How many of you have stabilizers on your bow right now? How many of you went online and grabbed the first one you saw just to maybe make your bow a little quieter? Ya, I was that guy too. Fortunately I’m here to tell you there is a family owned and operated outfit making top quality stabilizers right here in the USA. They make stabilizers not only to take a couple decibels off your shot but to actually stabilize your bow and improve your accuracy. I acquired some stabilizers from KTECH Designs based out of the state of Michigan and wanted to give you a rundown of my experience using them.
From the KTECH Designs website:
“…everything KTECH produces is 100-percent CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, ensuring the peace of mind serious archers and hunters demand from their equipment. KTECH has teamed up with Limbsaver to provide a NEW dampening technology for all of our products.”
Why Use a Stabilizer
Before I jump into the actual review I wanted to give you a better idea of what a stabilizer on your bow is actually supposed to be doing. Yes, they do reduce noise and vibration but more importantly they help keep the bow steady and stable while aiming and shooting. They keep the bow steady and stable by reducing the effects of torque. To very simply state it, the weight of the stabilizer reduces impact of the torque you unintentionally add from your hand/wrist. Look at it another way, if you just took the handle from a sledgehammer you could easily move it in any direction you wished. Now take the handle with the hammerhead on it, it becomes significantly more difficult to move. I must admit for years my thoughts were that I needed a stabilizer with rubber in it just to make my bow quieter. Since that time however I have wised up and took note of the physics behind bow stabilizers and have embraced them for what they are. It just so happens that KTECH makes some very nice ones!
The stabilizers were all very easy to install and adjust the weights on. All that was required was an allen wrench (no tools for the Hex Series as it just screwed in) which I’m guessing you guys all carry in your bow case anyway. The stabilizers are also easily removed for transport with a twist of the wrist thanks to a nifty attachment system shown in the pictures below.
Fit and Feel
KTECH really does run a first rate manufacturing process. The fit and finish of the stabilizers was superb and all the pieces fit together like a hand in glove. After a bit of trial and error with the adjustable weights I had what I felt was a very good balance. I landed somewhere around a 3:1 (offset to front stab) weight ratio. However you’ll need to experiment to see what serves you best.
I ran a comparison shooting with the Offset Bars and DX Series Stabilizer, just the Hex Series Stabilizer, and with no stabilizer. I attempted to mix the order I shot each round in to make the test as random as possible. I’ll be honest I was a little surprised with the results. While not exact I think you’ll see that there is definitely an undeniable difference. Please note the test was ran at a distance of 40 yards. I would have to believe the results would be even more definitive at greater distances.
KTECH Designs Offset Bar Paired with DX Series Stabilizer
The furthest distance between arrows on each of the three rounds were 2 7/8″, 2 1/2″, and 3 3/4″.
KTECH Designs Hex Series Stabilizer
The furthest distance between arrows on each of the three rounds were 4″, 4 7/8″, and 4, 3/4″.
No Additional Stabilization
The furthest distance between arrows on each of the three rounds were 4 3/4″, 4 3/4″, and 5″.
Summary of Test Results
While this was not an overly scientific test I believe it did demonstrate the real world and showed recognizable results. What I wasn’t expecting to see was the magnitude of improvement in my grouping by using the KTECH offset bar and DX Hunter vs. no stabilization. I assumed there would be better consistency, but with a minimum reduction in variation being 1″ and the maximum being 2 1/8″ I was blown away. With just the Hex Series Stabilizer, I don’t know that I can say there is statistical significance between the end results but, the grouping seemed to error on the tighter side vs. no stabilization.
In both cases with the KTECH Stabilizers the balance of the bow felt much better than without. Obviously with the offset bar and DX Hunter Series the bow felt much more controllable due to the additional weight and it’s distance from the center of mass of the bow. It also helped that the offset bar was opposite my quiver so that worked to my advantage. Without having an accurate measuring system for noise I can only tell you that the bow shot quieter with either combination of stabilizers than without. It was an observation, but one I feel confident in stating.
I was extremely pleased with the improvement in my grouping at 40 yards with the KTECH Design Stabilizers. Do you need a stabilizer to kill a deer? No. Will an offset bar and front stabilizer improve your accuracy? Per my test, yes. Do we strive to be as accurate as we can in order to ensure a swift kill? I do. Will I be hunting with KTECH Stabilizers this fall? You better believe it. For the stand hunter in the whitetail woods I would go all out with the offset bar and front stabilizer. I realize that for the mountain bowhunter, conscious about the weight he has to carry, may not want the added ounces but I would at least consider a front stabilizer to give you even a slight edge with accuracy. So if you’ve never tried a stabilizer or just have a short run of the mill style, give KTECH Designs a consideration for your next upgrade.
Disclaimer: I received these KTECH Design products at no charge in return for an honest review. Whether you chose to buy one or not has no impact on my financial well being or lack there of. I ran this test at home on my archery range and did my best to create unbiased results. I feel that I succeeded and was really was surprised with the results. As you can see by my groupings, I need all the help I can get and will really be hunting with the KTECH Stabilizers.