The Fastest Compound Bow of 2021

Garret Jacob | |

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It seems in recent decades there has been a race to the top by manufacturers to produce the fastest FPS bows money can buy. However, is it important to have the fastest bow when hunting? The answer is yes and no. Though we love to shoot fast bows and to feel the awe once we release our shots, it may not be one-hundred percent necessary. 

That being said, many of us love to reap from the benefits of a fast bow, to which there are many. Flat-flying arrows, direct and through shots, forgiveness on distance shots, these are just a few of the many benefits of having a fast bow. 

In this article, we are going to discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of shooting a fast bow as well as highlight some of the greatest fast compound bows released.

The Fastest Compound Bows – Our Picks

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers

fastest compound bow roundup

How Fast Can a Compound Bow Shoot?

When we want to discuss how fast a compound bow can shoot, we need to consider at least four determining factors. These factors are the main factors to consider outside of gravity, wind conditions, and other external factors. The four controllable factors then are draw length, draw weight, arrow weight, and the type of compound bow. 

  • Draw Length: The draw length on a compound bow is when the bowstring is fully drawn, the distance between the nocking point and the grip of the bow itself. 
  • Draw Weight: The force needed to draw back the bowstring to the firing position.
  • Arrow Weight: The weight of the arrow measured in grains.
  • Type of Compound Bow: The compound bow types are single cam, hybrid cam, twin-cam, and binary cam.

When you calculate all the different factors together, you will get the potential speed of the compound bow. Let us just do one or two examples.

Example one. If you take a low arrow weight, high draw weight, and a long draw length, your IBO speed might be much faster than a shot with a heavy arrow weight, medium draw weight, and a longer draw length. The possibilities are endless when you change certain variables of these four determining factors. 

Now that you understand the determining factors and how they can be changed to alter the total speed, we can say that today’s compound bows shoot an average speed of between 300 and 340 FPS.

The average adult hunter should have a perfectly sufficient compound bow if the IBO FPS speed is somewhere in that range. However, if you have less, not to worry, a high FPS does not automatically ensure you will be a successful hunter. Plenty of hunters have successful hunts each year using a recurve or longbow

A recurve bow averages 225 FPS while a longbow can be quite a bit lower with an FPS around 175. This is partially due to longbow having heavier arrows. The average longbow arrow is around 520-grains. Though we see a lower FPS, a higher grain arrow creates what is especially important for any successful hunt, kinetic energy. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Fast Bow?

As manufacturers compete in an arms race of increased speed capabilities, we have to question whether faster truly is better. Yes, you do want a fast arrow and it does have its advantages, but are there any disadvantages? Of course. But first, we begin with reviewing the advantages.

One of the main advantages of having a fast-flying arrow is that gravity has less of an effect on your arrow over distance. If you know you will be shooting game at great distances based on where your blind or stand is located, then you will need a compound bow that has a higher rated IBO speed. However, if you know that your stand is set up specifically to give you clean close-range shots, then having the highest FPS bow on the market will not be as important. 

When you are hunting and a target finally walks into your view, if it is a further distance from you, it is often a little more difficult to judge the total distance. This is especially true if your adrenaline is pumping and you may end up misjudging the distance once you fire. Having a compound bow with a faster IBO speed will forgive that misjudgement of distance more and carry your shot further without having the arrow drop. That is a great advantage to have when hunting on the edge of a field or when you know you will have a longer shot. So, what about the disadvantages? What would be wrong with having more speed than you need?

The main disadvantage of having a compound bow with a higher IBO speed than you need is the fact that higher speed bows can be more unstable. Any flaw in your form, no matter how minute, will translate into an inaccurate shot. And not just by a little; by a lot. Higher-speed bows can also be eager to fire, especially if the draw weight is high. Be sure to have a draw weight you are comfortable with and have a steady draw if you explore some of the higher speed bows on the market.

Does a Higher Draw Weight Always Mean a Faster Bow?

