Martin Jaguar Elite Takedown Recurve » Bow Review

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Our rating – 9/ 10  

An excellent fun, well appointed bow for the price point. The ILF compatibility on the Martin Jaguar gives you a nice route to upgrade the bow in the future. If you like the look of the riser it’s a great entry point to metal recurve ownership without any serious drawbacks (unless you’re a left handed shooter).


In 2015 Martin Archery threw out their company rule book and changed their way of thinking about bow manufacture and decided to undertake large scale independent research with customers and bow shop owners to ascertain exactly what the needs of archers and hunters were and then they designed products around those findings.

Now that’s a company dedicated to bringing the best products to the market, and the Martin Jaguar Elite is certainly a well appointed piece of kit, we’ll take you through the good and bad about the 2015 model of this bow here.

Ratings, Pros and Cons

Riser – 90%
Limbs – 90%
Assembly – 70%
Accessories – 80%
Shooting – 90%
Styling – 90%

What we liked:

  • Light
  • Metal riser with Thermal V Grip
  • Mounting points for sight, rest, quiver
  • Takedown
  • 2 color choices
  • Accepts ILF limbs

What we didn’t:

  • Assembly/disassembly not the easiest
  • Right hand only
  • Flimsy supplied arrow rest

Features / Specifications

Draw weights (lbs):29, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55
Brace height (inches):7
Weight (lbs): 2.6
AMO Length (inches): 60
Max Draw (inches):30 (estimated)
Riser:Metal, aluminium and magnesium
Shelf:Cut Past Center
Limbs:Laminated wood with black fiberglass coating
Riser Skins:Mossy Oak Infinity

Black Flame

Price Range:Low
Handedness:Right Only

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In this video T-Mac reviews the 50lbs (#50) Martin Jaguar and takes a few shots.

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In-Depth Review


Martin are known for their compound bows and this riser is (I believe) actually the SAME riser that they use in their well thought of range of compounds so you know that’s a good foundation right there.

An magnesium and aluminium riser is going to be lighter, stronger and more durable than a wooden one. It may not look as pretty, but it’s going to make for a better bow, which is why olympic recurve bows have metal risers. The main reason for the use of metal is undoubtedly going to be to keep the weight down.

When you’re shooting for an extended length of time recreationally or competitively, or maybe taking your bow on a hunting trip, holding a bare metal riser won’t be comfortable, which is why the Jaguar features a Thermal V grip which (although not advertised as such) to my mind is exactly the same Thermal Elite Grip that you get on the Martin Saber, Panther and Jaguar BF models. It has a rubberised and ribbed side and a leathery feel to the front and back. It’s super comfortable and you’ll most likely find (unless you have unusually large or small hands) it fits perfectly to your hand.

The riser has fitments for sights, stabiliser, compound arrow rest, 2 piece or 1 piece quiver. As this (we think) is basically a compound riser, you’ll find it more compatible with compound arrow rests from Martin.

There are 2 styles of skin available on this riser, Mossy Oak which gives a camouflage effect and the Black Flame which is a more futuristic matte black finish better. You may see some of these online in youtube videos with a Jaguars face on the side, I’m thinking that must be the pre 2015 model of the Jaguar as it’s been updated since and now only features the word Jaguar badged on the side of the riser as you can see in the picture above.


The limbs on the Jaguar are the same limbs used on the Martin Saber, Panther and Jaguar BF. Laminated layers of wood and glass with a black fiberglass coating and the MARTIN logo stencilled in white on the front.

The limbs on this model should also be interchangeable with those from Samick and the riser is milled to accept even ILF limbs giving you wide range of choice when and if it comes to replacing them.


If setup correctly and using the right arrows you’ll find this bow to draw and shoot nicely and it will give you many hours of fun. Giving an opinion on the shooting of a bow can always be a little subjective but we found it excellent, with little vibration sent back from the bow to the hands and reasonably quiet noise when the arrow was released. If you’re a good enough shooter you should be able to match groupings with a compound shooter at upto 40 yards using one of these.


Again this is subjective, you may like the look of this more than say the Martin Panther which is a few notches up the recurve scale of Martin bows, but taking this bow on it’s own merits it has a good look to it. The camo finish as it only extends to the riser so if you really want to camouflage the bow you’ll have to add camo tape to the limbs, but that’s not an issue for me as I and prefer the futuristic looks slightly carbon fibre look of the matte black flame anyway.


