The Mathews Switchback XT

As I pulled my new XT out of its packaging, the extreme parallel design of the limbs and the more generous brace height was immediately obvious and intriguing to me.  I had ordered 80% let-off and it pulled back smoothly and easily; not a surprise since every Mathews I’ve ever pulled back inherited this trait, and I expected no less from the XT.  The weight and length (the XT is a short 31” A-to-A) were similar to my Outback, but I had yet to realize the single most factor as to why I would love this new bow.

Up to our workshop/shooting range I walked and quickly set up my bow with my Copper Johns Dead Nuts sight, Carolina Archery’s QS Droptine Whisker Biscuit rest (with B2 biscuit) and Lore stabilizer, and peep.  After attaching a nock and a string loop, I was ready to shoot a few Carbon Express Maxima arrows.  I have a 26” draw, and had my XT cranked to its 60-pound limit.  I was shooting 26 1/2” Carbon Express Maxima arrows with 100 grain Muzzy 3-bladed broadheads and 100 grain field points.  My husband stood behind me to observe my Zebra Barracuda string as it rolled off my cams (to see if any adjustments were needed left or right).  I shot my first arrow and my husband (who shoots a Switchback) and I honestly both said “WOW!” simultaneously!  What impressed us was simply the silence of the bow….whisper quiet as I released that first arrow.  Contributing to that factor are the new Harmonic damper features; triple dampers on the roller guard and dampers on each of the string suppressors.  Do they help?  Most definitely!  It was obvious to us both upon taking my first shot how quietly my shot was executed; but I also “felt” the quiet…..the lack of vibration in my hands was immediately noticeable.  Now, I must confess I loved my Outback and was not overly excited about changing bows so soon, but I was quickly changing gears and bonding with this new bow of mine after experiencing the smooth, quiet delivery of my arrow!

Next step: paper tuning.  My points and broadheads were not grouping quite the same, so I took several shots through paper.  I had a slight upwards right tear, and after a few adjustments to my rest, was shooting great.  Back to the target for more shots. 

My husband and I decided to setup our chronograph and see what I was getting for speed.  The specs show AMO rating to be 238fps (60 lb, 30” draw, 500 grain arrow) so I assumed my speed would be similar shooting with a 26” draw but a much lighter arrow at approximately 324 to 351 grains.  

This is what we recorded:

Carbon Express 100 arrow with 100 grain point = 324.4 total grains

Carbon Express 200 arrow with 100 grain point = 346.5 total grains

Carbon Express Maxima 250 arrow with 100 grain point = 351.1  total grains

(each arrow had  4” slight right/helical fletching)

I shot six shots with each arrow, dropping the highest and lowest speed to find the average:

Average speed:

Carbon Express 100 = 255.87 fps

Carbon Express 200 = 249.05 fps

Carbon Express Maxima 250 = 247.22fps

I was impressed and needless to say absolutely thrilled with my Switchback XT’s performance at 60 pounds with a 26” draw, its power due, among other features, to the new Straightline perimeter-weighted XT cam. 

I’d highly recommend the Switchback XT to anyone looking for a smooth, quiet and fast bow for hunting.  It couldn’t be more perfect for a woman’s bow being lightweight, compact in design, and offered in 40 to 70 pound draw weights and in 25 to 30” draw lengths.  What before was such a hindrance to women looking for a fast, heavier poundage hunting bow in shorter draw lengths is no longer a problem with the introduction of the Switchback XT.  Mathews has hit the mark by designing a bow that fits the needs of many shorter-draw length shooters. Let-off is either 65 or 80% and must be specified when ordered.  If you decide to change it, the cam must be switched out.  The new Zebra Barracuda string features a large and durable center serving area and by its twisted design eliminates string rotation and the need to use tubing with a peep. 

You’ll find a powerful and stealthy package with the Switchback XT bow, one that will undoubtedly make your trips to the field memorable!  Try one out at a dealer in your area and see for yourself how smooth and quiet it shoots.  I can’t wait to share my hunting stories with everyone and am anxiously awaiting opening day of bow season with this powerful beauty in my hands!

For more information on the Switchback XT, please visit

To locate a Mathews dealer in your area, search here:


© August 2006