Higher draw weight does not always mean a faster bow. Remember, you need to factor in arrow weight, draw length, and external conditions to calculate your overall FPS. Some hunters prefer a lesser draw weight to improve their accuracy and to make getting a shot off all the easier. Also, the way a bow acts and feels changes as you go up in draw weight. There are plenty of hunters who prefer a 60-pound or even a 50-pound draw weight for whitetail deer hunting. It is important you are using a piece of equipment that is comfortable for you. 

Also, it is important to note that the quickest way to achieve a faster arrow is to increase the draw weight of your bow. You can either purchase a new bow or if you only want to add a few pounds, bring your bow into a technician at a Pro shop and they should be able to increase the draw weight of your bow. 

The Pro shop will be able to evenly tighten your limb bolts and measure the draw weight for you. Increasing the draw weight on your bow by only a few pounds is a great way to increase your strength and prepare you for if indeed you do want to purchase a new bow with a larger increment of draw weight. 

Once the draw weight has increased, even if only a little bit, be sure to go to the archery range and take some target practice. Any changes in draw weight will affect your shot and change the trajectory path. You will need to relearn and become comfortable with your new shot before you are ready to go hunting. You may even need to adjust your sights. It is also a good idea to work out your archery muscles to increase your strength and be ready for larger draw weight. You can do this by repeatedly drawing your bow and slowly returning it to a resting position. This can be dangerous though if you are not ready for the new weight because you never want to dry fire. If this is a major concern, you can also check online or your local Pro shop for a piece of equipment that is specifically designed for archers who want to work out their archer muscles without using their bow. 

So, although a higher draw weight does not automatically mean a faster arrow, it for sure helps. It is the fastest way to increase FPS. You may also want to consider a lighter arrow, or if possible, check if your draw length is too short and if you can add a little bit to your draw length incrementally as well, that will increase FPS

How is Compound Bow Speed Measured (IBO speed)?

To begin, we need to define the parameters of which IBO speed is measured. The parameters are a metric or a standard by which every bow’s firing speed can be compared in a uniform and standardized way. The two main elements that make up this parameter are arrow weight and draw weight. For every five grains of arrow weight, one pound of draw weight has to match for the IBO speed to be correctly measured. This gives us a standard that does not contain any variables that may occur due to arrow weight. 

For example, if we have a compound bow with 80-pounds of draw weight, we must have an arrow of 400 grains. 400 grains divided by 80-pounds of draw weight equates to 5-grains to 1-pound of draw weight. Let us do one more as a quick example. Let us take a bow with a draw weight of 70-pounds. What do you think the weight of the arrow should be? If you guessed 350-grains, then you are correct. 

This idea of having a standard across all manufacturers was created by the International Bowhunters Association. That is why we call it IBO speed. Named after the organization that created it. Now is it perfect? No. However, it gives us some consistency when before there was none. Manufacturers used to make claims about how fast their bow was and we had nothing to compare it to. Every manufacturer claimed they produced the fastest compound bow on the market etc. With IBO speed measurements we now have some sort of tool to keep manufacturers in check. 

Check out this video from our friends over at Average Jack Archery., as a hunter you will most likely never achieve the speeds advertised by the manufacturers

Remember when an FPS or IBO FPS speed is given, they measure the velocity of the arrow at almost point-blank range. The manufacturers shoot the arrow through Chronograph, which is similar to a pitcher’s radar gun. The Chronograph machine is almost always set up directly in front of the archer to ensure that the fastest speed possible is recorded. Always keep in mind that IBO speeds do not consider gravity over a range or factor in other outside conditions your arrow will encounter once it is in flight and gaining distance between you and your target. Though the IBO system is not the most perfect system of measuring arrow speed, we can say that it is better than before. It is important to be able to measure arrow speed across manufacturers and be able to hold them to the same standard to give the consumer the best information available. 

Fastest Compound Bows – Reviews

Xpedition MX-15

Xpedition MX-15 - Fastest compound bow

The Xpedition MX-15 is a blazing fast bow. The average top-end firing speed of this bow is around 360 FPS. Incredible! If you are whitetail hunting your arrow should be able to reach your target before a fully alert deer gets a chance to duck the arrow, depending on the distance.

