
My first compound and after trying it in the shop I loved it almost instantly

Version: 2017 PSE Phenom XT


Pros: Easy to adjust, well made, a joy to shoot, well balanced, and I love the colour (I got the mat red) My 2017 model has even been mistaken for a Supra,

Cons: After shooting for a couple of weeks and using a long rod, I was advised to try a rear / side rod. Most people in the club fitted theirs low on the back of the riser however there is no mounting point here on the phenom.

Full review:

After attending a beginners course I travelled miles to an archery retailer to get my first bow with the intention of getting a compound, however after looking at them I decided they looked a bit complicated and ended up with a recurve, after shooting recurve for about 18 months the draw of a compound (no pun intended) was too great and it was a trip to the Archery store again. I shoot left handed with a very long draw @ over 31” and therefore had a limited choice of bows, being on a budget this was the one that fell right in my price range, After shooting it it was a no brainer the draw was smooth with a solid back wall, the hump on the cams wasn’t exaggerated and with a 75% let of you could hold the draw for as long as the shot takes. Yes there are better bows out there but in my opinion for the price this on holds its own alongside much more expensive bows.

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