Could this unassuming, moderately-priced compound be the darling of the PSE lineup?
Archers are a notoriously fickle group. Not only are they fickle about their equipment, but many are extremely brand loyal as well. They love what they love, and they hate what they hate… sometimes based solely on who made it.
Though PSE is one of the oldest and the biggest names in the compound bow industry, the name tends to elicit a strong response from many in the archery world. Some view the company as having “sold out,” and thereby being less serious about the sport than other bow manufacturers (those who say so tend to cite the availability of PSE equipment at “big box” stores); although why commercial success, large market share, and making archery accessible to millions means not being dedicated to the sport is beyond us.
While many of PSE’s high end bows are consistently at the top of heap in side-by-side comparisons, their more budget-friendly bows offer some extremely competitive options. Perhaps the most interesting bow in the lineup is the PSE Stinger 3G. While it’s been replaced for 2015 by the updated Stinger X, the 3G, which was produced from 2012-2014, is still widely available.
It’s not the most expensive or best performing PSE bow by a country mile, but it’s not the cheapest either. Nor is it merely a beginner’s bow; it’s got the performance, quality, and value to be a serious hunting bow. Here’s why:
The Stinger 3G is built to be an accessible, versatile, all-around bow with a 33-inch axle-to-axle length and a very forgiving 7 3/4 inch brace height. The draw length is adjustable from 25.5 inches all the way to 30.5 inches, allowing it to be tailored to fit almost any sized archer. Draw weight is adjustable, and the range of adjustability has changed over the model years; it was introduced as a 45-60 pound model and a 55-70 pound model.
While PSE has replaced the Stinger 3G with the new-for-2015 Stinger X, 3G models can still be found online and in retail stores for less than $400 (some ready-to-shoot packages can even be found for around $300).
In the spirit of honesty, I think you should know: I shoot a Stinger 3G. After hunting on a borrowed bow for two years, I received a Stinger 3G as a birthday present. In the several years since, it’s been through some abuse; it’s seen field time in all types of weather conditions, fired enough practice arrows in six months to necessitate a string replacement, survived two cross-country moves, and been dropped more times than I would care to admit.
Regardless of the abuse it’s received, however, the fit, finish, and functionality remains just as solid as they day it came in the mail. The anodizing on the cams still looks great, the camo finish on the limbs and riser has zero cracking or peeling, and while preference necessitated a few accessory changes, all its parts remained in perfect working order. While the finish on my custom stabilizer extension has chipped and peeled, the bow itself still looks great.
You can buy a Stinger (or any other PSE product, most likely) in any of the available finishes (black, skullworks, camo, or a combination) with the confidence that you’re purchasing a quality product.
It’s Fast (Enough)
The archery world is just as subject to fads and trends as anything else, and for several years bow manufacturers have been obsessed with speed (although that trend is changing- check out Everything You Wanted to Know About Elite Archery).
But as any serious (and honest) archer will tell you, speed isn’t the only thing that matters. Just about any modern compound bow is fast enough to kill a deer (or turkey, or just about anything else), and as arrow speeds increase comfort and “shoot-ability” can decrease, in some cases drastically. At over 300 fps IBO, the Stinger 3G is fast enough to be considered a serious hunting bow, but not so fast that it shoots (or is priced) like a speed bow.
It Shoots Great
This is where many archers will start fighting like schoolgirls. As you may know, most bow manufacturers have a certain “feel” that’s brand specific; a Hoyt will shoot like an Hoyt, a Mathews will generally feel like a Mathews, etc. Each manufacturer’s bows have a combination of factors that give their products a unique feel, and fans of each company claim that their favorite has that “secret sauce” thats superior to all the others.
Many claim that a certain company’s bows are more forgiving, or some are inherently more accurate, but the truth is, it’s a matter of preference. The person behind the bow is way more important when it comes to a bow’s performance than the logo that’s on the limbs.
The Stinger’s riser is fitted with PSE’s thin line grip; its rounded edges and two-piece padded grip feel great, and its slim profile reduces hand torque on the riser (making it more accurate). The draw is fairly smooth; the draw force curve isn’t too aggressive, resulting in a draw that’s easy to manage. The back wall is fairly “squishy,” (okay, there isn’t much of one), and the Stinger’s valley does’t allow much creep before the cam tries to pull the arrow out of your hand.
The Stinger is extremely quiet and there’s minimal hand shock and almost no vibration, making it a joy to shoot. PSE’s Dead End string stop certainly helps, but the 3G is a pleasure to shoot either on the range, in the stand or hidden in a blind.
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While many archers are obsessed with speed, accuracy is more important. Although the shooter is more important factor when it comes to accuracy than they bow, if a bow can’t be shot accurately then it’s not worth the box it came in.
The Stinger 3G, as you can see, is pretty accurate.
Oftentimes bows with a wide range of adjustment (draw weight and length, for example) give up some performance to higher end, less customizable rigs. The Stinger, however, straddles the fence between adjustability and performance almost perfectly. While it’s draw length and weight have a wide range of adjustability, it still has plenty of oomph for the field or the range. I’ve hunted with a Stinger 3G for several years, and never felt like it couldn’t do what I was asking it to do.
It’s a great value
A bow with the Stinger’s performance would be a mid-range (or higher) bow in any other companies line up, yet someone PSE has found a way to keep it at a more budget-conscious price point. The Stinger 3G, and it’s replacement, the Stinger X, can be had as a ready-to-shoot package for less than $400. PSE packages include everything an archer needs to get in the field or on the range, except for arrows and a release. The accessories
The PSE Stinger 3G (and even the updated Stinger X) is a serious hunting bow that deserves consideration, especially from more budget-conscious archers. No longer does having a lighter wallet mean that you can’t get a bow that performs well; whether you’re an experienced bowhunter or new to archery, give the Stinger 3G a try.
You just may fall in love