The Xpedition MX-15 is extremely forgiving to the shot with a smooth draw. Contains a Cageriser. Incredibly quiet for how much power this bow has. Constructed with a stable strong grip that sets well when you take your draw.

What we liked:

  • 358-362 FPS – Incredible speed. 
  • Extremely quiet. 
  • Forgiving shot.

What we didn’t:

  • Best suited for experienced bow users only.
Check out this video for a complete review and demo

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PSE Xpedite

The PSE Xpedite comes with a sleek design and the top end FPS averages around 355 IBO speed. This compound bow is insanely comfortable to the touch and allows you to swap out the included PSE Comfortgrip for a molded grip overlay.

The bow is available in draw weights of 60, 70, and 80 pounds as well as seven different finishes for your needs. The draw length range is from 24.5 inches to 30 inches. All around, the PSE Xpedite produces an incredibly smooth shot and is comfortable to hold.

What we liked:

  • 352-360 FPS
  • Sleek design.
  • Comfortable.
  • Smooth and quiet.

What we didn’t:

  • On the high end for the price point.
The real hunter’s setup speed test of the PSE Xpedite

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PSE Bow Madness

The PSE Bow Madness is an excellent mid-level bow that has a top-end speed of just under 340 FPS. This bow has an ultra-smooth draw and contains a three-track binary cam system to produce incredible speed.

PSE Bow Madness 340 FPS
The PSE Bow Madness

Manufactured with a stiff and strong angled riser with a solid base. Comfortable to shoot and affordable. A little vibration on the shot but very quiet. A consistent shooter.

What we liked:

  • 340 FPS
  • Consistent.
  • Affordable.
  • Comfortable.

What we didn’t:

  • Can produce some vibration when shot.
The bow madness reviewed

Check the price on Cabelas »

Blackout Epic

Blackout Epic

The Blackout Epic is a quality compound bow with a top speed of 340 FPS. There are two models of the Black Out Epic with the adjustable draw weight. The first model is for a range of 45-60 pounds. The second model is the 55-70 pound model. Both available in either right or left-handed.

The SYNC Cam technology allows you to adjust the let-off into four different positions. Manufactured with a compact design and the ShockWaves limb dampening device. The Blackout Epic is extremely comfortable and designed to be compact only measuring 32-inches ATA or axle length. This is an excellent mid-range compound bow.

What we liked:

  • 340 FPS
  • Compact design.
  • Adjustable draw weight.
  • Four different let-off settings.

What we didn’t:

  • A little heavy for its compact and smaller design.
The blackout epic reviewed

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Bear Divergent

The Bear Divergent is a quality all-around shooter built for every type of hunter in mind, from newbie to expert. The EKO Cam system is designed to give you the option of four different let-off positions while giving you up to 338 FPS.

Contains a HingeGuard cable guide to reduce friction and to make for a smooth draw and a quieter release. This is a great all-around type bow made for any type of shooter. 

What we liked:

  • 338 FPS
  • Versatile. 
  • Smooth draw.
  • Quiet.

What we didn’t:

  • Some vibration on shot release.
A video review of the Bear Divergent

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Diamond Deploy

The Diamond Deploy compound bow is loaded with technological features to set it apart from other bows in its class. The Bowtech Synchronized Binary Cam system is extremely powerful but accurate as well.

The binary cam system produces a shot that tops out around 330 FPS. An ideal amount for whitetail hunting. Enough power to give you accuracy and distance at the same time but maintain a smooth draw that does not feel jumpy to the user. Built with 80% let-off and comes with many accessories including an Octane Octagon Brush arrow rest and a comfort wrist sling.

What we liked:

  • 330 FPS
  • Comes with many accessories. 
  • Easy-to-tune.
  • Advanced Carbon Knight riser. 
  • Ultra-lightweight.

What we didn’t:

  • A little more expensive on the mid-range bow market.
The Diamond Deploy reviewed

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