The limbs attach to the riser with an allen key and screw, the process is slightly fiddly as you have to locate the nut inside the riser, then place the limb and thread a bolt and washer through the limb and locate it on the nut before you tighten with the key. This means this isn’t the fastest bow to takedown and put up, there are easier mechanisms out there, but it does the job and should only take you 5 minutes once you are familiar with how to do it although it’s possibly not something you’ll want to perform day in day out.


Arrow Rest

Out of the box the Jaguar comes with a plastic low quality and somewhat flimsy arrow rest that could be prone to movement during a shot. It’s common that you’ll not get the best of quality in accessories with a new bow as supplying lower quality tends to help keep the price down but gives the manufacturer something more to advertise, but the supplied rest is perfectly fine to get you started.


Out of the box this should come with a good quality stringer which if you don’t want broken limbs you should always use to string your bow.

Always, always, always use a stringer

Don’t string your bow by bending the limbs over your knee, this is one of the major causes of broken limbs as you’ll be likely to put twisting stress on the limb which is isn’t designed to handle, not to mention invalidating any warranty you’ve been supplied with your bow.

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“How does it compare?”

Jaguar Elite vs Sage

The Sage is shorter than this bow at only 62″ AMO but the Journey (which is the same as the Sage) can match it at 64″ AMO. They weigh a similar amount to this bow but come in a wider variety of draw weights and more importantly for lefties in a left handed variant. If you’re looking for something a little less pricey and don’t necessarily need a metal riser, consider the Sage. The Sage also has tool-free assembly which the Jaguar doesn’t feature. Checkout the full review here.

Jaguar vs Southwest Archery Spyder

The ‘Sage killer’ or ‘Sage v2’ is designed by the same people (but not sold by the same company) and it lives upto the name, it’s lighter, more polished and has slightly better build quality than the Sage. A good looking bow with a wide range of draw weights and also available in 62″ or 64″ AMO lengths, a very affordable price point and limbs that can be interchanged with those from the Samick. The Spyder is also lighter than the Jaguar (but only just) and has a less fiddly take-down and set-up. This is one of the best, here’s why.

Jaguar vs PSE Razorback

From the largest US archery manufacturer comes a great beginner bow available for juniors (PSE Jr Razorback) but only up-to 35 lbs draw for adults, that draw weight should be fine whilst you are learning, but if you want to go higher you’ll be stuck with the Razorback. Another downside to this bow (for some) may be the white limbs with the PSE logo making it look like a target shooters bow. The Jaguar has the advantage here with it’s dual skin choices and metal construction although it only has a 60″ AMO length. More in our full review.

Jaguar vs Martin Saber

The Jaguar is in the same Martin range as the Saber, yet the riser on the Saber is heavier and slightly differently designed albeit with the same metal and a thermal grip. The Saber again is only available for right handed shooters, the supplied arrow rest is also a little on the flimsy side (it’s the same one) and the assembly and disassembly is the same as the Jaguar (a little fiddly). The other advantage of the Jaguar over the Saber other than weight, is that the Jaguar can accept ILF limbs should you wish to upgrade and the Saber isn’t advertised as being able to do this.In-depth on the Jaguar here.

Jaguar vs SAS Courage

A decent quality traditional wooden takedown barebow. The Courage comes in a range of draw weights, is light, nice to look at and is supplied with a 3 year limited manufacturer warranty and a furry ‘rug’ style stick on arrow rest. All the necessary fitment points for quiver/sight, stabilizer and arrow rest are pre-installed on the latest iteration of this bow. As a beginner though, you may want to look at something with a longer AMO length for an easier experience as this one only comes in at 60”. Our lowdown on the courage is here.

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What’s the Best Bow?

We’ve compiled all our reviews and scores into some handy comparison tables along with a buying guide. Take a look at all the data here and make an informed decision.​

About the Manufacturer

Martin Archery  have been in the business of making archery equipment since 1951, you don’t survive over 60 years through thick and thin in business without knowing a thing or two about what you are doing. Martin have a wide range of bows from compound (their premier product), to take-down and traditional bows and also supply a wide range of archery accessories. Martin also has a modern, easy to navigate corporate website containing a lot of information on their products a thing which nowadays always makes me feel comfortable with any company as your website is your storefront in the global economy of today.

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Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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